Well, 2021 Baja 500 is in the books. And one thing I can say, is the team willing to adapt and outcome adversity is usually the ones that win. Having an absolute clean run is hard to come by these days, with the dangers being high in Mexico these days getting the finish line is the 1st priority. I am glad to say that myself and team of riders did an amazing job of doing just that. Winning the 30 Pro Class and the 40 Pro Class, and finishing an amazing 2nd overall with the 308x bike.
There are a ton of people to thank. Our Family and friends deserve a ton of credit for allowing/supporting us to do this, and to all the Sponsors that have stepped up to help us afford and capture this. To the friends that spent their own money to come down and hang with us, pit, and chase. THANK YOU! You guys/gals rock. Baja Bound Insurance ( Geoff Hill) for supporting us with everything you do. Baja Jerky for providing us some good snacks. BELL Helmets/FXR Moto/Flow Vision/Sidi Boots for making us look good and keeping us safe. IMS for the Tanks and Pegs. Goldentyre and Nitro Mousses for the wheels, FMF Racing, Dasa Racing for the power. TBT Racing for the Suspension. DT1/Mika Metals/moto master brakes for the Drive Train and airflow. Rad Custom Graphics our Shirts/Hats. Baja Designs for the lights. Randy at GPR For Stabilizers. Fasst Co. For the Bars. Guts for the Seats. Emrossi Designs for the looks.. Works Connection for the goodies, PCI radios for the comms,
Morgan Crawford, Shane Esposito, Schane Schorno and myself, put in a lot of time prerunning and it showed. Finishing this grueling 466 mile race in 11 hours and 27 mins, a mere 10 mins behind the lead bike for he overall win. The 408x team (Ryan Liebelt, Brandon Wright, Steve Tichenor, Jason Trubey) would have likely been close on the heels if it wasn’t for a Tire we messed up and didn’t mount right. Which came off about 5 miles after our rider/wheel exchange near RM225. But the quick thinking from Ryan Liebelt and Steve Tichenor and help from The McClaren racing team, who loaned us a UTV to get parts out to the rider, we got a wheel out to Brandon “0935” Wright and go him back on the road. While they gap on the 40 Pro class was closed down to a couple of mins, they were able to regain speed and open the gap up to over an hour at the finish line. Ryan Liebelt builds great bikes, and knows how to make them survive the brutal torcher that we put them through. It also goes to show the durability of these Yamaha WR450’s. With the TBT racing, GPR Stabilizer, Fasst Co, Mika Drive train set, they are on point. The FMF mufflers give us the extra torque we need in the tight stuff and they flat out make the bike perform better. We can’t thank the guys and gals behind the scenes that help make this happen. Actually I know, it took 22 people, that’s how many people came down to help us get both bikes on the Top Step of the podium. Greg Bardonnex was out for this race with recent shoulder surgery, but pitched in big time when he landed us a replacement rider and worked his butt off to help get parts in time and help execute our plan.
The week leading up the race was just as exciting, Ryan and I went down with our Good friend and Main Sponsor Geoff Hill from Baja Bound Insurance to play a round of golf and do some filing for a couple of Baja Bound commercials. Click here for the shorter version https://fb.watch/68SJV9oZ1B// then is was off to E-town for logistics planning and the start of Prerunning, Ryan and I went down the 1st day and rode from RM225-400, which had a good mix of Tough stuff and fast stuff along the beach. Since both Ryan and I are listed on both bikes we figured we should ride every mile we could and atleast see it once just in case. So after doing the 170 miles went headed back up and prepped for the next day, which we basically copied. So 340 miles in two days. We pretty much repeated that until Thursday when the start opened and Ryan could see that last part, as he was slated to finish the race on the 408x. I continued after our last minute replacement to pound out miles around lower 120. The other guys on the team minus Brandon arrived Tuesday some time and started their sections. So with everyone in town and trying to coordinate drop offs and picks you could imagine we were a busy bunch. So Friday am we tech, and have to wait out turn in line which is dumb considering our tech line is different, but atleast we get to walk and not sit in our cars. Thanks Score!!! After we tech’d we met as a group and talked through the logistics of our 8 pit stops and how to move around should one team strike an issue. Good thing we have PCI race radio and comms to help us do that. And that Ryan and I talk non stop leading up to the race and have a lot of different things drawn out just in case. Because race day it paid off. I think we did our best and brought home 2 incredible wins for our Teams, Friends and Sponsors, thank you to each of you for helping us get there and continue to either make us look good and safe, or put our best foot forward with a very competitive bike.
After 2 races, the 408x has a commanding lead in the points, and the 308x has a small margin after winning the Baja 500. Thank you for your friendship and being a part of this journey. See you at the Score Baja 400 in September or maybe Vegas to Reno!