“Picturesque and Formidable” The UTV team of Howe/Smead best the competition
PUNTA BANDA PURE UTV “125” AN EPIC SUCCESS
Dispatch from Ensenada, BC – May 18, 2015 – UTV racers, Bradley Howe and co-driver Cain Smead survived a great duel with Josh and Jim Westling, along the Punta Banda hills and incredible panoramas, to emerge winners of the PURE “125,” AVE’s first race in Baja since twelve years ago.
By all accounts this first race back in Baja was a huge success, not only expressed by wide-smiling racers at the finish but locals and officials of Ejido Coronel Esteban Cantu, where the entire 10.6 mile course was laid out just outside the city of Ensenada Baja California, Mexico. It was a beautiful and picturesque setting with “golf course and country club” like views within a fun, yet formidable course layout.
It was a small in UTV attendance but large in the excitement department. Many were anticipating everything from a muddy mess to a dust-cloud that would engulf the racecourse. AVE’s promoter, Lou Peralta must know someone upstairs, as he said during the drivers/riders meeting that he ordered the “watering” on Friday night to be ready for Saturday’s event. And so it happened, The sky opened up Friday and cleared by that evening, making the course conditions perfect for racing.
The PURE “125” got off as scheduled at 1 p.m. and it was clear that there would be three teams vying for the top honor. Along with Howe and Westling was Aaron Clark, also a formidable threat. They competed their first lap under 17 minutes, a clear message that the course was going to be fast. Peralta was anticipating twenty-minute laps. Needless to say, the rains on Friday night had helped tremendously to not only keep the dust down, but also make a rather technical course in spots much easier to negotiate.
The first lap saw Clark complete his lap in 16:24 minutes, followed by Howe 32 seconds later and Westling a mere 17 seconds behind. But it would all change on the second and third laps and then back and forth they went for the next hour and a half.
Midway through the race it would become obvious that the field would be left to Howe and Westling. By the sixth laps Westling had taken over the lead and Howe ready to pounce if a mistake was made. But that didn’t last long as Howe surged by to the lead for laps 9 through 11. By the end of lap 12 Westling had the lead once again.
The interesting part of this course is that by 2 p.m. portions of the hills that had been soak profusely the night before, were drying and dust was forming.
By the end of the race, 3:11:53 hrs. later and 12 laps completed, the team of Josh and Jim Westling crossed the line in first, followed by Howe/Smead only 48 seconds behind in adjusted time. One lap behind was Aaron Clark who finished third, with Bruce Anderson in fourth, and an extremely disappointed Kim Dunn, rounding out the top five finishers. Kim was bummed because it appeared that a can of WD40 inside the tool bag the were carrying, had punctured, dripped onto the exhaust and made for a nice bonfire. Fortunately, only cosmetic damage to her otherwise excellent car was apparent and no one was harmed.
One of the traditions of AVE/Baja Promotions events was to provide at the finish, a cold brew of BUD LIGHT to each finisher, being served by the gorgeous-looking BUD Light GIRLS. If you didn’t smile at the finish, glad that you made it, the BUD GIRLS would certainly make you grin from ear-to-ear.
Later in the evening, it was found that the Team of Westling, Josh and Jim, had inadvertently missed a turn on the course in all 12 laps and had taken the motorcycle/ATV trail instead. It was actually confirmed later on by reading their GPS tracking system and the interesting part was that in only two laps they gained an advantage of seven seconds, and two other they lost about the same amount of time. Nonetheless, the course was laid out for all UTVs and the team made a mistake that they accepted, albeit, extremely disappointed, but as professional a Team as the Westling are, they said, we will be back.
The final top five was Bradley Howe/Cain Smead 3:13:03, Josh and Jim Westling 3:11:53 but adjusted with a time penalty to put them down as 3:14:53 elapsed time. They were the only two teams to complete all 12 laps. Third place went to Aaron Clark, with 11 laps in 3:14:23. Bruce Anderson placed fourth with ten laps in 3:54:30 and rounding the the top five was Kim and Hunter Dunn in a time of 3:54:30 hrs.
The next event at Punta Banda is September 12, when another “125” will take place. This time, AVE/Baja Promotions hopes to unveil the 22-mile course, this time running backwards which will include canyons, sand washes, beach run, heavy duty rocks and the infamous “Cantil” section which is basically a major roller-coaster ride.
For more details in the PURE series and future events visit: www.averacing.com.
Top 5 UTV Results:
1st: #1013 – Bradley Howe/Cain Smead 3:13:03
2nd: #1001 – Josh/Jim Westling 3:11:53 (penalty to put them down as 3:14:53 elapsed time)
3rd: #1035 – Aaron Clark (11 laps) – 3:14:23.
4th: #1036 – Bruce Anderson – 3:54:30
5th: #1099 – Kim and Hunter Dunn – 3:54:35