The SCORE Baja 500, The AORC Finke Desert Race and the ARB Sea Lake Rally; Jimcos Top the Podium
Over 40-different Jimco race cars competed in the month of June, making it one of Jimco’s busiest months. From Trophy Trucks to Pro UTVs, and everything in between, some of the world’s top drivers climbed into their Jimcos in June. Seeing one take a class win is never rare, however, Jimco has topped the podium in three major off road race this month, proving their unyielding dominance in the sport.
Wilson, Malloy and Torres Give Jimco the Class-1 Podium Sweep at the Baja 500
The 49th running of the Baja 500 drew 236-teams south of the U.S. border to throw their chassis across the Mexican peninsula. They had hopes of beating a climate-changing desert, other hopeful racers, and seconds on the clock. The course was foggy: A cool marine layer along the coast, and clouds of hot, silty dust, along the interior of the course. The degree of temperature changed with every degree of longitude, making the Baja 500 physically demanding on the driver and the car.
Baja 500 drivers and their co-riders all had the same overall goal, to finish. Their secondary goal: To win. The chase teams and race support crews share the same goals, and one major thing they can do is stash precious seconds in their pocket with faster pit stops. And every canyon climb, every rock and every silt bed are looming to steal those precious seconds back in the race against the clock.
The Wilson Motorsports Team is one of the classiest teams in racing, and it’s no wonder how they stand on the top of the podium. The first place 2016 Baja 500 winners defended their title with a first place 2017 finish, and the first thanks from Brian Wilson were to his crew. He and his co-rider humbly praise their entire Wilson Motorsports team. For they know that in order to meet their goal of winning, it takes an army of support. This win also catapults the #138 Wilson Motorsports Jimco Class-1 into first place of the points standings!
2nd place Class-1 Baja 500 podium finisher, Mike Malloy, has also made a sudden jump into the Top-5 in point standings.
To complete the sweep, 3rd place Class-1 finisher Al Torres climbs into 3rd place in the point standings.
2nd in points as of the Baja 500 is Jimco driver Robert Archibald who finished his 2017 Baja 500 effort in 7th.
Other notable Baja 500 Finishers Include:
Pro UTV Class Winner = TJ Holmes
13th – Steve Strobel
16th – Billy Wilson
17th – Gary Magness
22nd – Robbie Peirce
Trophy Truck Spec:
10th – Russ Buehler
3rd – Miguel Bonilla
Shannon Rentsch Takes Finke Outright
Right smack in the middle of Australia lies desert regions, and in the middle of those desert regions is a town called Alice Springs. From there, red powdered silt with trees and bushes on the fringe of a race course cuts south like an artery, landing at the heart of Australian desert racing; Finke. For the 42nd time (and the 30th for cars and trucks), Australia’s most elite off-road racers come to test their vehicles, and their wits, against kilometer after kilometer of unforgiving whoops. In contrast to the Baja 500, the Finke Desert Challenge remains somewhat consistent with it’s track conditions: Very cold and with very limited visibility, on a track which many drivers dubbed “relentless,” all the way there and all the way back. Though similar to the Baja 500, goals for many of the 140 participating vehicles at the Finke, is to just finish on four wheels. Of the Finke race, Jimco driver Jack Rhodes said, “Whoever wins is always respected… [this is] never a gifted race, to finish is successful,” during a live feed interview. 4-time Champion of Finke, Jimco driver Shannon Rentsch stated that it’s “hard enough just to finish,” during the same interview.
Over 7,000 spectators and fans showed up to the Finke event to be part of something special, including watching an exciting prologue run at the 8-kilometer track: Jimco drivers Travis Robinson in the #13, Shannon Rentsch in the #33, and Jack Rhodes in the brand new #1 took the top-3 spots, with additional Jimco drivers, Chris Coulthard in the #88, and Mark Burrows in the #21, qualifying in the Top-10.
The teams raced blindly through the particles of dust that sat in weightlessness over the passage to Finke on Day-1. Ten Jimco vehicles made it to Finke through the dried out flood plains, including your Top-3 qualifiers. On Day-2 the coachmen in their race cars took route from Finke back to Alice Springs, collecting red dirt facials and tree branches on the way. First to cross the finish and claim the outright title at Finke for the 5th time now, was Shannon Rentsch in the #33. A quiet mannered Shannon Rentsch of his finish told he didn’t have “too many dramas,” and that he found a “good rhythm.”
Finishing 3rd on the outright podium was Jack Rhodes in the maiden voyage of his new Jimco buggy.
Steve Sanderson in the #3 Jaws Racing machine, was seen coming into the finish in a serpentine effort on only 3-tires. He was firm and committed to finishing in this strong Jimco-built trophy truck. His wild finish granted him a 4th place outright finishing spot and a second place finish in class.
Other Notable Finke Desert Challenge Finishers Include:
6th – Peter Costello
7th – Darren Agrela
4th – Locky Weir
Battle of Two Jimcos for the Outright Finish at ARB’s Sea Lake Rally
In the state of Victoria, Australia, the weather was decent and it was a downright perfect weekend for an off road race. 104-vehicles came to the wheat belt of the Mallee district, to go wheel-to-wheel with each other for the outright title of finishing the 4-lap rally race. The format of the Sea Lake race varies significantly from the Finke. The course is a loop which is ran 4-times, with a compulsory hour service break between laps two and three. Strategy is a major factor, and qualifying high in the Top-10 shootout is important.
Jimco race cars finished 1 and 2 during the Top-10 Shootout: Raana Horan and Danny Brown. This would set them up for a friendly side-by-side start by two racers who were hungry to win their first race at Mallee. Brown in the #42, and Horan in the #89, battled a little on the first lap but it was the #42 who approached a full-minute lead heading into the 2nd lap. Suddenly, as it happens in racing, 2km from the half-way point, Brown had a speed-limiting issue that allowed the #89 to take back all those seconds and lead for the start of lap-3. Danny Brown and his crew feverishly fixed up their Jimco and returned with vengeance against Sea Lake. Raana Horan powered through the last laps as best he could until a debilitating indication alerted Horan and co-rider Klem Christiansen of over-heating. Would the lead he sustained at the end of Lap-2 be enough to bring home a win?
Danny Brown pulled closer and closer until he was knocking on Horan’s backdoor. Just three turns from the finish, Brown pulled under Horan for an gasp-worthy physical track pass and took the outright win. Brown said that he “felt bad when we passed Raana, but there was no way we weren’t going to give it everything.”
Other Notable Sea Lake Rally Finishers
7th – Jamie Robinson
12th – Jeff Lloyd
7th – Brent Martin
8th – Lindsay Foster
9th – Troy Duff