Raptor R Tackles Baja
The highly anticipated Ford F-150 Raptor (page 72) showed up at the 41st annual SCORE Baja 1000 alongside a nicely modified race version dubbed the Raptor R. Though Ford was hoping to enter the R into the Stock Full Class, the minimum production requirements sent this preproduction R into Class 8. Powered by a slightly modified 6.2L V-8 mated to a new six-speed transmission, the Raptor R entered the grueling race as a means for Ford to gather more notes for its extensive and ongoing R&D. A team of expert drivers (Greg Foutz, Steve Olliges, Randy Merritt, Gene Martindale, and Bud Brutsman) managed a Third Place finish, remarkable for a truck Ford hoped would merely survive the race. Congratulations to Ford! Read more on the Raptor in this issue (page 72) and in future issues. -Ali Mansour
Friends of the High Lakes
Friends of the High Lakes (FOHL) is a grass-roots organization with the goal of preserving the natural resources of Lassen National Forest [in northeastern California] for the public instead of from the public. I wanted to tell you about one of our most active members, Braden Dent. He was proud of his customized '87 4Runner and cared deeply about our local four-wheeling areas. When Braden learned that some of those areas were threatened with closure, he decided to get involved and spread the word of FOHL. He educated his fellow four-wheelers about how they could become more environmentally responsible. He volunteered as trail patrol and spent weekends cruising the trails and picking up trash. He led by example, inspiring those around him to be responsible four-wheelers and to live in the kind and generous spirit that he did.
At the young age of 22, Braden was killed in an industrial accident. Still, I feel Braden's message can continue to inspire others in the same way he inspired me. My hope is that by sharing his story with the magazine he read avidly, other readers can not only appreciate his work, but also learn from all that he had to teach. Friends of the High Lakes continues to grow and has a great website at www.friendsofhighlakes.com. Braden would have been thrilled to see the organization that he believed in gain recognition in your magazine.
California association of four wheel drive clubs celebrates 50 years
In 1959 Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba, Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the U.S., rock 'n' roll was heating up the airwaves, and the California Association of Jeep Clubs was formed in April in the town of Tulare. Steve Morris, a member of the Sacramento Jeepers, was elected first president of the Jeep Association, which in 1962 officially became the California Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs.
The association began small but was well organized right from the start, said Morris. "With the U.S. Forest Service threatening to close our forests to motorized travel, we knew immediately that we needed a strong organization with statewide clout." (Sound familiar?) Right away, the association established rules for backcountry driving to make as little impact as possible. In the early '60s it began an education program to prevent trailside littering. The '60s also saw the birth of many events that continue today, including the Tierra del Sol Desert Safari and the Sierra Trek.
Today, the Association is made up of more than 3,600 members in 160 clubs and is very active in recreational four-wheel-drive issues. In fact, it has served as a model for other organizations in other states and even other countries. You can learn more about the CAFWDC and its long, storied history at its website, www.cal4wheel.com.
This Just In
* More Baja 1000 News: Rod Hall's record 20th class win at the 1000 was denied when Gavin Skilton's Honda Ridgeline overcame a flat tire and broken rear axle to win the Stock Mini Class.
* General Tire-sponsored racers notched two class wins in Baja. Marc Burnett, driving solo in his Ford Ranger, won Class 6, and Cisco Bio won in Class 9, driving the same car in which he won the class back in 1998.
* More signs of desperate times: A Dodge dealer in the Chicagoland area offered quite a deal in November: "Buy a car, truck, or minivan and get a second vehicle for $1!" The $1 cars were "slightly used" vehicles, but still...
* Pearse Umlauf, whom many of you know through Jeep Jamboree USA, has launched an organization called the National Off-Road Association (NORA). "NORA will bring together responsible OHV enthusiasts to be a unified voice, to learn about important issues, and to strengthen the nationwide family of off-roaders so that they can affect change," Pearse said. NORA will be many things: an information-sharing source for members to keep up to date on trail closures and other issues; a lobbying group for the off-highway hobby and industry; and an initiator of studies about the industry, to learn exactly the impact our hobby has on the environment and the economy. Interested in becoming a member? Visit www.nora-usa.com for more info.
* The BlueRibbon Coalition has launched a website and online auction in celebration of the Champions of ISDT/E. The site offers memorabilia from the Six-Day Trials, and funds from the auctions will go toward BlueRibbon's efforts to promote and protect off-highway recreation. Log on to www.sharetrails.org/breakfast-of-champions-2009 for more info.