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Blais Racing Services rider Sam Bangert GXE Baja Challenge Race Report 2013


GXE Baja Challenge
Gorman, CA


By: Sam Bangert, IRONMAN Class

This upcoming GXE was going to be the race of my life - 8 hours total riding solo! 4 hours during the day and 4 hours at night. Preparing for this race was going to be tough but I had to push my body to the limits. I would run or do some type of cardio every day, and cross training at my local Crossfit gym (Crossfit Hi Def). Jacob Argubright and I would also ride whooped out sand tracks for me to get ready for the 8th hour of the race.

The week before the race, I would rest my body and hydrate until Thursday when myself, Nic Garvin, and Jacob decided to head up to Fresno for an Endurocross race. The night was awesome! I won my very first Endurocross race!

On Friday, I loaded all my stuff up and Saturday morning, me and my mom headed out. It was very odd starting at 1:00pm because usually we always start by 10am. So the hours before the race, I spent prepping my bike and myself for the challenge ahead.

The start of the race was quite interesting. I got the holeshot for once! I had a couple bike lengths already on fellow racer and buddy, Brian Denny, when we hit the first table-top jump. The motocross section was fun with some small jumps. The course is definitely one to remember with jumps everywhere. I got in a nice pace and started just doing my thing. Right off the bat I was passing people which I thought was odd because I had 7.5 more hours to go. I was thinking maybe I should slow my pace but I felt great.

As time wore on, I would keep the same pace within 30 seconds each of my laps. On the last few laps, the jumps started to wear on me. If it wasn't for my Race Tech/ESR Suspension and
Fasst Co handlebars, it would of really brought me down. The course was so fun! There were scrubbers everywhere. I was draggin' peg like no other and the flowy berms were just icing on the cake.

I had some really fun battles with Bryan Denny's team but was able to stay in front of them for the day race and ended up 1st Place Overall Amateur and 7th Place Overall bike - 2nd Place Ironman.

As the sun slowly started to set and the crawlers of night began to creep out, I was eating pasta and preparing for the 4 hour night portion of the race. We started off one by one 30 seconds behind each other. Night riding is one of my favorite things to do.... If I have a light.

The first half of the night race was really fun and I just felt as if I was sailing and then boom - total darkness. I found myself with no front light. I turned my helmet light on to the brightest setting and kept going so we could figure out the problem in the pits. As I pulled into pits, everyone was asking what happened to the light and we figured it would be a lengthy fix so I decided to proceed with just the Baja Designs helmet light which could go three hours on one battery.

In the remaining laps, I would get more comfortable with only the helmet light. I had a lot of fun racing at night. With two laps to go, Kevin DeJongh would follow me half a lap into the pits to give me some extra light and when I would leave for the last lap, Nic Garvin would follow me for the whole lap and give me extra light. The finish line was the best thing ever. This  race would honestly have to be my biggest accomplishment yet!

I finished 1st Place Ironman, 2nd Overall Amateur & 9th Overall bike. I want to thank my main man Jesus, my family, Jacob Argubright, Nic, Kevin, Jeremy, Ivan, Kurt, my whole team, Blais Racing Services, Fasst Company, KTM, Amsoil, VCMC, Muscle Milk/ Cytomax, FMF, Troy Lee Designs, Asterisk, 100%, Rekluse, Race Tech/ESR, Fastway, Bullet Proof Designs, Dirt Tricks, and Erek/GXE for an awesome race like always!

P.S. - I want to thank Michael Allen for always giving me advice and acting like brother to me! 'Till next time - Yee yee!

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