We just learned that Robby Gordon and the Speed Energy Racing crew have dropped out of the Dakar Rally after completing only ten stages of the grueling race. What lead up to this decision is still not known but we’ll update you as soon as we get word on the matter. Although we’re sad to see them drop out, they can do so with their heads held high as they fought tooth and nail throughout the Dakar Rally to finish their stages. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Robby Gordon is not one to just go down without a fight, just ask Pistol Pete. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to Robby coming back to the 2015 Dakar Rally with an even faster version of his HST Gordini.
Robby Gordon shocked the entire world when he sold his old faithful Hummer to Yazeed Racing. He followed that up by registering to race in the 2014 Dakar Rally in a vehicle listed as a Hummer. With his Hummer long gone, everyone was wondering what Robby Gordon would show up with on race day. Robby has long been considered one of the greatest off-road racers in the world since he first strapped in to the Venable Racing Hay Hauler F100 in the late 80s.
It’s no secret that Robby has been one of the fastest guys in the dirt and has driven some of the most technologically advanced race trucks in the world, sometimes decades ahead of their time. The Valvoline Class 8 truck and the La Victoria Ford Ranger Trophy Truck, one of the first A-arm Trophy Trucks, are perfect examples of Robby’s commitment to winning.
Late last year he had the off road community buzzing over his latest race truck build, the HST Gordini, which he said was being built specifically to beat Team MINI in the FIA class. Robby is one of the busiest guys in motorsports so we weren’t sure whether we would see the SST based HST Gordini race truck making dust at the famed Dakar Rally in 2014 but just after Christmas, we were all stoked to catch our first glimpse of the mystery race truck as Robby Gordon unveiled the Speed Energy HST Gordini race truck for the entire world to see.
The truck is a thing of absolute beauty and is built off a Stadium Super Trucks platform and packs a high powered V-8 to spin 37-inch Toyo race tires across the vast dunes of the Atacama Desert.
Unfortunately, it seemed that the Speed Energy crew didn’t have very much time to do testing on the truck before it was shipped to South America to be able to get to “Scruteneering” on time before the race kicked off. As soon as the race kicked off, Robby Gordon got off to a late start after suffering a serious case of vapor lock after the first transition stage. As the days wore on, it seemed the problems were only getting worse with overheating thrown into the mix.
The Speed Energy/Robby Gordon Racing crew decided to go with fuel from a different supplier and it seemed to cure the vapor lock issues they were having. Not one to give up, Robby set out to reel in the leaders at every stage of the Dakar Rally but it seemed the HST Gordini was still having trouble navigating its way through the desert and at the start of Stage 11, the HST Gordini seemed to have fuel issues again which sent the team back to the Bivouac to try to fix the issues they were having with what is reportedly being touted as bad fuel. The ASO allegedly agreed to let them start the stage at a later time but we just got word that the Speed Energy crew is out of the 2014 Dakar Rally.
What went wrong, we still don’t know. All we can say is that it was a pleasure to watch and follow Robby Gordon tear across the Dakar Rally scaring the crap out of Team MINI with his latest race truck. We’re positive that Robby Gordon and the Speed Energy Racing crew will work out the kinks and will be back at the 2015 Dakar Rally with one goal on their mind, dominating the Dakar Rally and finally dethroning the annoyingly fast Team MINI!
"We gave it our best and didn't quit until the clock wouldn't allow us to continue."
Update: It seems that there might still be a chance that the HST Gordini can continue the Dakar Rally and compete at the next stage which goes from El Salvador to La Serna. We will update you and let you know as the ASO makes the details public.
Here's what the official word from Robby Gordon is right now:
Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires Gordini began Thursday’s 11th stage of the 2014 Dakar Rally with the same tenacity and determination that they start any race. The day’s goal was to capture the team’s first stage victory of Gordon’s 10th attempt at Dakar glory.
Just 18 kilometers into the stage, however, Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch noticed a severe fuel contamination issue and returned to Antofagasta, Chile where the stage began. Once there, the team went to work for more than 10 hours to diagnose and repair the damage the fuel created.
Gordon did not return to the race during Thursday’s stage, and as of late Thursday night the entire team was traveling toward El Salvador where they hope to return to competition Friday. Given their remote location and the late hour, despite its ability to return to the race, it remains to be seen if the sanctioning body A.S.O. will permit the Gordini to complete the final two stages of the Rally.
Further updates on Gordon’s status in the race will be released Friday morning.
It's Official! Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy HST Gordini are out of the 2014 Dakar Rally!
Here's what the latest word from Robby Gordon and Team SPEED:
El Salvador, Chile (January 17, 2014) – Robby Gordon’s 10th attempt at Dakar Rally glory has come to an end in the sand dunes of Chile.
Despite earlier issues in the Rally with fuel vapor locking on the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini, the issue that put Gordon and his team out of the 35th Dakar Rally was a compromised air filtration system.
At the start of Thursday’s 11th stage, Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch raced only 18 kilometers into the stage when they realized the issue at the engine’s air intake and returned to Antofagasta, Chile to make repairs. Reports Thursday afternoon of issues with fuel contamination were denied by Gordon and he indicated the only problem was the air intake issue.
At that time more than 80 cars had withdrawn from the race and only 65 remained. Being more than 10 hours down to the leaders and facing more than 10 hours of repairs would make Gordon’s withdrawal from the Rally justifiable.
But in typical Gordon style, he and his team’s never-give-up attitude kicked in and they worked until 12 a.m. Friday with hopes of driving the HST Gordini and support trucks through total darkness in the desert in an attempt to make it to the start of the next stage within one hour after the last car left for Friday’s 12th stage. Despite their best efforts, and although repairs were made, time did not allow the team to make the 749-kilometer trek through the dunes to El Salvador in a timely fashion.
“We gave it our best and didn't quit until the clock wouldn't allow us to continue,” Gordon said.
“Without the vapor lock issues at the beginning of the Rally and a few other minor issues, the new HST Gordini ran really well and I was pleased with its performance. We will work on it for the next year and have a much better understanding of the car for next year’s Rally. I am very proud of the way everyone worked on Team Speed, and I appreciate the dedication and effort that everyone puts into everything we do.”