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Old 09-30-2017, 03:23 PM
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2017 Baja 1000

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:26 PM
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Looks like fun!
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Murphy lurks out there and loves off-road racing!
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:37 PM
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Does nobody care anymore?!?!?!
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:50 AM
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Haha, I guess not! Another year, new rules, same result.
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:01 PM
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Results below
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:06 PM
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Haha, I guess not! Another year, new rules, same result.
Meaning you still win?

Have you upgraded your suspension to the new rules or still running the old suspension still?
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:08 PM
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Sad when you win against a bunch DNF's, Thats no fun.
But I suppose lets not push the rig so hard.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:29 PM
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Sad when you win against a bunch DNF's, Thats no fun.
But I suppose lets not push the rig so hard.
There weren't any other entries in the class that laid down, sandbagged or gave it away. It is STILL 1134 miles. The courses are way rougher than they used to be. You still have to make checkpoint closing times, pit closing times, and the total time cut off. You still have to get your crew safely down there. You still have to get through the darkness, cows, horses, dogs, locals and buzzards on the course and on the highway. You still have to get through the thickest fog, even though the dust and silt are still just as powdery as ever. The Jeep Grand Cherokee entry got most of the way down there but I think got stuck and timed out. It was not a picnic for ANY entry in any class. We were honored to have as many entries as we did, but kind of expected it with it being the 50th anniversary and a peninsula run. We tried to get a couple of the other entries in other classes to move over with us. The Bronco 2 that ran in 7SX is apparently 2 wheel drive now. The Main Jeep chose to run in Heavy Metal class since it was so heavily modified, and they did finish.
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:22 AM
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There weren't any other entries in the class that laid down, sandbagged or gave it away. It is STILL 1134 miles. The courses are way rougher than they used to be. You still have to make checkpoint closing times, pit closing times, and the total time cut off. You still have to get your crew safely down there. You still have to get through the darkness, cows, horses, dogs, locals and buzzards on the course and on the highway. You still have to get through the thickest fog, even though the dust and silt are still just as powdery as ever. The Jeep Grand Cherokee entry got most of the way down there but I think got stuck and timed out. It was not a picnic for ANY entry in any class. We were honored to have as many entries as we did, but kind of expected it with it being the 50th anniversary and a peninsula run. We tried to get a couple of the other entries in other classes to move over with us. The Bronco 2 that ran in 7SX is apparently 2 wheel drive now. The Main Jeep chose to run in Heavy Metal class since it was so heavily modified, and they did finish.
Oh I can imagine, Its not easy & why I never finished my Bronco to actually race.

You guys have always ran a tight ship & in no way was I disrespecting that.
I felt honored to of run with you guys for a while & got to see everything involved.

Once again congrats on ANOTHER win!
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:51 AM
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Moss Brothers Racing 2017 Baja 1000

The 2017 SCORE Baja 1000 was the 50th anniversary of what is the most famous off-road race in the world. Along with the Baja 2000 in the year 2000, and the 40th anniversary 10 years ago, we had to be there for this one. The race would be 1,134 miles long in 2017, starting in Ensenada and finishing in La Paz, with a time limit for each entry of 48 hours.

In 2016, we broke or wrecked just about everything on the truck getting to the finish, so it took all year to prepare for this one race. In 2016 the torque converter failed, requiring a transmission change early during the race, along with the steering box later. The most damage occurred when the truck went over, tearing up the body, bending everything it attaches to, and destroying the roof. The primary transmission was rebuilt and a new heavier duty torque converter came from DP Products in Sacramento. We researched the steering box issue and found some NOS parts for this nearly 40-year-old truck. We had a brand-new steering box housing and piston to work with for the rebuild. For the body, we sourced another roof from a donor supplied by West Coast Broncos and the crew at Autofab supplied us with new fiberglass front fenders and doors while repairing our existing bed sides and hood. I believe the doors we have are only the second set of fiberglass doors in existence for this vintage truck, and they are a masterpiece. They can be used to substitute for standard doors and include the same features inside and out as a production door. You could mount your door panels, speakers and arm rests if you wanted to. In the 18 years we have raced this truck, it has never been so straight.

The other big item that we knew needed replacement was the front axle, and after much debate and research, we ended up with another production Dana 44 axle. Big Greg, former team member and old friend from Bishop provided the clean axle core to start with. Greg is now a part of the BFG radio relay team and had a mountain top position for this year’s race. We trussed it and built it as we have several axles before. Sean at River City Differentials set it up with gears and internals. When we jacked up the truck to pull the old axle, it broke into two pieces. Guess we got our miles out of that one!

