27, 2015 (Erfoud, Morocco)—It was a long day for Gazelles who covered almost 190
kilometers during Friday’s second leg. Competitors left the bivouac in Mech
Irdane at 6 a.m. and cars were still pouring into the bivouac, which moved just
southeast of Erfoud, well after dark.
Terrain: Competitors encountered
one of the classic challenges of the Rally: the "cauliflower field", a strange
desert plant that looks like a giant grey-green cauliflower and which, in
addition to being inedible, is as hard as rock. There were few clear features
along the route, and even the best features were often so far away that they
were easily lost in the heat haze. Points of reference were uncertain at best
and frequently nonexistent.
Cars take the line at 6 a.m. sharp every
After posting an impressive 16th place finish
after the first leg—the highest finish for the American teams--the Hoehn sisters
of Team #107, Jo Hannah and Susanah of San Diego, carried their momentum into
Friday’s leg. They were the first American team back to the bivouac after
completing all eight checkpoints. That didn’t mean their day didn’t come without
some ups and downs.
“We went up this difficult pass, which was
not a real trail, but more like a rocky, terrifying, mule nomad path,” said Jo
Hannah about the day’s terrain. “It took years off my life. Susanah had to put
her confidence face on and told me that the car could do it, and I could do it.
When you have to place your tires so specifically in one place and you can’t see
below the hood, you trust that person 100-percent.”
the bivouac! Competitors had to reach the final checkpoint by 7 p.m.
Jessi Combs and Nicole
There are five American teams competing for
the first time in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. Leading the way for the first
time competitors was Team #180--Jessi Combs, a TV personality with a strong car
racing background, and her driver Nicole Pitell-Vaughan, owner of Total Chaos.
The team finished second in the Prologue behind former Gazelle winner Armelle
Medard, and then put up a solid performance during the first leg where they
finished 24th. During Friday’s competition, the team made some
mistakes—including mapping the wrong checkpoint, which cost them eight
kilometers--but they ultimately made all eight checkpoints and were back to the
bivouac as the sun was setting.
Susie Saxten waves on her driver at
Dark Horses Step Up--Sarah and Susie
The best surprise performance of the day went
to Team #175 Sarah and Susie Saxten from Encinitas and San Diego, California.
(Sarah is married to Susie’s brother.) The Saxten’s took their time on the
course, but kept moving. “I got out of the car a lot more today,” said Susie,
the team’s navigator, “and the terrain started to make a lot more sense.” The
team just squeaked into the final checkpoint at the cut-off time of 7 p.m., but
they were dead on for most of the day—an impressive feat for their first Rally.
A graduated of Stanford University, Susie said, “Nothing I’ve done could prepare
us for this.”
First time competitor Sarah Saxten at
Winner of Best Adventure Team #23:
Sarah Price and Erica Sacks
Yes, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles is a race,
but often it’s the team with the best adventure that gets the biggest props.
Winner of the best adventure so far in 2015 is Team #23: Sarah
Price and Erica Sacks. The first American team to compete in a Side-by-Side,
Price is a former X Games medalist in motocross, while Sacks is an accomplished
gymnast with desert racing experience.
Their adventure began before the race even
started. Their vehicle didn’t arrive in time for the Prologue because of a
snowstorm in the Atlas Mountains. Then when the team took the line for
Thursday’s leg 1, they made a navigation error and went to the wrong checkpoint.
Because of this, they missed one of their potential fuel spots and eventually
ran out of gas. The women had to spend the night in the desert, until rally
officials were able to deliver fuel. They didn’t return to the bivouac until
3:30 a.m.—just 30 minutes before Friday’s wake up call.
Price and Erica Sacks, Team #23, are the first Americans to compete in the
Quad/Moto/SSV class at the Rally.
