Baja Rally 2022: Day 5, Special Stage 5

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

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The Next Generation

Can We Even Call These Riders Rookies?

Key points: Organizers of the Baja Rally 2022 let Rookies start first, and as it turned out, the four top seats for the stage were taken by newcomers! While #3 Mike Johnson – with a plaster on his broken finger – finished First among the Pros. Before the final day, the rally team commemorates Moto Medics founder Patrick Attardo who recently passed away. He had been a huge part of the event since the beginning, and this moment was genuinely special for everyone who knew him personally.

Portrait of the Stage. The penultimate 138-mile loop around Cataviña was very special. It partially repeated Stage Two in reverse and crossed an open desert section with tricky navigation which included following the average cap headings from point-to-point. Orga kept the Dakar entrants and the American Rally Originals in mind, giving them training on compressed notes, and cramming two or three different roadbook events into a single notation.

Wild Card Start. To make it even more interesting for everyone, the race crew made the Rookie class start first, based on general classification after four days. And Rally 1 and Pro classes followed a half an hour later. All to see how the newest recruits to rally would deal with navigation without tracks ahead to guide them. That, and to confuse more experienced riders with the (presumably) messy trails in the sand.

No Surprise. The Kansas Kids did it again. Younger brother, #43 Alec Brawner, managed to overtake #44 Nick, but a 10-minute penalty pushed him back to Second Place. And we have a new name for Third Overall – Oswaldo Lara from Rosario! Oswaldo started riding several years ago, mostly enduro on stony terrain, and at one point, tried to conquer Baja 1000, although he didn’t finish. This is his first navigation rally after attending the Baja Rally School over the Winter. And he is showing pretty good times despite his general lack of rally experience!

(Translated from Spanish) A good race. I think it was the hardest day of all and my favorite. #30 Tony Palandrani was fast, and I tried to keep up. Once, we almost had a head-on collision, missing each other by a couple of inches. They made us work hard to navigate, and we had to stay concentrated. Thanks to Diespro Adventour for supporting me here. My next big rally raid will probably be Coast to Coast.” – Oswaldo Lara

Hard Day for Pros. Another hero of the day is the RallyComp developer and experienced rally rider Mike Johnson. An example of determination and willpower, not only did he come to the start line with a broken finger, but he also managed to find stage victory among Pros. He’s in the Top Five overall. Rallies are not always good for your health, but they are good for your soul, no doubt there. The former Pro leader, Paul Neff, unfortunately suffered a severe crash at high speed. His airbag went off, and he took quite a beating, but kept moving without a clutch lever, completing the stage.

Paul is going to Dakar this year, and he says that he was against mandatory airbag vests, but now they have a free ambassador for life. This very thing he found so disagreeable saved him from flying away in a helicopter. #1 David Pearson had to slow down as well because he blew the front end of his suspension and had to be very cautious, especially on downhills. So, it was #6 Partick Reyes and #33 Mo Hart, who won the Second and Third places in the category that day. In Rally 1, #21 Benjamin Myers made it back to Winner’s Circle of the special, followed by the quite consistent South African, #20 Willem Avenant and enduro professional #56 Rome Haloftis.

Baja Nature. This place is beautiful, diverse, and unpredictable. You don’t normally worry about the wet here, but another surprise for today were the flash floods, caused by a sudden rainstorm. And some riders actually had to ride uphill against the stream.

Story of the Day. The evening briefing today started with a moment of silence, followed by maximum noise. This was to remember the founder of the Moto Medics team, Patrick Attardo, who passed away this year. He was with the race since its very first day, and the crew had a lot of touching memories to share about him. Which they shared one by one, holding his photo on a motorcycle. Patrick used to teach by example; he was the most forgiving person you could ever meet; and he would hug you for at least eight seconds, even if you are a complete stranger to him. In his memory, his family established an Outstanding Moto Medic Award, which will be presented tomorrow to the two best volunteer team members, selected by vote.

As the sunset painted the sky over the Valle de Los Cirios yellow and purple, the bivouac went quiet before tomorrow’s Epilogue stage. It’s sad to think the adventure is almost over already, but even on the last day, everyone needs to stay focused to the very end. We will follow up tomorrow with the Overall results and more stories from the one and only premiere Rally Raid on Baja peninsula.

Unofficial Stage 5 Results Overall

1. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)

2. #43 Alec Brawner (USA)

3. #46 Oswaldo Lara (Mexico)

4. #30 Tony Palandrani (USA)

5. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)

6. #6 Patrick Reyes (Mexico)

7. #21 Benjamin Myers (USA)

8. #20 Willem Avenant (South Africa)

9. #37 Paul Mumford (USA), Malle Moto

10. #31 Steve Varni (USA)


1. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)

2. #6 Patrick Reyes (Mexico)

3. #33 Mo Hart (USA)

Rally 1

1. #21 Benjamin Myers (USA)

2. #20 Willem Avenant (South Africa)

3. #56 Rome Haloftis (Canada)


1. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)

2. #43 Alec Brawner (USA)

3. #46 Oswaldo Lara (Mexico)

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