It had been a couple of years since we had sourced race tires from BF Goodrich and they had discontinued the old Baja T/A we had used for some 15 years or so. In its place, they have the Baja T/A KRT. A little different tread pattern, but these things held up magnificently. We mounted a set on some new wheels supplied by Ultra Race Wheels.

Since we didn’t run the earlier races in the year, some of the other competitors came back and pitched SCORE to relax the rules in the class and allow coil over springs where leaf springs were required by the old rules if that’s what the production truck had. We had all the repairs we had to deal with from the previous year, so there was no way we had the time or resources to replace the spring type we already had and then tune for a new shock package. Deaver supplied us with a new set of springs built specifically for our truck. Nice to have your own part number on your springs!

When you have been running a truck for so long and for so many miles, literally ever part from one end of the truck to the other has been refined, replaced, reinforced or reengineered. This goes for parts all the way down to the lug nuts. There are hundreds of suppliers and contacts we have made over the years that have helped us with the combination that we show up to race with. Can’t thank Drive Line Service of West Sacramento enough for supplying the drive lines and spares for our effort this year. We are still using the rear axle housing from RuffStuffSpecialties as well, that thing just keeps on going and we never have to worry about it. It is strong, reliable and provides us with more clearance than any other 9” housing.

The truck is based in Sacramento, so we commiserate with those that have to travel long distances to even get to the Mexican border. The trip to and from the race is the hardest part of this whole deal. Just days before our departure, as the number of entries for the race approached, and then exceeded 400, SCORE began to panic and announced that half the entries would be required to attend the contingency session on Tuesday before the race, rather than on Wednesday. That meant leaving a day earlier than planned. We left Sunday night and drove all night to get to Ensenada Monday morning so we could get our annual cage inspection done. We were then able to get our tech inspection done the same day along with the installation of our Stella tracking device and a check of our transponder. Contingency the next day ended up being a breeze, and we went through in less than 2 hours. The Stella unit has been in use for a couple of years now and includes communications abilities between the race control and other race entries. In an emergency, they can contact an entry to check on their condition, an entry can signal they are broken down or has an emergency. You can also signal another entry that you would like to pass on the course. After our experience last year, we made sure we had the unit mounted in the right place where we could actually use it.

For this year’s race, we had a crew of 18 that traveled across the border. Conrad, Jason, Robert H and James had never been with the team before, but all turned out to be solid crew members. Conrad works for Caterpillar and comes to us from Illinois. Jason comes to us via Texas and is involved with long distance kayak races with Rich. Robert is a fellow Bronco owner and has run with the Autofab team during the NORRA Mexican 1000. James has the distinction of being my son-in-law and father of my two granddaughters. Brian, Bailey and Conrad stayed with us for the first half of the race, turning around after the truck passed through El Crucero. In addition, we had Autofab John with us for the full race. Since the race course passed through San Felipe this year on its way south, and never crossed back over to the Pacific side until after San Ignacio, it forced many of the chase crews to run down through Puertocitos and Coco’s Corner. The race course shares the road in places, so it was a little congested. We sent two trucks and the trailer down highway 1 directly from Ensenada, with the plan for all to meet again in El Crucero, somewhere around race mile 346. From there, the rest of the trucks going south would head down together.

The race started for the motorcycle entries at midnight on Wednesday, November 15. The Trophy Trucks began their race at 10:00 on Thursday. Dan T and I left the line first in class around 1:20 in the afternoon. We had four entries in the class, with the Wilson Bronco starting behind us, then the Gutierrez Jeep Grand Cherokee, and finally the Leavitt Bronco. Leavitt is the only entry to have run most of the SCORE races this year. We started behind the 5-1600 Baja Bug class, but with the new speed limit rules limiting our speed for some 10 miles out of town, there wasn’t any passing to speak of early on. Once out of the speed zone, the Wilson Bronco did catch us and we let them go by before race mile 30. This was the first time we had raced against them with their coil over rear springs installed. Leavitt had also converted spring types following the Baja 500. As we got into the course, we realized that if there was an option for routes through an area, SCORE always chose the rougher one, and there were some ugly sections prior to BFG Pit 1 at race mile 130, including a brand-new section that connected up to the Mike’s Sky ranch road. It was already dark when Dan and I got out at BFG Pit 1 and Ken and Rick got in. I mentioned to the crew that the steering seemed loose, and we found that the nut on the pitman arm was loose. It took us a while to find the tools to tighten it but it helped. This turned out to be the one thing that reoccurred the rest of the race.

