Ensenada, Baja California -Settled into the 7th starting position at the famed SCORE Tecate Baja 1000, Ron Whitton was among the giants of professional off road desert racing as he positioned his #39 race truck in downtown Ensenada.
Starting behind him was 2007's Baja 1000 winner and SCORE Trophy Truck Champion Rob MacCachren. In front of him was a desert racing icon and multiple Baja 1000 winner, Larry Ragland. "my plan is to stay on Ragland's rear bumper for the first 120 miles, the course is so tight and narrow, so if you make a mistake and get a flat the whole train is going to go by you.", stated Ron as he tightened his lap belts before taking the green flag late Friday morning. "
Two weeks prior to this year's granddaddy of off road races, Whitton and his son-in-law Garron Cadiente took their shinny Geiser-built Ford F150 Prerunners straight from an Off-Road Magazine photo shoot to the deserts of Baja. "I've pre-ran my section eight times and this is going to be a great race," commented Whitton several days prior to the race. Whitton employed his race strategy early and after reaching race mile 117 he was a mere thirty seconds off the pace of leader and 2008's SCORE San Felipe 250 winner, Brian Collins. As the race continued, so did the solid performance of The Fastest Grandpa.
While Whitton raged his #39 Trophy Truck towards the wide open dry lake beds south of Mexicali, SCORE's newest phenom, Garron Cadiente, waited calmly at the team first pit stop and had this to say, "I know Ron will get me the truck in great shape, as long as we are within 10 minutes of leaders, I'm confident I can run them down before the end". Cadiente was staged and ready to run wild from the race mile 193 mark to the finish back in Ensenada.
Once Cadiente joined the fray he quickly began to make up on time on the three remaining Trophy Trucks ahead of him, Norman, Ragland, and BJ Baldwin. The #39 G&R entry was pushed to its limits in Garron's quest for the checkered flag. Unfortunately a win this year was just not meant to be for the duo, "the truck just fell apart after mile 400, we lost a transmission cooling fan, starter, rear sway bar, rear brakes, and the motor just started using a ton of water", Garron commented as he watched his support team surround the truck with urgency near race mile 455.
Enduring the ultimate adventure in off road desert racing, G&R Racing pushed on through the night and into the early morning, nursing their battered and bleeding Trophy Truck to the finish line. "We never give up, we have enough parts to rebuild a couple trucks if need to, Baja won't beat us tonight", commented G&R's Team Manager Brian Godfrey as he lead his team of volunteers to the finish line in downtown Ensenada.
After 15 hours and 48 minutes of continues racing Ron Whitton and his team were excited to see the beaten truck make the final corner towards the finish. Missing multiple body panels and patched together with robbed parts from the teams identical prerunners, G&R Racing's metallic steed came to a grinding halt atop the man made dirt plateau that bid the truck farewell the previous day. Despite the plaguing mechanical issues the team came home with a respectable 8th place finish.
On behalf of the entire team I would like to thank each and every one of our Dirt Squad newsletter members for taking an interest in G&R Racing. Enjoy the content and feel free to send me your comments.
Brian Godfrey Team Manager