Expert Class--Sabrina Howells and Amy
The only American team competing in the
“Expert" class, Team #400, Sabrina Howells and Amy Lerner also had a good second
leg. “The checkpoints were really spread apart and there are more of them, so
you really had to be strategic with your time,” said Howells. After a rough
start to their competition, Howells, who is competing in her third Rally, said
she finally felt like she “belonged” on Friday. The team made all of their
checkpoints, while some of the more experienced teams didn’t. 2014 Rally winners
Jeanette James and Anne Marie Borg led the expert class after the first leg, but
said they struggled during Friday’s leg and that the day was “really long and
journalist Alyssa Roenigk competes in her first Rallye
Aïcha des Gazelles
Crossover Class--Beavis and Roenigk
Chrissie Beavis and Alyssa Roenigk, Team
#317, had a solid day in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and made all eight
checkpoints. When Crossover class leader Andrea Spielvogel made a mistake before
the finish, the American team likely moved into the top position. (Final results
from Friday aren’t available until noon on Saturday.) No American teams have
entered the class before, although Beavis competed in the Rally in 2013 with
professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and finished 8th in the 4 x 4 class.
Roenigk is a journalist for ESPN, and 2015 is her first Rallye Aïcha des
The dunes are
the best place to catch some air
Spirit of the
Gazelles--Cahill and Croft
After breaking their shock mount at 11 a.m.,
Rhonda Cahill of Team #218, along with Rachelle Croft, said, “We hit rock bottom
when we thought we were going to have to call for assistance.” The team relied
on a ratchet strap for a solution. “We had to drive really slowly so we could
get all of our checkpoints, and we tried to not loose courage,” said Cahill. “We
had several women that stopped to try and help us, though. People kept stopping
and offering assistance.” The team, who finished 29th on Thursday’s first leg,
went on to make all of their checkpoints on Friday despite the mechanical
Check the website for the latest standings on
all 158 teams
Rankings: Rankings from each stage
are not official until noon (local time) the day after each leg. While updates
will be sent out after every stage, official rankings should be pulled from the
for media use. Please send email request.
About: The Rallye Aïcha des
Gazelles is a grueling test of driving skill and navigation across southern
Morocco’s most beautiful and challenging terrain. The rally is unique whereby
teams are not allowed technological assistance. In the absence of GPS,
communications and service crews, teams must find the shortest distance between
the checkpoints over nine days of competition with only the aid of traditional
navigation – compass, outdated maps, and plotters. The event is an incredible
test of endurance, patience, and teamwork, pushing competitors to their limits.
includes nine days of competition (including the prologue) broken up into six
stages. While the last day of racing will conclude on April 2nd, the official
results won’t be announced until Saturday, April 4th in the coastal town of
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RENO, Nev.—Southern gentleman Clyde Stacy, of Bristol, Va., received the honor of drawing the first starting position for next month’s history-making Inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 desert race in his No. 5 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck that will race in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks. The drawing was held Tuesday in Reno, Nev. where SCORE’s corporate headquarters is located.
Stacy and his protégé Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez of Tecate, Mexico, finished third in January in the season-opening Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 in Baja, Mexico.
SCORE International, for over four decades known as the world’s foremost desert racing organization, is taking another giant step into the future as Round 2 of the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship will mark the first time in its storied history that SCORE will present a race entirely in Baja California Sur, on the southern end of the Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula.
Following several years of negotiations and finalization of details with Mexican officials, SCORE, known as trail blazers in the sport of desert racing, will present the inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 on April 15-19. Round 2 of the SCORE World Desert Championship will start at the luxurious tourist destination of Cabo San Lucas on the southernmost tip of the peninsula and finish in the picturesque city of Loreto on the glistening Sea of Cortez on the east side of the peninsula.
SCORE was founded in 1973, SCORE Baja racing began in 1974 and SCORE is celebrating its 42nd year in 2015. With three races held annually for nearly 30 years in Baja, this race is the historical first time a SCORE Baja race will start and finish exclusively in the southern state of Baja California Sur. Previously the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 desert race has finished 20 times in La Paz and twice in Cabo San Lucas.
M/C & CLASS 1
Drawing the first start among the motorcycle class was Colton Udall, Oceanside, Calif., who won the season-opener in San Felipe in January on a Honda CRF450X. First of the line in the unlimited Class 1 will be George Peters, Newbury Park, Calif., who finished third in class in San Felipe in a Chevy-powered Racer open-wheel desert race car.
