SMR

RACE TRACKS

The longest offroad race in the United States



Aug 28, 2007

KTM riders David Pearson and Quinn Cody took the KTM 690 Baja through another tough test at the weekend to finish third in the Vegas to Reno desert race billed as "The longest offroad race in the United States". The result was another step in the quest to test out the bike in the toughest race conditions ahead of the legendary Baja 1000, and a result that KTM's rally team boss Hans Trunkenpolz described as a satisfying.

"At KTM it is difficult to describe a third place as a success, but this time it is justified," Trunkenpolz said. After all, the winning team is a 10-time winner for the Baja 1000 and the second team won the Baja 500 earlier this year.

The race, which this year attracted more than 300 motorcycles, quads and rally car, started near Vas Vegas and finished in Carson City after 565 miles (920 km) of tough desert riding. For the KTM team, the race was tinged with sadness. It was planned for two teams to start but as Chris Blais sustained spinal injuries in the pre-run, only one team was present at the start. Chris's prospective partner Cyril Despres attended as observer and team assistant.

With temperatures in the mid 30 degrees Celsius, it was David Pearson who launched the latest competition test for the 690 Baja. Changeovers were made at pits 2,8,11 and 14 with Quinn Cody finally finishing the race. The team was particularly encouraged that they were able to hold their own with the top teams, including taking the lead in the early part of the race. Even if it became clear that the multi-winning Honda 1 team was going to triumph, the KTM riders had a good chance of coming in second right up to the final stage. They eventually lost the edge through an unplanned front wheel change at Pit 14, but still finished in third place overall by a very narrow margin. After 920 km through the toughest desert conditions, they were just 50 seconds behind the second place getter. "With this result," said Trunkenpolz, "we cannot be dissatisfied."