The 40th SCORE Baja 1000 race started off with a bang as Garron Cadiente rocketed off the starting line, sliding the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink / G&R Racing Trophy Truck sideways on the pavement through the first left turn. Cadiente made two more lefts, dropped into the wash, and continued to wow the spectators by launching the truck (full throttle) over ten feet in the air off the first jump. He disappeared into a cloud of dust, hoping to stay out front and bring home the trophy for the most prestigious off-road race in North America.
The #39 G&R Racing Trophy Truck, piloted by Baja veteran Ron Whitton, started deeper in the line-up, but quickly gained ground on those in front of him. Whitton ran into trouble early on, however, going off course and crashing his truck at race mile 35. “We came down this dirt road doing about 80mph and hit this huge g-out, launched what seemed like 15 feet into the air, nosed it in, and flipped end over end. We landed upside down in a pile of metal and dust. The front bumper tore off and came in through the cab nearly hitting me and my co-driver,” stated the bruised Whitton. Due to the damage sustained in the crash Whitton was unable to continue the race.
Cadiente had better luck and a near flawless afternoon. He lead the race for almost 700 miles, except for a few brief periods when he battled back and forth with BJ Baldwin and Rob MacCachren. Cadiente handed the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink G&R Racing Trophy Truck to second driver Todd Leduc at San Ignacio near race mile 690 in first place. Tires were changed, the truck was gassed up, and Leduc took off like a bat out of hell, adding immediately to the twenty-minute lead Cadiente had built. Leduc ran smooth with no flats or mechanical issues until race mile 956, just outside of San Javier. The “third member” failed and had to be replaced. “I could not believe the third member failed! We were flying! Everything was going right. The truck felt great and I know we were extending our lead. We got out and got it fixed as fast as we could and got going again. Only two vehicles passed us. We were still in the hunt for the overall.” said Leduc. The truck began to move towards the beach at Insurgentes, but was stopped again at race mile 1040. “The third member failed again, and there were no spares anywhere near us. It was a heartbreaker. We were right there, a couple hundred miles from the finish. We watched all the top guys pass us and that was hard,” stated the disappointed Leduc.
Cadiente had this to say about the disappointing finish; “We were up front the whole race. I felt really good and the truck was running great. We had some great battling back and forth with BJ and MacCachren. As a driver you dream of winning races like this. When we lost the rear end the first time we were still in it, but when it happen a second time we knew we were out of the hunt for the overall. I think this proves we are a threat at every race, not just the short rough ones. We got it to the finish though and still pulled a top ten. I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to my entire team. They stayed out there and got us to the finish.” The #38 Rockstar Energy Drink G&R Racing Trophy Truck finished 7th in class with a final time of 29 hours and 19 minutes.
Check out G&R racing’s website for race results, photos and video of SCORE Baja 1000 at http://www.gnrracing.com/
Baja Racing News.com