One look at the ATRacing website and it is instantly apparent, Andrea Tomba and his crew have figured out desert racing. 2011 might have been the most successful season yet for the team that dominates the ProBaja Southern Baja Off Road Championship series every year.
The ATR Racing Crew
The ATRacing Team Driving Through the Silt
Tomba drove his Ford F-150 and Ford Explorer to his third straight ProBaja Class 8 Open Championship, collecting 3 wins and 2 seconds in the six-event season. Teamates Randy Sanders and Chad Faulkner competed in just four of the six races due to work constraints, yet placed 4th in the final ProBaja Class 6 points standings, collecting 2 wins and 1 second place finish. Finally a pair of rookies, Rory King and Daniel Hernandez drove their Ford Ranger 4x4 to 9th place in the 28 truck ProBaja Class 7 Open Championship.
"ProBaja has proved that it offers the best attended races, both for the number and quality of participants, as well as spectators," Tomba said. "(Three championships in a row) feels absolutely incredible, and somewhat tough to believe, because it really was like a movie finish."
After completing a perfect 2009 season (6 wins in 6 races) and winning 5 races with 1 runner-up in 2010, Tomba had to battle through adversity to complete the three-peat.
The ATRacing Team Vehicles
Tomba raced out to an early lead in the points standings, but a DNF brought on by a transmission failure caused Tomba to fall back. Entering the final race of 2011, Tomba needed to win and points leader Ricky Betancourt had to finish at least fifth. Betancourt was caught in a turn 1 accident that caused a flat tire, relegating him to an unlikely 8th place finish, while Tomba raced out to the early lead and dominated the event.
"It makes it that much sweeter, and I really can't think of a better way to show our appreciation for all the great work the crew and team did the entire season."
This season, the ProBaja Southern Baja Off Road Championship say more than 440 teams enter an event. The series runs four desert style Baja races, and two Short Course events, putting more emphasis on driver technique and versatility. More than 100,000 fans attended each of the four desert Baja races.
Tomba and his team are already working on their race lineup for 2012. The ATRacing stable is working to eliminate the mechanical bugs that hindered King and Hernandez's season while also preparing for a run at Class 8 championship number four. But when asked whether or not the offseason can end quick enough, Tomba offered a candid response.
"Funny, I think I have to answer yes and no! On one hand, we can't wait for the new season to start, to see what the competition is going to bring out, and it always adds a little extra pressure when you're the one everyone wants to beat.
"On the other hand, 2012 was the first year that we ran three trucks, and these months 'off' before the season starts again are definitely welcomed, as we need to step back a little and draw up all the plans for next season.
"And it's even more exciting when you consider the 45th SCORE Baja 1000 will finish in our home territory, so we are already looking at opportunities to either race one of our trucks, or drive for someone looking for a driver with plenty of Southern Baja pre-running and racing experience."
Tomba offered high praise for K&N and it's full line of products and their ability to hold up even in tough desert conditions.
"We have been working with K&N Racing for over a decade. It really feels like a marriage. K&N have shown us that they are always striving to improve their products or find us new products to combat the number one enemy in off road racing, dust!
"It is an honor for us to have the opportunity to run and test these products, which have always proven to be unbeatable. Some things never change, and the incredible level of service and attention that K&N have always shown us, going out of their way to make things happen, has always remained the same. For us, K&N is like family and are in integral part of ATRacing, and I couldn't imagine racing without them or their products. I am most grateful for their support and friendship."
For more information on Andrea Tomba and his ATRacing team, visit www.atoffroad.com.
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