Big Dog Trux [403] 279-6966
Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Big Dog's Local Reputation

It's always a matter of customer care and attention being a local shop. Richard makes it standard operating procedure to go through every vehicle that comes through the shop for anything that can be a safety issue. One of the customers had this to say:

Richard Thomas:
I just wanted to send an email to you and everyone there to say thank you for the great work you did on my truck. You have the best guys working for you. I have had my truck there a few times for various work to be done and the service and professionalism i have recieved is the best around. You guys know what your doing and talking about. I would never hesitate to refer anyone with a vehicle to you. Thanks to you and your guys for the recent repair to my truck. It handles lik a new truck again and i am sure that if it wasn't for you and your team diagnosing my steering problems and letting me know that there was more that needed repair than i knew, you just might have saved not only my life from a potential wreck, but anyone else if they were too close and my steering locked. Richard, give all your guys a well deserved pat on the back, they deserve it. And you, thank you my friend, for everything, i really appreciate all you have done for me.

Again, thank you guys so much. You are the best shop in Calgary.

Shawn Demers

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Softer Side of Big Dog

Richard joins up and helps make a difference in another hemisphere. Changing lives in a small village in the northern part of Togo, Africa. The complete story can be found here on Big Dog's Internet Business Consulting and Website Optimization firm's case study. This is a special story about a family that was handed a miracle.

For the exact amount that Yao's family needed, we put together a project to get his website out of flash and onto an optimized text-based platform that search engines can read - a first step. Richard was excited to be a part of something so unique and patiently waited for his work to be completed and sent a check in US funds to my office. The next day the check was in Yao's hands and a day after that, it was wired to his family in Togo via Western Union.

Shown to the left is Mrs Bate Yao (right), his sister (left) and daughter (middle) who will all work at the store, have jobs and a family income. His sister has graduated with a business management degree from the university in Lome and will be an active manager of the retail business.

Yao has two brothers that graduated with CPA degrees from university and will manage the finances of the business and help run the store. The ability to earn an income living in a remote village in Togo is rare. Having graduated business and finance programs at the capital's university and have a retail business under construction is a miracle.

Yao's sister shown in this picture is a few days post op after having surgery. Life is everything but safe in that world, she withheld telling her family that she was ill only because she knew that there wasn't money to pay a doctor for treatment. Her condition worsened and finally she was in a compromising position.

It's a very difficult call to take, not to mention the fact that Yao's financial situation here in the US would only cover if something else dropped, rent, health insurance, fuel, food... something. She was taken care of and had a procedure and is just fine. Life and death is a reality every day and the matter of a few hundred bucks can mean walking away from a trip to the hospital, or not. She'll be working at the store and earning enough money that any future medical needs will be easily handled through the family's income.

Yao has a wife and daughter back home that he talks to twice a week and received pictures from periodically. She'll be part of the family business and will grow up in a blessed family and experience a different comfort than her peers. This includes Yao's mom and another sister, every day Yao's brain churns over the safety of his family and has lived a commitment to them with each passing day. With just a little assistance from me and my close community of off-road racers, the plan that Yao created was realized.

Big thanks goes out to Richard Thomas and Big Dog Performance in Alberta Canada for being on board - thank you for being a part of a miracle.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2008 Baja 1000 Race Report

The Carli Suspension, Inc Team Race Report - 2008 Baja 1000

Date: 11/23/2008

2008 SCORE International Baja 1000

A la altura del desafio

"To rise to the challenge..." and that's just what the company has been doing for the 2008 year. This year the Baja 1000 started off with almost an strange feeling of calm, compared to last year which felt like a like a claymore mine at a concert. The team was less than half the size from last year which was a huge plus, the Canadian racers from Big Dog Performance brought down truck 807 and 3 people total, leaving our crew to do what it does with little interference. Support plans were drawn up, budgets were set and by the time the truck was getting tested, Mexico didn't seem so far away. One of the tricky things about SCORE racing is all the money that goes into the initiative and some agreements that were still in discussion up in Canada, left the race truck in limbo right up to just a few weeks before heading south for her second date with Baja. We had already planned on completely overhauling the tune on all six shocks and putting on a short list of this year's goodies before testing in Barstow and the team had a miniature renunion in the dirt.

