David Nuenke's Thoughts on Winter Baja 2001

I'm going to start off my writeup of the weekend with the trip up, since that is a bit of a story in itself. Things were going just fine till about 3 hours into the trip I suddenly started loosing power, and eventually my engine just stalled. So I pulled over to the side of the road, and decided to try pumping on the primer pump a few times. Sure enough this did the trick and the diesel fired right back up. I also added the rest of the fuel treatment that I had with me as was getting quite cold outside (temp at about 5 degrees and falling fast). Did fine for about 50 miles and then had to repeat the priming procedure. I kept up with this priming busisness determined to make it to Douglas to meet up with the Comers and Korstens that night. I made it to within about 10 miles when the engine died and I just couldn't pump the pressure back up in it. Since it was atleast -10 if not colder not counting windchill, I gave Mark and Mr C a call (despite it being 1 AM)and asked them to come down and get me. I was pretty sure that the problem was a plugged fuel filter, and I did have a new one with me, so I figured it would be an easy fix come morning and some slightly warmer temps. (I have a cannister style fuel filter so it is a bit more involved than the spin on style, that is why I didn't want to do the filter right away). While sitting in the Scout waiting for them to show up I was getting progressivly colder, dispite having my carhart's, hat and gloves on. So I decided to try once more to pump up pressure and start the Scout. Sure enough I pumped up pressure and she fired right up. (well after a spell with the glowplugs, sitting only 20 min or so the engine had already cooled downw that much). Moving on to Thursday I figured that changing the fuel filter would cure the problem. Wrong, I was still experienceing the same symptoms. Mr. C figured that either I had something partially blocking one of the lines, or I had a problem with gelling fuel. Well, the problem finally went away after Billings, so the final analysis was that I had a clogged filter along with some gelling, and the additive that I added did not do a whole lot for me becasue it was too cold for it to mix with the fuel.

Moving on towards actual racing, we spend Friday doing left minute prep work for Saturday. We got all the race trucks started, and went and got the back tires off my Spirit, for Tom to borrow for Devil. Then we worked on getting the hitch setup on BUGM so Tom could Tow his new trailer. We also loaded Devil up on the trailer so we's be ready to pull out early on Saturday morning.

Saturday started out non eventful, as we motored over to the truckstop for breakfast and fuel for the tow rigs. (What, binders burn gas????) Then not a mile from the truckstop we had our first incident of the day as Tom tried to build up some speed on an expansion bridge to make it up an upcoming hill. A little too much speed it turns out, as the trailer started swaying, along with the Travelall. Quite a scarry experience as we were going all over the highway. Somehow Tom managed to bring everything back under control. We immidiatly noticed that one of Devil's front wheels had slid off the trailer. A couple of assorted jacks brought things back into place. After that Tom kept it under 55 for the rest of the day.

In the first race there were two Scouts, Devil, and the Korsten's Pistashio. Pistashio did quite well in it's first race, and made 7 laps before the fuel pump quit and ended it's day. Devil did even better finishing the entire race, and the only damage was a broken shock mount. Next up was Banshee in the comp-mod class. Like usual Banshee was a being ornery and would not start for race time. Finally we got her going, and Mr. C got strapped in and headed to the starting line. Then after 1 lap he pulled off into the infield. Banshee had quit and he declared the engine seized. After towing her back the the pits with Devil and the race being over she of course fired right up and even ran well. With Pistashio immobil, Banshee acting up and Michelle cold, there were no Scouts in the Womens race.

Ed Note: the '63 Scout 80 ran in the Women's race

That left only Devil to run in the Jackpot Race. Tom offered me the passangers seat and I jumped at the chance. After quickly strapping in (it's been awhile since I've used 5 points), we headed into the race about a lap down, since we missed the start. (Busy working on other stuff) All I can say is what a thrill racing around the track. I've run around a little in the Mini Baja car we do at school, but this was so much more exciting. Nothing like real power and a larger truck to really make for some fun. Tom pulled a couple really nice jumps, that was a blast too. We also saw Blair's Bronco roll over almost infront of us, and on the next lap I thought for sure we were going to clip the corner of the Bronco when all then sudden the tires caught and we pulled out the turn. About halfway through Tom yelled something to me about the brakes, but I couldn't really hear over the open headers. I was having too much fun that I forgot to watch the flags to see when we were done, though I also knew we were a lap down. Turns out we ran 4 extra laps after the required 10. All in all, racing was an absolute blast, so much fun that I think I need to build a racer too. Just need to find a rusty but running Scout far a couple hundred bucks.........

-David Nuenke