Barker's Sponsored Rider, Juan Pirrunas Dominguez, and his skilled team took first place in the competitive sportsman quad class at the 2017 Baja 500. Words simply cannot express how excited and proud we are. We thank our lucky stars for having such a dedicated and skilled racer on our team, who pushes himself, his machine, and our exhausts to the limit, and time and time again excels. Of course, this race didn't play out without its own set of unique challenges and mishaps. Check out how Juan and Team 109A took down the competition and made it to the finish line, below.
Thank you so much! The whole team is thrilled about our Baja 500 win but this one is even more special because we were the first quad across the finish line which is our first overall finish ever!
I don’t know if you noticed but the whole right side of my jersey was torn due to a small crash around race mile 12! The fog was so thick that I ran a turn while I had 5th gear tapped! I was unable to make the full turn so I turned into a barbed wire fence. Thanks to some of the locals and police, I was able to get going again after about a minute. Just some bruises and some scratches and I was off again! Nothing happened to the quad thank God. [OR YOU, JUAN!!! WAY TO RECOVER!]
The silt in the first half of the course was so gnarly that our white quad turned into a pile of silt after a couple hundred miles. Our new Barker’s Exhaust allowed us to power through that stuff with no problem and made going through silt beds really fun! The whoops near San Felipe are always physically tough. Not only do they take a toll on the rider but they were mixed with 100+ degree weather that got our motor and shocks really hot. However, Baja ATV Rider’s Only set us up with plush Elka Suspension that made it easier to power through them for 200 miles!
We were the last quad off the line out of the 12 total quads that were registered for this Baja 500. At race mile 80, we were the second quad on the road and first overall on time. However, the top 4 quads in our class were less than 5 minutes apart which made for some serious racing for almost 300 miles until we started pulling away from the competition. We took over the physical overall lead around San Felipe and held it all the way to the finish line! It was nerve-racking because we did not want to blow our overall position so we held a smooth fast pace for the last half of the race.
The craziest thing I saw was coming up on a huge cow that was torn to pieces with guts laying all over the race course. The smell was so horrible that I gagged inside my helmet! Looked like a truck hit it at full speed during pre-running. It is actually kind of scary when rounding corners at over 80 mph and just praying to God you don’t run into a horse or cow. You will get killed instantly on a quad.
Well after my first crash in the morning, I rode a little more careful. Although my adrenaline was at full blast, I didn’t want to ruin our race for riding over my head. You can’t win a Baja 500 in the first 70 miles but you sure can end it! So our plan was to ride smooth and fast through the thick morning dust and that’s what we did. After starting last in our class, we came in first in class at race mile 80 and pushed through some of the gnarliest fog and dust I have ever seen!
The new round can looks awesome and gave the finishing touch to our race quad. We also noticed the clamp was easier to put on with the round can when compared to the oval design. It also gave the quad a sharper sound and felt more torque at the touch of the throttle. This gave us a huge advantage through the rocks and the sandy whoops around the San Felipe loop. The installation of the exhaust went smoothly and everything bolted right up. We just love the way the new round design looks, especially with the two-tone anodized exhaust cap. We could distinguish the sound of our quad through mountains and the wide open desert when it was coming hot into the pits. It just sounds much more powerful than any other exhausts the competition was running. It still looks brand new after 515 miles of racing Baja!
The team wants to give huge thanks to Barker’s Exhaust for their support in our 2017 Baja 500 effort. The whole team was really happy with the response the new design gave us compared to the oval exhaust we ran at the San Felipe 250 in April. Our sights are set for the Baja 1000 in November. The 50th running of the Baja 1000 will be a peninsula run this year that will start in Ensenada and finish in La Paz. We are expecting a 1300+ mile Baja 1000 course and the preparation for this adventure started right after we crossed the Baja 500 finish line first overall!
Pirruñas Racing Sponsors: Liberty Motorsports, Barker’s Performance, Baja ATV Rider’s Only, Fox Racing, YaDije Apparel, Master Exterminators, Yuma Mortuary, Elka Suspension, Motul Lubricants, JR Racing, Menudo Michoacan, Marcos Cousiño, RK Chains, UNI Air Filters, IMS Products, and My Big Brother.
Barker's Performance is looking forward to the Baja 1000 in November, the next race in the SCORE International series on November 14th-18th. Stay tuned for more awesome practice and race updates!
Want to learn more about our winning exhaust system for the Honda TRX450? Click on the links below.
- Barker's Full Single Exhaust System for a Honda TRX450 (04-05 Models)
- Barker's Full Single Exhaust System for a Honda TRX450 (06-Current Models)