Saturday, January 5, 2008

LDC SCORE Trophy-Truck to qualify for start positions

Jan. 24-27 in Laughlin, Nev.SCORE Trophy-Truck to qualify for start positions while Harley LetnerDraws first Class 1 start for 14th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge31 SCORE Trophy-Trucks entered in four-day event that starts with $16,000 SCORE Laughlin Leap on Jan. 24 LOS ANGELES—Harley Letner, a third-generation desert racer from Orange, Calif., received the first starting position in the unlimited Class 1 in Wednesday’s computerized draw for starting positions, by class, for this month’s 14th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. SCORE also announced that the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division, which had 31 vehicles in the drawing, will qualify for starting positions for the first time in SCORE history. The drawing was held at SCORE’s Los Angeles offices. For the 14th straight year, motorsports fans and racers from across the United States, Mexico, and Germany will descend on Laughlin, Nev., the desert resort town near the shores of the Colorado River for the vastly popular SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. The first major race of the year will be held Jan. 24-27, launching the six-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series, the world’s foremost desert racing series. When late registration is complete, over 150 expected starters will compete for over $300,000 in prize money and contingency postings during the four day SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. A total of 17 different Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks will be split into seven groups in Laughlin, each running as part of one of separate multiple-lap races over the much-abbreviated 6-mile loop each day. Racing action runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day (Jan. 26-27). Final official results for the race will once again be based on the combined two-day results. The marquee racing division is SCORE Trophy-Truck, featuring high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks along with the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars. Those two classes will run the final two races each day with SCORE Trophy-Truck followed by Class 1. Letner, 24, will drive No. 101 Letner Racing Chevy-powered Alpha open-wheel desert race car to lead Class 1. The Class 1 field has 26 entries to date. A total of 31 vehicles have entered to date in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division, including the defending SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion team of Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas in the No. 1 Riviera Racing Ford F-150 and two-time defending race winner B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas, in the No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Among the other SCORE Trophy-Truck entries to date are Las Vegas brothers Tim and Ed Herbst, the winningest team in class history with 11 career race wins and four SCORE Trophy-Truck season point titles in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150, Las Vegas’ Brian Collins and Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., in the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Chevy Silverado, NASCAR team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., in the No. 71 Chevy CK1500, Mexico’s son and father team of Gus Vildosola Jr. and Gus Vildosola in the No. 4 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150, TV sports announcer Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., in the No. 16 Desert Assassins Cadillac Escalade, and TV personality Jesse James, Sunset Beach, Calif., in the No. 54 Chevy C1500. Garron Cadiente, Mesa, Ariz., the 2006 SCORE Rookie of the Year, will also be in the SCORE Trophy-Truck field in his No. 38 G&R Racing Ford F-150 along with his father-in-law and teammate Ron Whitton, Maricopa, Ariz., in his No. 39 G&R Racing Ford F-150. In the drawing for the qualifying order for SCORE Trophy-Truck, Las Vegas’s Kory Scheeler (No. 51, Chevy Silverado) will be first followed by Mexico’s Luis Wallace (No. 55, Ford F-150) and Travis Coyne, El Centro, Calif. (No. 5, Ford F-150). Daily general admission tickets for the primary infield stadium grandstand seating, are $20 each for each day (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), children five and under are free. Daily VIP tickets are $40 each for each of the three days, good for admission to the Laughlin Hospitality Chalet, including food beverage and special seating. The stadium seating area will include the immensely popular SCOREvision large-screen LCD display, showing live footage from nearly 95 percent of the race course. Tickets will also be available at the gate for the only other spectator area for the event, the popular ‘SCORE Hill’, which overlooks the infield, start/finish area and the main pits. The SCORE Hill will have grandstands and standing room areas along with vendors, concessions and other public safety services available. General Admission tickets will be $5 per person. Event organizers at the Laughlin Tourism Committee have been able to secure an additional spectator area--the Cougar Corral--on the backstretch of the race course. Adjacent to Laughlin High School, off of State Highway 95, at the Cougar Corral, spectators will be able to pull their vehicle alongside the course with clear site of over one mile of race action. Daytime parking will be allowed for $10 per vehicle with no additional charge for occupants. These vehicle passes will be sold each day, as space is available, at the entrance to the ‘Cougar Corral’ off of Cougar Drive. One of the event's most popular features, the SCORE Laughlin Leap, revs up the fun and gets the weekend off to a roaring start at 6 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 24). Drivers and pit crews will share the spotlight at the Laughlin Events Park, competing for a $16,000 purse and the honor of being the 2008 champions. The SCORE Laughlin Leap, a dirt ramp built into the middle of the stadium infield, challenges the most daring of drivers. This year’s competitors will be looking to break the SCORE Laughlin Leap record set in 2004 by Mark Post in the No. 1 Riviera Racing Ford F-150 (160’ 6”). The Events Park with grandstand seating, vendor’s village and food court is just minutes from the destination's nine resorts and includes a lenghty infield that includes jumps and whoops as well as the Laughlin Leap. For the first time, the popular pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and contingency row will be held on Bruce Woodbury Way and Casino Drive, adjacent to the heart of the Laughlin resort area. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. The 14th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Committee, the Laughlin Visitors Bureau, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in association with Las Vegas Events. The race is sanctioned and produced by SCORE International of Los Angeles.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Sunoco Race Fuels/Bryant Petroleum-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Volkswagen-official vehicle, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, American Racing ATX Series-official wheel, Slime-official tire sealant, Red Bull--official energy drink and Bosch Power Tools-official power tool. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Terrible Herbst Inc., Blue C Enthusiast Advertising, Kartek Off-Road, Fram, Autolite, Prestone, Bendix, American Suzuki, Micron, NAPA Chassis, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics. More event information is available at Advance tickets for the event are on sale at 800.308.2253.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2008 SCORE Desert Series at

