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VP Takes Open Pro Baja 1000 Win and Championship
Bonanza Plumbing, Monster Energy Kawasaki riders Ricky Brabec and Max Eddy had won the San Felipe 250 and Baja 500 while the WFOx Honda team took the win at the two American-based SCORE rounds earlier in the year, so the battle for the overall motorcycle championship and the 1x number plate would be won by the team to cross the finish line at the Baja 1000 first. Baja veterans Steve Hengeveld and Robby Bell joined Ricky and Max on the 4x Kawasaki for the series finale, a 1,270-mile monster of a racecourse that would test everyone's physical, mental and mechanical preparation. The race would unfold with as much drama as a Hollywood script as both teams had to overcome adversity just to make it to the finish line, making this one of the more memorable Baja 1000's in recent history.
The 4x team was first to leave the line, with Robby and Ricky splitting up the first five hundred miles, but the Honda quickly pushed to the front of the race, passing for the lead and pulling away to nearly eleven minutes in the first three hundred miles. The pendulum would then start to swing the other way as the Kawasaki began to eat back in to the 1x team's advantage over the following two hundred miles of the race. As darkness began to fall, Max Eddy hopped on the 4x bike and would not only catch the lead Honda, he'd take the physical lead back as he passed them during one of their pit stops. That's when disaster would strike as the rear tire of the 4x bike began to overheat during a high-speed section. Max would have to limp the bike to a remote pit, which luckily had an old tire and tube laying around, but lacked the proper tools to change it. Max improvised, using a couple screwdrivers to change the tire and get back on course, losing around twenty minutes in the process, but keeping the Kawasaki team in the race.
Ricky would mount the 4x bike next, but would suffer a problem with the headlights as one of the batteries failed and the driving light went dead. Before Ricky got on the bike he had made the decision to put a radio in his fanny pack; it would end up being a decision that would would save the team's race. Ricky hailed hopefully over the radio, and as luck would have it, Max's chase crew was close by refueling their chase van and heard his call. Ricky was able to ride out to them and they changed the headlights with a backup set that was in the van, losing a further twenty minutes to the Honda, but yet again keeping the bike in the race and moving down the peninsula. The 1x bike then suffered a crash, cutting in to their lead, and as Steve Hengeveld mounted the 4x bike for the final three hundred plus miles, the deficit was just under thirty minutes. Steve not only caught the Honda, he was able to make the pass and pull away, crossing the finish line twenty minutes ahead of the 1x bike and giving Kawasaki their first Baja 1000 victory since 1996.
Posted by on 29th November, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks
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