I jumped in Craig’s chase truck and we headed for San Felipe. For this race we had Iowa Pete and Autofab Tiffine doing the tracking for us on computers back at home. Pete was busy with his son and a soccer tournament, and Tiffine has a month-old baby daughter taking up the rest of her time. Between the two and the satellite phones, they kept us updated on the Bronco’s position. I can’t tell you how much we appreciated those updates throughout the race. We barely had time to refuel Craig’s truck in San Felipe and stay ahead of the Bronco. I hadn’t had any food since breakfast, and even though it was offered, the logistics of digging food out in a dark moving truck is difficult! We had to keep moving, through Puertocitos and Coco’s corner, then out to the highway at Chapala. Somewhere around Puertocitos, Rick got out of the Bronco and Chris got in. We did get ahead of them when they had to detour through Calamajue Wash, but the truck was really moving along well. The Wilson Bronco continued to maintain a 10 to 20-mile lead, and the Gutierrez Jeep kept coming, some distance back. The Leavitt Bronco got to San Felipe and basically stopped.

At our pit south of El Crucero, Dennis and I got in the Bronco after some fuel and putting the wrench on the steering box again. I had installed a new pitman arm, and apparently it was made of a softer material and was wedging itself farther on to the sector shaft. By this point, either the nut had bottomed out on the end of the threads, or the splines were pulled as far as they were going to go, because we didn’t get much more of a turn on the nut after this.

Dennis and I pulled into the Bay of Los Angeles (BOLA) BFG Pit 3 about midnight, and I was getting tired. Fortunately, they had a Red Bull to wake me up a little. It took the BFG pit crew a little bit to realize that they had to pull the vent cap off the dump can, and that we did not already have a full tank, but they figured it out. I always look forward to the BOLA section because it is made up of long straight sections south of town. However, if you are unlucky it can be dusty the entire way. Luck was not with us this year as far as the dust went, but at about race mile 420, we drove by the Wilson Bronco stopped off the trail. It looked like they were just climbing back in. We later learned that they were having air cleaner issues, and this may have been why they were stopped. We still made good time all the way out to the highway crossing at Viscaino. We waved at the crew there, and then it got ugly. There really aren’t any mountains between the ocean and this interior part of the peninsula, and it was still really dark in the early, early morning hours. Ocean, temperature and darkness breeds FOG! In years past, the course would join the highway here and head south to San Ignacio. In the past few peninsula runs, SCORE has used a section of desert west of the highway. This section also tends to be extremely torn up, silty and rough. Mix all those together with fog, and it’s the worst of all worlds. The fog builds up on every surface, especially face shields. It does nothing for the dust or silt, and they still hang in the air and create just as much chaos as always. Since we don’t have a windshield, the fog builds up on the overhead lights, then drips down on you in the cab. The really bad thing is when you go through a big silt bed, the silt rushes up over the hood like a wave of water and through the open cockpit, and you have your face shield open….. Well you can imagine how bad that is, and it was. Several times. When all your concentration has to be on keeping your momentum and not getting stuck. Of course, water gets into the connections of the intercom about this time and produces an ear-splitting squeal to add to the experience. But that section was only about 80 miles long. There were stuck race cars everywhere in the silt, and we even had one come over and ask for a tow when we stopped briefly to get our bearings. We had to turn them down because we were under the assumption (correctly) that the Wilson Bronco was right behind us. We did manage to stop and pull out one UTV that was right on the trail and had his tow strap ready to go. By the time we got to BFG Pit 5, it was daylight and the fog was gone, but I had this stupid dusty pie plate of dirt on my face and in my eyes when I got out.

At Pit 5, Ken and Craig got in, and the rest of us got in the chase trucks for the long leg to our pit north of Loreto. The Wilson Bronco pulled in to town just as we left. By this time, I was completely exhausted and passed out for a good couple of hours even though the sun was up and the road has plenty of curves. Again, no time to stop for food as Ken and Craig covered that section along the Pacific through El Datil, San Juanico, and BFG Pit 6 in record time. We pitted ourselves at around race mile 791, where Ken and Craig got out and Rich and I got in. Rich is another Bronco owner, a long distance competitive kayaker, comes to us from Texas, and has been on the crew for several years now. This was his first year to ride in the Bronco, and he did an admirable job as navigator. Rich also had a new camera setup with him when he wasn’t in the truck consisting of a gimbal mounted camera connected to an I-phone and microphone. He got some great video throughout the trip, documenting a lot of stuff we never get the chance to photograph.

