Father-son Wyatt duo have 500 plan at hand

May 25, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Larry Wyatt has his game plan all worked out.

At the start of Saturday's SCORE Tecate Baja 500, he predicts the other unlimited class 1 racers will squeal through the streets of Ensenada as they fight their way to the front of the pack.

Wyatt will watch them fly by. He's going to hang back in his single-seat blue racer while they expend a bunch of energy during the first 40 or so miles.

Wyatt said it just doesn't make sense to try to get up front right away.

"When you start in the front you have to drive hard, real hard. You're thinking they're going to catch you and — they will," he said.


Hanging back a bit, though — always within striking distance — should allow Wyatt to chew up miles and take note of which buggies have crashed and which ones he still has to pass. The prospect of finding some crashed buggies on the side of the road, or elsewhere, is guaranteed.

"One time I saw seven cars in one canyon," Wyatt said.

With around 200 miles to go, Wyatt's going to the mound and bringing in the closer, his 17-year-old son Miles. Miles will jump in the single-seater and drive the buggy over the final part of the course.

At a recent San Felipe race sponsored by CODE, Miles showed his mettle, taking first in class 1 even though he was slowed when one of his front tires spun off its lugnuts.

This Saturday he'll be racing down the home stretch against some of the best off-road racers in the world.

Can he do it?

Asked about the particular racers who will make it tough for him, Miles laughed and said, "Aw, there's a whole bunch of 'em."

The elder Wyatt thinks his boy can do it.

"We only get about 108 mph hour versus the 130 mph that some of the other guys got but we're pretty light," he said.

The motor the Wyatts are running is a 2850 cc Tacoma.

While it's a smaller motor than those of his competitors, Wyatt said, "We should be able to be light and nimble and make our way through mountain roads where it's real technical."

"Real technical" parts of the Baja 500 course are the sections where it winds through harrowing passes that could bring about a quick end to a racer's racing day.

"Mexico is treacherous," Wyatt said. "Sometimes you've got a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other."

He knows the terrain.

The racing veteran said, "I've been down at the bottom of one of those canyons before."

This time, he aims to stay out of the canyon by taking the race as it comes to him, outlasting his competitors and making sure his boy finishes the race strongly.

Sounds like a plan.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached 337-3419 or

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