Suspension Tuning

Testing had a couple of issues... last year's rollover tweaked a bit more than initially thought, one of the 3.0's had a bent shaft and the shock reservoir bypassed... but that was all corrected with an hours work. Once the truck was up and ready to rock, the first and immediate difference was in the valving. Sage has been doing his homework and dialed in enough to almost double the speed of the truck in California's biggest bumps. 63 mph down the Barstow main in a straight axle 4x4? Yep. Heck even one of our personal trucks carried the speed of last year's race truck when we were scouting positions to film. Shock tuning and innovation is a hallmark of the Carli brand to to be able to watch it come alive in a purpose built truck is even better. The 4.0s came apart before the truck rolled away from the trailer. Everything we've learned about tuning suspension and bypasses went straight into the project with new bypass valves, check valve springs, valve shims and fluid. The truck was great last year... and the first spin away from camp hailed the difference via PCI. After the install of new internals, all that was left was some tweaks to the tubes to finally dial her in.

Suspension Testing

Once we got the girl up to speed, she turned into a whoop eater in the bumps. We would leave the easy-up, head up the main, out towards the freeway and back down... each lap Sage was relaying what the truck was doing and suggesting the next tweak. When the truck came in, a turn on a tube here, half turn there and it was back out again for another lap. The first couple rounds the feedback was prominent and as the truck came and went the feedback started to get almost a bit experimental, "let's try backing down a bit here..." and the faster and smoother it got. A nice tight ride through the big bumps, but not harsh.

Watch the testing video

Viva La Mexico

Good ole Ensenada, Mexico... probably the site of our fondest memories, or at least to and from them. When you go to Mexico, you enter with a clear state of mind... that anything can happen and you just make peace with that, or you shouldn't go. And when you open up to anything coming your way, you should know that you're going to get exactly what you have coming... luckily for us, it's been been great times, huge challenges and events that make us better. This year was nothing short of a classic trip to Baja for the Carli crew. Having one or all of the trucks down here, mostly farther south, has been a pretty common event lately and closing out the year with a number of trips, sometimes back to back weekends. Matter of fact, we all headed south with the same feeling, part of us was headed home and cruised into Mex with a comfortable smile.

We arrived and wanted to take off and hit up the Rumarosa section on Wednesday, however a poor ground left the truck stalling going from WOT to full braking... not exactly an issue you want to discover when on the Rumarosa Grade. Not only that, but the transmission didn't get out of 2nd gear. This is when everybody starts getting anxious. It could be electronic, it could be mechanical and it could be somthing as simple as a sensor or a hard part failure. Everyone's got a theory, but nobody had a definite solution. So what are the options? The ground was fixed in a matter of minutes, but that didn't solve the issue with 3rd gear. The story was, the truck came down from Canada with a freshly overhauled trans, so we ruled out mechanical on the benefit of the doubt. This leaves us with a sensor or electronics. This is when things started to get a bit frustrating... We had a spare motor and transmission, we had a spare ECM... so in theory, we could have swapped out everytihng critical and been done with it... but we weren't that fortunate - having spares means they should be ready to throw in, SKIM keys and all. The brighter side of the issue is that the truck will still do over 70 mph in 2nd gear with the setup we were running... and let's all be realistic here, 70 mph is plenty fast for a Mexican desert race. So now it was off to registration and tech inspection.

Race Time

Friday, November 21st 0900 - Driver team #1 loaded up 807 and headed towards staging, Chase teams #2 and #4 stayed local and #1 and #3 headed through Tecate for the first scheduled stop of the race in La Rumarosa. Once we got out of Ensenda and topped of fuel tanks and dump cans, we were out of radio range of the other chase vehicles and the race truck was in their hands. Having one vehicle stay in town for the start and another depart for Ojos at RM40, we had things covered and confidence was in the air. Being a lead chase vehicle and not having PCI contact with the race truck only sucks when its not at a scheduled pit or observation ontime. When Chase #1 and #3 got into La Rumarosa, we were just ahead of the Trophy Trucks and we had time to dip into Mexicali for a couple of last minute essentials while the race went on.

