The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Full Race

The man driving this car is Randy Perry, who I've known for...oh, about 35 years give or take. The picture was taken at this year's Baja 500 off-road race in Mexico. I met Randy in Jr. High. At one point in his life, Randy was married to the sister of my very best and oldest friend, Chris. In my book, that makes us family. Randy is a very funny, very laid-back kind of guy who has always loved off road vehicles. In particular, I remember one riotous trip that included a bunch of crazy friends at Pismo Beach with off-road trucks in about 1978 or so. For as long as I've know him, Randy has had some type of dirt-oriented vehicle parked in his garage.

Randy is a co-owner and driver with Lenk Motor Sports, which as far as I can tell is a like-minded extended family of off-road enthusiasts who just love to race in the dirt. I am lucky enough to be on his distribution list, and I get updates, race reports, pictures and sometimes the odd vid of races they've entered. What follows below is Randy's report from this year's Baja 500, a most grueling off-road race. He drove the last leg, and if you've ever wondered what it's like to be in the cockpit of an off-road race car, here's your chance to find out.

Missing Lenk Motorsports - Baja 500 Race Report

Saturday morning, Brett & Brett were off the start line around 10:30am with 39 Trophy Trucks and 21 Class 1 cars stirring up the dust in front of them. By race mile 100ish, they came up to a car that tried to climb a sleep hill, but didn’t! As the guy backed down, he got sideways and thus got stuck, pretty much blocking the course. They had a car in front of them that grew restless of the stuck car and decided to take action. He was able to climb over the car and a rock to get around the guy.

The Brett Bros followed suit and on their third try, got around the guy. Other than that, they had an uneventful run. At race mile 150, Grant & Jayme would take over and about 15 miles (RM165) into their section, they would come upon three silt beds. The were able to get through the first two, but the third one swallowed them up. Luckily, one of BJ Baldwin’s chase trucks (and a guy Grant knew) was nearby and with just a little down time, pulled them out and they were back on their way.

But, the silt beds would hamper their forward progress slightly. Trying to power though the silt got the engine hot and the car went into “Limp Mode” L but not for long J and they were soon back on track until the throttle started sticking L By the time they got to the Mikes Sky Ranch turnoff (RM220) the pit crew hooked a bungee cord on the gas pedal to help with the sticking issue. From RM220 to RM260 Grant said they had a good uneventful run. When Grant pulled up to RM260, he jumped out and I jumped in.

His co-driver and mine, Jayme, welcomed me aboard and within a minute or so, we were ready to go to the finish, until one of the pit crew guys noticed a small problem. Turns out we lost a bolt holding the steering box in place!! That repair would take an extra 15 minutes. By 5:30-ish-pm, Jayme and I were on our way. Within 5 miles into our run, I noticed the brakes were fadingL and by the time we hit the winding, twisting mountainous road towards San Vicente, they were next to useless. By the time we got to our pit at RM289, Tom & Jason had to cap our left rear brake, bled the front brakes and when they were done, felt pretty good with what they did to give us some brakes back.

Off we go and then 5 to 10 miles down the course, the throttle starting sticking! So as I’m stabbing the throttle and I lift off and it would stick, I would yell “Throttle” and Jayme would have to yank on the bungee cord. He would have to yank so hard and long, the bungee cord was really working his hand and arm. We had a scheduled fuel stop at RM333 with the boys at BFG and they were able to free up the sticking throttle body and had few issues with it after that stop. But the brakes would fade shortly after that stop.

By the time we got to Tom & Jason at a roadside pit (RM361) they capped the right rear brake and the fronts were marginal. Jayme and I decided that having no rear brakes and front brakes that would slow us down somewhat if pumped enough times, and we’d made this far, we weren’t going home with a DNF after all the team had done to prepare for this race. We did have a few “Oh Craps” before getting to the finish line, but Missing Lenk Motorsports made it. We placed 13th out of the 25 starters with 8 cars that didn’t finish! Next race is the Primm 300 in Sept.

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