Entry List of Teams and Drivers in the 2008 Championship

F1 2008 Championship List
Car No.
Kimi Raikkonen
Felipe Massa
Nick Heidfeld
BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica
BMW Sauber
Fernando Alonso
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Nico Rosberg
Kazuki Nakajima
David Coulthard
Red Bull
Mark Webber
Red Bull
Jarno Trulli
Timo Glock
Sébastien Bourdais
Toro Rosso
Sebastian Vettel
Toro Rosso
Jenson Button
Rubens Barrichello
Takuma Sato
Super Aguri
Anthony Davidson
Super Aguri
Adrian Sutil
Force India
Force India
Lewis Hamilton
McLaren Mercedes
Heikki Kovalainen
McLaren Mercedes

Drug traffickers attempting to influence Mexican politics, attorney general says


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MEXICO CITY: Drug traffickers have tried to influence political campaigns in Mexico by intimidating and even kidnapping candidates and trying to steer election results, the attorney general said.
Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said in remarks released by his office Friday that drug gangs have tried to influence politics in the border states of Baja California and Tamaulipas, the western state of Michoacan, and other parts of the Gulf and Pacific coasts.
"We have evidence, complaints from candidates who were kidnapped or intimidated, or who received threats intended to influence the results of an election and the behavior of candidates," he said.
The cartels also have co-opted or intimidated local police forces in recent years as they engage in bloody turf battles that have led to a sharp rise in killings related to drugs and organized crime. Medina Mora said such killings rose in 2007 to 2,500 from 2,350 in 2006.
"There are municipal police forces that have collapsed, that function more as an aide to organized crime than as protection for the public," Medina Mora said, according to a transcript of remarks he made to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Shortly after taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon sent out thousands of soldiers to battle the criminals in states plagued by drug-trafficking violence.

