The term ironman evokes a number of immediate images, a fictional superhero, a punishing trifecta sporting event in Hawaii, a watch. Even used as a verb, as in Roger Norman plans to ironman the entire 1050 mile 2010 Score Baja 1000, the common denominator remains the same - something of herculean proportions is worthy of our immediate attention.
Ironman Roger Norman
Co-driver Lance Clifford
On November 18, at approximately 11:45am, K&N sponsored Roger Norman and his Crystal Bay Casino number 8 Trophy Truck will be focused on an unobstructed Baja coast as he takes the very first green flag starting the 2010 desert classic. The computerized random selection drew Norman as the first vehicle to leave the line at the 43rd Baja 1000.
"I am so stoked, I can't believe it. It is the coolest thing," exclaimed Norman. "We have never started any better than fifth in the past. At my last race, the Baja 500, we drew 38th starting position and finished fourth. In desert racing we start on the clock and each vehicle starts the race one minute apart. Starting first off the line is a huge advantage in my opinion. No stress struggling your way through the pack, no dust, it couldn't be more perfect."
The El Cajon, California resident's intentions are to drive the entire mind boggling race with co-driver Lance Clifford by his side. Things are aligning rather nicely at this point for the duo to repeat the Norman Motorsports 2008 Baja victory. Norman, being the ultimate off-road professional clearly recognizes this opportunity, and he refuses to leave even the tiniest stone unturned, as it were, during his tireless race preparations.
"I am planning on pre-running more than I have ever pre-run in my life - which is a lot!" laughed Norman. "I started pre-running the race course this Monday. On day one I spent 17 hours in the truck with my co-driver Lance Clifford. While we are pre-running we are making notations and notes on our GPS to remind us of dangerous places on the race course. One of the dangers we came across was a construction zone on the side of a huge cliff. There were no barriers, and we thought the cliff was the only worry, but we soon found a twenty-foot deep excavation site that we barely missed."
Norman explains that he pre-runs the race in a vehicle that is very similar in horsepower and general performance characteristics to the trophy truck he'll be running in the actual race. His pre-runner has 710 ft-lbs torque and 700 horsepower. And it has a full 30 inches of wheel travel.
"We usually run the race course several times during pre-running so we have to taper the speed back in order to make the vehicle last," says Norman. "Over the last two days of pre-running we spent 36 hours in the truck and covered over 1200 miles. We are getting ourselves tuned up for the task at hand. It will be tough to ironman this course, and the pre-running is the only thing that can really get you ready. It's amazing how many things hurt after 36 hours."
"We did one particular section, which was the most difficult 40 miles of the race course, three times. We will do it several more times before the start of the race. After two weeks of pre-running, I will run the course nonstop in a single seat trophy truck to determine if I can run the entire race without the help of a second driver to give me a break, and a chance to stretch out and get some food."
"The reason I am ironmaning the race is that my co-driver went with another team, and I can't just throw anybody in the driver's seat," remarked Norman candidly. "I have somebody in mind if I determine that running solo is not going to be the best program to win this race overall. I have never done the ironman thing before, this will be a first for me. Foremost though, I must see if it's possible."
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