Ever since joining Land Racing for the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January 2004 (see "Four Laps With Land Racing," June '04), team OFF-ROAD had looked for an opportunity to share another off-road adventure with the Quaker State S-10 and its crew. That opportunity came at the 2005 SCORE Baja 500.
It was destined to be a race of a different flavor. The Laughlin Desert Challenge happens during typically brisk January, while the Baja 500 happens at the beginning of summer's heat. The Laughlin course is a 12-mile lap run multiple times; the 500 snakes its way through several remote corners of Baja and runs over the same terrain only on the way to and from the village of Ojos Negros.
Even with a different format and a different course in a different country, Land Racing is as dedicated as ever to running a smooth race and overcoming the challenges and setbacks that might pop up along the way. The race truck had been revitalized with a JSA-built Ford 9-inch rearend and a set of tougher uniball upper control arm pivots replacing the stock ball joints. Bob had selected two capable and experienced drivers in Eric Garcia and Brian Cavitt. If the truck didn't make the finish line, it wouldn't be from lack of prep, or lack of talent.
In the end, the truck's transmission casing decided it had had enough before the course's halfway point was reached. The team had a spare tranny waiting in the Cooper Tires box van, but there wasn't enough time to get the box van to the race truck and complete a tranny swap before the time limit ran out.
True to the form of a desert racing veteran, Bob was hatching a plan to get the S-10 ready for the next race even before the team had returned to Ensenada, broken race truck in tow. Off-road racers know that setbacks are all part of the adventure, and that those setbacks eventually make for great stories. Never say die? It's gonna take a lot more than a trashed tranny housing to keep Land Racing down. There are many more starting and finish lines in Land Racing's future.