The race truck departed Ensenada and by RM40 the steering gear box was shot, a brand new box that was installed back in Orange County as a precaution to boot. This was the first delay of the race, but we had a spare on the truck and a chase team onsite to assist with the swap. Shortly up the course from getting going again at RM55 there was a huge pileup that involved several race cars and a local made $60 to put his tractor on the course and help a couple of racers get back on schedule, another unexpected delay. As the chase team waits, our friends back home were glued to IRC tracking with plenty of updates via SMS, so as long as the truck was moving, we just had to sit it out.

As sunlight drew to a close, we had our truck on the PCI and all that was wanted was a splash of fuel, and anytime we stop the truck, we perform a visual and brief tech inspection. All was good and the truck was back on the course and running strong. Chase #1 and #3 went down the toll road out of La Rumarosa and 807 hit the gnarliest grade in northern Baja without incident. We met the truck at the bottom near the road crossing and just as the truck passed us, it blew a tire on a sharp rock and we fed it a little teamwork and she was back on the charge. So far things were fortunate, any incident occurred within reach of a chase vehicle and all of our reports on the go were positive. Things were starting to pick up in tempo and everybody was there to answer the call. Baja racing... a sport where anything can happen and an environment where the "Butterfly Effect" is enumerated, the study of chaos could live in Mexico, theorizes that something as innocuous as the flap of a butterfly's wings could cause a typhoon half way around the world... or an incomplete weld could raise the call on the radio "Chase 1, this is Race... something just broke, over." Sitting in the front seat of my truck in the middle of a silt wash near RM150 I called back to the race truck "807 this is Chase 1, I copy, something broke, are you still moving? Over." Radio silence. Not something you want to receive after a transmission like that. We were only a few miles from the race truck, so we split up... I stayed in the wash and Chase #3 moved their position. In the meantime we were trying to organize a tow for a friend that came across our trucks who had a car stuck in silt a few miles back and now trying to get an update from our race vehicle and describe the situation we're trying to solve from the pit location... perfectly organized chaos with a steady tempo.

Expect everything and you won't be disappointed... but some things shouldn't be expected, so here goes the tale of poor preparation. A weld on the engine cage that supported the upper shock mount for the King Kong wasn't welded completely around. It finally gave up which put all of the forces on a joint of two tubes, which finally fatigued and one of them simply broke clean off. So now it's just after 2100 and 807 Race and Chase #1 and #3 are standing there looking under the hood at a broken tube with the shock pushed all the way to the hood. Well if this didn't start to look like a major problem, I don't know what did. But for the most experienced desert racer, this was a mild delay... but not without the help and presence of Mike from Wicked Creations. Stumbling around in the silt dust and trying to help out a fellow racer, we wound up parked next to Mike's chase rig that was a full blow fab shop, complete with tube, air, tools and a Miller welder. I have never seen anything like it. It wasn't even 2 minutes and people started barking out orders "Get the Sawzall, take that cover off, give me the 24mm, hold the flashlight, we're going to need 12 inches of tube to sleeve this thing"... and it went on like that for a couple of hours.

All of us were in, under and on top of that truck for a couple of hours, sometimes just holding a flashlight or getting ready to pass off a tool... and others, straining with every ounce of energy to perform half of a task while your best friend is 2 feet away with the other half. This is the part of desert racing most people never see. The commitment to stand up to everything that comes your way. A wheel grinder was singing, sparks flying and our crew moving with a purpose. Race cars went by and sprayed silt into the air, spectators came by with a camera... even the Local PD set up shop and just watched the show. All in all, you don't notice everything else that's going on, all you're focused on is trying to get another quarter turn on a 3/8" nut to remove a piece of the dash so we can weld behind it in the next couple of minutes.

