The opinions expressed on this page are the true and sincere opinions of the GGTR team and authored by team driver Skiny. The team is happy to align itself with brands but is also committed to honesty and pointing out any shortcomings. Luckily on our first outing in the Score Baja 1000 every component lived up to all expectation.
VP RACING is a company that genuinely loves racing and meeting one of their suppliers at the Pomona Off road show convinced me that this is a company that the GGTR should be doing business with. It seems VP is one stop shop for any type of racing you could want to do. Founded by a guy named Steve Burns, an amateur racer and chemist he started mixing exotic blends of Race fuels in his garage until realizing that there was room in the market for a brand that saw things from a racers perspective. We love the brand and the smell of 110 octane is, in the words of the Steve the grounds keeper, "totally erotic".
BFGoodrich tires have surprised us again and again through hundreds of hours of brutal pre-race testing in the Barstow desert. The team has yet to replace a spare and didn't expecting to unclip the jack from the car in the punishing 26 hours spent on the Score Baja Race course. The only tire change we did do was as a result our our car being struck by another competitor and even then we didn't have to unstrap to get out as two gentleman we happened upon in the desert night in support of car 1402 told us to remain seated and they would do the honors. I must say it defies belief to run a tire that hard with a confidence that its just not going to let you down.
Alpine Star supplied us not only with the appropriate safety garments but also made us feel like a team and this is a critical component. Like any army you must distinguish yourself on the battlefield and wear proudly wear your uniform but also as only a racer will know that the morning of a race there will be the time you send alone getting yourself into your race suit and racing up your race boots. This is an all important ritual that is one of the omens you will look back on in years to come. The beautiful Alpine star suits made us feel like warriors and men.
GoPro needs little introduction. GoPro has become a mandatory tool in capturing those impossible to capture moments of your life you never want to forget. Not only did GoPro help us capture ever moment of hilarity or madness that took place but also worked as an incredible tool in preparing for one of the worlds toughest races. Team GGTR had enough time to pre-run each stage of the race once but filming each stage for later review was invaluable to us in preparing ourselves for the hundreds of hours of terrain that we couldn't commit to muscle memory. Often in the preparation stages I would try and remember a silt bed or a tough section in my mind then go back through the footage to verify. Apart from driving the course this was the second most important tool in the preparation. Thank you Gopro. Hopefully clips of our adventures will be making semi regular appearances on the go pro.com website.
There are few things in life that will thrill me as much as unpacking a new helmet. Especially one that was custom painted to our specification by Kelly Kocher. A helmet as beautifully engineered as the Bell Star Infusion is something I can stare at for hours. When I unveiled the helmets to the team I knew that we all felt the same way. It was almost a crime to take these helmets where we were going but like most things they gain character once a bit of mud has been lashed up it. Weight and comfort is a huge factor during a race this long and I have to say if I had to do it all over again I would return to Bell for more of the same.
Being the least experienced team in our class made us focus on any advantage we could gain through technology or ingenuity. After a lot of research we discovered this lesser known off road and industrial lighting company from Sweden that produces and amazing product. The 2011 Baja 1000 was run for the most part at night with a big field of motorcycles forcing the cars to start their 24 race at around noon time. Knowing this I was determined to not let the darkness hind our efforts or disguise that race ending boulder. After a few consultations with Mike Schultz At ABL we decide on a lighting configuration that truly made our night stages as clear as our day stages.
THE SAXENA FAMILY FOUNDATION is a private philanthropic organization founded by Manoj Saxena and his family. It is focused on advancing inventive and effective ways of promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in the United States and empowering young women so that they have equal rights later in life. Manoj is a great man and future team member of the GGTR. Its always nice to see someone who has achieved great personal success.
If you are considering getting involved in Baja type off road racing I would suggest the first door you knock on to be PCI RACE RADIOS. Not only is communications an integral part of this sort of racing but the staff of friendly faces that greet you here at their long beach shop will answer just about any question or worry you may have. Scott the owner proved himself to be a valuable source of information and became a good friend through the process of prepping for the Baja 1000. Staff members Terence and Jimmy are usually present at races to fix or supply you with anything you may need on the day of any major race. These are good people and the product is always amazing and reliable- even the race catheter's.
Racing is often a Mecca less religion with parts and components only existing in the product shots of race catalogues. MCKENZIE'S is the Sistine chapel where one can go and examine and see the real thing. Son of owner Kyle is a competitor in the 16 class but that hasn't stopped him from giving us access to any inside info we may need. Seeing Kyle at the start of the 1000 lined up a few cars ahead of me made me feel like this is a family that really believes in the product they are selling.
Major Performance has been at the forefront of race winning engine development since the 1980’s. Their championship winning performance has earned them five coveted SCORE, engine builder of the year awards. They offer a full range of services including part sales, engine rebuilding, a full service machine shop and both engine and chassis dyno, precision tuning. Major Performance has amassed impressive results with their air-cooled engine packages but they also do most water cooled engines. Owner Andy showed himself to be a true gentleman by meeting us in an empty parking lot less than an hour before the start of the race to retune the engine and make adjustments needed to get the most out of our engine with the fuel we had available. The McMillian kid that won the 16 class had one of Andy's finely tuned VW engines pushing him through the dirtscape to victory over five and a half hours faster than us.
Zachary Benge is the man behind the camera for The Gentleman's Guide To Racing. No matter if it's camping in the desert or blowing the doors off Trophy Trucks in the Baja 1000, he's always there to capture the moment.