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July 29, 2021

303 2017 Baja 1000 Race Report

2017 Baja 1000 Race Report From Chris Wilson, owner of the 303: Plan was just cruse at a prerun pace, not try to smoke Moss just run a little more than his pace.
Sykes and Glen started. Followed the plan. Both 303 and 302 (Moss) passed a ton of cars due to class starting way back. By RM 227, both had passed all the 5-1600, 7sx, and were half way through the 7 opens. Filter was loaded in silt. Glen reported Sykes drove great, easy on car.

Prior to the race we had lost the 427 due to a crack pipe builder and replaced it with a 460 small block, a stroked version of the 427 small block. Rebuilt carb but never rejetted it. The 427 always ran great. Week before the race after a couple test sessions where it ran great, we put it on the dyno. Just to make sure the bigger engine had no lean spots. It didn’t in fact it was super rich in the secondaries. Decided rich is safe, no change at last minute.
Unintended consequence was that engine was too rich to run when filter clogged., Replace filter and all was A-ok.

So filter was clogged at RM 227 but not too bad. TT n I got in 303 and started on hwy section. As soon as we hit the dirt and found a straight piece of racetrack, I rolled on the power from the big 460 and it acted like it was out of fuel. 1 mile to BFG pit. Pulled in expecting it to take 70 gal but it took 55. Not out of gas. So onward we went, only using half throttle. Found we could run an average pace equal or greater than Moss with half throttle so we decided not to stop until planned stop. We dropped into the big sand wash after Gonzaga and put on a clinic on how to beat feet and make time. Cars stuck, people digging, 4wd and make our own line.
Dropped into a hardly used wash and saw a blue reflector. Went there and found a miles long smooth straight line, lightly travelled and laughed as we passed cars with lights going up down.
Still not able to use secondaries but suspension great so able to carry momentum. Aftert passing perhaps 20 cars in the big wash we found ourselves all alone for the graded road to cocos. Other than 1000 chase trucks. And off to frog canyon. One Trophy Truck passes us but saw no one else all the way to El Crucero. Got on top of whoops right after El Crucero just because we could. Truck really working good – at half throttle. Our race chase truck and caught our next drivers by surprise, they were out of suits and had to scramble to get dressed and into truck. WTF.
Ant was broken so no radio comms. Approx 30 min lead on Moss at this point. Was planning to replace filter but it was in chase truck and not there yet.
Told Dan just go, he can average 40mph w/o using secondaries and told him we would change filter at Vizcaino crossing so he would have full power for silt beds.

Vizcaino, Moss comes by, then 30 min later Dan shows up. WTF. Turns out he was lolly gagging. Got a flat and took forever to change it. Stopped to pull some buddies out of a stuck. Then stopped for unknown reason to freshen up. Moss blew by while they were out of truck cleaning helmets and out of their gear. So we change the filter and tell them to go and he says he needs to get out to pee. Could not do that while we were working on filter? OK so off he goes. No problem in silt with the big 460 now at full power again. Comes into BFG Sn Iggy still 30 min down. Brandon takes over and is off. Not really worried as the whoops down south will allow us to make up 30-60 min on Moss if needed. Chase trucks in Mulige when MSAT call comes that upper rear wishbone ripped out of truck at the frame at RM 690.

We have a welder on chase truck and stop at welding shop to gather some raw materials. And down the dirt cross over road we go. Rough and slow but faster than going around. We get to racer and it’s not good. wishbone took out fuel lines, oil lines, bent some tubing etc.
The failure was in multiple places, and we were able to weld it enough to make it roll. Bypassed oil coolers and made a good fuel line. 2″ ratchet strap held wishbone in place and we drove it out to San Ignacio in 4wd where my Dad had an empty trailer from delivering fuel drums.
NExt day the Super Duty arrived which was in Scorpion Bay. Load up and hitched up and headed north. Smoked SD tranny half way. SMoke and oil pouring out. Let it cool. Unloaded racer, put empty trailer behind raptor and continued on. racer oil at 280 and climbing. Stopped and put another gallon in.

Kept speed to 40mph and kept oil at 250. Onto the dirt at Chapala and wishbone breaks again. It’s fucked and needs a trailer. So onto the trailer behind the raptor it goes. way overloaded, 55mph max all the way to Pete’s camp. Will go get my camper to finish the tow home. Plenty of windshield time to redesign wishbone. Will turn engine too. Not sure if issue is power valve or just secondary jetting. Steve Dose said it’s so rich he could get 50hp more from it. Just what we need. Not.

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