A couple intense hours go by and the drivers are suited up again and the truck is stronger than it was when it crossed its first border on the trip down from Canada. Patched, gusseted and sleeved, the team was able to perform CPR on the cage and get it race worthy four feet from the race course. If it wasn't for Mike and Wicked Creations, we would have been scouring the sand wash for a welder and it might be a very different story. A huge shout out to Mike for keeping the race alive for others that weren't his responsibility.

This was the last major issue of the first two driver legs and we made it down to RM270 and hooked up with Chase #4 and set up our pit and got Sage suited up to take 807 through the San Felipe loop. The truck came in and received 20 gallons of fuel, a visual and tech inspection and new drivers. Already this far into the race, being in chase, there was a tempo that had developed and we were never in a hurry to the next stop, although we tend to still operate like we are... but the next few minutes got exciting for Chase #1 and #3. We headed south on the 5 and could hear Jesse on the radio calling out mile markers and at one point I thought to myself "There's no way, did he just say RM295? I think he screwed up". So I got on the radio and asked "807 Race, this is Chase #1, say again, I copy RM295, over." and sure enough, I was the one that wasn't calibrated. Sage was behind the wheel and started driving the truck like it was designed. "Roger 295 and haulin' ass!" came back and I looked out the window and said "We got to go, they're going to beat us to the next pit!" and Chase #1 and #3 left a Pemex around 0300 on a mission to stay ahead of Sage.

San Felipe isn't your average drive in the dirt. Deep sand washes with ruts and whoops that would make for hazards on almost anything are around every corner. Just as we setttled in, another transmission came across the radio "807 Chase, this is Race, be advised we are at RM301 and the transmission has failed." Our stomach dropped and we knew that swapping out a transmission wouldn't be soon enough to make it to the next checkpoint where we would time out of the race. I tried to respond back and we just kept hearing a repeat of the transmission "807 Chase, this is Race, be advised we are at RM301 and the transmission has failed." Well, there's only one thing you can do when your bro's are in a San Felipe sand wash with a dead truck at zero dark thirty in Baja... so it turned into a full blown extraction mission. Access through a chase road and picking our way through trails in the wash, we got to our truck without interfering with any race activity... and where the truck was, there's nothing short of getting gnarly that would change the scenario. I'll just say that the ride out of RM301 in my megacab was the wildest ride of my life... and that of my passengers. half an hour later and one hell of an adventure, we all gathered up and let the adrenaline subside.

Racing in Mexico is one of the best adventures and challenges a man can have, we do it for many reasons and each time we walk away, we're satisfied with the outcome because we stepped up to every challenge on the way. They say that if you simply finish the Baja 1000, it's a victory in itself and for those who have and sometimes haven't, know exactly why. The best part is, we get to sit on everything we learned for a year and our date with Baja will be set again and we can only hope it will be rich in experience.

The Carli Suspension crew in San Felipe, November 2008, we'll be hanging onto that Baja smile for next year.

All video, photo and journalist support provided by Brad Holland

2007 Baja 1000 Race Report

The Carli Suspension, Inc Team Report from the 2007 Baja 1000

Date: 11/16/2007

The Wake Of The Sleeping Dragon

... El primer de muchos

Sage Carli enters the ring. Teamed up with Big Dog Performance out of Alberta Canada for the 2007 SCORE International 40th Anniversary Baja 1000. The young company out of Orange County, CA has been on a dead run for two years now. There's never been more happening with the business... things are moving forward, innovations are taking place and people are starting to listen. This has resulted in true entrepreneurship taking control... 7 days a week and 14 hours a day to keep up with every demand of the business... and now enter the world's premier off-road race, stretching over 1,300 miles through Baja Mexico.

The fledgling corporation is just now starting to set a steady tempo. Now the business is looking for direction and hazards on two fronts... steady business growth and now the demand to enter a Dodge Ram 2500 on concept suspension, into the motherbitch of all things you can do to a vehicle... Race it... In the 2007 BJ1K.

