The Factory Racing traveled South of the border again to San Felipe Mexico on March 12-14.Amidst much turmoil reported in the news about Baja.The team wouldn’t miss their favorite race of the Score International Series.San Felipe is a small town south of Mexicali removed from the crime but showing signs of the US economy with many stores closed.Evidence that tourist aren’t traveling to Mexico as much.These wonderful people are struggling to make a living.But this weekend the streets were alive with race teams, race vehicles, support vehicles and fans of off road racing.Friday was spent at Contingency and Technical inspection along the Malacon (a street along the ocean).It’s a great time to see the other drivers, the other vehicles and sign autographs for the fans.
After Contingency was completed Dan Chamlee took the truck out to make sure the truck was set up properly for the famous San Felipe Whoops.The truck wasn’t ready.He broke a spindle. During our pre-race inspection we missed a small crack that was developing.He had a spare but it wasn’t reinforced strong enough for the toughness of the course.So he decided to repair the broken one.The team worked until 1 a.m. fixing the part welding and grinding with their portable race shop. They were confident that it would hold and it did.
There is nothing like the rush of race morning, making sure each chase team knows the plan, which parts they have, and where they will go.After all trucks where loaded they each headed to their first chase point to wait for the truck to fly by.A chaser’s perfect day is if they are not needed but rarely is that the case.
Dan Chamlee, driver and Scott Brady, as co-driver were to run the whole 248-mile race.The team was given 11 hours to complete the rough, rough course.It only took the team 8:32:17 to win class 7 with an average speed of 29 mph.San Felipe has eluded the team victories in the past, so it was a very satisfying win.
The first 155 miles where flawless and spent passing vehicles in other classes in front of them.The truck was running fast and smooth.Another competitor commented that Dan had “passed me in a rough section as if I was standing still”.
At race mile 155 Dan and Scott started to hear a clanking noise that got progressively worse.They pulled over to find that the bolt that holds the rear shock on had broken, also damaging the shock mount.They removed the shock and limped to the next chase team.The chase team including Laurie Chamlee, Bill Chamlee, Alicia Munoz and Doug had just arrived to their scheduled stop at race mile 172 knowing the truck was going to need some welding and parts and a splash of gas.Just as the team was finished setting up to make the repairs the race truck pulled up and they began the repairs.Within a few minutes the truck was moving again.Laurie marveled that “We couldn’t have timed it better for us to get here”. Keep in mind the chase team had traveled approximately 8 miles on the famous Zoo Road, a rough, dirt wash board road, with lots of traffic from there first chase point, 5 miles to town, than through town with thousands of race fans and lanes blocked, stopping for a taco, another 30 miles on the freeway, then 4 miles along a sandy, whooped road to intersect the course.
The truck was again running fast and hard.Around race mile 201 the temperature shot up to 240 degrees and the circuit breaker was tripping.They pulled over to find the radiator fan motor was smoking.Not a problem Thomas Chamlee and Heather Sherman were waiting at race mile 204 in his pre-runner, with Jose Garcia, his family and the spare.Thomas took the spare to Dan.However, the spare was a different style and would take time to make-work so they took the one off of Thomas’s pre-runner getting the race truck moving again but leaving Thomas with the spare and needing water for his radiator and separated from Jose.He stayed out on the course until the rest of the team was done and able to get him water.
The team is now prepping the truck for the Baja 500 in June.