KING OF BAJA Estero Beach August 1 & 2, 2015***Lucas Oil Off Road Series & Papas & Beer Racing LIVE! From Baja California Mexico
Les dejo una parte de lo que será la pista en Estero Beach Ensenada este 1 y 2 de Agosto. Vamos con todo!! #fuerzamexicanaHere is a preview of the Estero Beach Ensenada track. See you there August 1&2!
Posted by Rodrigo Ampudia [rodamp] on Thursday, July 23, 2015
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The Rockstar Energy Battle South of the Border Round 12, presented by Lucas Oil, Keeps the Baja Fans CheeringEstero Beach Resort, Ensenada, Mexico (August 2, 2015) – It was an even busier day at Baja International Short Course at Estero Beach, and the Baja fans were excited for more of the exhilarating racing they saw in Round 11. There were more firsts and some of the most exciting racing the Lucas Oil Short Course Series has seen all season. With standing room only, the Baja fans packed the stands cheering at every pass, and every dramatic contact. The Rockstar Energy Battle South of the Border, presented by Lucas Oil, was a dream realized and the fans from Baja were thrilled to have short course racing brought to them.
Pro 2The Pro 2 class kicked off the day with some of the most exciting and intense battles. The top qualifiers were familiar names, but with a 6-truck inversion. The fast qualifiers, Bryce Menzies and Brian Deegan, were put on the 3rd row. The inversion put Rob MacCachren and RJ Anderson on the front row with Robby Woods and Sheldon Creed behind them in row 2. In lap 1, RJ Anderson took the lead after the rhythm section and would have to fight to maintain top spot. Bryce Menzies was working his way through the field battling with drivers Robby Woods and Rob MacCachren and made it up to second place in lap 6 when a caution came out. Sheldon Creed had an incident in turn 1 and was unable to finish. After the restart for lap 8, Menzies spun going into turn 1 and Patrick Clark went off track in turn 4 making the top 3 the 37 of RJ Anderson, the 21 of Rob MacCachren, and the 99 of Robby Woods. In the last lap Rodrigo Ampudia was closing the gap on Robby Woods, who was having mechanical issues but was able to fend off a hard charging Ampudia for the final podium position. With the fans cheering wildly, RJ Anderson brought home his first Pro 2 win, with Rob MacCachren in second and Robby Woods getting his first podium finish of the season.
1.) RJ Anderson
2.) Rob MacCachren
3.) Robby Woods
Optima Batteries’ Fast lap: Bryce Menzies
Pro LiteAfter yesterday’s race the racers knew they needed to be on their A-game to make the podium. But even tough they still had the challenging rhythm section, the qualifying times today were notably faster than yesterday. A 2-truck inversion was pulled putting top qualifier, Jerett Brooks in the second starting position, and RJ Anderson on the pole. Casey Currie and Broc Dickerson, were in the second row, but hungry to get to the front. The green flag dropped and right away there was an incident with Brock Heger, but he was able to continue with no caution. Alan Ampudia bicycled in turn 4 of lap 2 making the crowd gasp, but held on and kept pushing forward. It was a battle between Brandon Arthur and Casey Currie for position 3 in laps 3, 4 and 5, but in lap 6 Arthur was able to over take Jerett Brooks for the second spot. The race continued without cautions, but the battles for 2nd, 3rd and 4th between Arthur, Currie and Brooks had the fans on their feet. At the end of lap 10, RJ Anderson brought home his second win of the day, with Brandon Arthur and Casey Currie finishing out the top 3.
1.) RJ Anderson
2.) Brandon Arthur
3.) Casey Casey
Optima Batteries’ Fast Lap: Casey Currie
Pro BuggyThe Pro Buggy points championship has been a tight race and the leaders were pushing hard to get every point possible. Kevin McCullough put down the fastest qualifying time and pulled a 2-car inversion, keeping him on the front row with Darren Hardesty. But, behind them in row 2, however, was Garret George and Mike Valentine, the points leaders. Lap 1 got the fans on the edge of their seats when Sterling Cling and Taylor Atchison spun in turn 1 but they both were able to get back and continue on without a caution. Lap 4 Dave Mason nearly went over the edge in turn 4 but held on with a dramatic roost that got the fans cheering. The first and only yellow came out on lap 6 from an incident with Sterling Cling, and during the yellow Garrett George left the track, and was unable to finish. It was a battle for first as Darren Hardesty and Kevin McCullough went into turn 7 on lap 8, with McCullough taking the top spot. At the checkered flag, it was Kevin McCullough taking home the win, with Mike Valentine in second adding to his championship points, and 14-year-old Darren Hardesty in third to finish out the podium.