Tourists Shun Crime-Hit Mexico Beaches

By ELLIOT SPAGAT,APPosted: 2008-01-05 13:23:23PLAYAS DE ROSARITO, Mexico (AP) - Assaults on American tourists have brought hard times to hotels and restaurants that dot Mexican beaches just south of the border from San Diego. Surfers and kayakers are frightened to hit the waters of the northern stretch of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, long popular as a weekend destination for U.S. tourists. Weddings have been canceled. Lobster joints a few steps from the Pacific were almost empty on the usually busy New Year's weekend. Americans have long tolerated shakedowns by police who boost salaries by pulling over motorists for alleged traffic violations, and tourists know parts of Baja are a hotbed of drug-related violence. But a handful of attacks since summer by masked, armed bandits - some of whom used flashing lights to appear like police - marks a new extreme that has spooked even longtime visitors. Lori Hoffman, a San Diego-area emergency room nurse, said she was sexually assaulted Oct. 23 by two masked men in front of her boyfriend, San Diego Surfing Academy owner Pat Weber, who was forced to kneel at gunpoint for 45 minutes. They were at a campground with about 30 tents, some 200 miles south of the border. The men shot out windows of the couple's trailer and forced their way inside, ransacked the cupboards and left with about $7,000 worth of gear, including computers, video equipment and a guitar. Weber, who has taught dozens of students in Mexico over the last 10 years, plans to surf in Costa Rica or New Zealand. "No more Mexico," said Hoffman, who reported the attack to Mexican police. No arrests have been made. The Baja California peninsula is known worldwide for clean and sparsely populated beaches, lobster and margaritas and blue waters visited by whales and dolphins. Surfers love the waves; fishermen catch tuna, yellowtail and marlin. Food and hotels are cheap. News of harrowing assaults on American tourists has begun to overshadow that appeal in the northern part of the peninsula, home to drug gangs and the seedy border city of Tijuana. The comparatively isolated southern tip, with its tony Los Cabos resort, remains safer and is still popular with Hollywood celebrities, anglers and other foreign tourists. Local media and surfing Web sites that trumpeted Baja in the past have reported several frightening crimes that U.S. and Mexican officials consider credible. Longtime visitors are particularly wary of a toll road near the border that runs through Playas de Rosarito - Rosarito Beach. In late November, as they returned from the Baja 1000 off-road race, a San Diego-area family was pulled over on the toll road by a car with flashing lights. Heavily armed men held the family hostage for two hours. They eventually released them but stole the family's truck. Before dawn on Aug. 31, three surfers were carjacked on the same stretch of highway. Gunmen pulled them over in a car with flashing lights, forced them out of their vehicles and ordered one to kneel. They took the trucks and left the surfers. Aqua Adventures of San Diego scrapped its annual three-day kayak trip to scout for whales in January, ending a run of about 10 years. Customers had already been complaining about longer waits to return to the U.S.; crime gave them another reason to stay away. "People are just saying, 'No way.' They don't want to deal with the risk," said owner Jen Kleck, who has sponsored trips to Baja about five times a year but hasn't been since July. Charles Smith, spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, said the U.S. government has not found a widespread increase in attacks against Americans, but he acknowledged many crimes go unreported. The State Department has long warned motorists on Mexico's border to watch for people following them, though no new warnings have been issued. Mexican officials acknowledge crime has threatened a lifeblood of Baja's economy. In Playas de Rosarito, a city of 130,000, police were forced to surrender their weapons last month for testing to determine links to any crimes. Heavily armed men have patrolled City Hall since a failed assassination attempt on the new police chief left one officer dead. On Thursday the bullet-riddled bodies of a Tijuana police official and another man were found dumped near the beach. "We cannot minimize what's happening to public safety," said Oscar Escobedo Carignan, Baja's new secretary of tourism. "We're going to impose order ... We're indignant about what's happening." Tourist visits to Baja totaled about 18 million in 2007, down from 21 million the previous year, Escobedo said. Hotel occupancy dropped about 5 percentage points to 53 percent. Hugo Torres, owner of the storied Rosarito Beach Hotel and the city's new mayor, estimates the number of visitors to Rosarito Beach since summer is down 30 percent. In the city's Puerto Nuevo tourist enclave, which offers $20 lobster dinners and $1 margaritas, restaurant managers said sales were down as much as 80 percent from last year. One Saturday afternoon in October, masked bandits wielding pistols walked the streets and kidnapped two men - an American and a Spanish citizen - who were later released unharmed. Two people who were with them were shot and wounded. Omar Armendariz, who manages a Puerto Nuevo lobster restaurant, is counting on the new state and city governments to make tourists feel safer. He has never seen fewer visitors in his nine years on the job. "It's dead," he said.

Club Racing AZ at PIR 01-05-08 Photo Jihad

All photo are now posted at
10% off all prints for the next 7 days
Digital files now available.

