The 2019 Baja 1000 fielded only two entries in Class 2, the Ford Bronco R prototype and the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus Baja Boot, in a spiritual rematch of the 1967 race when the Bronco won and Steve McQueen's Baja Boot lost a wheel. This year's race concluded, Baja officials declared a class winner: In its first professional bout, the SCG Boot in the right corner and the challenger from New York, sitting at 88 inches wide and weighing in at 5,525 pounds, won by technical knockout after a fight that lasted 33:59:13.947. The Ford retired in Pit #5 after a litany of issues. The Boot crossed the line with less than 47 seconds remaining of the 34-hour race cutoff.
We'll preface this by saying that entering a race like this and having issues is somewhat the point, the Baja 1000 is a proving ground just like the Nürburgring, only a public one in this case. Ford communications honcho Mike Levine's rundown of setbacks to Jalopnik included a damaged skid plate that turned into damaged transmission cooling lines, a broken lower control arm, aftermarket cooling fan issues, and "Getting hit and becoming stuck after a trophy truck hit the Raptor in San Quentin Wash near race mile 190. That’s desert racing!" By the time the fan issue hit, the Ford team wasn't sure it could fix the vehicle properly to get through the next lonely section of the course and cross the line before the cutoff, so the team packed it in. That's no mere whining of boys unhappy with how the game is going, either — ex-Formula One driver Jenson Button drove the Baja 1000 this year, broke a differential at mile 235, and spent 17 hours in the desert with his co-driver waiting for help.
Levine told Jalop that all the factory parts on the Bronco R "performed flawlessly. No engine or chassis issues," it was only aftermarket bits that faltered. The truck will head south next year for another crack at it.
The SCG Boot had done well enough to get nine miles from the finish with 33 hours gone when a front brake caliper cracked and seized the wheel. The support crew raced in to fix the issue, breaking two wrenches just trying to get the wheel off, getting the Boot going again with seconds to spare. It's all the more special when one remembers that SCG drove the Boot from Baja to Ensenada for the race. We won't be surprised if they put that bad boy on a trailer for the ride home, though. It's earned a rest before it hits training camp again for the 2020 rematch.
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