Johnson wins Class 10 at Baja 500
Radar Tires Racing and Bronson Motorsports driver/owner Mike Johnson conquered the 500 treacherous miles of Mexico’s Baja California Norte terrain on Saturday to earn a Class 10 victory during the 45th AnnualSCORE International Baja 500 this weekend.
This class win marks the first victory for Radar Tires in SCORE International off-road competition. Johnson and the Radar Tires Racing Buggy finished 43 minutes ahead of the closest Class 10 competitor.
Mike ‘Ironman’ Johnson was the lone driver of the No.1031 Radar Tires Racing Buggy this weekend. The racing machine is an Alumicraft chassis, Class 10 buggy with special non-DOT size 33X10.50R15 Radar Renegade R5 race tires.
“Thanks to Bronson Motorsports crew for their efforts leading up to and during this race,” Johnson said. “The Radar Tires were great. I didn’t have one flat the entire time. We only changed the rear tires once, pitted twice and here we are winning the Baja 500. It was a great effort by the entire team. It was tough; it was brutal, but a lot of fun. The course was challenging at the beginning because you had a lot of dust to deal with, then the summit, then sand. Once you were on the Pacific side, there was silt, sand, rocks, and you name it, and it was there.”
Johnson started 12th (of 22 competitors) in Class 10, as determined in a drawing by SCORE International. Cool, calm and collected, Johnson paced himself and by race mile 34, he managed to gain several positions and was running seventh in class. By race mile 100, Johnson had reached third position in class.
Less than 100 miles later (race mile 180), Johnson took the Radar Tires Racing Buggy to the class lead. Once he was in the lead, Johnson was determined to maintain a solid pace ahead of the competition and as the miles clipped along, he steadily pulled away from the competition. At the mid-point of the race, he had a three minute lead on his nearest Class 10 competitor.
With 200 miles ahead of him, Johnson made a scheduled pit stop and the rear tires only were changed. Shortly after the pit stop, Johnson’s lead was 23 minutes. Nearly 100 miles later, Johnson was 26 minutes ahead of his closest competitor. Johnson maintained a 30 minute lead on the competitor for the remainder of the race. When he crossed the finish line, SCORE International official timing and scoring determined that Johnson had a 43 minute lead.
The Radar Tires Racing Buggy experienced no mechanical problems throughout the entire 500 mile event. However, moments before staging, the rear brakes were locking up and the Bronson Motorsports crew quickly serviced the brakes moments before final staging in Ensenada, remedying the problem.
“This is a huge win for Radar Tires and Omni United in its first foray in off-road motorsports. I’ve got to thank Sareen for his support, everyone at the Singapore headquarters and everyone in the US division,” continued an exhausted Johnson. “This is the result we’ve been looking for, not only to finish on the podium, but to finish on the top step. This is hopefully the first of many Radar Tires victories. I’m looking forward to more and I’m sure they are too.”