Ensenada, Baja California, MX - October 24, 2023:
After starting 1st Overall on Day 1, Dave Mason Jr. and his ebay motors Evolution Unlimited Buggy made it back to Ensenada still first on the road on Day 2.
Photos Coutesy of NORRA Racing Organization and JW Power Media.
"This race was tough but very fun with the new course changes and a smooth run all around" Dave Mason Jr. had to say at the finish. "It was really close. I had no downtime, zero flat tires, minimal navigational trouble, and we were still only a couple of minutes ahead of second place. I had to push this car harder than ever to get this win, and it all held together perfectly. It's a real testament to my team, and the effort they put in to make sure this car is 100% every time I drive it."
This was Team Mason Off Road's second time racing the NORRA 500, and their second time winning the Overall. Last year the event saw the course go down the Pacific Coast and back to Ensenada; in contrast to this year's edition where teams would race all the way across the Baja Peninsula on Day 1 to spend the night in San Felipe. For Day 2 this year, drivers would race back to Ensenada on a completely different route, passing through Mike's Sky Ranch and many other classic Baja landmarks. In total, the event was made up of 500 off road miles, over 7 racing stages, and included every type of terrain Baja has to offer.
"I'm very happy with how the car performed." said Seth Walther, the Team's Car Chief. "We have made some huge gains with all aspects of the handling, suspension, and braking each time we test between races and my focus has been to try and help Junior get comfortable driving at a faster and faster pace. This is our first time running with the new Yokohama 40" race tires, and he really likes them. We didn't have any flats so I like them too!" Having a reliable program is everything in the deserts of Baja.
Their win did not come easily though. At the end of Day 1, the team pulled into San Felipe first on the road, but actually found themselves in second place on time, 2 minutes and 46 seconds behind one of their competitors. The duo of Craig McCarthy and Kevin Murphy outdrove the #165 Buggy and while they didn't pass them physically, they used the rally-type format to their advantage and won the day. Mason Jr. said "Honestly, I drove pretty conservatively today to try and keep the car in one-piece. In these longer rally-style races you have to make sure you get through the first day clean and then figure out how hard you need to run to get the win after that. If you make a mistake at the beginning you won't have a shot." Finishing second on Day 1 was not the team's favorite result, but it did give them the chance to battle back for Day 2. "I know I can push a lot harder tomorrow, and that is what I'll do. We want to win this thing again, so I'll push the limits to try and make up the time. Hopefully it works out!"
It did work out indeed, and as noted above, the team was able to make up the deficit from Day 1 and ultimately prevailed by 2 minutes and 32 seconds over McCarthy and Murphy after the second day of Racing. Dave Mason Jr. ran a blistering pace for the first stage of the day, and beat every other competitor to San Matias. From there he was 4th on time to Mike's Sky Ranch, and 3rd fastest down to Valle de Trinidad. In the final stage of the day he recorded the 2nd-fastest time pulling into Ensenada. All in all, the #165 buggy finished every stage in the Top-4 and had the most consistent run. This consistency led the team to another solid victory in this difficult and competitive race.
Mason Off Road and Dave Mason Jr. would like to thank our sponsors for their support of our racing endeavors this season. Primary Sponsor: ebay motors. Associate Sponsors: Yokohama Tires, Vision Canopies, Raceline Wheels, Baja Designs Lights, VP Racing Fuels, and Tri State General Contractors.