Long Beach Racers Battle Baja in San Felipe 250
March 10th 2012-
The normally quiet town of San Felipe came alive with the roar of engines and bustle of people trying to make their way to the start of the SCORE San Felipe 250. Starting #779 was the Long Beach Racers Stock Mini Toyota Baja Series Tacoma. Coming off a win in Laughlin, the team prepared for another shot at the Mexican desert in a truck ready to do battle on the roughest section of course in Baja.
Starting the race was action sports star Andy Bell and Chris “Cliv” Livingston. The pair was to pilot the truck to the first driver change around Zoo Road where Doug Hood would take over as driver for the next 100+ miles. The team made fast work of the beginning of the course and pulled in for a quick driver change. Hood and Livingston attempted to settle in when the motor died suddenly. The legendary LBR chase crews came quickly and found a loose wire on the engine management system causing an intermittent connection. An hour and a half later the truck and driving team were back on the trail, down but not out. The terrain was absolutely brutal for the little truck, but built Toyota tough, it powered through the first two checkpoints. Hood and Livingston delivered the tuck to the BFG pit at Race Mile (RM) 110, making up most of the lost time and back on track to finish the race.
Taking over was the driving team of Ted Moncure and Greg Ling. Ted, a Baja vet, prepared by many years of experience was ready to take on the deep, rutted out, boulder filled Matomi Wash. Moncure and Ling rocketed out of the pit after being fueled and looked over. The truck ran great at first, and they clicked off miles like a turnstile counting people at a ballgame. Eventually the wiring issue returned, but Greg found that he could keep the motor running by tapping on the ECU with his foot; When the engine would die, the truck would start to sink into the silt, Ted would yell “Kick It!” and Greg would do a Mexican hat dance until the motor came to life again. Ling, on his first Baja run, was in for a ride. The truck powered through the silty wash with no problem, and headed North only to be stopped when the passenger side U bolts broke and the leaf spring pack came apart a few miles before checkpoint 3, where Bell was scheduled to get back in and bring the truck home to the finish.
The support crew was able to cobble the truck back together to make it past the checkpoint, but the team ran out of time to finish the race, so they limped out to highway 3, determined to come back next time to try and beat Baja.
The Long Beach Racers chase team also supported the #861 Stock Full Lexus of Joe Bacal, which retired at race mile 45 with electrical issues, the #206x Sportsman 450cc bike of Mark Sasaki, who had a clean run and the #1408 Sportsman Buggy of Lindsey and Travis Pastrana which made a trouble free run to the finish (who would’ve thought?).
Collecting starting points, Long Beach Racers and Andy Bell remain in the lead for a Stock Mini class championship, and in San Felipe they gathered more information and experience to improve the Race Truck as well as confirming that previous problems were fixed and no longer issues. The LBR crew made it safely back to Long Beach where they will prepare their vehicle to do battle in June at the Baja 500.
Long Beach Racers would like to thank all of their sponsors including Toyota, TRD, Skullcandy, BF Goodrich, Etnies, Peligroso Tequila, Bilstein, Turn 14 Distribution, K&N, Hella, Toyota Motorsports, Nitro Gear and Axle, Blue C Communications, MBRP Exhaust, CMI, Auburn LSD, Spin Imaging and PCI Race Radios.