A few highlights.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Safety has priority: Volkswagen respects “Dakar” cancellation

Wolfsburg (4 January 2008). It is with great regret that Volkswagen acknowledges the cancellation of the 30th Dakar Rally. "The safety of every single participant has absolute priority and for this reason Volkswagen completely and utterly endorses the decision made by the organisers ASO to cancel the start of the Dakar Rally originally scheduled for 5 January,” explains Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member with responsibility for Technical Development at Volkswagen. "We are obviously very unhappy about the cancellation, since we prepared for this rally for an entire year and were extremely well equipped for this sporting challenge.”Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen underlines: "We fully respect the decision for safety purposes, which also have absolute priority for us. The cancellation is a great disappointment for every member of the Volkswagen Motorsport team, particularly as everybody was looking forward to starting this peaceful and fair sporting competition.” At midday on Friday, 4 January 2008 the "Dakar” organisers ASO officially announced that the rally will be not be held due to the significant safety concerns voiced by the French Government regarding the stages in Mauritania. The start of the 30th Dakar Rally was scheduled for 5 January 2008 in Lisbon. The "Dakar” should have finished, as is tradition, after 15 stages and approximately 9,300 kilometres in the Senegalese capital city on 20 January.

Shanghai F1 boss sent to jail

The man credited with helping to bring Formula 1 to China, Yu Zhifei, has been sentenced to four years in prison for embezzlement.
The former general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit was found guilty of embezzling more than 1m yuan (£69,500; $137,500) during the late 1990s.
He was convicted at a court in Wuhu City, Anhui province, of embezzling funds from Shenhua Football Club to pay for a luxury home.
Yu, a former government official, was in charge of the SIC when F1 made its debut in Shanghai in 2004.
His case is seen as part of a wider crackdown on misuse of government pension funds that is reported to involve more than 20 officials including Chen Liangyu, once Shanghai's most powerful figure, who is currently in custody awaiting trial.

PDR 2008 Schedule Update

Several things have happened in the last few months to cause us to make some changes in our schedule for 2008. The good news is that we have re-established a good working relationship with the Sonora Department of Tourism Director, Epifanio Salido, and his staff to help us in our goals of establishing quality off-road racing in the State of Sonora. We have also renewed cooperation with the Visitors and Conventions Bureau in Rocky Point and Caborca. Unfortunately our races are no longer welcome in San Luis or El Golfo and the Desert Oasis no longer offers their site as a venue for racing in Rocky Point.
At the request of the Visitors and Conventions Bureau in Rocky Point, our first race will be held on April 26. This move was made to avoid conflicts with other festivities in Rocky Point. We will make this race a longer loop out to the mountains of about 80 miles and run three laps for pros and two laps for sportsmen, utv’s and limited pro classes.
Our second race will be in Caborca on October 11. This race will be a loop race starting and finishing in the Rio Asuncion river bed behind the historical church built by Padre Kino at the town square. This will be a very festive event and we are hoping to draw some of the racers from further in Mexico to this event to try out their skills. There are several options for course routes but again it will be a total of 200-250 miles.
Our third event will be back in Rocky Point on December 6. This will be a shorter loop similar to the one we have been racing this year. Obviously it won’t include the whoops at the start but we’ll try to find some course to keep it interesting.
At the same time we are working on some events that we can add to the schedule in the United States. It is our hope to get enough events put together to offer a series of 5-6 good races in the future.
Thank you all for a great year of racing and support and keep an eye on this site for updates.
See you in Rocky Point.

Dakar Rally 2010: Budapest to be starting point

BUDAPEST � Budapest will be the starting point for the famed Dakar Motor Rally in 2010, a Hungarian government official told the radio station, Inforadio, yesterday.
�We have already signed a pre-contract agreement with Dakar rally organisers. It will be great for the country,� said Istvan Ujhelyi, state secretary at the Municipal and Regional Development Ministry.
The rally would start from Heroes� Square in downtown Budapest, he said.
This year�s rally, the 30th edition of the race, will start in Lisbon on Saturday and end in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on January 20.
The Rally which lasts for sixteen days will be competed over the fifteen stage of the Rally route.

