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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja 500: Germany´s Armin Schwarz testing for American Desert Rally.

The German Rally-Champion Armin Schwarz is starting again at the SCORE Baja 500 - for the second time. For he´s writing about his preparations in the U.S.: On the last weekend in April I had the great pleasure to sit in the Buggy of All German Motorsports again. We tested from Saturday to Monday in Nevada and Mexico. The whole experience was pure motorsport - and a driving orgy. I'm totally excited... but let's look at one thing after the other:

On Saturday, 28 April we drove in the Nevada desert: an open, fast terrain with deep wash-outs. When I say deep I mean anything from 70 cm to two metres. With the 700 hp Buggy we simply annihilated the one-metre gullies without slowing down at all. To be honest it's still unbelievably how our suspension survived this. With the two-metre wash-outs we climbed down with our buggy and up the other side.

At first, the rear of our buggy kicked up a bit when the springs went on block. That is a rather strange feeling at such high speeds. And another thing: A rear axle in the air doesn't give any propulsion. We changed the rebound of the shocks and managed to fix this problem.

We spent Sunday and Monday on the Baja California in Mexico: lots of first gear, mighty rocks, extremely long climbs on the single trials. These are narrow, often steep and totally horrible paths. Most important thing here is the greatest possible axle articulation and plenty of torque at relatively low revs. We were happy with the suspension. But the gearbox is still too long. For the Baja 500 at the beginning of June we will not be able to work on this. But for September we will find a suitable shorter gear ratio.

After dinner out into the desert again - just for fun

Our tests here reminded me a lot of the Safari Rallies of 20 years ago. The feeling of freedom here still seems unlimited. We could drive when and wherever we wanted to - and along the way met many, many adventurers who were either preparing for the Baja or simply enjoying their freedom with their ATVs, trucks, buggies or whatever else they felt like driving. Even Superstars like Robby Gordon sometimes turn up with their mates in the desert to spend some time driving extreme Offroad or looking for adventure out in nature. They hang out at hotels like Mike's Sky Ranch. These hotels are in the middle of nowhere, are only accessible for offroad specialists along donkey trails and are usually booked out the whole year.

Sometimes after dinner we would leap back into our Buggy and head out into the desert to drive a particularly difficult or beautiful section. In this way we checked out 100 miles of the coming Baja 500. This freedom is long gone from rallying. And how wonderful to have this still here in the SCORE championship.

Incidentally, close to Mike's Sky Ranch are a couple of tricky stretches of water that we tackled at various speeds - from slow wading to 80 kph. That worked well. The other extreme is the "Silk" - that's powdery dust (like in Africa) which is between 20 and 80 cm deep. You drive through this stuff like through deep water. The traction is practically zero and if you lose your momentum here then you're in the proverbial you-know-what!

Talking about dust, our television producer Norman Adelhutte experienced the tests up close. He sat in a four-seater racing buggy with his crew and they all got a lung-full of dust. But the rewards for their adventurous efforts is television footage that I have never seen before. Norman not only profits from his immense TV experience but also because he's crazy enough to bomb along through the desert with us.

By the time this newsletter goes online, I'll already be in Buenos Aires at the Rally Argentina where our Red Bull Team junior Andreas Aigner competes from 3-6 May. And as RTL expert I'll be reporting on the fourth round fight between Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and their rivals. I'm really looking forward to this and can hardly wait for the Super Special Stage for spectators in the huge soccer stadium.

I'll get back to you in ten days with how things went in Argentina and also with news of our preparations for the 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 - which incidentally already has 400 entries in 34 classes! That is going to be a party!

2007/05/08 | 12:47 CET | Editor: MR/HS/SCORE

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