Recap: Vegas to Reno, Our Debut Race
A very long weekend in the deserts of Nevada leave us all recovering at home. The wrap up of the 2011 BITD Vegas to Reno race leaves us with a DNF in our debut race, but we can’t be discouraged and we’re pressing on.
Morning, August 18th, 2011
We arrive at the Aliante Station host hotel and slowly work our way through registration lines, t-shirt lines, free Tequila lines and eventually out to contingency row. As we drift through contingency picking up decals, getting an IRC tracker and making new friends the day gets hotter and hotter as temps hit 106 degrees. In the heat of the day we arrive at the end of the row and begin our tech inspection. Right away, our tail lights do not function, but the rest of tech goes by just fine and after a quick sidebar to do some last minute emergency wiring we are good to go.
Afternoon, August 18th, 2011
We have a driver’s meeting at 6pm. This gives us a few hours to go back to our hotel and program our new race radios in all of the chase vehicles. While we did have most of the programming done, we did have a few that we wanted to add. Since it was so hot, I took a minute to jump in the pool and cool off…smart, right? The driver’s meeting went well and after a team dinner we all hit the pillows so we’d be ready to race our hearts out in the morning.
Morning, August 19th, 2011
The team assembles at the staging area of the longest off-road race in the United States. Drivers are suiting up. Crews are checking tire pressures, fluid levels and making sure the car is ready to run. 11am rolls around and we are just about to start our race. 11:11:11 we are off the line. Tom takes the wheel first with Cliff navigating their way to the first pit.
We arrive as the 6th 1700 of 6. This is our first driver change. We had several driver changes because we wanted to give all of the Baja 1000 crew some seat time before that big race. This was our learning race, so we were merely concerned with learning the car and finishing. It is time for me to take the wheel with Scott navigating for me. At Pit 2 we take fuel. A quick stop into the Baja Pits and we’ve got a tank full of 100 Octane and some cold water in our mouths. We’re off again racing toward Pit 3. At pit 3 we did a quick switch to get Scott in the driver seat and finished our leg at Pit 4…in second place. Not bad.
At pit 4 we lose our second place position back to fourth as we once again switch drivers. We’re aware of this and had accepted that our driver changes would hurt us in standings pretty badly. Regardless, Rob and Andy jump into the car and come into Pit 5 again in the second place position. At this point we were pretty sure that there were only four 1700 cars still running on the course. Rob and Andy left Pit 5 in third and headed on to a later pit where they’d trade off with Tom and Randy.
Tom and Randy jump in the car and head toward Reno hard. Their drive time goes well and they race into the dark. HID’s blaze through the dust as they safely and quickly arrive at Pit 11 and hand the car over to Nick and Cliff for the last legs of the race.
At this point, Nick and Cliff take the drive and head north. They quickly make pit 12 and 13. Unfortunately they met with serious issues shortly after. A broken distributor left them limping over 20 miles with the engine barely firing.
When the car arrived at Pit 14 barely running, our crew made quick evaluations and our broken distributor was not something we were prepared to replace. It was at this time we had to retire from the race.
We all had a great race and had a ton of fun. Rob is working his magic on his video footage and the rest of the crew is chasing parts, upgrades, and wrenching away to get ready for the Baja 1000. We can’t wait to hit the desert again.