Dakar 2008 Cancelled

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Lisbon, Friday the 4th of January 2008
A.S.O. cancels the 2008 edition of the Dakar rally
After different exchanges with the French government - in particular the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - , and based on their firm recommendations, the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally, scheduled from the 5th to the 20th of January between Lisbon and Senegal’s capital.
Based on the current international political tension and the murder of four French tourists last 24th of December linked to a branch of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, but also and mainly the direct threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations, no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.
A.S.O.’s first responsibility is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. A.S.O. therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally.
A.S.O. condemns the terrorist menace that annihilates a year of hard work, engagement and passion for all the participants and the different actors of the world’s biggest off-road rally. Aware of the huge frustration, especially in Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, and beyond the general disappointment and the huge economical consequences in terms of direct and indirect repercussions for the countries visited, A.S.O. will continue to defend the major values of great sporting events and will carry on its engagement for a durable development through the Actions Dakar, started 5 years ago in sub-Saharan Africa with SOS Sahel International.
The Dakar is a symbol and nothing can destroy symbols. The cancellation of the 2008 edition does not endanger the future of the Dakar. To offer, for 2009 a new adventure to all the off-road rally passionate is a challenge that A.S.O. will take on in the months to come, faithful to its engagement and its passion for sports.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ron Bailey at Dakar

We have set up a special Social Networking web site for all of you and yourfriends. Please join in. We will be making daily updates to the site – textmessages, pictures and videos. It is our sincere hope you too can enjoy theadventure of DAKAR this way.Watch us on

Through A Sea Of Sand: Volkswagen Well Equipped For 'Dakar'

Through a sea of sand, longer and harder – the route to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Dakar Rally demands a good portion of respect from the participants just days before the start. Volkswagen faces this 16-day long challenge with four factory entered Race Touareg 2 prototypes driven by Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) and Germans Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (Wedemark/Berlin). Fifteen stages covering a total of 9,273 kilometres lie before the 570 competitors in the car, motorbike and truck categories who tackle the 30th running of the desert classic starting on 5 January in Lisbon and who aim to reach the finish on in the Senegalese capital Dakar on 20 January.

