Yokohama Off-Roaders Battle Bruising Baja 1000
Heidi Steele gets podium finish on off-the-shelf Geolandar M/T tires; Ikuo Hanawa races solo for 34 hours
FULLERTON, CA. -- (Nov. 23, 2010) -- The SCORE Baja 1000 is off-road racing's toughest test. Yokohama Tire-sponsored racers took the challenge, with three-time SCORE champion Heidi Steele leading the pack with a third-place finish in Class 6 for unlimited, production mini trucks.
The 43rd edition of the iconic desert race, which wound down Mexico's Baja Peninsula from Ensenada to La Paz, took place November 17-20.
Driving her customary Ford Ranger, Steele, the two-time defending Class 6 champ, and her co-drivers and Desert Assassins teammates Rene Brugger and Pat Dailey, finished the grueling 1061.69-mile course on Yokohama Geolandar M/T tires in 27:43:10.
Japan's Ikuo Hanawa, another Yokohama-sponsored racer, drove the entire race solo, finishing 14th in Class 1 (unlimited single or two-seaters) in 34:13:15. "I think it's a major accomplishment," said Trophy Truck class veteran Cameron Steele, who is also Heidi's husband. "He went 1,061 miles in 34 hours with no sleep holding on to 500 hp with no one else in the car? Amazing. He may have been the only solo guy in the Baja 1000 with no navigator in a car or truck."
Like Heidi Steele, Hanawa ran on Geolandar M/T+ tires. In July, he set a world record for electric vehicles at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
"It was a battle, and in the end, the No. 600 truck with Heidi, Rene and Pat brought home a podium finish and completed the season in second place," summed up Cameron Steele. 'Heidi was looking to defend her Class 6 championship and win her fifth championship overall. There were some bottlenecking problems on the course caused by other trucks, though, and they got stuck in the chaos that is the Baja."
"The Geolandars performed perfectly," Heidi Steele said. "Zero flats on a mean course like the Baja 1000 is a true testament of their toughness."
The San Clemente, California-based Cameron Steele fought the Baja with co-drivers Cody Stuart/Justin Smith (Capistrano Beach, California) and Pat Dean (Las Vegas). They piloted the No. 16 800-horsepower GMC Sierra, mounted with 37-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S0x00ae R tires specially engineered for extreme off-road conditions for a 27:12:44 time and 19th place finish in the Trophy Truck class.
"Drama and the Baja...who could have guessed it?" said Cameron Steele. "We are poised for a great 2011 and look forward to seeing everyone in the desert next season."