Whiplash Parker 400

Many of you have heard of the Parker 400 off-road race. Not suprising, since it dates back to the 1950's. However, SCORE dropped the race this year and Whiplash racing picked it up! Rumor has it that SCORE is having some financial troubles and had to trim back a bit.

Whiplash, however, is an established race promoter. They have a full-time staff, dedicated personnel they use as checkpoint staff, safety and medical, and radio base - and they're the promoters of the Snowflake race (held earlier this year in Snowflake, Arizona). Motorcycles and ATV's apparently have a different racing circuit, so none were present at the Parker 400.

More noteworthy, though, was the lack of "trophy trucks" and class 11 VW's. Trophy trucks are a very expensive proposition and probably are focused on the SCORE points challenge. The race course at Parker is known to eat vehicles alive and maybe isn't conducive to a class 11. I'll be gathering more info as time goes on.

For those who want to see ALL the pictures, Click Here and Go Get a Cold Beverage - All 20 Pictures will Display. Otherwise, read on - images are thumbnailed.

This is the area in front of the checkered flag, and a view of the cars that made it. By my count, 5 class-5 1600 cars finished the race, out of a field of 7 (don't quote me on these numbers), and this is considered to be an excellent survival rate in Parker.

And here we have - the winners! I overheard some discussion about them getting a hole in their motor (valve cover or pushrod tube?) in the last stretch, and they didn't know whether they were going to make it in or not. But their courage got them the checkered flag. That's baja style for ya.

Car 578 probably came in 3rd. Again, without official results, there could have been penalties, or the times of the staggered start could change the finishing order, so don't quote me!

Sorry about the white line in the large image of this one - scanner troubles, wouldn't clean up.

Take a look at the sky in the background. I spoke a few words of will-wishing for the racers still out on the east end of the course.

Here's the third-place car, Ragged Edge Racing's #577. Just so happens I've corresponded with Mike, and he's in the process of tearing down the car & prepping it for next season. Immediate discoveries are transaxle shredding and some cracks in the rear spring plates.

Sheer luck - a reference for front-wheel clearance to fender! I didn't even stage this. Also notable are the three mondo lights on the front, and a screen to keep the scree off of 'em.

You gotta love the availability of the high-lift jack, a must-have for seriously lifted bajas doing serious offroading.

This is a picture looking into the moguls of "The Gauntlet," a constructed spectator area with jumps, four turns, moguls, and the lap-counting point. (Not the same as the starting line - the race started in downtown Parker.)

Take a look at the coils, mounted on the near top bar of the rear cage. Two of 'em. Should any coil problems occur, the co-driver could swap wires to the secondary coil in just a few seconds. Also note that the airbox is in the back seat, out of the dust.

Car 560 might have come in 4th. It was a cold day with a storm front moving in, and there was a steady drizzle for a couple of hours on the last lap. Not enough for major mud or flowing washes, but makes for some pretty mud.

This last photo is a class 10 car. I include it because it looks So Good! Some will say that the class 10 car is what the baja wants to grow up to be. They're partially right - rules include VW motor and 1600 cc - but I don't think I'd like to drive one on a cold wet day (unless there was a checkered flag waiting for me).

More on the way!

Baja Gods permitting, this lizrd will be at the Laughlin Desert Challenge (the new first SCORE race of the season), camera in hand!