Drivers take tippy trip around Baja racing track
Vehicles had a tendency to turn sideways or upside-down during the Hubbard County Fair grandstand event.
Baja racing paused several times July 16 at the Hubbard County Fair to right vehicles that had turned on their sides or rolled on their roofs during the rough-and-tumble dirt track event.
In most cases, the racers continued to roll after their vehicles were rolled upright again.
Racers lined up in two classes – three 6-cylinder and one 4-cylinder car combined into a single class, and three V8/four-wheel drive vehicles including a Jeep, a pickup and a minivan.
However, by the end of two seven-lap heats and a 10-lap final in each class, many of the vehicles that started were out of commission, including two or three that were disabled by a broken axle.
In the V8/4WD final, Andrew Larson forced his way from third place into first, only to go off the track by mistake and fall behind Jeff Martinsen. He was never able to regain the lead.
Larson had driven most of the race as a substitute for Tara Harsha, who emerged a bit shaken after being the first driver to overturn her vehicle.
After many closely-fought laps, Rocky Klitzke was the only driver in his class to finish the 4- and 6-cylinder final, driving uncontested for the last few laps to the checkered flag.
Racers participated without any hope of advancing to a higher level of competition or advancing in league standings. Co-organizer Mark Harsha said the event, now in its third year, is just a way for local people to do something for the fair.
“A lot of county fairs do it,” he said. “Basically, we started it just to try to get the fair to have another evening to boost entertainment here.”
Asked about the rules, Tara Harsha said, “Anything goes.”
“You go around,” Mark agreed. “A little rubbing and bumping is good.”
Audience members were offered an opportunity following the races to take the surviving Baja racing cars for a spin around the track. Volunteers from the audience who signed up included Cal Moir, James Sperling, Danielle Phillips, Alan Ritari and Joelle Blanchard.