Raffo Racing Baja 1000 summary

Chris Raffo and the rest of Raffo Racing came to Baja, looking to finish the "1000" for a second time and challenge the perennial Class 3 champs for a class win. Raffo Racing is a group of desert racing fans from various parts of the country...

Chris Raffo and the rest of Raffo Racing came to Baja, looking to finish the "1000" for a second time and challenge the perennial Class 3 champs for a class win.

Raffo Racing is a group of desert racing fans from various parts of the country that come together to drive, ride, chase, pit, repair, or whatever it takes to keep the Raffo Racing "old school" Class 3 - California Tomato 1978 Chevy Blazer in the race for the class win. Chris Raffo, from Chicago, and his long-time co-driver Dennis Chencherick from Pennsylvania, team up with a supporting crew that has included members from Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Missouri, and Florida. Raffo Racing is truly a grassroots operation.

The first leg of the race saw Chris at the wheel with Jeff Dolan riding shotgun. As the team passed through checkpoint one, the #305 California Tomato/ Phil's Inc. Chevrolet K5 Blazer was about 18 minutes ahead of the second place truck of Ed Griffin. Just pass the 100-mile mark of the race, the truck lost a power steering belt. The truck is almost impossible to drive without power steering, so Chris and Jeff stopped the truck, located the spare belt in the toolbox, replaced the belt, and quickly were on their way.

Unfortunately this problem happened two more times as the truck came to Checkpoint 2, about 200 miles from the start. At this point the team was in 3rd place about 20 minutes behind the leader #301 Donald Moss.

Now the truck was losing all the drive belts quite rapidly. About halfway to the next BFG Pit, Chris and Jeff found themselves stranded, hoping for their chase vehicle to find them, and to somehow find another belt to get them to the next pit to correct the problem. After a few hours of waiting, help arrived, but time was running out for the team. Checkpoint 3 would be closing down before the team could make it. At this point, Chris and his team decided to call it a day.

"The truck ran great, the BFGoodrich Tires are second to none, the Bilstein shocks performed flawlessly, we just had a terminal steering problem. Last year we went through the entire steering setup, but somehow the pump mounting began to bend. We ran out of belts before we could get to a pit to remount the pump. Now we have to look to the 2006 season and get ready for Laughlin. "-Chris Raffo.

For the record, Chris Raffo finished the season 3rd overall in the 2005 SCORE Class 3 Points Championship.

Congratulations to Donald & Ken Moss and the entire Cinnamon Ranch Race team for winning the Class 3 championship.

Next event is January 12-15, 2006 the Laughlin Desert Challenge.

-www.rafforacing.com

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