Baja Rally 2022: Day 3, Special Stage 3

Press Release
by Press Release

Follow along as we share coverage from our friends WestX1000 from the Baja Rally 2022.

Begin Press Release:

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Riders Keep Overcoming these Mechanical Issues

Key points: Rider #43 Alec Brawner is back to the race on a rental bike, while #10 Paul Neff is sandwiched between the Brawner brothers on the stage podium. The third marathon stage of the Baja Rally is also a rare day, when everyone made it through the whole Special without becoming lost, injured or stuck with a mechanical problem.

Portrait of the Stage. What was supposed to be the longest and most challenging stage of the race, the Marathon Stage was most affected by recent Hurricane Kay. The organizers had to cut the track down to 110 miles, introducing a relaxed 105-mile liaison by the sea. There were four full hours to cool down after the special, stop and take photos before arriving at the Parc Fermé. The Special kept the riders on alert, though, with a lot of hazards, ditches, sharp stones, erosion and other gifts left by the storm. All while striking views of the sea offered riders a bit of distraction on top of it. During the previous stage, the racers had to do a large part in a blinding fog, taking their goggles off to avoid constantly wiping them.

“Today was beautiful and very green. We could also see desert purple and pink because of flowers, and then you arrive to the ocean… I saw a coyote! Comparing Days One and Two it was less technical, a nice flow.” – Stephie Schinkel

As the sun went down behind the Sea of Cortez, Parc Fermé at the Villa Vitta hotel was full of life. Riders were either checking on the bikes or just taking it easy and having a beer by the pool – because you still need to enjoy some of the creature comforts! Yesterday’s stage took two strong riders out – #43 Alec Brawner and #43 Patrick Reyes, both of whom had serious tech issues and could not finish. Today they are both back in the game, and doing well, claiming Third and Sixth position in the Overall standings. Reyes is also 3rd place on Stage in the Pro class. Technical setbacks also took out another Dakar 2023 entrant David Pearson, who had an electrical issue on-course. He had to reconnect everything, losing precious time, but somehow managed to remain in the Top Ten overall. Multiday rallies are hard on bikes, but it looks like Baja Rally participants are able to deal with all types of mechanical gremlins. There are only two in the Malle Moto category officially, but a big part of the pack is also servicing their bikes themselves, so the marathon stage doesn’t change much for them.

“Yesterday we forgot to change the air filter. It sucked dirt into the engine and blew it up. We couldn’t get it fixed, so we ended up renting a Husqvarna 501. I wanted to take it easy first. These places are familiar to me, so I started ripping it, passing people. I still stopped a couple times to take pictures. Also, I had to tighten a couple of things on my bike because they just installed the tower on it.” Nick Brawner, Freedom Rally Team

“Yesterday at km 7.5 my bike died…electrical issue. We took it back and managed to fix it. It’s working great. I started last and managed to overtake around 15 people, so apparently I made decent time. Very good ride, albeit misty. I had to clean my goggles all the time, and that’s dangerous because hurricane left a lot of ditches.” – Patrick Reyes

Same Leaders. #44 Nick Brawner and #10 Paul Neff stayed on top of things. Paul Neff went slower, cautious of hurricane consequences in the run-up to his Dakar premiere this coming January. And Brawner took advantage of it, finishing on two bent rims but increasing the Overall gap between them by another four minutes. There are some changes in the Rally 1 category: #26 Scott Purcell became used to the navigation and climbed up from P3 to P1 in his category on stage. It’s his second rally, and although Scott didn’t finish the first one because of a mechanical failure, he is determined to do reach the end this time. And the whole group made it through the day without any injury or major mechanical, so that was a good run for everyone.

Tomorrow the participants are going back to Cataviña through a stage, described by the Stage Designer Scott Breuxman as “Hell and Heaven” – mostly technical, but at the same time extremely spectacular.

Baja Fact of the Day: Bahía de Los Angeles, to those who don’t know, is also called the Bay of LA! This small town is not a luxury resort by any means, but it keeps attracting tourists who want to get off the beaten path to a naturally mesmerizing location – especially sport fishing lovers. And the hotel that hosted the bivouac was inaugurated in the 80s by the Mexican president, who enjoyed spending time here even before its first real tourists.

We’ll continue following up with daily updates and more stories from the one and only premiere Rally Raid on Baja peninsula. You can also check @bajarally Instagram account for behind-the-scenes footage.

Unofficial Stage 3 Results Overall

1. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)

2. #10 Paul Neff (USA)

3. #43 Alec Brawner (USA)

4. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)

5. #30 Tony Palandrani (USA)

6. #6 Patrick Reyes (Mexico)

7. #46 Oswaldo Lara (Mexico)

8. #1 David Pearson (USA)

9. #11 Ace Nilson (USA)

10. #22 Carlos Garcia (Global)


1. #10 Paul Neff (USA)

2. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)

3. #6 Patrick Reyes (Mexico)

Rally 1

1. #26 Scott Purcell (USA)

2. #21 Benjamin Myers (USA)

3. #20 Willem Avenant (South Africa)


1. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)

2. #43 Alec Brawner (USA)

3. #30 Tony Palandrani (USA

Press Release
Press Release

More by Press Release

Join the conversation