1.) Kevin McCullough
2.) Mike Valentine
3.) Darren Hardesty
Optima Batteries’ Fast Lap: Kevin McCullough
Pro 4The Pro 4 race was the highlight of the weekend. With the fans on their feet for the entire race, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series exceeded expectations. Kyle Leduc, once again, held top qualifier position, but pulled a 6-turck inversion, meaning he would be starting in the third row next to the second fastest truck, Bryce Menzies. At the start of the race, Adrian Cenni and Carl Renezeder were on the first row with Rob MacCachren and Doug Fortin in row 2. And it was a wild start! Cenni lived up to his nickname The Wildman when he nearly brought out the first caution of the race on lap 1, but the rest of the field was able to avoid the incident, which kept his truck in the hunt. The Pro 4 trucks were racing each other hard and in lap 2 a caution came out for metal debris on track. This bunched the group back up and in lap 3 the hard side-by-side racing left debris on the track brining out another caution. By this time, Kyle Leduc had worked his way up to third, but still had to get past Brian Deegan and Carl Renezeder for the lead. It would prove to be another Leduc win when he was able to overtake first and then build up a sizable lead, coming across the finish line for his 10th victory of the season, with Rob MacCachren second and Bryce Menzies, coming back from his earlier incident, to take third.
1.) Kyle Leduc
2.) Rob MacCachren
3.) Bryce Menzies
Optima Batteries’ Fast Lap: Kyle Leduc
The Inaugural Rockstar Energy Battle South of the Border, presented by Lucas Oil brought a new flavor to BajaEstero Beach Resort, Baja Mexico (August 2, 2015)– It was a perfect day for racing on the sands of Baja at the Estero Beach Resort in Ensenada, Mexico and to start the races off right, the Mayor of Ensenada came by to greet all the fans and teams. Round 11 brought a lot of excitement to a whole new fan demographic…with desert racing being the norm, shot course has made it mark in Baja Community! it was received to cheers in the packed stands. It was a day of racers continuing to dominate their classes. There were dramatic wrecks and exhilarating passes. Overall the fans here in Baja are some of the most enthusiastic supporters, and Rockstar Energy and Lucas Oil will be bringing more to them for Round 12.
Pro 2The Pro 2 class started off the day with fast qualifying times putting Bryce Menzies and Rob MacCachren on the front row with Sheldon Creed and Jeremy McGrath right at their heels. The track was prepped and ready, but within the first few laps, Jeremy McGrath and Eric Fitch had a couple issues, Fitch pulling off and Mcgrath continued to circulate around the track salvage his championship run. Not much longer after the restart, Jesse Jones went off-track at turn 5 but made it back on without damaging his truck. Menzies and MacCachren were out front battling for the lead. Brian Deegan made an impressive run and finished third after starting sixth. After 10 grueling laps the track was in rough shape, but each pass and every near-wreck had the fans on the edge of their seats. A successful first running of the Pro 2 class finished with Bryce Menzies in first, Rob MacCachren in second and Brian Deegan in third – three names that the Baja fans know well, and were happy to see reach the podium.
1) Bryce Menzies
2) Rob MacCachren
3) Brian Deegan
Pro LiteThe fans knew that the Rockstar Energy Pro Lite Battle South of the Border, presented by Lucas Oil, was going to be an exciting one from this morning’s qualifying session. The rhythm section proved to be the most technical part of the track for the Pro-Lite trucks – Qualifying was just a taste of what was to come in the race. Sheldon Creed was the top qualifier with RJ Anderson, Brandon Arthur and Brock Heger finishing out the top 4. To start the race however, there was a 4 truck inversion meaning, Heger and Arthur went to the front row to start. The green flag dropped, but it wouldn’t stay green for long as a tangle in the rhythm caused a caution. As a result of the incident Justin “Bean” Smith was unable to continue. Though dejected about his truck and being out of the race so early, Smith was alright. The race went green again and saw 6 laps of incredible passes, near-wrecks and door-to-door racing. Sheldon Creed had made his way back to the front after starting in fourth, but right after he passed the start finish line, he went off a jump and nosed his truck into the ground, flipping him end-over-end and ending his race weekend. He too was not hurt and also was unable to continue the race. After the restart Brad DeBerti and Cole Mamer got into each other in the rhythm section and sent each other tumbling into turn 4. Two more trucks were now out of the race, but once again, the trucks did their job and kept the drivers safe. All in all, it was a dramatic race the Baja fans will remember with a new winner, Brandon Arthur, a first-time podium finisher and the youngest Pro-Lite driver Brock Heger, and the consistently solid driver RJ Anderson finishing out the top 3.
1) Brandon Arthur
2) Brock Heger
3) RJ Anderson
Pro BuggyThe Pro Buggy class was another that saw a lot of firsts today both in qualifying and in the race. Rounding out the fastest qualifying times were Kevin McCullough, Eliott Watson and Darren Hardesty, with Sterling Cling and Mike Valentine right behind them. A 2 car inversion was pulled so Watson sat on the pole to start the race with McCullough in second. Early on, Dave Mason had issues with his buggy and had to pull off the track causing the first, and only caution flag of the race. But after the restart, Garret George continued to make his way though the field while issues forced Hardesty to go to the hot pits for a quick fix. The fans cheered as the drivers got side-by-side down the front stretch and through the corners. In the end it was the Funco’s Garret George back on top, with first-time Pro Buggy podium finisher, Eliott Watson in Second and the championship points contender Mike Valentine in third.