With late entries accepted up to 5 p.m. the evening before the race (April 17), over 100 entries from 15 US States and five countries expected to enter the inaugural race that will feature competition in 25 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. A total of 65 entries were received in time for the start draw on Tuesday, including 13 each in both SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1.
"This new SCORE Baja race has consumed massive man hours in developing the concept and designing the plan for the event and we salute all those racers who have accepted the challenge to become part of history at this inaugural race,” commented Roger Norman, SCORE CEO and President. “All of us at SCORE and the Baja Sur committees enthusiastically embrace the Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 and we are certain this will add volumes to the legacy of SCORE International. The race course if fast and beautiful and I am certain the racers will get to enjoy its magnificent beauty during pre-running.”
Pre-running on the official race course begins this Friday (March 27) and the GPS coordinates will be posted on the SCORE website this Thursday. The course map can already be found on the SCORE website under the text icon of race info.
A magnificent 424.43-mile course has been plotted with four physical checkpoints along the route from the start in Cabo San Lucas to the finish on the Malecon in Loreto. Much of the race course has never been used before in the 22 times SCORE has finished a race in either La Paz or Cabo San Lucas.
The exciting and challenging course runs northwest along the Pacific Ocean up through Todos Santos before moving northeast and inland at race mile 120. Going near La Paz, the course moves alongside the Sea of Cortez where it heads north to San Evaristo at race mile 220. From there, the course turns sharply southeast, heading back into the center of the peninsula. At Las Golondrinas (rm 260) the course turns back northwest and then north into Loreto passing near Cd. Constitucion and Cd. Insurgentes on the way up through Santo Domingo and San Javier into the finish on the Malecon in Loreto.
The green flag will drop first in the elapsed-time race for motorcycles and quads at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday (April 18). With a minimum of a four-hour gap in between the start of the motorcycles/quads, cars, trucs and UTVs will get the green flag starting at 11:15 a.m. The start line will be in the Cabo San Lucas Wash at the Yenecamu Fields and the finish line will be on the Malecon in Loreto.
The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway, contingency and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday (April 17). Contingency will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tech from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Yenecamu Fields in Cabo San Lucas. Racer registration will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday (April 16) and Friday (April 17) in the Pericues Ballroom at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa, the race headquarters in Cabo San Lucas.
Both held prior to the start of the race, the Monster Energy SCORE Baja Sur 500 Party will be held at The Office on the Beach on Playa El Medano on Wednesday (April 15) from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the pre-race Bud Light SCORE Kick-off Party will be held on Thursday (April 16) from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Casa Dorada.
In Loreto, La Mision Hotel is the race headquarters with the finish line adjacent to the resort on the Malecon on the Sea of Cortez. In the finish line area on Saturday (April 18), the Bud Light Finish Line Party will also be held. The awards celebration will conclude the festivities on the Malecon adjacent to La Mision Hotel on Sunday (April 19) at 10 a.m.
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK ENTRIES
Led by Mexico’s Gus Vildosola Jr, who has 80 season points after winning the SCORE season opener in San Felipe in the No. 21 Branix Mexicana Logistics Ford Raptor, will start third in Cabo, behind Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin who finished second in San Felipe in the No. 97 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado.
Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, who finished 10th after leading three-fourths of the race in San Felipe, drew the fourth starting position in the No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150.
Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico, will start fifth in the No. 17 RPM Racing Chevy Silverado.
Defending SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion Steven Eugenio of El Centro, Calif. and new teammate Armin Schwarz of Germany, drew the eighth starting spot in the No. 1 Galindo Motorsports Chevy Silverado.
Working diligently with SCORE’s Roger Norman and international liaison Oscar Ramos to make this dream race a reality have been numerous individuals in Baja California Sur, here is the team from Mexico that have been working tirelessly to prepare for this first-time event:
Marcos Alberto Covarrubias Villasenor, Governor of the State of Baja California Sur
Gil Cueva Tabardillo, Baja California Sur State Congressman
Jose S. Jassen, President of the Mexican Motorsports Federation
Ruben Reachi Lugo, Secretary of Tourism of Baja California Sur
Jose Antonio Agundez Montano, May of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur
Francisco Monroy Sanchez, Mayor of La Paz, Baja California Sur
Jorge Aviles Perez, Mayor of Loreto, Baja California Sur
Venustiano Perez Sanchez, Mayor of Comondu, Baja California Sur
SCORE has also enjoy tremendous cooperation and coordination between Federal, State and Municipal authorities as well as Hotel Associations, Restaurants, Chambers and many other groups involved in the tourist activities. The primary goal from the start of this project has been to provide the racers, teams and spectators with the quality of overall event structure to all them to enjoy the beauty of Baja Sur.