The truck arrived a week before the team was to be buying insurance at the border and signing in at the racer's desk. Richard, President of Big Dog Performance, hauled down truck 809. He and his brother Michael had fabricated the cage, wired the truck and completed the suspension installation in just over 3 months. When it arrived, Sage had two weeks worth of work to do... not enough people to do it all... and only 3 days to complete a race truck.

That's when things started happening and Sage was the first one to put on the gloves.

The team was split in two... Richard and Michael made a list of everything that they had to get done... then Sage and Mike made one of their own. Each list would have tallied 200 man-hours to complete... and they had to prioritize. This isn't anything unfamiliar to a racer... this is where races are won or lost... right here in the shop.

Everyone wanted to help, but there just isn't enough room and tools for 16 people... so most of them had to go. Down to a minimum of 6 to 8 working at a time... each list was starting to get checked off. Everything went great... for about eleven minutes, before the first issue raised itself and somebody said the words "Oh, I didn't know you said that"... or even better, "I thought you did". Needless to say, it was business as usual for a homebred American race team.

I think for the first time in Sage's life, he was unsure... and maybe he was? But what happens next is a signature of his roll... He just started working. Hard. Everyone stepped up to help make it happen. Bro's rolled over just to drop off a pizza and ask how everyone was doing... his vendors stopped by to say hi and see the truck and ask a thousand questions... his mother even met the crew... and he paused and gave time to them all, at his own expense. Hours rolled by.

But there was always something else he was looking at...

Something else he was thinking about...

And there was something else that needed him more...

The nights drew long... and the same 6 to 8 guys started to pick up rhythm and set a pace... air hoses had to be shared... flying back and forth between a grinder and an impact gun. Toolboxes and carts were parked like shopping carts out front of a thrift store... and welders had to be wheeled around constantly. The place was pretty much a well-synchronized, harmonious version of chaos.

The suspension is pure prototype... nobody has done this before. Running production versions of their flagship products, 3.0 King Shocks on the front corners, billet T6 shock towers, track bar and chromoly control arms... with hydraulic bumpstops accessorizing the ingenuity up front. Then top it all off... with King Kong 4.0 quadruple bypasses on all four corners.

This was something different.

So far, so good with the first push of the team... now the truck just needed bumpers, front and back, some lights, differential guard and an axle truss... while some of the team had to work with GPS, PCI radios and intercom units... others were drawing up a pit plan. At least half of the top priority things on their initial list got trumped about 9 times over the course of the first 20 hours. This time, when somebody dropped by, nobody said a word... only slowing down for an occasional sip on a can of Monster or pull a half eaten Snicker's Bar out of their pocket and eat it with a welding glove on.

As progress was made, bigger things started happening... the truck was taking on an attitude of its own, brought to life by Mike Kim, the in-house fabricator and designer. Now, being able to weld, bend tube and cut plates is one thing... but being able to stand back, envision something, jump on CAD and start drawing while looking at the vehicle through a window in the shop after taking 2 measurements and save a design to disk... is a whole other beast.

But that's the only way it goes down there. Mike was asked to cut some corners... he was at the quality decision point with everybody saying... "It would be totally fine if we just do it like THIS"... and a response of silence was the only result. That's just how Mike builds race trucks... he doesn't know any other way. The designs were cut on a laser the same day... tube showed up on a trailer... and somebody had to start rocking on a chop saw with lengths shouted across the shop... then came the angles. Magic marker was on the ends, edges and intersections of everything in front and behind the drivers... and finally, Mike started his own concert on the welders.

And only then did it start to look like a real race truck...

The team started earning a lot more respect for the vehicle, as the night grew longer. Men were standing around the shop, looking for things that were in their hands, or clipped onto there pocket... some people started to chain smoke and a few called it a night. Mike's welds got tighter and tighter... And he was the one who turned out the shop lights the morning of the truck's departure to Mexico. If I recall correctly, Mike left himself just enough time to make it home to pack.

But the job was done right...

The team head south on 5 hours of sleep... over the last 3 days...

