San Rafael, Argentina – After a miserable opening day to the 35th Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team were optimistic about the second of 15 stages in the famed race and were prepared to take advantage of their 17th starting position. Unfortunately, it was another day of dismay for Gordon and his HST Gordini as it rolled back into the bivouac with a tow from a fellow competitor.
San Luis, Argentina – Sunday marked the start of the 2014 Dakar Rally and the debut of the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HST Gordini. The stage went from Rosario to San Luis and was comprised of a 629-kilometer liaison leading to a very short 180-kilometer Special through the region of Cordoba. Even though the stage was short, each competitor needed to pace themselves through the narrow tracks and stony sections remembering this is the start to the toughest off-road race in the world.
Despite being very prepared for this year’s Rally, the race did not begin as well as the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team had hoped. Robby Gordon for the second straight year would be taken by surprise on the opening stage as the SPEED Energy team encountered multiple issues.
Gordon talked about his misfortune shortly after returning the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HST Gordini into the bivouac. “I don’t know what happened. Everything went smoothly when we took things easy on the link section, but from the moment we started the special, we had vapor lock problems and we had to stop. Then, all the other fluids started to overheat, so we had to stop at least five or six times… At the end, we had stopped for the umpteenth time when competitor No. 390 offered to tow us to the end of the special. Honestly, it’s strange; I don’t know why this happened. We’ll have a look at it in the bivouac, although it’s disappointing to lose two or three hours on the very first day of racing.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Robby Gordon will begin his tenth Dakar Rally in Rosario, Argentina Jan. 5 as one of 149 international competitors as he again competes to become the first American in history to win the most extreme and demanding motorsports event in the world.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s best off-road racers, Gordon’s previous attempts at overall Dakar Rally victory have resulted in an amazing nine stage victories, however, the overall title has eluded him. In 2005, his initial Dakar Rally effort, he become the first American to win a stage in the race which began in 1979.
Entering its 35th edition, Frenchmen have dominated the Rally, taking 19 overall victories. Finland has produced five race winners, Japan three, Germany two and one each from South Africa, Belgium, Qatar, Spain and Sweden.
“I feel more prepared than in any of our previous trips to the Dakar Rally,” Gordon said. “Since our first race in 2005, where we accomplished our goal of becoming the first American to win a stage, our focus has been on winning the overall title. I believe with the experience we have, and the new car we have built, this year could be our time.”
If you love anything automotive, SEMA is a wonderland. The problem is that the general public can’t just buy tickets and stroll in. Nope, the Special Equipment Manufacturers Association Show is for the automotive industry, so unless you know someone or work within the industry in some capacity, chances are you’re not getting in. The good news is that the media is allowed in, so we can show the general public all the cools things they wouldn’t otherwise see at the show.
From concept vehicles to new product unveils, celebrity appearances and booth girls, there’s eye candy in every direction at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. Check out our photo highlights of the show for all of the coolest off-road vehicles and gear. We’ll update the gallery throughout the week of the show, so be sure to check back and drool a little at all the cool stuff.
Santiago, Chile – On the final day of the 2013 Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon and Kellon Walch set the pace to start Stage 14. However, the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER finished the 114KM stage in 6th place; it was the American duo’s first finish outside the top 5 since Stage 4.
The Rally consisted of ups and downs for Gordon as a driver and Walch as a navigator. No matter the outcome of the stage, the two continued to battle capturing 8 podiums and 2 stage wins in the world’s toughest off-road race. After the roll over on Day 4, Gordon knew that continuing with the Rally would help overall in developing the HUMMER to make it stronger to come back in 2014 to capture the ultimate goal in an overall win.
Copiapo, Chile – Today’s stage went extremely well for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER until the last checkpoint where Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch would find themselves stuck, losing precious minutes from their lead.
Gordon led the charge to start Stage 12 heading back into the country of Chile. The Rally started at 6 AM local time to cross over the Andes making it an exceptionally long liaison to the start of the 319KM Special. The competitors would race into the dunes of the Atacama desert, a place that Gordon has won multiple stages in the past.
Fiambalá, Argentina – The organization has again decided to cancel the remaining kilometers of Stage 11 due to flash flooding in the area. As a result, Robby Gordon was declared the winner since he was the leader at Checkpoint 1, where the organization decided to red flag the race.
“We won the stage, so today was a good special for us. It could have been a great special for us. I am sure we could have beat most of the cars by 30 minutes or more. It is a shame they had to cancel it because of weather since we would have climbed the standings today. The flooding was not too bad when we got to it; it was only about a foot or two high. Not a big deal, I mean I thought this was the Dakar, the toughest race in the world…it seems like they have lost sight of that this year,” commented a slightly disappointed Gordon even though he won the stage because he knew there was still more time to be gained on his competition.
La Rioja, Argentina – Stage 10 in this year’s Dakar Rally was a much shorter stage than yesterday but featured much of the same narrow WRC-style course. Given this, Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch knew that it would not be suitable for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER.
Starting fourth today allowed Gordon to keep pace with the 4wd cars in order to stay within reach. Gordon put on a spectacular show with his vehicle, pushing corners through river crossings and jumping cattle crossings, ultimately giving the locals a reason to cheer. Gordon finished fifth, 6 minutes and 51 seconds behind the stage winner.
Cordoba, Argentina – Following a much needed rest day for teams, today’s stage from Tucumán to Córdoba was one of the toughest and longest of this year’s Dakar Rally. Drivers faced a course similar to what would be seen during a WRC race, an advantage that the 4WD race cars had over the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER.
When the reviewed results came in for Stage 8, Gordon was scored third. Thus, he started third in today’s stage, which was helpful to keep pace with the leaders during the 593KM Special. Gordon lost a few minutes by KM100 and was down nearly 8 minutes to the leader near by the second half of the stage. Not letting the leaders stray too far, Gordon stayed in the top-5 for much of the Special bringing the HUMMER home with a solid fourth place finish, 8 minutes and 37 seconds behind.
Stage 8 in the 2013 Dakar Rally continued in Argentina, taking competitors from Salta to Tucumán. Initially, it was suppose to be one of the longest specials in this year’s race comprising of a 152KM liaison to a 471KM Special then another 228KM to the bivouac. Due to today’s weather conditions, the Special was shortened by more than half, resulting in only 188KM of competition.
Robby Gordon, driver of the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER jumped into the lead early and maintained a fast pace bouncing between first and third place. During the last 40KM, Gordon suffered a puncture in his tire and lost five minutes. Dropping from second to third, he crossed the shortened finish line 5 minutes and 17 seconds behind today’s winner. Gordon entered the bivouac with a third place finish, his fourth consecutive third place finish. This finish could possibly change overnight while the organization is actively looking into today’s situation to determine a course of action.