Sean Cook's Baja 1000 Race Report

Sean Cook's Baja 1000 Race Report

"Black Rhino Performance/Racer X Motorsports Sponsored Athlete Sean Cook's Baja 1000 Race Report"

El Cajon, CA, December 7, 2015- The sun has finally set on this year's running of the SCORE Baja 1000.  Cook Off Road racing made the long journey south this year with extra time to rest and enjoy some of the happenings associated with the big race. The team consisted of some new members; Dave Wong from Dave's Off Road Outlet would be scheduled to drive the third leg of the race along with new co-driver Jorge Macias who would be riding with driver Jesus Leon. The rest of the team was also present; Crew Chief Jeff Correia, co-driver Todd Latronica, along with chase team members Steve Medley, Rory Huber (team photographer), Gina Buzzini-Cook (Pit coordinator, communications, and wife), Jennifer Wong (refreshment coordinator) Carlos and Miguel and our new team chef Manno Lujan from the one and only Red House BBQ finished off the team.

The team arrived on the Sunday before the race, spent a little time on the beach and soon settled into race preparedness. The car was gone over and over and over again; nothing was left to chance. The team was very comfortable and confident in the race package they had put together for the grueling challenge. On Tuesday, Driver Sean Cook was invited to go pre-running with fellow competitor #1949 Driver Alonzo Lopez. Sean was able to pre-run from Ojos Negros to Santo Thomas before the pre-runner had a mechanical failure which cut their pre-run short.

Wednesday found the team making last minute checks to the car as well as packing chase boxes for the 3 chase trucks. This year, SCORE implemented an early tech and registration to help ease the long lines at contingency and the team took full advantage of this.  The team was in bed early in order to get an early start for contingency the next day. 0330 hrs came early Thursday but Sean and Dave made their way into Ensenada and got the #1930 SPEED Energy / Polaris VillaHermosa UTV into the contingency line. As usual, contingency was a great time for the team to reconnect with fellow competitors and friends as well as a great opportunity to showcase the many sponsors who helped get them there. The team was able to toll through contingency and were back at the beach house by 3pm. Thursday night was time for one last team meeting where all of the pit strategy was handled.

On race day, the team was up early and ready to go. They made their way to Ensenada for an 11am start. Chase trucks were loaded and sent on their way to wait for the car to come through. At approximately 1pm the #1930 SPEED Energy / Polaris VillaHermosa UTV driven by Sean Cook along with co-driver Todd Latronica rolled up to the starting line, did the customary hand shake with Roger Norman and then took the green flag. The team made their way through the streets of Ensenada, then made that famous right hand turn dropping them into the canal and headed out of town. As Sean settled into a comfortable race pace all systems were go. At about mm 15 they noticed a slight miss with the motor; it was as if a cylinder was going on and off. Sean kept the car moving until about mm25 when all systems shut down. Sean pulled off course and Todd jumped into action, immediately finding the problem. The spark plug wires had pulled out of the coil due to the fact that the billet motor mount had sheared in half causing the motor to move. Some of the local race fans jumped into action and although none could speak English they knew just what to do. Ratchet strap was deployed, motor centered, plugs reattached and the #1930 was off and running again. Not too far down the course the fix started coming unwound, Sean pulled the car into a nearby pit and again the locals jumped in and made a temporary fix to get them to Santo Thomas.

Sean and Todd finally made it down the mountain to Santo Thomas where Jeff and the rest of the team jumped into action replacing the broken motor mount with a new one. As soon as repairs were completed and the fuel topped off, Sean and Todd roared off into the Baja darkness. The Rigid lights installed on the car were a huge help cutting through the blinding fog and silt as they made their way down the Baja Peninsula.

Sean had to make up lost time and he pushed the car for all it was worth. At about mm130 the car suffered another setback; broken rear axles. Sean pulled into the Baja Pits, axles were changed out and a fresh set were installed. Again they roared off into the darkness chasing the blue lights out on the distant horizon. Sean got the car to mm200 where he handed it over to Jesus and Jorge. The two took over after fuel and minor adjustments were made. As Jesus plowed through silt bed after silt bed the car never missed a beat. Jesus drove the car through silt beds that had swallowed other competitors whole! As the sun was staring to rise at about mm370 the upper a-arm broke. Jesus used a crescent wrench and two hose clamps to splice the arm back together but after about 40 miles the repair failed causing Jesus to hit a giant cactus ripping off the lower a-arm. This was the issue they could not overcome. About 4 hours later the chase team was able to reach the car, Jeff strapped down the rear and they drove the car out on 3 wheels.

Once again Baja beat us, but rest assured this will not stop the SPEED Energy / Polaris VillaHermosa UTV team from putting everything back together and coming back stronger next season.

So to recap on the SCORE Baja 1000, the #1930 SPEED Energy / Polaris VillaHermosa completed 430 miles without a single flat on their GBC Kanati Mongrel tires, the King Shocks needed no adjustments, the Hellwig sway bars kept the car level and stable throughout the rough course, the Muzzy exhaust stayed quiet, the Dirty Dawg clutch kept the power to the wheels and never lost a Polaris CVT belt, the new Powertanks came in handy when we needed to get the car up on the jack. Not to say everything worked perfectly because it's desert racing but we are working very hard with all our sponsors to improve on some slightly weak links.

The team is so grateful to all their amazing sponsors who stand behind them and support their effort to be the best they can be: SPEED Energy, Polaris VillaHermosa, GBC Motorsports, KING Shocks, OMF Wheels, Black Rhino Performance, Muzzy Performance, TORCO, Madigan Motorsports, Rugged Radios, Twisted Stitch Seats, Rigid Industries, Helwig Motorsports, Method Wheels, Fabtech, Transfer Flow, L&L Powdercoating, D&D Graphx, Hess Motorsports, Ram Mounts, Holt Powersports, Red House BBQ, Powertanks, Dave's Off Road Outlet, CryoHeat, RCV Performance, Fabwerx, MaxTraxx, and of course Polaris Industries.

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