... Not like Sage was going to sleep anyway

Being in Mexico was no different than the shop... except we ate more tacos. There were more things going on now... he just now met the other 75% of his team... in a dirt parking lot in Ensenada.

Time was going by slow prior to tech... for the first moment, there wasn't something to do... and then he realized that there is something to think about. Competing in the world's premier off-road race with an untested design, Sage steps into the ring.

As the vehicles paraded through the streets of Ensenada, the anticipation was relieved... guess who just showed up to the party?

The next thing to do after the truck passed final tech... was to drive it. This is when things got interesting...

PCI radios kept the team in expert communication... and the best part is, everyone who had one, bought it at their own expense to be part of what is happening. Heat synchs warmed the calf as the entire chase team following Richard and Sage out of Ensenada.

Richard behind the wheel and Sage at his right... there was a rustle... that of something moving... something that was going to change things. Carrying these two was a Carli Suspension competition system... and now it's finally in its true element... The Mexican Desert.

All that was heard on the radio as the three Dominator equipped chase trucks went for the first cut off road... is Richard and Sage talking... comfortably. This is was a huge release for Sage and all the doubt about the truck was lifted in the first 2 miles. It worked.

Sage and Richard weren't the only ones out there either. It was full blown pre-running for a lot of people. Chasing is fun every single second... except for the waiting part. When you're out of radio range. That's when you stand around talking about everything but Mexico and trying to ignore that trophy truck pre-runner and a Class 1 behind it. Then you start double checking things in your head and now it's the support team with some time to think.

This race is a constant challenge for anyone that is down there for anything other than spectating. There's a lot of time to get to know what part of you showed up. On the horizon, dust signaled for miles... each person supporting checked to see if it was ours... every time.

Finally, the truck comes in... and there's a new look in someone's eye.

Sage knew that the only thing that stood between this truck and the finish line, were the drivers. His entire crew's pit plan had just been changed... He wasn't letting this truck out of his sight. Mike knew too.

The night before the race everyone goes out for a taco and a beer at the local spot. This is when people start learning about each other among the team... where everybody's from... how they fit into the picture and what they're about. Everything that took place over the last 60 hours was all we really needed to know. Now we were in Mexico with a suspension concept that is about to be put to the ultimate threshold development lifecycle... breaking points will be tested... and not just that of the machine.

Nobody could sleep and the anxiety turned into excitement. It was Race Day.

Richard and Michael boarded the truck and headed into town to line up. Two rigs had already left for El Rosario and the 3 chase trucks loaded up and went their separate directions. Finally, Richard and Michael exited Ensenada with confidence.

Racing over 1,000 miles down the Baja Peninsula is a race of attrition. No matter how much money and time you throw at a vehicle... Mexico will find something that you forgot... and it will do this over and over. You can't make a truck strong enough to be stupid; you have to be able to manage the big picture while in the moment. The Big Dog Performance driver team one handled this responsibility perfectly as the Class 8 headed for the canal.

The awaited arrival of Sage Carli in the SCORE International race series was over. That suspension was conceived in Orange County, CA... and now it flies under the Red Bull Bridge in Ensenada, Mexico. Now there was only 1,200+ miles to go... two driver team changes... nine scheduled pit stops between the team and Cabo.

The chase teams were constantly on the move. The pit plan was modified so that each point of support access to the racecourse had a Carli Dodge in position to get eyes on the truck as it mowed through the desert terrain.

Richard held the truck back and under drove the vehicle for hundreds of miles. Passing vehicles that had broke down, crashed or otherwise fell victim to the environment. Doing exactly what an experienced Baja racer should do... set a pace and let everyone find their groove.

The first hundred miles went by without incident. Chase teams had excellent contact with the race truck, Richard and Michael were checking in and providing status regularly... and the race went on. Driving 467 miles of the course, driver team one, Richard and Michael consistently delivered the vehicle to each checkpoint, each pit and each chase team observation. So far, all we had to do was cheer them on as they drove past. Rolling by with a blip of the throttle and a honk of the horn, the team continued.

