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Brendan Crow Race Report from Inagural GXE Baja Challenge 8 hour team race



Gorman, CA.

By: Brendan Crow, 2-Stroke Pro Class ...

I had been looking forward to the GXE Baja Challenge all year, and after deciding that the Blais team would consist of Skyler, Ben, and I in the 2stroke pro class (while Sam would ironman!), I knew we had a very strong team. I have always loved riding at Gorman, and it had been a couple years since the last time I was there. Our team strategy had Skyler starting, and that allowed the rest of the team to watch the start.

Skyler had a great start getting the holeshot and staying right up front throughout the part of the course we could see from the pits, but then it was time to wait around for the rider switch. We had decided that our team would be switching every lap, and I was the one going on course when Skyler came through. My nerves from watching the start had not gone away, it didn’t help that the top 4 were within spitting distance of each other after one lap!

Sklyer came in and I was off. The first lap I rode way too tight, I wasn’t used to the slippery Gorman soil quite yet, and my right arm started to pump up around the halfway mark. I took my time and tried to learn the course because I knew it would get rougher, and we still had a lot of hours left. I was happy that the week before I had taken the time to have Earl of ESR help tune my Race Tech suspension for that very reason. After my first lap I handed it off to Ben, and then was able to calm my nerves and focus on the rest of the day. It soon became very evident that it was going to be an all day battle with the Purvines 2 stroke pro team, because neither team was able to gap the other. After completing the 4 hour day portion, the Blais team stood 2nd overall and first 2stroke pro!

We had a 2 hour break between the day and night portion which allowed us some time to prepare and hook up the lights! I have only ever raced at night once, back in 2010, so I was eager to give it a shot since I have evolved so much since then. Skyler would be starting once again, and only 30 seconds ahead of the Purvines team. After he came through and I was on the bike, I quickly remembered how different it is to race at night.

My first lap around felt really slow, but I was able to stay in front of the Purvines team so everyone had been slowed by the darkness. I then handed it off to Ben, who would go a lap and then switch with Skyler. While Ben was out on course we made the decision that our last times around we would go 2 laps each to finish out the race once Skyler got back on. He got on the bike for his 2 laps, and we were still holding off the Purvines team getting past the halfway mark. Skyler made his final laps, and handed it to me. My first lap around felt great! It wasn’t any faster than my previous lap, but I was riding without using very much energy and flowing effortlessly through the course. I was having an amazing time!

My 2nd and final time around wasn’t nearly as great. Right after going through the pits I noticed a lot of dust hanging in the air. Great. I have been terrible in the dust all year. Looking ahead I was able to see that this dust was coming from none other than a quad, this just amplified things and made me nervous (twice as much dust, and twice as hard to get around!). As I was stuck in the thick of his dust I could only think of how terrible of timing this was, the Beta was coming. After check one while on a wide rode, he got by me in the dust. I knew he would be catching that quad quickly, so I had to put the hammer down and try to get by as well. After finally getting past the quad (halfway or so) I put myself into an all out sprint. I could see the Beta in front of me; he had pulled out a substantial lead while I had been fumbling in the dust. I set my sights on trying to get as close as I possibly could before handing off the bike to Ben for the final 2 laps. At one point I was able to close in to the tail end of his dust, which gave me the excitement that I didn’t entirely loose this race for us. Then disaster struck. With only a couple miles left, while pacing his dust, my leg cramped. I tried my best to maintain my pace, but in the end it proved to be too difficult and I just lost more time. I handed it to Ben and waited for the last few laps to unfold.

We finished 3rd overall and 2nd 2 stroke pro, and were roughly 30sec off of the next spot up. Although I was a bit disappointed, the team still did a stellar job and I had a lot of fun. We came away safe and had no issues with the bikes thanks to our great sponsors. I want to thank our sponsors for the best equipment which allows for great times at the races! Blais Racing, Fasst Co, Notoil, Dirt Tricks, FMF, Race Tech, IMS, BRP, Xbrand, Acerbis, Alpinestars, Fastway, Bulletproof designs, Rekluse, HBD graphics, TLD, and Kenda.



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