The Cabo 250: The Challenge
There are some of the races that just keep throwing you curve balls… one after another and another… The Cabo 250 was just that for TANOM Racing, making sure that the team was on their toes, and able to think on their feet.. However I am getting ahead of myself…
Pre-running the Cabo 250 was definitely, … different! This race is usually known for its technical but pretty smooth, tight mountain roads with big drop offs, however, in an effort to offer some new trails, the organizer was able to find some very, very unused trails. Now, we had the tight, technical mountain trails with huge drop offs, in a mix of rough, SUPER TIGHT trails. So tight that there were several places we envisioned that the TT would have to do a three point turn to make it through! Tight and rough enough that it took us over 6 hours to prerun 250 kms.
As Sandy decided last minute to come down and race the TT due to work constraints, his usual co-driver Roberto had taken a previously offered ride, and Pio was happy to jump in the co-driver seat with Sandy, and getting his own feel and eyes on the TT out in the desert. A good friend and experienced rally navigator Darren Carey from IGY Marina Cabo was kind enough to offer his help and patience with me in the Class 1, or so we thought. The last time that Darren was going to co-drive for me in the Black Demon Class 8 truck, Sandy had a problem with the Class 1 just before the start, and to maintain the Championship, the Class 8 raced in the “Unlimited Class” with Sandy behind the wheel of the Black Demon with Darren, and this time Darren was quite looking forward to getting to know the Dominator first hand.
After the fact that Trophy Truck #90 had suffered oil pressure problems the last two races, everything was once again taken apart and checked. The engine was taken apart, new internal parts ordered and reassembled by Layo Racing. The oil pump was sent to the fantastic guys at SCP Dry Sump Pumps who rebuilt it and gave it a stronger pump. It was completely prepped and engine and oil pump was back just in time for the race. All the cars were trucked down to Cabo San Lucas to continue the pre-running and last minute race prep there, and Sandy was pre-running there in the Black Demon.
As Sandy tackled the grueling course with Pio on Friday, I went testing the Trophy Truck with our electronics engineer Nico Festino, just to fine tune the last carbureting and settings. As we drove up the Arroyo, I couldn’t believe it when Nico shouted out.. “Turn the engine off!!” as he is starting fixatedly on the Red low Oil light. Not again…. The problem wasn’t in the engine or the pump, but a problem from the tubing and the intercooler, which would have be disassembled again to be checked, however it was too risky to run the motor without proper testing, so all we could do was tow the truck back to base. As Sandy came back from what he described as a torturous pre-running experience, with a course that offered approximately 2% of the course where one could step on the gas, we advised him of the situation and suggested that he races the Dominator in Class 1, and I would race the Black Demon in Trophy Truck, for the points for the championship. Darren once again was put back in the seat of the Black Demon instead of the Dominator, however this time with me, whilst Pio and Sandy race Class 1. And it seemed like a plan, and preparations were made for contingency the next day.
Saturday morning the team is in early going through the last preps and pit boxes, and as they turn over the Black Demon, they find that, due to some overheating pre-running, water is getting in to the engine block. Pio and Kawa quickly decide that if they can get new thicker gaskets, they will rebuild the engine. A wild hunt starts in Cabo San Lucas to find the gasket, which of course brings no luck. One of the fellow Class 8 racers in La Paz, Don Poncho calls to say that he has heard that we are looking for some race gaskets, and what size do we need as he has a few. Measurements are given, and we find somebody coming from La Paz to Cabo that can bring us the gaskets. At 8.00pm, the team gets the gaskets, and think that they might make contingency that evening. That is until that they notice that in the rush, Don Poncho has put two different gaskets in the pack. He has the other one… in La Paz, a four hour round trip drive away…. Chiri hears that, and volunteers for a quick highway run.
Around midnight, they have both gaskets, and the work on the engine continues until the early hours of the morning, where Pio can get a few hours of sleep before having to get in the race car with Sandy.
It is race morning and it is hot, the team is tired but there are smiles all around. Two cars are racing!
Unfortunately, the Black Demon had some issues during the race, including fuel pumps and a broken wheel, so our plan to get finishing points didn’t materialize, however Sandy had a great race in Class 1, just getting the feel for the Dominator again after almost a year not being in her saddle, and finished in second place behind a spectacular performance by Jampy and Roberto for Balmaceda.
The current Championship standing is still very tight with:
- Enemesio Lopez 501 Points
- Carlos Ramos Murillo 494 Points
- Sandy Hall / Andrea Tomba 484 Points
- Carlos Olmos / Julio Miguel Herrera 518 Points
- Andrea Tomba / Sandy Hall 518 Points
- Fernando Hoyos 516 Points
The ProBaja Short course will decide a lot….
Hope to see you in the dirt real soon..