After Volkswagen won the 2007 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup with Carlos Sainz and Michel Périn at the beginning of November and led the entire field for eight days during the Dakar Rally a year ago the Wolfsburg based automobile manufacturer once again numbers among the small group of favourites to take victory in the world’s hardest and longest rally. "Our goal is and remains to claim the first ‘Dakar’ win for diesel power with the Volkswagen Race Touareg," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. Tough anniversary route: A challenge for both man and machine Event organisers ASO devised an extremely challenging route to coincide with the 30th running of the Dakar Rally. The desert classic starts, like the previous two years, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon and finishes traditionally after more than two weeks in Dakar. "Many long and difficult stages await us in between," explains Volkswagen factory driver Giniel de Villiers and 2006 "Dakar" runner-up. Team mater Dieter Depping adds: "The route driven against the clock is almost a third longer than in the previous years and, furthermore, the length of sandy sections is significantly higher." The route runs through the "sea of sand" in the relatively uninhabited country of Mauritania for eight days. "The decisive moment influencing the outcome of the rally can happen on these stages at any time," knows Volkswagen factory driver Mark Miller. "Apart from the fact that it’s easy to get bogged down in soft sand and lose lots of time it’s also easy to get lost. The long days and loneliness in the Mauritanian desert are, in addition, very hard psychologically." Several tracks have not been a part of the rally route for more than a decade. Three time "Dakar" winner Michel Périn who is co-driver to Carlos Sainz is firmly convinced that "the stages before and after the rest day in Nouakchott (13 January) will be tough. The route between Nouadhibou and Atar was last used in 1994 and caused drama after drama at that time because the majority of the competitors got stuck in the dune mountains." Carlos Sainz hits the nail on the head: "This ‘Dakar’ will be a real challenge for man and machine." Volkswagen backs experienced driver/co-driver quartet "We rely yet again on our extremely well-rehearsed and stable team, which has collected even more experience and which functions perfectly together," explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. Three of the four factory duos start in the same combination as they did for the 2007 Dakar Rally. The drivers Mark Miller, Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers are members Volkswagen’s factory team since 2005. Carlos Sainz, World Rally Champion in 1990 and 1992, found a new challenge after finishing his career in classic rallying. During the 2007 Dakar Rally the Spaniard and "co" Michel Périn celebrated five stage victories and held the overall lead for four days. In the Rally Transibérico "El Matador", as he is known by his fans, claimed his first overall victory and crowned the 2007 season by winning the FIA Cross County Rally World Cup title. US American Mark Miller with his South African co-driver Ralph Pitchford finished fourth and, in doing so, claimed the best position for a Volkswagen driver in the 2007 "Dakar". The former enduro rider and ex-Fund Manager is highly motivated for the 2008 event. "For me, this ‘Dakar’ is the most important sporting event in my life. To be absolutely ready for this challenge I completed an intensive fitness programme over the last few months and prepared myself meticulously for the event." His team mate Giniel de Villiers celebrated the best ever result for a diesel vehicle in the event’s history after finishing second in a Volkswagen Race Touareg at the "Dakar" in 2006. In 2007 he won the Moroccan Rally together with his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz. "We work perfectly together," say the pair. "Now we look forward to the challenge of the Dakar Rally." Although the Germans Dieter Depping and co-driver Timo Gottschalk contest their first Dakar Rally at the wheel of a Race Touareg, they are however very familiar with both the Volkswagen team and the desert classic, more recently as crew in a Volkswagen Race-Truck. "I’ve reeled off many thousands of test kilometres and so know exactly just how enormously competitive the car is," says Dieter Depping. Carlos Sousa in fifth Race Touareg 2 entered by customer outfit ‘Team Lagos’ Alongside the four factory cars sporting the striking Red Bull colours a Race Touareg 2 entered by Portuguese "Team Lagos" starts the Dakar Rally for the second time. Competing together, as last year, are Portuguese ace Carlos Sousa, 2003 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup Champion, and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz, "Dakar" winner in 2001 and 2003. Sousa held the overall lead on the opening two days of the 2007 "Dakar". Large entry list and strong competition In the morning of 5 January five-hundred and seventy competitors roll over the start ramp, 60 more than last year. In addition to the 245 motorbikes and 100 trucks there are 205 vehicles registered in the car category. Apart from the large factory teams, numerous privateers also start and for whom just arriving in Dakar is like a victory. "Our strongest competitor in the battle for victory is the Mitsubishi team which is unbeaten at the Dakar Rally since 2001 and which also relies on four experienced drivers again this year," explains Kris Nissen. "However, at the final round of the World Cup in Dubai we also saw that the BMW X3 drivers are in with a shout, especially Nasser Al-Attiyah who is very good in sand. You also shouldn’t underestimate Robby Gordon in the Hummer and Jean-Louis Schlesser with his Buggy." Extensive detail work on Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 Volkswagen further improved the Race Touareg, powered by an innovative 280 hp, 2.5-litre five-cylinder TDI diesel engine, during an intensive test and development programme. "The last ‘Dakar’ showed that our performance is very good. Afterwards, the target was to specifically optimise details, purely and simply to undertake precision work," explains Eduard Weidl, Technical Director of Volkswagen Motorsport. "An important point was also to simplify and ease work in the cockpit. The sealing of the car was improved to such an extent that hardly any dust penetrates the cockpit. Also, a new air-conditioning system ensures that cockpit temperatures remain acceptable on extremely hot days – they still reach 50 degrees Celsius." Modifying the Race Touareg to suit the new regulations was one of the main points during its preparation. Rally prototypes such as the Race Touareg and the competition from Mitsubishi, BMW and the Buggies can now only be equipped with a five-speed gearbox, six gears were previously allowed. The diameter of the intake air restrictor on the Volkswagen TDI engine was also reduced from 39 to 38 millimetres. This measure should reduce the maximum speed of the top cars. "The changes to the regulations affected all the top teams in the same way," explains Kris Nissen. "We had already defined the Dakar specification for the Race Touareg in August which allowed us to contest the Moroccan Rally and UAE Desert Challenge with the vehicle. The drivers even found the gearbox to be more comfortable as they don’t have to shift gear so often." Kris Nissen: "Well equipped for this demanding and high-calibre sporting event" Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen: "All five Race Touareg are well prepared, the team is highly motivated, and the drivers and co-drivers have not only honed themselves for the competition in tests and rallies, but also during technical training sessions, at fitness camps and navigation weeks. We are also well equipped and are looking forward to a challenging ‘Dakar’ with high-calibre competition. It’s about time that it finally started.

