Riviera Racing Report - Baja 1000 2008
Nearly 300,000 fans lined the 631.35 mile race course cheering desert racers throughout the darkness of Baja's pitch black night
November 25, 2008 - Desert racing champions, Mark Post and Rob MacCachren, arrived at the start line of this year's SCORE Baja 1000 along the historical Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Ensenada's Malecon. They donned nearly identical Riviera Racing Alpinestar Nomex race suits and mingled with fans and racers awaiting the start of this year's 631.35 mile race.
Nearby, the whispers from others were apparent as many looked on, speculating which driver would enter and start the #1 Rockstar/Makita/Monarch Grand Vacations SCORE Trophy Truck. Among the hustle and bustle of the start line activities, SCORE CEO - Sal Fish signaled the start of the 41st edition of the longest point-to-point race in the world, as fans and crews moved away from the roar of the 800 horsepower Trophy Trucks.
Rob MacCachren kicked his right leg into the cab and pulled himself behind the wheel of the winningest Trophy Truck ever. The BFGoodrich Tires shod FORD F-150 fired up the mean sounding Patton Racing Engine and lined up among the greatest off-road desert racers in the world for what would be yet again, another incredible SCORE Baja 1000.
For more than four decades, the SCORE Baja 1000 has been the ultimate test of man and machine and this year's race proved once again, racing throughout the mystical Baja Peninsula is not for the faint of heart.
MacCachren took the drop of the green flag just after 10:36 a.m. and began the race for Riviera Racing. The two weeks leading up to the event saw Rob MacCachren prepare for this adventure as he preran each of his two legs of the race over and over and over.
While MacCachren hit his marks early in the race, seated in the right seat of Riviera Racing's helicopter, Mark Post watched the action from above. Mark commented after the race, "Rob really performed well in that first 130-mile section. Our strategy heading into race day was to set a fast pace that would put us in position for a charge towards the Ensenada finish line from inside the final 150 miles."
With the army of Riviera Racing chase and pit crews strewn out throughout the race course, all systems were running near perfect, as the truck arrived to the 130-mile pit stop, where Post entered the race truck.
MacCachren exited the race truck and entered the chase truck explaining, "The truck ran perfect and we ran fairly hard to put this truck in the top five and so far everything is right on schedule. If we can stay close, we'll be there in the end."
Not long after Post accelerated away from Pit 1, a distressed radio communication came across the race radio frequency signaling that Post could not communicate with his co-driver, Kelly Courie.
The dream of the repeat Baja 1000 victory was slipping away ever so quickly. For nearly two-weeks, Post and Courie, ran their 300-mile section day after day, compiling 800 notes that were plotted into the race truck GPS unit. Those extensive notes were useless as Courie sat in the navigator's seat attempting to signal direction and major obstacles merely using hand gestures.
Post was relegated over the next 300-miles to race at top speeds using only his memory of prerunning for the last couple weeks. A near impossible task when racing against the world's top desert racers, using the latest in advanced racing technology, coupled with teamwork and dedication from a small army of supporters.
Hours later, Post exited the glossy black race truck and MacCachren got in for the final charge to Ensenada. Although, by that time the race leaders had gained too much distance to make up unless there was catastrophic failure by one or both of the top two teams.
What Rob didn't know was that his race night was about to become befuddled even more when racer Garron Cadiente was stopped on the race course unable to move his truck. Facing a steep embankment on one side and a short cliff on the other, MacCachren was relegated to push Cadiente out of the way in order to continue racing.
"We had no other choice than to push him out of the way in order to keep moving forward. That easy push from our truck ruined our front light bar alignment, making the lights nearly non-existent from race mile 460 onward," said the disappointed MacCachren.
It wasn't particular a glamorous day for the defending SCORE Baja 1000 champions. In hopes of repeating their 2007 SCORE Baja 1000 victory, they fell short by just less than one hour. Finishing the race in 13:31:11 and averaging 46.70 mph, the Riviera Racing Trophy Truck finished fourth overall. The winner claimed the victory in 12:40:33 averaging 49.81 mph.
Post said, "Rob MacCachren started this race and did a fantastic job. I got in at race mile 130 when we first gassed up. We were in position and then we immediately had communication problems. We couldn't talk, we had no navigation, no notes and we ended up getting behind a little bit there. Then Rob, when he got in his section, he was doing fine but then he lost his lights so we were going backwards for about the last 200 miles. We're happy to be in Ensenada. It's a great race, but we didn't have everything go right today to win."
Chasing the Rockstar/Makita/Monarch Grand Vacations #1 race truck was Rockstar General Manager, Mike Kelso. "I was up in the air with Post during the first 130 miles and it's truly incredible to see the amount of people alongside the race course. It was wild! When the race truck arrived to the Baja Fool's pit for the second driver change, I discovered they had built a small compound in the middle of the desert complete with food and drink and a few thousand of their favorite fans. It was a Rockstar Oasis in the Baja desert," commented the elated Rockstar VIP.
Riviera Racing ends the 2008 SCORE Desert Racing Series with a total of 386 points placing them in 3rd position overall among 44 total entries in the 2008 SCORE Trophy Truck point's championship.
Desert racing teams live and die by the character and personality behind them. However, the harsh Baja Peninsula does not differentiate among teams, personalities and the living characters that make up each and every team.
Baja is a story in and of itself and is only experienced by those who dare to venture into the remote deserts of the peninsula. Riviera Racing will return in 2009 with their well-known spirit and character creating an indelible impression on those that make racing in Baja so incredibly special.
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