2009 San Felipe 250
This is our second San Felipe 250, we've learned a few things and made a few changes as a result of our 2 previous races. We plan to be much more competitive this year! We are using Mag 7 for pit support again this year, they did a great job for us last year. We plan to re-fuel only once during the race, but will have additional fuel pre-positioned "just-in-case". Mag 7 will also position our spare tires for us, hopefully where we "need" them! For "unexpected" problems during the race, we are grateful to Tommy Craft and Marty Elmquist for providing our "chase" capability.
VW Paradise and Jason Lauffer found us a few more horsepower to bring to the party, we'll be doing our best to make use of it! We've spent the last several weeks preparing for this race; we're excited and 100% ready to go!
Our goals for this race:
First - Have Fun
Second - Finish in the top 3
Third - Finish without major problems
Fourth - Learn from the experience
1) - We had fun
2) - We finished in 4th, but were 27% faster than last year......
3) - No major problems during the race
4) - We learned that we can push the car harder than we could imagine previously!!
We began lining up with the other 5/1600 cars in staging at about 10:00 am - it's always tough to wait out the last few minutes before a race. While waiting for our class to be called to the start line, we got out of the car and "socialized" with the other 5/1600 drivers. We particularly wanted to meet Marcos Nunez - he is a force to be reckoned with in the 5/1600 world. Marcos doesn't speak much English, and my Spanish is barely up to asking where the bathroom is, so one of the other drivers helped interpret for us. It was hilarious to watch all the other 5/1600 guys helping Marcos get into his driving suit! Great bunch of racers! We also took the opportunity to look over each others' cars and steal ideas.......
Our race began at 10:44:30 am local after a handshake and a few words from Sal Fish. We couldn't actually hear the words, but we could see his lips moving! We'll have to learn to "read lips" I guess.
The race begins on pavement but turns onto a graded dirt road within a few hundred yards. The graded road soon gives way to 50 or so miles of the worst "whoops" you can imagine on "powerline road" and beyond. The car takes an amazing beating but just continues to go! This early in the race, the suspension is still "warming up" and we do the "hop and swap" 5/1600 dance until about RM 40. We passed several cars in this section, a 5/1600 (#551) and several "class 7's" (I don't know the numbers or sub-class....). After passing #551, we lead the pack of 5/1600's for numerous miles, until getting caught by Marcos Nunez....... It's always amazing to see how fast he is in stuff that just "rattles" our teeth! Along the way, we drove by Cameron Steele cheering us on! It was cool to see one of the "heroes" of the sport cheering the "little guys" on!
At checkpoint 1 (RM 61.5), the course turns south, paralleling the mountains to Morelia Junction (RM 93.1). This section has some fast washes and graded roads, and is one of the few "easy" sections. From Morelia, it continues south to the west entrance of the Matomi wash. More fast washes, graded roads, whoops and "SILT" (approx. RM 115)....... We stopped for fuel at the Mag 7 pit located at RM 109.5, fast and professional service there - Mag 7 is awesome. Pressing on south, we pass another class 7 type truck in the whoops and enter the Matomi wash at about RM 134. The Matomi has very little sand left in it this year, many large exposed boulders to contend with. My cousins' Jeep would be right at home here, but it's slow going for a 5/1600 car! One false step here could end our race...... Trevor did a great job "picking" his way through the "rock garden" that the first few miles of the Matomi have become!
At RM 149.1, we exit the Matomi and head north towards the entrance to the Azufre wash at RM 167.2. This section is mostly hard pack, with lots of rocks and whoops. Near RM 159, Tommy Craft contacts us for an update - I tell him that the car is in good shape and we have lots of gas, and thank him for his help. Somewhere along about there, we passed a lone motorcycle rider looking like he's about done racing for the day...... SCORE checkpoint 3 was located at RM 165.2, just at the top of the rise where my wife and cousin were watching the race. It was great to see them, if only for a few seconds as we passed by!
At RM 167.2 the course "U Turns" into the Azufre wash, our "home" turf. We've been driving that wash for years, it's the wash nearest to our house at Bahia Santa Maria and we're comfortable there. Before getting to the u-turn though, we have to get around a chase (or spectator) vehicle on the race course..... The Azufre poses no problems for us and we exit it and turn north towards checkpoint 4 and the Huatamote wash.
After turning north at the exit of the Azufre, the course enters the Huatamote and becomes a deep and soft wash with lots of whoops. This is the slowest part of the course for us and it's a frustrating section. SCORE checkpoint 4 is located at RM 192.8 and we see Marcos Nunez just beyond, cheering us on wildly!! Not sure exactly how he came to be there, probably had a driver change somewhere nearby. We were thrilled to see him cheering us, his competition, on. What a great racer. Now that we're in the Huatamote, the end is in sight - only another 40 miles to go! Don't do anything stupid now!
We exit the Huatamote wash at SCORE checkpoint 5 (RM 213.8) and turn towards the finish line. From this point until just a few miles short of the finish line, we're in a mix of soft washes and hard-pack - but with whoops of course! About 2 or 3 miles from the finish, we exit the washes and are on a nice graded road to the end. Just short of the finish, SCORE has built a nice "jump" and we hit it hard. I sure hope someone got photos, because it HAD to look good from the outside! The crowd seemed to appreciate our effort! I forgot to tag the in car video, Trevor may never forgive me.....
We take the checkered flag 6:54:47 after our start (4th in class, 104/226 overall); Sal greets us just beyond the finish line and once again shakes our hands, congratulating us on our finish. Now we can relax and assess the damage done to the car (I'm going to have to create a "carnage" section for our website someday).......
Trevor did an awesome job driving all day - he never got out of the car and didn't make any mistakes. He never made me nervous, but drove the car hard the entire race. It's great to be able to do this with my son!
Thanks to Jason Lauffer and everyone at VW Paradise, you guys are the best! Thanks also to Clinton and Mary Ann at Custom Aircraft Parts for letting us use your machine shop - we couldn't do this without you!!