When Team HUMMER departed on their journey to Argentina on December 27th, returning home early defeated was not part of the plan. On Wednesday during Stage 4 of the event, the No. 303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER was disqualified from the 2011 Dakar Rally. After breaking a wheel bearing in the liaison stage that leads to the special, the No. 303 team was on the clock to repair the damage. With little time to deploy the support vehicles to his aid, the new wheel bearing could not be replaced on the HUMMER in the time allotted to the team, resulting in automatic disqualification.
“Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe the way I’m feeling right now, not only for me but for everyone involved,” says Gordon. As a driver, Robby knows that he can’t have a successful team without a first-rate support system, sponsors and fans included. “Knowing all the hard work and dedication that was put into this program is what makes our untimely exit from the Dakar Rally a hard pill to swallow,” he continues to say.
“While it may not appear like it due to our performance thus far, countless hours went into this effort. To have a wheel bearing fail is just sickening…a huge, huge disappointment,” Gordon comments. “We run this same wheel bearing on the trophy truck and have put thousands of kilometers on HUMMERs, and we have never had this part fail.” Once the equipment returns from Argentina every part of the HUMMER will be scrutinized to determine what caused the mechanical failure, and preparation for next year’s Rally will commence.
In the meantime, Gordon would like to thank all his fans for the supportive emails, Facebook and Twitter posts. Gordon says, “I’ve got the best sponsors and fans in the world, and I don’t like disappointing them.” Before returning to the US next week to compete in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, Gordon has decided to continue along the route to support Eliseo Salazar’s effort. He will host a media tomorrow, giving journalists a ride of their life in the HUMMER.
“Since we had an early exit from the Rally, I intend to compete in the Laughlin race next weekend in the trophy truck and conquer another SCORE championship.”
The No. 327 SPEED Energy/Cristal CERO HUMMER, driven by Eliseo Salazar, continues to compete in the rally and is currently in the 56th overall position. SPEED DEMON, Quinn Cody, finished a respectable 13th during stage six of the 2011 Dakar Rally. He is now 12th in the overall standings.
Credit: Speed Energy PR