RENO, NV – Roger Norman and the 2011 Baja team is gathering at Norman Motorsports in El Cajon, CA for final preparations and training maneuvers before heading across the border to pre-run for the 2011 SCORE Baja 500. This years team will consist of Roger Norman driving the entire 500 miles with Lance Clifford as the co-driver for the first 300 miles and then Tim Nugent will co-driver to the finish line in celebration of his full recovery. “Tim Nugent is the only thing tougher than my BFGoodrich Tires in Baja! He is the motorcycle rider hit at last years Baja 500, who over the last 11 months has successfully recovered from 23 broken bones,” said Roger Norman. “When Tim told me he still wanted to conquer the Baja 500 I asked him to be a part of our team. Not only will he conquer it, but he will be in the truck with me at the finish line to celebrate a win and his full recovery!”
A year after one of the most horrific moments in Roger Norman’s racing career, the anniversary couldn’t be brighter. “Roger is a great person. Throughout the whole ordeal at the hospital he would come to visit,” said Tim Nugent. “We are taking something tragic and making something better out of it. We’re both healing. It’s a celebration, it’s not a closure, it’s another door opening.”
During the 2010 Baja 500 race, first time Baja competitor, Sportsman motorcycle rider Tim Nugent (right) from Georgia, continued to race on course instead of pulling off and waiting for dust to clear after being passed by #35 Robbie Pierce’s trophy truck and didn’t realize that the #8 Roger Norman trophy truck was in the hunt to pass Pierce. The motorcycle was grazed by the right front tire of Normans truck in the blinding dust. As soon as the incident occurred, Norman stopped the truck, called for immediate assistance and got out to assist the down rider.
“The accident with the Sportsman motorcycle rider in the dust has shook me to the core. I have been devastated and demoralized about off-road racing since Saturday’s race,” commented Roger Norman in an email to his fellow Trophy Truck competitors immediately after the incident. “We have all had our close calls and I can tell you that until you run someone over in the dust of another trophy truck at over 100 mph you will not understand the devastating feeling that is created even if they come out with non life threatening injuries.”
In the past year, Roger Norman has made a significant impact on the Off Road Racing Community educating and demanding better safety measures to be instilled into racing environments. Best in the Desert Series has mandated red flashing lights on the helmet of motorcycle and ATV Riders, SCORE has widened the start times between the two classes, and all series are more aware of their responsibility to help keep racers safe and is encouraging training programs for sportsman race classes.
Meanwhile, Tim Nugent was successfully completing his physical therapy and pushing himself with every personal trainer appointment. “It has showed me what I can do. The Doctors had to stop telling me ‘what I wasn’t going to be able to do’ and instead change to telling me ‘what I couldn’t do’ because they knew that I was going to try everything!” said Tim Nugent. “I think something that Roger and I have in common is if we are told we can’t do it, we try even harder to be successful at it!”
“I think the hardest part is going to be getting in and out of the truck having to wear my brace,” said Nugent. Turning to this weeks preparation for the upcoming 2011 Baja 500, the Norman Motorsports team will be timing tire changes, belt changes and getting in and out of the truck. “It is almost impossible to do as great of a job as what Lance does as a co-driver,” said Roger Norman. “I think with some practice and training we can get Tim up to speed to help for the 140 or so miles that he will be in the truck.”
The 3 person team will head to Baja to pre-run later this week through next week. They will be available at Contingency in Ensenada, Baja on Friday June 3rd and will start 17th on Saturday June 4th in the #8 Crystal Bay Casino Trophy Truck.
No matter what the finishing time or place, it is a guarantee that you will see this team up on top of the Crystal Bay Casino #8 Trophy Truck celebrating Tim Nugent’s full recovery!