FiberwerX Races to a 3rd Place Podium Finish In 2018 Score Baja 1000!
November 29th, 2018
FIBERWERX & DIRT ALLIANCE RACE TO 3RD PLACE PODIUM FINISH IN 2018 SCORE BAJA 1000
November 22, 2018 (Corona, California) – The 51st Baja 1000 proved to be an epic challenge for all participants involved. For the new #234 FiberwerX Trophy Truck Spec it was a complicated race to the race. A last minute critical defect, put the team behind schedule and stirred up nerves. Boldy working through and past adversity allowed the FiberwerX Truck to start the race and overcome the Baja 1000. Jason McNeil and Jerry Larimore, supported by Dirt Alliance, split driving duties for a 3rd place podium finish.
The new truck program came together over a short time line which meant all new assembly, wiring, plumbing, and tuning all had to be fit in. Everything was on track, unfortunately just days before the race, it was determined the engine had to be pulled due to a defective remote oil fitting that screws into the block. Juan Co was tasked with the fix aided by TK McNeil. A meticulous thrashing ensued, and the truck was all back together & tested in short order. The #234 FiberwerX Truck arrived to Ensenada, Mexico just in time for the final day of contingency. Driving through the festival would be Jerry Larimore’s first time to drive the truck and get a formal run down on the vehicle controls.
With that monumental task now in the rear-view mirror, Jason McNeil drove the new truck off the start line for the first time. The #234 FiberwerX Truck started 25th out of 30 TT specs and by Race Mile 40 near Ojos Negros, McNeil had picked off 6 competitors. The suspension was dialed and the Fox Shocks were flawlessly tuned by the experts at SDG. Jason was confident and comfortable the truck was working great with no issues and let it loose. The large Toyo Tire Open Country R/Ts handled the harsh Baja terrain and carried the truck onward. By Mile Marker 75 (KM 77), McNeil had overtaken 7 more vehicles. Coming off the “Goat Trail” Jason assumed 9th position on the road after passing several Class 1 cars and several more TT Specs by Race Mile 107.
The first scheduled pit stop was at took place at Mile Marker 157. After about 2.5 Hours into the race, Jason brought it in about 7th on the road and down 10 minutes off the leaders pace. Jerry Larimore and Navigator Sean Kepler got in to take the truck to Race Mile 490. The wind had died down and the dust was settling throughout the desert. Scenic vistas of a desolate San Felipe landscape was perfectly highlighted as the sun faded over the mountains. Baja was in mid-transformation and would soon reveal its dark side.
The team was pushing to gain time, and using their pre run knowledge to race the best lines saw the #234 FiberwerX Truck catching up to competitor after competitor. While looking to pass another racer, Larimore aimed the truck towards a line with less dust and sliced a rock with the front tire producing a slow leak. Once on Zoo Road the leak became a flat and pulled over, fortunately some friends from the States came to the rescue and changed the tire in about 2 minutes.
The San Felipe whoops and washes were a handled easily and the duo exited the race course for a 40 mile stint down Highway 5 and now physically the 4th Spec TT on course! The second fuel stop at Race Mile 320 was quick, the bad spare on the rear was replaced and the #234 FiberwerX Truck was off to conquer the second leg to Mile Marker 490.
The Baja scenery had disappeared and faded into night as the truck raced by the picturesque town of Gonzaga bay. The Baja Design Lights flooded the trails for superior visibility while the race course gave way to open stretches of trails and the highest speeds of the course. After passing the infamous Coco’s Corner the track began to tighten dramatically, and while navigating a narrow wash the truck picked up a rear flat. Both Jerry and Sean made quick work to install the spare and were back up and moving before any competitors could catch them. The final 100 miles of their section consisted of a brutal loop from RM380 to RM480 and extended out towards the coast, comprised of miles of silt beds, treacherous hill climbs, and rocky passes that tested the drivers and their equipment.
Hours and hours of reconnaissance had paid off! The notes gathered days earlier aided the team as they made quick work of what could be called the “toughest part of this year’s Baja 1000”. With tensions high, and a lot of time made up, Jerry and Sean delivered the truck to Jason and TK McNeil at RM490 with zero issues and now physically 3rd in class, 2 hours ahead of the next competitor.
At 11:30 at night, 3rd on the road, and about 1 hour down from the first truck in class, the race turned into follow the leader. The visibility was remarkably poor with thick dust carpeting everywhere the lights shined. Jason cut it down to just the bumper bar kept moving back towards Ensenada. McNeil managed pass a few Class 1 cars and several Trophy Trucks but was unable to close the gap on the leading Trophy Truck Specs. At Race Mile 620, #234 FiberwerX Truck arrived for its final fuel stop and a light bar adjustment.
McNeil finished the 802 mile race course in 19 Hours and 20.7 Minutes with a 3rd place finish in the ultra competitive Trophy Truck Spec division and good enough for 16th overall the 4 wheeled vehicles. There were 285 starters with 178 official finishers. Jason McNeil commented at the finish line, “All in all, it was a great race. We started 25th in class and the 1st and 2nd place finishers both started in the top 5 which really hurt our chances on beating them. Congratulations to the #242 Team & Hanna as well. They earned it. We barely got this truck together in time so we definitely had some issues, especially with the fuel filling. We started in the back so all in all for what we had, I think we did a good job. We are happy with a podium finish!”
FiberwerX Racing #234 Trophy Truck Spec is supported by FiberwerX, Toyo Tires, Dirt Alliance, Signature Paving, Fox Shocks, FK Rod Ends, JuanCO Performance, Titan Fuel Tanks, Powder 1 and Baja Designs.