1) Garret George
2) Eliott Watson
3) Mike Valentine
Pro 4With this brand-new track and very little time to get the trucks set up, it was a test to see if someone would be able to over take Kyle Leduc’s domination in the Pro 4 class. But in qualifying it was clear that there was still a lot of ground to be made as Kyle Leduc took the top qualifying time. Even though he rolled his truck in qualifying, Brian Deegan took the second spot, and Greg Adler, Bryce Menzies and Rob MacCachren finished out the top 5. The Rockstar Energy Pro 4 Battle South of the Border was a fan favorite with the trucks, drifting into the turns, near rollovers, and battling door-to-door through the sand pit and rhythm section and they did not disappoint. Brian Deegan nearly rolled it early on as he bicycled in turn 2. Soon after, Doug Fortin brought out the first and only caution when he hit Deegan and had to go off track to remove his hood. Greg Adler had a few close calls, but was able to save it from flipping. In the end, Kyle kept his grill clean and came across the finish line first, with repeat podium finishers, Bryce Menzies and Rob MacCachren behind him.
1) Kyle Leduc
2) Bryce Menzies
3) Rob MacCachren
After tons of teams were on the road to Mex, they rampaged south of town, with the rising full Mexican Blue Moon!
Baja California and the seaside town of Ensenada are no strangers to off-road racing. Residents of the town and nearby gather downtown for contingency and in the wash to watch the Trophy Trucks, buggies and Baja Bugs fly through on their way down the peninsula during the SCORE Baja 1000 and 500. This weekend, though, they will be treated to a different kind of off-road racing, where they get to sit in grandstands and watch the entire race from start to finish.
The Rockstar Energy South of the Border Battle on the Baja International Short Course at Estero Beach marks the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series' first foray into Mexico. The sport already has fans in Ensenada thanks to hometown hero Rodrigo Ampudia, but this will be their first opportunity to see it live without traveling to the U.S.
"I think that the fans will be amazed with short course off road racing," says Ampudia, whose family owns several bars and restaurants in Ensenada – including Papas&Beer, which adorns the side of his Pro 2 Ford – and was instrumental in making the event happen. "I think it's a type of racing that they haven't really appreciated because a lot of them aren't able to come to the races in the States. For the racers, I think it's going to be a spectacular event. When you go down to Baja and you get the contagious happiness and the adrenaline from the fans and they're excited to see you, it makes you appreciate what you're doing and all of the hours and effort you've put into the program."
Ampudia won't be the only driver known to the Baja fans, even if he has the biggest cheering section. Pro 2 and Pro 4 racer Rob MacCachren is the defending Baja 1000 champion. Multi-time Pro 4 and 2 champ Carl Renezeder has won in Baja, as has Pro 4 driver Doug Fortin. So while the style of racing may be different, many of the names will be familiar.
The style of racing will be a bit different for the drivers as well. Due to its location on a peninsula that pokes out into All Saints Bay, the landscape is quite flat with a water table that is just below the surface. Track builder Gary Hubert wasn't able to dig down, and any dirt for features had to be brought in. That said, Series Director Ritchie Lewis says that while it may be different from what LOORRS drivers are used to, it should still be an exciting and raceable track.
"It's 1.1 miles long, a pretty long track" he explains. "This track has a sand pit, which is something kind of new. Coming off a sweeper you run into a big sand pit; we tried to work with what the land provided for us. We're excited to see how the guys are going to navigate that. It's got good, long straightaways and an awesome rhythm section. It's as good as any we have at any racetrack, really nice rollers. We do have one big nice jump that will have them jumping into the homestretch.
"I'm really proud of the job that Gary Hubert has done. Our dirt doctor has done a really good job for us, and it's going to make for some really good racing," he adds.
Lewis says that there are plans to bring in more dirt and build up some banking in the turns, but that's something for the future. The deal to race at Estero Beach is for at least three years, and the track has been planned so that the turns can be built up without moving anything. In fact, the whole track has been mapped with GPS, so that should a catastrophic storm hit Baja, they can rebuild the track exactly as it is. All signs point to a long-term commitment for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series to race race in Ensenada.
"The city and everything that the Ampudia family has put into this, the family at Estero have been very easy to work with," says Lewis. "We've made a lot of improvements, even for them in the parking lot and stuff, because we have the heavy equipment in place. A lot of people have put a lot into this to try to make it a successful event. We're really excited about what we're doing."
Gates for the Rockstar Energy South of the Border Battle open up at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with practice and qualifying starting at 8:45 on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. Opening ceremonies will be at 2 p.m. on both days, with Pro 2 leading off the action.
KING OF BAJA.com Estero Beach Races
Gary Newsome, Editor