The Adventurous Baja 1000 Raffo Racing Report Arlington Heights, IL (November 29, 2007) - Chris Raffo with his all volunteer pit chasers, drivers, and navigators came from throughout the United States to run the 40th edition of the Tecate ...
The Adventurous Baja 1000 Raffo Racing Report
Arlington Heights, IL (November 29, 2007) - Chris Raffo with his all volunteer pit chasers, drivers, and navigators came from throughout the United States to run the 40th edition of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. This year's edition saw the racers travel from Ensenada all the way to Cabo San Lucas. The trek down the peninsula for the Class 3 #306 Fig Partner, Phil's Inc., DiMare Fresh, Reid Racing, Ringers Gloves, Fresh Air Systems, Bilstein, BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet K5 Blazer was scheduled to be nearly 1300 miles long. This was the longest route ever for the "1000."
Along with all the guys in the chase truck, Chris put together four pairs of drivers looking to cross the finish line before the fifty three hour time limit expired.
Chris Raffo and his eighteen year old son, Pete, would go until mile 205, when Texan, Brianne Corn would navigate until mile marker 350.Then Californian Jeff Dolan and Wisconsin native, John Holtz, would take over the controls until the 830 mile marker. The Pennsylvania team of Dennis Chencharick at wheel with Jody Nevling keeping an eye on the course, would take over for another three hundred fifty miles. Finally Chris and Pete would get back in the Blazer to complete the final one hundred fifty miles into Cabo San Lucas.
1300 miles to Cabo
The start of the race saw the #306 Fig Partner, Phil's Inc., DiMare, Reid Racing, Ringers Gloves, Fresh Air Systems, Bilstein, BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet K5 Blazer start strong, quickly catching up to the truck that started thirty seconds in front of them.
Just after Chris and Pete headed down the trail outside of Ensenada, a u-joint broke. Undaunted the team replaced the unit and quickly got back on course. Unfortunately this was the first of many diversions the team would experience. The longer course with hundreds of miles of new territory would really test Raffo Racing.
Here's a list of stops the team made as they raced down the Baja Peninsula. <pre> Race Mile Description 100 Replace right front flat and a broke brake hose. 160 Replace front driveshaft 205 Rebuild both front hubs, replace one front spindle, replace front driveshaft 250 Replace rear flat tire 280 Replace rear flat tire and found broken rear brake hose 340 Replace broken tie rod 350 Driver change -- Jeff Dolan and John Holtz 514 Run out of fuel and replace left front shackle bolt 791 Run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere 830 Driver change -- Dennis Chencharick and Jody Nevling, rear brake line repair 839 Replaced broken steering box 990 Transmission housing breaks in two and two rear shock mounts are broke. </pre> At race mile 990, with a lengthy repair at hand, and time running out to make to finish, Raffo Racing retires from the 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
In an effort to get some rest and decompress from the non-stop three day trek through Baja, Chris takes the team to a friend's vacation home in Bahia de Los Angeles. There, the guys decided to replace the transfer case on the Blazer, giving the entire crew some time behind the wheel of the "Raffonator" K5 Blazer.
Once back in the states, team owner Chris Raffo commented, "Our race obviously didn't go as planned. All the competitors mentioned this year's 1000 was one of the roughest in recent memory. Even the winner of our class had serious downtime. My guys never quit. No matter the problem, they kept plugging away, keeping the Blazer headed for Cabo. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to replace the transfer case and make it to the finish within the time limit."
"Thanks goes to Reid Racing, their steering knuckles performed flawlessly. I can't forget Fig Partners, DiMare, D & L, High Angle Driveshaft, Powermaster, and Phil's Inc. without their support we wouldn't be here."
"Hats off to Brianne Corn and Jody Devling. It was their first time navigating the Baja 1000, let alone ever in Baja, they did a great job. Everybody stayed on their game for almost 50 straight hours. It's just another incredible experience in Baja."