Sweet baby Jesus we made it through another Brawl weekend in the Mitten state. Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. Record attendance, best whip contest for the ages, some of the best racing I have seen in a while across several classes, belly flop contest, Uncle Ronnie skydiving in, and big crashes (yes, everyone is ok), The Baja Brawl truly had it all this year. Much like Chris Betts after his boy AC took his 1st win, crack a Claw™ and let’s dive into the weekend that was.
Nobody could have guessed it, not even the owners themselves. I’ve been coming to this race both as a fan and a photog for several years now and I can promise you I have never seen anything like it here. They had to close down the entrance and move everyone in line to the local Meijer for the evening Thursday night due to capacity issues while they got the neighbor farmer to mow down some corn to make more room for parking. That seemed to work out fine until, as moto people always do, turned the Meijer lot into a full-blown party eventually getting everyone kicked out in the early part of Friday morning. Once everyone was in on Friday the rest of it went smooth as usual. They came in from all over the country which was also rad to see as well.
Goin’ Real Fast. Ricky Bobby Inc ™
The hitters came out to play! Hymas, Bennick, Stein, Janik, Braswell (welcome back), Biese Bros, Stine, Pepperd, Chambers, Jeremy Ryan, Hicks… the list is nearly endless. There were some full-blown wars popping off on the brutally rough Baja Acres track. One of the best set of races was the 65 (10-11) with Getz, Richards, and Dudney all tied going into the last moto on Sunday, Dudney would prevail with the W but they were all within a corner of each other most of the race. The other race to watch all weekend was 85 (9-13) with Seth Dennis, Pepperd, Johnson and Fauser absolutely sending it all three motos. Fauser who had 1-1 scores going into the final moto had a bobble and handed him a 6th in the final moto. That would pave the way for Dennis to grab the win in the third moto and the overall. Another stand out from the weekend was Jack Chambers, this kid was ON IT all weekend across three classes and picked up the W in 250 Pro Sport in his first race in the class. Good job, boys!
Can we talk about Dax Bennick for a second? The 14-year-old (let’s not forget that) wonder kid hailing from North Carolina is no stranger to running up front. Watching this kid haul ass at The Ranch then back it up in the stacked B and Schoolboy 2 classes he is proving to be the real freaking deal, not that I had any doubts but the transition to big bikes doesn’t always go as smooth as most would like. Cap it off with his performance at Best Whip and he is a going to be a force to be reckon with as he grows and gets stronger on big bikes!
Post Race Debauchery
Where to even begin with this one. This race will forever be the best when it comes to evening entertainment and this year did not disappoint one bit. Best Whip went off Friday evening with Axell Hodges taking the W but it didn’t come easy. Jesse Pierce was throwing down per usual, Carroll, Christian Dresser, Bennick, Blackmer, the list was crazy stacked!
Saturday night featured Ronnie Mac (or so we think) Skydiving in for the Pit Bike race along with the absolute sh*t show that was the race itself. Carnage everywhere, Ronnie Mac Jr ripping some laps, an option line through a camper, big jumps, the brothers Palmer shredding, it was pretty rad. It was topped off with some pitter backflips.
Now we get to Sunday, whew, I’m happy we made it out alive and the place didn’t burn to the ground. Side x Side racing which resulted in a couple broken vehicles. A belly flop contest for the ages, Ronnie failing to make it across the pond, followed up with a full-on Project X party. Good music, massive bonfire, dudes revving pit bikes til they popped, and that’s just the stuff I can talk about. You need to be here next year!
The Great Escape
My theme for the weekend if you haven’t seen has been how this sport has provided us with an escape from craziness that has been 2020 thus far. It is the one place for all of us to chill and experience that sense of normalcy, with the proper precautions of course. This weekend did just that, it always does that. You know, that feeling that the sport itself gives us. From the weekends at the racetrack to the sitting at home watching Adam Cianciarulo capture his 1st 450 National win. There is nothing like it. It truly is The Great Escape.