Significant in the preparation for this massive event has also been the congenial participation and involvement of the Mexican Army, Navy, Federal, State and Municipal Police, Red Cross and Civil Protection and the Mayors of Los Cabos, La Paz, Comondu and Loreto.
In its 42nd year as the world's foremost desert racing organization in 2015, the five-race 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship series includes four special events in Baja California, Mexico, and one in the United States. Here is the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
29th Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250, held Jan. 22-25, San Felipe, Mexico
Inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500, April 16-19, Cabo San Lucas to Loreto, Mexico
47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500, June 4-7, Ensenada Mexico
3rd SCORE Imperial Valley 250, Sept. 24-27, Coyne Powersports Motorplex-Plaster City, Calif.
All-New Wolverine R-Spec will be Given Away to Support NHF Day
CYPRESS, Calif. – March 25, 2015 – Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, the leading maker of ATV and Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles for outdoorsmen and women, is supporting the National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) again in 2015, and this year is giving away the all-new Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec in Hunter Green through an online sweepstakes at: www.yamahaoutdoors.com/nhfday.
This is the eighth year Yamaha is sponsoring NHF Day and is proud to continue to support the event and overall effort by giving away a prize that sets a new standard in off-road capability, has class-leading comfort and is assembled right here in the USA. The sweepstakes will be promoted online and at NHF Day events nationwide. Outdoorsmen and women, 18 years-of-age or older, can enter to win by simply registering online through the end of October 2015.
“Our team at Yamaha looks forward to this sweepstakes every year to help show our support for outdoorsmen and women across the country,” said Steve Nessl, marketing manager for Yamaha’s ATV/SxS group. “Yamaha is committed to conservation efforts for outdoor recreational enthusiasts, and partnering with organizations such as NHF Day is an important part of that work.”
Scheduled annually on the fourth Saturday of September, this year the celebration of hunting, fishing and conservation is set for September 26th. NHF Day serves as the most effective grassroots effort ever taken to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Yamaha, through its relationships with organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, Buckmasters, Tread Lightly!, National Wild Turkey Federation and NHFD, among others, is a continued supporter of conservation efforts for outdoor recreational enthusiasts.
“Yamaha has been an important supporter of NHF Day for nearly a decade,” said Misty Mitchell, director of conservation programs for Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Mo. — the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day. “NHF Day participants are in for a real treat this year with the all-new Wolverine R-Spec, and I’m sure we’ll have a tremendous turnout for the online sweepstakes and at our events in September.”
One lucky entrant, 18 years-of-age or older, will win a 2016 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec in Hunter Green that is assembled in the U.S.A. Total approximate retail value is $12,199. No purchase necessary. The sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on October 31, 2015. The winner will be determined by random drawing.
2016 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec
“The all-new Wolverine will extend Yamaha’s Side-by-Side line into the recreation segment creating a new level of durability, quality, handling and superior off-road capabilities not yet seen in the off-road industry,” said Mike Martinez, Yamaha’s Recreational Vehicle (RV) group vice president. “Yamaha’s Wolverine R-Spec SxS is made for off-road enthusiasts, hunters and explorers looking to navigate tight, technical trails and extreme off-road terrain.”
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, (YMUS), a leader in the motorsports market, makes the toughest, most capable and versatile ATV and Side-by-Side vehicles. The company’s ever-expanding product offerings also include motorcycles, outboard motors, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, boats, outdoor power equipment, accessories, apparel and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of dealers in the United States.
Headquartered in Cypress, Calif., since its incorporation in 1976, Yamaha also has facilities in Wisconsin and Georgia, as well as factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. For more information on Yamaha, visit www.yamahamotorsports.com.
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