Day turned into night... eyes drew tired and bodies started to ache. Chase access starts to thin out south of San Quintin..., which makes the pit wait even longer. Once in a while when the terrain was just right, Michael's voice would come across the radio, transmitting in the blind, hoping we could hear him and he just couldn't hear us. "809 Chase, this is Race... be advised, we are at RM 435, I say again, RM 4-3-5 with no problems"... while still reading the GPS and course map to Richard, he delivered information to his support.

Finally out of the dark, the vehicle arrived at the pit. On time and carrying an average speed of 28 miles per hour, team 809 met their support.

Suffering only a power steering line leak and a brush with a tree up by Mike's Sky Ranch, the truck arrived at the first driver change just north of El Rosario. A crew of seven dove on the vehicle with flashlights and tools as others helped prep the next driver team and spot check the truck.

The longest scheduled pit stop lasted approximately 12 minutes. The crew was confident and comfortable now. We were so far into the race that vehicles were spread out, dust wasn't as much of a factor and it was going to be a matter of continuing to do exactly what was going down. Hold back, save the truck and drive intelligently, keeping the heroics out of the head and understanding that a race such as this, is something that you survive. You don't come down to Mexico and kick Baja's ass, you have to respect it or get bitten.

A very tired, yet enthusiastic Richard and Michael disembarked the Dodge with fatigued smiles and reserve energy. Ensenada was hours behind us. Once out of the vehicle, the stories started to unfold. Close calls with rocks, cliffs and even a tree... passing disasters and even a helicopter crash... Richard and Michael successfully raced 1/3 of the Baja 1000 without incident... Providing us all a true example of experience and commitment.

From Alberta Canada, to Orange County, to Ensenada, to scheduled pit stop #3 and 467 miles of brutal terrain, the driver team had a chance to celebrate their own victory. Their responsibility was to hand off a truck still in race condition... and they did.

This continued for another 700 miles, including another driver change just north of Loreto. The second team carried Richard and Michael's pace, putting them into 2nd place in their class.

Almost as if Baja had intentionally lulled the team into a false sense of security, being patient and cunning, the team still had another world of challenges to face. Shortly into the 3rd leg and final driver team's section, a silt bed ate the truck just outside of Loreto.

Chase teams were on sight within 20 minutes and the team recovered the truck and it was back on course. By this point, over a day had passed since the start of the race and the support team had been stretched to the breaking point. Fatigue, sleep depravation, hunger, dehydration, confusion... all symptoms of a SCORE International race team in the moment.

Disaster struck the team with less than 50 miles to Cabo. Running 2nd place in Class 8, a driver error rolled into the team like a grenade. Rounding a corner at 75 mph, in a drift with an overcorrection, lead to a wild hundred yards for team 809. "Gotcha". The truck nosed into a rut at freeway speeds and tossed the vehicle to the adjacent bank. Chromoly controls arms were taco'd... the front drive shaft was amputated by the force... and even Walker Evans bead locks were destroyed in the event.

The support team on the 40th hour of the race got the news over the radio that the truck had hit a ditch, rolled, hit a bank and was resting on the front axle. This would have been considered catastrophic to many. The vehicle looked like it was beat up by a giant and even the most exotic forged parts weren't capable of withstanding the force caused by this err.

Four hours passed as the team worked on the truck. Having accounted for just this type of incident, parts were at the ready... but this wasn't a matter of replacing a broken part here or there, this was a complete front end reinstallation... while sitting on the SCORE route just minutes from the finish line of the longest point-to-point off road race in the world.

Sage and Mike dropped their shirts and got into the dirt and started to assess the carnage. At one point, the lead sponsor and driver was going to call a helicopter and let the race end right there. Not this time...

The front end was jacked into the air and tools scattered on the road... the team worked. Four hours went by. A half of a work day for the rest of the population... but here, down in Baja, this was just responding to an incident, after 3 days of preparation and a complete day of racing, the crew put in another shift and granted the third driver team a miracle. The truck was race ready once again. Sage has never left a truck in the dirt... and it wasn't going to be his first campaign where that happened.

