Brenthel Tested To Their Limits On Way To Baja 1000 Podium
November 19, 2014
La Paz, Baja California Mexico
Brenthel Industries does extensive computer modeling and stress analysis on every new product they build. Once the initial design is constructed, extensive field testing is done. After testing and tuning is complete, they then take on the ultimate test, competition. No testing can truly duplicate the type of punishment that takes place during a race. At the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 their team was tested to their absolute limits and beyond.
It all began the week leading up to the race. Juggling a successful business, a move from their Newport Beach shop to larger facilities in Anaheim, Ca. and preparation for the Baja 1000, there were simply not enough hours in the day for brothers Jonathan and Jordan Brenthel. After a full day of work, they trailered their Brenthel Industries race truck to Barstow for a shakedown. The shakedown is a chance to bed in the brakes, do any last minute tuning and make sure everything is operating properly.
Arriving at 11:30 pm Saturday night, they did not expect to see anyone there but were greeted by a group of kids who swarmed their truck to check it out. After unloading, they set out for a couple loops around the area. Barstow is not exactly the boonies but it can be a lonely place late at night. While out on a lap disaster struck; the brand new engine locked up. Stranded with no chase crew, they jumped on Facebook and somehow got in touch with the fans they encountered earlier who came to assist them. They finally left Barstow at 7 am on Sunday. Monday was spent installing a new motor, harness and accessories before heading back to Barstow again. This time the truck ran perfectly so they loaded up for the ride home. While running down the freeway, their chase truck’s front hub seized sending the wheel flying and the rotor dragging on the pavement. They somehow got it back together enough to make it to the new shop. Now early Tuesday morning, they switched everything to a second chase truck before leaving straight to Ensenada for the race.
The crew took the truck to Ensenada, Jonathan and Jordan drove to Catavina with the 7200 truck to do a final pre-run before the race. They had loaned their Recon Pre-runner to a customer so the 7200 truck was pressed into service. 180 miles into their pre-run disaster struck once more, they lost the engine on the 7200 truck in a remote section of the course with the crew in Ensenada for contingency. After reaching the crew, it took 4 hours for them to reach the truck. With so much hardship in the last few days you would think it could not get any worse but that’s when the leaf spring on their new trailer broke. They strapped up the wounded suspension and headed to the hotel to try and get some rest before the race.
Undeterred by a lack of sleep and the calamities suffered in the last couple of days, the team set out the next morning on a 1,275 mile course filled with every conceivable obstacle the Baja Peninsula can dish out. Jamie Galles took the green flag and settled into a good pace running in second place on the road. Their first stop went flawlessly and gave the team hope for a good showing. The second stop went just a smooth but the truck was overdue at the third pit. Jamie had gotten stuck in the silt losing time on the competition. By the time he got out of the silt and made it to pit 3 he was 2 hours down. Jonathan got in the truck and set out to make up time. The goal was still the same, to win the race. He was making good time when he hit a large rock buried in the silt. The vibration that resulted soon turned into a big problem when the driveshaft let go and ruptured the fuel cell. To make matters worse, the bolts were sheared off in the yoke requiring tools they did not have on board. They had to wait for the crew who was miles away at the next pit.
Feeling dejected, they were joined by the Cops racing crew who stopped to offer assistance. Their enthusiasm was a big lift and they offered to strap a 55 gallon drum of fuel to the truck if that’s what it took to get them to La Paz. It pumped them up enough to get them back in the race. They got the truck running and somehow made it to the next check point with only seconds to spare only to learn that the cut-off time was extended by 2 hours. They pulled into a Baja Pits full of Locos Mocos members who sprang into action. They fixed the driveshaft, repaired the fuel cell and topped off all the fluids. “These guys not only figured out a way to fix the fuel cell but they got it repaired in no time,” says Jonathan, “We took on 65 gallons of fuel without it leaking a drop.”
With their Rigid Industries LED’s lighting cutting through the darkness, they made their way to the next scheduled stop only to find the crew was out of position due to their previous call for assistance. With no fuel they did what anyone would, they pulled into the nearest Pemex station for a fill-up and told the crew to head south. Once under way they then developed another issue. The steering felt strange so they stopped to check it out. With all the attention paid to the back of the truck, some damage to the front went unnoticed. They had damage to the front brake line, power steering system and bypass shock. Dead tired and with a damaged truck Jonathan did not know whether he could make it any farther but Jordan spurred him on and actually had to tell him to slow down. This time, they made it 65 miles to meet up with the crew who made repairs to everything but the shock; there were no parts to fix that. Jonathan got out and Josh Rigsby got in. Josh had a clean run all the way to the finish despite no bypass on the front corner.
“I am so proud of this entire team,” said Jonathan, “It was a nightmare leading up to the race and we had some issues to deal with but we refused to pack it in. With all the problems we had our Falken tires never let us down. Despite the silt, rocks and miles of square edged bumps we had zero flats and our Method Race Wheels were flawless. This was a hard earned podium finish for us; we are really happy with the results.”
With a race like that behind them you would think a vacation was in order but the Brenthel Industries crew is already back to work completing their move and finishing customer cars for the BITD race in a few weeks. They also need to swap in a new motor in the 7200 truck so Jordan can wrap up what they hope will be a championship winning season at the BITD Henderson 250. Brenthel Industries has the same commitment to success whether it’s during the design process, construction or out on the race course. The qualities in each car they build are a direct result of the care and attention to detail that they receive every step of the way. Any job you have, big or small can benefit from Brenthel’s meticulous engineering and precise craftsmanship; give them a call today at 949-642-3003 to discuss how they can help you accomplish your next project.
Photography By: Bink Designs & Brenthel Industries