Rhys Millen Truck Backflip

San Diego Off-Road Coalition Update

The January/February issue of The Endangered Off-Roader is now available on our Web site:
· Due to the fact that the first Tuesday in January falls on a holiday, our January general meeting will be held on Tuesday the 8th. For details check Hope to see you there!
· Looking a little further ahead, since the Presidential Primary Elections will be held on the first Tuesday of February, our February general meeting will be on Tuesday the 12th.
· The Imperial Irrigation District has closed and locked the gate on the canal road going from the Dune Buggy Flats Area to 5 mile drop. The roads in between the old canal and the operating canal have been blocked off. The reasons given are the damage it causes to their road and liability issues. They will be locking the gate at highway 78 and the canal too. The drops will remain open. For further information check
· Effective January 1, 2008, campfires at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area and Heber Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area must contain only untreated wood products free from metal, petroleum products, and other toxic substances. In addition, no persons shall possess, ignite, or burn pallets of any kind including those made of wood, fiber, or plastic within these recreation areas.
· California Department of Parks and Recreation is initiating the process of preparing a General Plan and an associated EIR for the Truckhaven/Desert Cahuilla area and the Ocotillo Wells District. Comments must be received no later than February 13, 2007. Click the link to view the document.
· Assemblyman Joel Anderson has a great idea: He thinks we should have Special Interest License Plates for off-roaders such as there are for veterans, environmentalists, etc. Thousands of these plates on the highways would help show the size and strength of the OHV community, and a portion of the cost of the plates would be returned to our program. Joel is willing to push this through the legislature, but he needs our help. We need 10,000 signatures on a petition. You can submit your name and address online by going to
· Thanks to everyone that helped SDORC by buying an ISDRA pass from us. We sold over 300 passes and were able to keep 10% of that money to help keep our lands open. If you would like more information on buying next season’s pass, please e-mail

Vildosola Racing Baja Videos



Best In The Desert Announces Use of Transponders for Scoring

Best In The Desert is proud to announce that we will be the first professional long-distance off-road racing organization to start using instant electronic timing and scoring transponders for all race vehicles, which include scoring for Motorcycles, Quads, UTV’s, Cars and Trucks. Click on "Read More" to find out how to order your transponder before the Parker events.Best In The Desert is proud to announce that we will be the first professional long-distance off-road racing organization to start using instant electronic timing and scoring transponders for all race vehicles, which include scoring for Motorcycles, Quads, UTV’s, Cars and Trucks.Best In The Desert will use the SportTag RFID/Transponder system, Model i-B2L Type S/NA. The Transponder/TAG is a dual radio system; the main radio operates a “beacon signal” to transmit the ID of the TAG, the other is a low frequency “loop” detection frequency which allows us to define a very accurate start/finish line. Once a tag crosses this invisible line, the TAG sends out a signal over the main frequency to the reader system which is then sent to the scoring system. As a registered TAG crosses the finish line a signal is sent to an industrial buzzer for an audible verification. This signal is sent through a standard USB connection for the scoring PC to create INSTANT, ACCURATE RESULTS!The Best In The Desert racer will have two choices; you can purchase your transponder and mounting kit for $80 and it will be programmed with your race vehicle number. The transponder is yours to keep forever and it has a 2-year warranty. If you purchase the transponder you WILL NOT have to stand in line at each race to have your transponder programmed. Your transponder information will be stored in our master database. If you are not going to race more than one race a year you can pay Best In The Desert an $80 deposit at final registration and we will return your $80 deposit when you return the transponder at the end of each race. We strongly recommend you purchase your transponder and avoid the programming and installation lines, not to mention the lines to take off your transponder at the end of the race.The installation of the transponders is very specific and must all be in the same exact place to score correctly. All motorcycle transponders will be bolted on the front fender. All quads must have a front number plate and the transponder will be bolted to the bottom of the front number plate. All UTV transponders will be mounted on the down tube drivers side of the roll cage facing the driver. All car and truck transponders will be mounted on the down tube drivers side of the roll cage facing the driver.We are all very excited about this innovative system and the best advantage will be for you having instant results posted immediately after your vehicle crosses the finish line. The look of our results will change a bit but we feel getting you the results faster is a great advantage.The transponders will be available at the Epic Parker “250” final registration. If you plan on purchasing your transponder and to save time, you may want to order your transponder by contacting the Best In The Desert office at 702-457-5775 or email us at with the Rider of Record name and your race vehicle number. If you are pre-enterd we will have the transponder programmed for you before you come to registration, you’ll just have to pay and pick it up.The car/truck participants can pick up their transponders during the Parker “425” pre-fun run registration on Saturday night, January 5th. If you plan on purchasing your transponder and to save time, you may want to order your transponder by contacting the Best In The Desert office at 702-457-5775. If we have your entry form we will have the transponder programmed for you before you come to registration, you’ll just have to pay and pick it up. Send in your entry form and order your transponder early to avoid the programming lines during the race!

