La Paz Circuito Bronco Race Park was the place to be for off-road racers this past April, as ProBaja presented the second race of the season, and the sixth edition of the La Paz Desert Challenge.
"It was great to see such a big turn-out at the race, in all the classes, and especially to see such a huge fan turn out. I believe I heard that there were 10,000 spectators over the two days," remarked Andrea Tomba.
Along with the fans, 161 race teams showed up, adding to the three day celebration and carnival atmosphere on Malecon, La Paz's boardwalk.
Andrea Tomba sails over the Demond Jump at the La Paz Desert Challenge.
"We raced in three races, Chad Faulkner did great in Class 14, finishing in third place, missing second by a few seconds" continued the K&N sponsored driver and team owner. "Randy Sanders drove a great and really strong race in Class 6. He had a very comfortable lead, but the race gods had a different plan, as he came into a corner a little too strong and snapped the axle in half."
Tomba ran the team's Explorer in Class 8, and for most of the race he dueled with the "Red Burro" for the lead. It wasn't until near the end that a tiny engine Chupacabra appeared and Tomba smartly backed off the gas, still finishing with a strong second place.
Said Tomba, "It was a fun and clean race, although we would have preferred to have clinched first place, kudos goes out to Ricky Betancourt driving for Red Burro, who had a clean and perfect race."
Tomba said he feels very strongly about his teams overall prospects for the 2011 season.
Tomba says he feels pretty strong about the 2011 season at this point, his truck is running well, with Pio Race Preparation doing a great job keeping it updated. Sanders and Faulkner are also making some important updates to their Class 8 truck, which will strengthen the truck overall. They are also upping their power by installing a new 408 engine.
"King and Hernandez ran into some bad luck at the start of the season," continues Tomba, "But all in all, the trucks are coming together, and the team as a whole feels very tight and fun. It is definitely just a huge extension of the family. However, there are still some tough races to come, and the competition is getting stronger and stronger, so we have to keep pushing ahead. One of the most important factors that make that possible is the support from our sponsors, such as K&N, BFGoodrich, Quaker State and Optima Batteries."
"Living in La Paz," says Tomba, "makes getting parts a little more difficult than normal." During the off season, Tomba and the team decided to bring all truck preparations in-house. The reasoning being that this will give them much more control of their trucks, which gives them more control over their prep schedule, adding to more lead time for ordering parts as they're needed. The new arrangements have also given Tomba more time for his day job, guiding tours for "Wide Open Baja," which increases his seat time as he spends nearly 20 days a month in the dirt now.
"Our goal is to win the Class 8 Open Championship for the third year running," declares Tomba. "However, racing is racing, and although we have to have the large picture in mind, I think that it is important to race just one race at a time, doing our best with each race, and keeping a cool head when things get hot!"
"We will be racing in the Dos Mares 500 in La Paz," Tomba adds, "It's mostly night racing, running up the sea of Cortez and down the Pacific, which offers some of the most spectacular views imaginable."
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