Unfortunately, the section going into Loreto is just miserable. It consists of 30 miles of cross grain, where you crawl down a rocky hill into a rocky wash, cross the rocky wash and climb up the rocky exit of the wash. Repeat over and over again. We did make it to Loreto and into the big wash that heads west out of town. Once we hit the pavement, we had a 37-mph speed limit all the way to San Javier. Very difficult to maintain that kind of speed with a loose torque converter and the constant hills and curves. Once out of San Javier, it was the familiar watery wash crossings and eventual fast roads approaching Ciudad Insurgentes. Rich and I got out at BFG Pit 7 at Insugentes and crew chief Dave and Gary got in for the next leg. Dave and Gary had the misfortune of being in the truck when the engine let go in 2015, and in the truck when it rolled over in 2016, so they were happy to have no significant problems this year in their section. By this time, we had heard the Wilson Bronco had stopped moving somewhere back around San Jaunico, later we heard due to rear suspension problems. The Leavitt Bronco had not progressed past San Felipe, and the Gutierrez Jeep was still moving but some 100 miles back. We later heard that the Leavitt Bronco had coolant running out of the exhaust. Never a good thing. I managed to have my first real meal since Ensenada the morning before, when we stopped in Ciudad Constitution. All of the chase crews now converged on the final BFG Pit 8 at Santa Rita at race mile 1013, where Dave and Gary got out, and Ken and Cliff got in. Cliff has been my crew since the early 90’s when I was racing the circle track cars, and Ken is the only one that has been around longer. It is always fitting to have him in for the finish and he always steps up with a “WOOHOO” at the checkered flag. Ken and Cliff did have to pass through the section coming into La Paz that resembles driving off ledges the height of picnic tables, but the old Bronco sucked it all up in stride. The only problem we had the entire race was the issue with the nut on the pitman arm. After several sessions with a large socket, it stayed where it was. Those were the only tools we got out the whole race. A special thanks to Rick, Craig, Gary and Brian for providing their trucks for chase truck duty, sure glad to have you guys along. Also, a big thanks to Ken for all his work prepping the truck prior to the race. At the race, Ken rolls in, does whatever section we tell him to, drives about half the race miles, apparently never gets tired, never hurts the truck, drives our average speed way up in his sections, and says a total of about 7 words the whole trip. Amazing. Actually, I hope he chimes in with the adventures of all that happened in his sections.

We finished the 2017 Baja 1000 in 31 hours and 21 minutes with an average speed just over 36 mph. Each year the courses get rougher and there are more speed limits, which all kill our average times. This is our 13th Baja 1000 win, and our 50th Class 3 win. We were the only finisher in class, finishing 91st overall out of 405 total motorcycle and car entries. We believe that the Gutierrez Jeep got stuck and timed out before finishing. About 50 percent of the entries did not finish, even with the 48-hour time limit. It was a long, hard course, no doubt about it. We stayed for the awards on Saturday night, then began the trip back on Sunday. We had a great stop at Mark and Olivia’s in Playa Buenaventura. Mark smoked some awesome pork and there were many margaritas consumed before some of us fell asleep right there on the beach. Monday was the long leg back to the house in Ensenada, and then back to the USA on Tuesday just in time for Thanksgiving.

As always, there are hundreds of parts suppliers and vendors that help us with this effort that we have worked years to develop relationships with. Some I have already mentioned in the story above. BF Goodrich is always the first to be thanked as represented by Jackson Motorsports Group. They actually map the courses and provide the GPS files for SCORE, then they set up and staff 8 different pit locations throughout the Baja peninsula, set up their own radio relay system that covers the course, and provides the finest off-road tire available! Can’t say enough or thank them enough. No flats for this team again in 2017. Sunoco provided our fuel and delivered it to the BFG pits, thanks as always to Bill and Terri Rodriguez. KC Hilites provided our HID lights, and once again we had no fear when it got dark. Thanks to Steve’s NAPA Auto Parts in Bishop, my oldest (38 years) sponsor. Huge thanks to Transfer Flow, Inc., we use their long-range tanks in 3 of our chase trucks. Chase 1 fills up in Ensenada and does not worry about fuel until La Paz. The combination of Slime tire sealant and the BFG tires together get us to the finish without tire problems. Thanks to King shocks for their support. Thank you to Howe Power Steering for providing our power steering pump, so nice to finally have a system that works so well. For quite a few years now we have used Powermaster starters and alternators. Last year we started working with the factory directly, and this year we had 300 amps of alternator power throughout the race without a hitch of any kind. And finally, thanks to John and the entire crew at Autofab. The Autofab fiberglass hood and the Bronco frame and floor pan are the only remaining parts that have been on every mile of every race we have ever done with the truck. We now have Autofab fenders, bed sides, and doors. In addition, John went with us for the entire experience this year, glad to have him along!

That about wraps it up. Look for the race to be broadcast on the El Rey Network sometime in the near future. There are a number of videos out there, including those that Rich produced of our race experience. I have a little bit of stuff on the Moss Brothers Racing page on Facebook
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