After word of the combined World Championship point series took the desert racing community by storm in late December the Desert Assassins made the decision to bring the #16 Monster Energy/Yokohama Tire Trophy Truck to round number 1. The new championship will contest four races in the US and three races south of the border in Baja California, Mexico including the legendary Baja 1000 in November.
Team driver Cameron Steele and navigator “Turbo” Tom Geviss went to the start line on the front row in 16-degree temperatures for the Vegas stop on the new series. They were successful in the side-by-side drag race and would lead the field from the start to finish of the race, but not without great challenge from their Monster Energy teammate BJ Baldwin. The two trucks would be the first two trucks on the road all day and with a one minute stagger in start time the two could battle for corrected time while only really having to battle with lapped traffic as the race was held over 4 laps each 60 miles in length.
“We knew we had to set a fast pace and we did while taking moderate risks,” said Steele, who continued, “we had a number of spots on the course where we were getting splits for BJ, the Herbst’s (#19 and #91) and for Jimmy (Knuckles #48). It didn’t take long to realize that BJ and us were gapping the others so after leading on time both laps one and two we had our pit at race mile 19 on lap three tell us BJ was gaining and we had to get on it.
In truth the #16/#97 pit exchange was tight after lap two and starting lap 3. The #16 had a speed socket crack and cost the team an additional 54 seconds after the Pressure Pro fueling team had the truck full in 18 seconds. This led to a tight battle starting lap 3 and with BJ going what we guess was full stick trying to make time, the race was on.
“Unofficially the team had BJ leading us by 18 seconds at the end of lap 3 but we had put 9 seconds on him in the last 19 miles so I knew we could push harder and have the 1 minute gap we needed at the finish to win” said Steele.
“For me it is very sweet after multiple decades of working together we have brought home the Trophy Truck win with Yokohama and this is the second race in a row where we smashed hard and I had not one tire issue” Said Steele after the win.
Official results have the #16 winning by over 5 minutes on corrected time and taking the lead in the World Championship points going into round two the SCORE San Felipe 250 in early March.
Next up for the Desert Assassins is the 6th annual Hell Ride Baja dirt bike trip prior to continuing the chase for the new world title.
Miller is impressive behind the wheel as well as in team planning and led the factory Volkswagen effort in the US and while driving the Dakar for them was the first and highest placing American to ever finish the rally on the podium. Miller has also won a number of Dakar stages.
Hollywood stuntman and off-raod racer Mike Johnson joined the DA program early in 2012 but mechanical issues hampered a solid run for him at the Baja 500. Between Daniel, Johnson and Steele the team has a solid foundation but needed some partners that brought game to the table for the 1,121 mile Baja 1000 where the team would field two Geiser Bros. built 800 plus horsepower trucks with over 30 inches of wheel travel
The 5 driver team will work as one unit as they have through early course reconnaissance and team testing. 5 drivers, 2 trucks and 1 team will work as a group to bring both trucks to La Paz on the podium.