Mark Handley / Solar Racing place 3rd Or, "Nevada desert takes its toll on Mark Handley / Solar Racing" In the deserts of Southwest Nevada between the California border and Las Vegas lies the brutal desert racecourse of the Primm 300. It was ...
Mark Handley / Solar Racing place 3rd
Or, "Nevada desert takes its toll on Mark Handley / Solar Racing"
In the deserts of Southwest Nevada between the California border and Las Vegas lies the brutal desert racecourse of the Primm 300. It was the 10th running of the event, and the third running for Mark Handley and Solar Racing, of which the previous two yielded 1st place finishes.
Starting 4th in the Stock Full Size pickup class, with a brand new paint job and new sponsors, the Solar Racing F-150 would need to do two laps around this large desert course. It worked its way to the front of the class within the first 20 miles. Since desert racing usually works on elapsed time, and vehicles depart every 30 seconds, Solar Racing started approximately 1minute and 30 seconds behind the 1st position truck. By virtue of catching the 1st place truck, Solar Racing was leading the race.
Now 1st on corrected time, it was time to be 1st on course. Passing the relentless Hummer of 4 time class champion now put the Solar Racing F-150 out front on both corrected time and on course. Side by side racing action continued for the next 20 miles over some of the most brutal terrain raced in any series.
Then, the left rear axle broke at the flange/bearing causing the entire wheel assembly (tire, wheel, and brakes) to go flying away from the truck, forcing the SR F-150 off course, buried to the axles in soft desert sand laced with boulders.
The axle, wheel and tire (no brakes) were replaced with on-board spares and the SR F-150 was on its way now back in 4th place and over 1hr down. The truck continued around the course approximately another 115 miles until a big rock collided with the steering box, causing the bolts that connect the box to the frame to shear. Repairs were made with spare bolts and the truck was once again on its way.
Unfortunately, the next and final checkpoint had closed just moments earlier. Continuing the "drive every mile" mantra, the team brought the truck around all the way to the finish line, just minutes short of the official time limit causing a DNF (Did Not Finish). However, the team still earned 3rd place for their efforts.