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2006 BAJA 500: OUR RESULTS



Well. We made it about 230 miles before we had to stop due to injury. Not to any of us. To the truck. 225-230 miles seems to be our cutoff. Anyway, at about 230 miles, we got out of the truck to investigate a rattling noise (which turned out to be a cracked fan shroud rubbing against the fan) and discovered that our air cleaner had been beaten off of its mount by the right front tire bottoming out and coming into contact with it. We've since learned that this problem is the exact reason that the other Hummers in the race all have body lifts. So, our air cleaner was hanging by its own rubber tube that directs the air into the engine. A few more hard bumps, and we'd be sucking Mexican dirt straight into the intake manifold. All we had handy to attempt a repair was chicken wire and duct tape, and we weren't ready to risk our motor. Diesels don't like dirt in them. So we were done. Only problem was, we were in the middle of nowhere. We had to limp out about 25 miles, at about 5 miles an hour, just to get to a paved road that was about 40 miles from our hotel. It was brutal. But that did put our official distance on the race course at about 255 miles. Which is our new record. And we were still able to drive the beast all the way back home to Arizona. It really is an incredible truck.

Some interesting events.

Our Hummer is equipped with CTIS. Central Tire Inflation System. This is a system which allows you to inflate and deflate the tires from inside the cab. While you're driving. Lower the pressure for sand. Pump em up for the freeway. Anyway, there is this little gauge inside the truck to show you the pressure. It has an alarm that beeps when the pressure gets too low. Something like 12 psi.  So I'm blasting along, and suddenly I hear beeping. Normally that means the GPS, and we're off course, or the GPS can't find a signal, or some other GPS catastrophe. So immediately I blamed Phillip (the co-driver and GPS operator) and requested that he fix it. After his insistence that the beeping was something else, I finally discovered the pressure gauge. We had a flat. That's what I figured it meant. It was about time as well. These BFG racing tires had been through HELL. I couldn't believe they had lasted that long. So I found a nice spot to pull over and got out. Well. We had 4 flats. It was so unexpected that I actually laughed. It appeared we had some sort of problem with our CTIS system. Phillip was just getting out of the car about this time, and he swears I said "WE HAVE A MAJOR CTIS MALFUNCTION!". That doesn't sound like me, but who knows. I was light headed from forgetting to eat any food the night before, and then not finding any food before the race that morning. So I suppose I could have said anything. Anyway, it seemed that our CTIS pump had sheared off its mount and beat itself up a bit. A couple of the little brass lines and fittings snapped off and let all our tires go flat. Phillip proceeded to repair our truck while I tried not to pass out, and we were on our way. 1 hour delay.

We hit a cow. It's not as bad as it sounds. We were going about 1 mph. The cow was getting out of the way. Its horn tapped the left front edge of our hood. But still. We hit a cow!

At one point in the race, we were following somebody pretty close, and we were struggling to see thru the dust. After a couple minutes or so I finally decided to slow down. It was pointless to try and chase this guy who had just passed us. And he passed us while we had a clear view of the road in front of us. So I let off the gas to give him some space. That VERY second, a 1998 Hummer H1-sized boulder materialized right out of the dust. It was a perfectly dust colored boulder too. It was maybe 20 feet in front of us. Maybe 15. Whatever the distance, it was the exact distance our truck needs to swerve frantically to the left to miss an H1-sized boulder. Or, maybe that distance plus 1 millimeter. Since we did in fact miss the boulder. But I swear it was this close.