The 'Raffonator' Records Solid Finish Chris Raffo, the Arlington Heights, IL native took his California Tomatoes clan to Baja looking for the team's first win of the season and more importantly, taking the lead in the season long Class ...
The 'Raffonator' Records Solid Finish
Chris Raffo, the Arlington Heights, IL native took his California Tomatoes clan to Baja looking for the team's first win of the season and more importantly, taking the lead in the season long Class 3 Championship. Unfortunately with just two weeks before the event, SCORE had to relocate the traditional loop event in San Felipe to a point-to-point event starting in Ensenada and finishing in Santo Tomas. The change in venue meant his team would be able to prerun the course, and would have to rely on its GPS system to get to the finish.
Saturday Race Day
The record field of 423 starters left Ensenada one at a time every thirty seconds. Chris Raffo and co-driver Dennis Chencherick began the trek just about 12noon. The Class 3 division saw a brand new FJ Cruiser enter the class, and everybody has their eyes on the team.
Quickly Chris and Dennis grabbed the lead in the class, but suddenly the #303 California Tomatoes, Hot Creek Capital, Fig Partners, BFGoodrich Tires, Powermaster, Phil's Inc., Chevrolet K5 Blazer was on the side of the trail with a broken front driveshaft. Quickly the teammates when to work replacing the driveline, and got the 'Raffonator' back on track chasing down the rest of the class.
About halfway through the event Chris and Dennis were in second place right behind the FJ team. As the team made there way up the Pacific side of the course, the truck's GPS would periodically fail. This caused the team to back track on the course several times, costing the team valuable time on their way to the finish.
After 6 hours 40 minutes and 33 seconds of racing, the #303 California Tomatoes Blazer came home was well deserved second place in class, just twenty five minutes behind the class winner, Dylan Evans in his FJ Cruiser.
Afterwards Chris Raffo commented, ' The front driveshaft breaking early in the race really put us behind. We were confident that the time lost could be made up by the time we hit the outskirts of Santo Tomas. That was all for naught as the GPS wouldn't refresh quick enough and we had to back track several times the last half of the race. All in all we are pretty happy with the final result. I think this finish puts us in the points lead.'