Truck 809 crossed the finish line with time to spare. Carli Suspension, Inc just introduced itself to the off-road market as a true wild card entry... and something to think about. Success rang out with the first time Class 8 4x4 Dodge 2500 quad cab... with a team that didn't know each other... suspension that was only in concept form... support that had volunteered... and Sage's commitment.

This was just Their first try... The sleeping dragon has wakened.

All video, photo and journalist support provided by Brad Holland

Friday, April 17, 2009

Race the Baja 1000

The Race
The Baja 1000 is raced annually along the treacherous and unforgiving Mexican peninsula. 350-400 entries from 30 US states and 12 countries challenge the grueling 1000 miles, with a 40% failure rate.

The Truck
The truck is a modified 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab 4x4. It has a custom roll cage, long travel suspension, a 450hp Hemi engine and enough navigation equipment to rival NASA. The truck is 100% Calgary built and owned.

Sponsorship Commitment
Your company’s sponsorship commitment will be a vital part of the success of our 2008 campaign. Our team is looking for title sponsors and secondary sponsors, with our main goal of giving recognition to YOUR company.

Company Exposure
To further the sponsorship commitment, your exposure is not just limited to the race. We ensure a full year of exposure on the truck, and will be available to attend your company events.

We also will be displaying the truck at prominent local events throughout the year, including The World of Wheels, the Stampede Parade and various sporting events, which will further add value to your commitment.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!

For further information please either:

Richard Thomas at 403.990.1164 Email
Rick Cornforth at 403.804.1181 Email

You could be a part of the biggest off road race in North America.

The Upgrade Specialists

Big Dog Performance is an Alberta based business dedicated to performance enhancing and tailoring light trucks to meet the needs of each of their clients. Working one on one with each client, Big Dog customizes each truck by helping customers evaluate and assess what upgrades are needed and what process will get your truck exactly where you want it to be. The perfect parts, upgrades and overall truck package don’t exist in the truck world, and Big Dog knows it. Usability and overall demand on the truck is what they know customization is all about, making them the number one contenders in Alberta for performance upgrades and customer service.

Getting the most out of your truck doesn’t happen without upgrades. Like any vehicle, boredom can set in mere months after the purchase of what you thought would satisfy your big truck desire. Depreciation and consistent upgrading through dealership trades is time consuming and expensive. Upgrading and turning your existing truck into a custom performance machine allows you to avoid the dealership trap and have your truck retain or gain value.

Increasing performance is obviously based on an individual’s preferences, but having a professional, insured technician work on your vehicle not only protects you as an owner but also insures safety. Often people try and build up their truck too quickly, mixing high performance parts with cheap imitations to save a quick buck, but leading to trouble down the line. A trained Big Dog Performance technician works with you to make a plan and accommodate a long term budget to ensure that by the end of the process you have a top end performance truck that is safe and has increased in overall value.
To ensure the highest level of service, Big Dog Performance only uses top quality performance parts, working with everything from aftermarket engines, transmissions, suspensions, performance products and accessories to improve the overall performance and usability of any truck.

Dominator 3.0
Carli Suspension is proud to offer you the highest performance Dodge suspension system on the market. The Dominator 3.0 is the end result of years of testing and development in the California and Mexico deserts, the Sierra Nevada mountains and the real world urban streets. This system utilizes 3 diameter shocks, the biggest available in an off the shelf suspension system, to bring you the best performing and most comfortable system ever.

Carli Product Line In Stock

Big Dog Performance is enjoying a refreshing climb with Carli Suspension, Inc as one of their foremost stocking distributors. Carli Suspension Systems and components are on our shelves in bigger quantities creating more availability for our customers.

Anything you find buzzing around Carli Suspension with their new product releases or updates, you will find right here in Canada through Big Dog Performance. We will be looking forward to growing with Carli Suspension and extending their reach throughout Canada.

Stick around for more Dodge Ram Suspension, Super Duty Suspension and racing down in Baja... the team is only getting stronger as we move into our 3rd year in business.

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