Craziest race I've Ever seen!
Maybe 8 weeks ago, Whiplash Racing inserted another race into the schedule - the Holbrook 125.
Some teams didn't like this, since they'd taken advantage of the long break to gear up for the Snowflake race in September and had to rush to get their cars back together. Anyone interested in the points challenge had to attend.
Then, to add to the confusion, there was a major monsoon rainstorm Thursday before the race. Much of the course had been washed away! Gullies had 4-foot dropoffs. And, most noteworthy, the underpass under the railroad tracks was a floating mud pit. Rumor has it that the new course was laid out on Friday and announced at 5pm the night before the race. And it included the mud pit. The race start was in Holbrook proper, but turned into a parade out of town to the new race course. Not a racer's dream!
From my spectator's standpoint, the race was also lacking. The girl at the Whiplash Racing information booth I talked to didn't even know where the pit area was! There were no signs whatsoever posted to help the viewing audience find the course. I asked a local, and of course the answer was, "over by the truck stop." Where's the truck stop?!!!!!! Luckily, one of the motorcycle racers was there and gave me directions.
The spectator area was seriously lacking. Granted, I don't expect much - I'm not scared of dirt or sitting on the ground - but there was extremely limited parking, alongside the highway. You had to cross the race course to get upwind of the dust - granted, the wind often changes but this was the prevailing western wind, on the dustiest piece of race course I've stood on! Many of my pictures make this clear - believe you me, there's a race car out there somewhere. After you park on the highway, there's an official leaning on a closed gate, which makes most spectators think they aren't allowed to get any closer, so you'd need a telephoto lens to get good shots. Through the dust.
Maybe I'm maligned in thinking so, but I believe the racers want more fans there so they can reward their sponsors!
And the biggest problem - the mud pit. 2 miles from the finish line, a big class 8 truck got stuck in the mud pit. Race cars were stuck behind him, piled in like noone had ever seen before. This changed the outcome of the race drastically - the winners were the first ones pulled out and the ones who got the best directions on which side to stick to when passing through the mud, not the first ones to get to the mud pit. Granted, some cars made it through. Also granted, luck is always a part of racing, and skill at driving through mud pits could easily be considered a part of racing - but when the whole field is stuck, what's supposed to happen?!
This year, Whiplash racing has been hit & miss. Gila Bend was great - lots of signs, all the anemities a fan could ask for. The same can be said about Parker. But the first Mexico race, and now Holbrook, were clusters! I'm sure that Snowflake will be better, but I'm curious to see what Whiplash does for the points challenge.