Mission accomplished in long distance R/C endurance test! HPI Racing’s 1/5th scale Radio Controlled Baja 5B goes from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada - 120 miles!
Wednesday, January 17 (Orange, Calif.) -- HPI Racing, building on twenty years of history in the radio controlled [R/C] industry, has taken a step out of the box. HPI factory driver Thad Garner drove a 1/5th scale radio controlled vehicle 120 miles through the desert, far from any designated R/C race track, smack into the middle of the full-size dirt sports community.
The mission was to tackle the famous off-road race route from Barstow to Vegas. Covering more than 120 miles, HPI Racing chose the grueling un-paved desert to test the performance capabilities and durability of the Baja 5B gasoline powered R/C off-road buggy. HPI Racing knows that this type of test far exceeds normal R/C driving, but the challenge was to test the Baja 5B in the most extreme desert conditions.
At 1/5th scale, the Baja 5B is nearly three feet long and the largest vehicle in HPI Racing’s fleet, making it the ideal choice for a long distance attempt. "The design of the Baja 5B was inspired by long distance racing with full size Baja buggies," stated Thad Garner prior to the attempt.
The HPI Racing Baja 5B team consisted of factory driver Thad Garner driving the Baja 5B. Transporting Thad on the journey was co-pilot Rick ‘Wally" Wallace driving a Rhino World prepared Yamaha Rhino. Also in chase in another Rhino was Rodney Wills, HPI marketing manager, and Bart Boyer, HPI USA General Manager, aboard a dirt bike.
"I always believed the Baja 5B would make it," said Boyer. "But I was amazed at the Baja’s dependability and Thad’s driving skills. There were long stretches where Thad and the Baja 5B were wide open at 45 mph, that’s unheard of in normal R/C driving. And we only stopped to gas up and then get back to full throttle. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed into my helmet more – or ate as much dirt – in my life!"
The 120 mile run started at the famous Slash X Ranch Café located on Highway 247 about 8 miles south of Barstow, California. The carefully mapped route then headed across Daggett Ridge, traversed both the 40 Freeway and 15 Freeways through Mojave Valley, to the Soda Mountains that sit adjacent to Fort Irwin National Training Center, then into the Hollow Hills Wilderness Area. The team then went past Squaw Mountain into Shadow Valley, the Clark Mountain Range, and into the Stateline Wilderness area before arriving at the finish line location of Primm, Nevada (at the Nevada state line) behind Whiskey Pete’s Resort Hotel.
"We had a great time chasing the Baja 5B across the desert on the old Barstow to Vegas course," stated Rhino driver Wally Wallace after the event, "I’m sure the military had us on radar wondering what we were doing."
The 120 mile trip took five hours and fifty-nine minutes of driving time according to the Garmin GPS Map 60CSx satellite navigation system. Throw in a couple of hours for refueling, refreshments and service and the team arrived at the final destination point of Whiskey Pete’s around 4:40pm. "Part of the fun was stopping and getting to know the guys who were driving the Yamaha Rhino’s in support of our endurance efforts," stated Wills. "The short breaks gave everyone a chance to get to know each other. Soaking in what was happening and watching these guys’ expressions to what they where witnessing was proof that we where doing something cool."
"I'm sure you guys weren't expecting to be ahead of schedule with the Baja 5B," stated Wallace, "I thought I would be pushing Thad’s ability as a driver, but Thad and the Baja 5B both ran flawlessly."
The Baja 5B made the 120 mile trek in flying colors, needing only minor service that included a fresh set of rear tires at the halfway point, a shock shaft, and some damage repair from a suspension pin that vibrated loose.
Back at HPI’s Foothill Ranch, Calif. headquarters, company president Shawn Ireland was thrilled with the news of the Baja 5B’s run. "We hoped that the design of the HPI Baja 5B would set a new benchmark for reliability in the R/C community," said Ireland. "Driving the Baja 5B for 120 miles over rocks that full scale cars avoid says a lot about the reliability, durability and ease of use the Baja 5B offers."
HPI Racing would like to give a special thanks to the guys from WallyWorld Designs/RhinoWorld, Black Rhino, DragonFire Racing and RUV Motorsports as they had the task of transporting both Garner and Wills along with the media staff members from both DirtSports Magazine and Extreme RC Car Magazine to document the endurance run. We would like to especially thank the John and Michelle Schultz for their support as well.
Run time: 5hours & 59minutes
Average Speed: 21.7mph
Time overall: 9hours & 40mintues
Fuel stops: Six
Gas mileage: 100.9 miles per gallon
120 miles - Fuel used - 6 Tanks at 750cc each total of 4500cc = to 1.188774 Gallons
"Driving from New York City to Los Angeles you would have to use about 30 gallons of gas costing you $70" - Thad Garner