Raffo Racing Baja 1000

The Adventurous Baja 1000 Raffo Racing Report Chris Raffo with his all volunteer pit chasers, drivers, and navigators came from throughout the United States to run the 40th edition of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. This year?s edition saw the racers travel from Ensenada all the way to Cabo San Lucas. The trek down the peninsula for the Class 3 #306 Fig Partner, Phil?s Inc., DiMare Fresh, Reid Racing, Ringers Gloves, Fresh Air Systems, Bilstein, BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet K5 Blazer was scheduled to be nearly 1300 miles long. This was the longest route ever for the ?1000.?
Along with all the guys in the chase truck, Chris put together four pairs of drivers looking to cross the finish line before the fifty three hour time limit expired.
Driver LineupChris Raffo and his eighteen year old son, Pete, would go until mile 205, when Texan, Brianne Corn would navigate until mile marker 350.Then Californian Jeff Dolan and Wisconsin native, John Holtz, would take over the controls until the 830 mile marker. The Pennsylvania team of Dennis Chencharick at wheel with Jody Nevling keeping an eye on the course, would take over for another three hundred fifty miles. Finally Chris and Pete would get back in the Blazer to complete the final one hundred fifty miles into Cabo San Lucas.
1300 miles to Cabo The start of the race saw the #306 Fig Partner, Phil?s Inc., DiMare, Reid Racing, Ringers Gloves, Fresh Air Systems, Bilstein, BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet K5 Blazer start strong, quickly catching up to the truck that started thirty seconds in front of them.
Just after Chris and Pete headed down the trail outside of Ensenada, a u-joint broke. Undaunted the team replaced the unit and quickly got back on course. Unfortunately this was the first of many diversions the team would experience. The longer course with hundreds of miles of new territory would really test Raffo Racing.
Here?s a list of stops the team made as they raced down the Baja Peninsula.
Race Mile Description100 Replace right front flat and a broke brake hose.160 Replace front driveshaft205 Rebuild both front hubs, replace one front spindle, replace front driveshaft 250 Replace rear flat tire280 Replace rear flat tire and found broken rear brake hose340 Replace broken tie rod350 Driver change ? Jeff Dolan and John Holtz514 Run out of fuel and replace left front shackle bolt791 Run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere830 Driver change ? Dennis Chencharick and Jody Nevling, rear brake line repair 839 Replaced broken steering box990 Transmission housing breaks in two and two rear shock mounts are broke.
At race mile 990, with a lengthy repair at hand, and time running out to make to finish, Raffo Racing retires from the 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
In an effort to get some rest and decompress from the non-stop three day trek through Baja, Chris takes the team to a friend?s vacation home in Bahia de Los Angeles. There, the guys decided to replace the transfer case on the Blazer, giving the entire crew some time behind the wheel of the ?Raffonator? K5 Blazer.
Once back in the states, team owner Chris Raffo commented, "Our race obviously didn?t go as planned. All the competitors mentioned this year?s 1000 was one of the roughest in recent memory. Even the winner of our class had serious downtime. My guys never quit. No matter the problem, they kept plugging away, keeping the Blazer headed for Cabo. Unfortunately there wasn?t enough time to replace the transfer case and make it to the finish within the time limit."
"Thanks goes to Reid Racing, their steering knuckles performed flawlessly. I can?t forget Fig Partners, DiMare, D & L, High Angle Driveshaft, Powermaster, and Phil?s Inc. without their support we wouldn?t be here."
"Hats off to Brianne Corn and Jody Devling. It was their first time navigating the Baja 1000, let alone ever in Baja, they did a great job. Everybody stayed on their game for almost 50 straight hours. It?s just another incredible experience in Baja."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MDR Bud Light Dash Photo Jihad

All photos are up at Durka Durka

Remember all prints are 10% off for the first 7 days.

A few highlights