With the 51st SCORE International Baja 1000 right around the corner, we reached out to our sponsored rider, Tristan Dietrich, to learn more about how Team Dietrich Racing is coming together and preparing for the big race.
Who is on your team this year? Can you tell us a little more about them?
This years team consists of Dan Nickol, Wendelin Bittner and myself behind the handlebars. Kylie Tonita, Devon Wood and Nick Dietrich are behind the wheel of the chase trucks.
Dan Nickol – Dan is a mechanic that focuses on restorations and diesel modifications. He is also a philanthropist and pastor and spends much of his time building churches, women’s shelters and orphanages in developing countries. He has helped rehabilitate and provide shelter for many women in Ensenada in particular. Africa is another place he spends time providing aid. Dan is one of our racers and returning from last year. I met Dan last year for the first time at the Tijuana airport a week before the Baja 1000. Dan was a youth pastor for a good friend of mine Cody Robertson that owns the Yamaha/Correct Craft dealer in Swift Current Saskatchewan. When I was down to no racers besides myself last year, Cody recommended Dan to me. I sent Dan a quick text to see if there would be any interest in the Baja 1000 before I called him to give him my spiel, he said yes without knowing anything. I was not aware that he had always dreamt of competing in the 50th Baja 1000 and had started building a vehicle that he eventually gave up on as he could not find anyone to share his passion. So when I got a hold of him it was an immediate yes. He honestly thought it was a cruel prank people were playing on him, especially since we were half a day late picking him up.
Wendelin Bittner – Wendelin is a heavy duty mechanic for a Kenworth dealer. Wendelin is a dear friend of mine that equally shares my passion for riding quads and Yamaha in general. He actually owns more Yamaha products than I do, and that is not easy to do. He appreciates quality, dependability, and reliability… hence Yamaha. He is my right-hand man for modifying our quads and snowmobiles to make them do what we need them to do. I normally come up with a crazy idea, Wendelin tells me I am crazy, looks at me like I have two heads and then makes it happen. Wendelin is a skilled rider and very at home on the Yamaha Grizzly. Despite him not being able to make the race last here, he put many hours in helping me get ready for the race. I am really looking forward to him getting behind the bars this year. He will be a huge part of our success.
Tristan Dietrich – I am the Driver of Record for the race. I am a consultant for a water technology firm.
Kylie Tonita – Kylie is our team manager. We call her Baja Deb. Baja Deb was born sometime in the 36 hours of mayhem in the race last year. We started the race with Kylie and by the end, she was Baja Deborah. She owned the Baja. She kept us organized, focused, and if we needed anything she got it done. She is a huge asset to the team. Kylie is another member that I knew for 5 minutes and she was fully committed… actually, she was the first one to sign up and get the ball rolling. If it was not for her, we would not have raced last year.
Devon Wood – Devon is a local ATV rider that we know. I have had fun riding with him in the past but just recently learned of his interest in this race. He is a very good fabricator and was eager to get in on our build and help in any way he could. Very rare to see, so we asked him if he wanted to come. It did not take long to get a yes. I just have to guarantee some Trophy Truck visuals. He has no idea how up close and personal he is about to get with Trophy Trucks. Devon is our team mechanic for this race. Devon is an insurance adjuster by day.
Nick Dietrich – Nick is my youngest brother. Nick owns and operates Community Creative, a digital media company that makes materials for customers and marketing firms to use for their customers. Nick is our lead chase driver and media specialist. My whole life I have been making Nick do the things I was always scared to do. I lived vicariously through him as he did the things I was not skilled to do. I feel in this case, Nick is getting a kick out of me actually doing something, even though he has no interest in racing. Nick has been a huge support and encourages me to get after it instead of letting something I am passionate for slip through my fingers. I love having him on the team as I do not get to spend much time with my brothers these days and for the short while, it is really nice to reconnect.
What experience did you gain from last year's race that you think will help this time around?
Last year we learned a lot. We learned that air filtration is overrated as we ran over 520 miles with no airbox in the dustiest terrain I have ever witnessed. We learned that our a-arms are not as strong as we thought. We learned that a Yamaha Grizzly will pull a trophy truck out of the silt. We also learned that we can sustain speeds required to win the race. Our machine is best suited for 75% of the terrain of this race and still does really well on the other 25%. I am most looking forward to putting our best foot forward this year. We have fixed the things that slowed us down and took us out of the race last year and I am confident that we have a shot at being on top when the dust settles. This year’s race looks to be a gnarly one with lots of rocky, mountainous terrain… right up the Grizzly’s wheelhouse. The big tires, four-wheel drive, and independent suspension fitted with Elka shocks will eat it up. We also ride this type of terrain frequently in the Rocky Mountains.
What are you doing to prepare for the race?
Getting prepared for this year’s race has been comprised of physical training, mental preparedness as well as getting our machine ready. We have lots of fabrication going on with new a-arm designs, repairs, and engine building.
What machine are you racing?
We are racing a Yamaha Grizzly 700. Our machine has custom arms, gusseted frame, 734cc race motor, Elka shocks, Rox Speed FX ergos, Maxxis tires, Hyper wheels, bazzaz FI, JBS clutching, slime products, and Barkers Dual exhaust setup.
What are you most looking forward to?
We learned a lot last year. Although we only made it 900 miles, we feel it was a success. We were doomed for failure from the time we said we were doing this and found a way to make it until the machine could not go any further. The treatment process we did on the engine internals proved to have huge dividends as the motor held up despite being dusted for the first 520 miles. The rest of the machine held up really well and no modifications needed for this year besides the a-arms. The a-arms were our weak link and we have that addressed. We’re really looking forward to this race as I am confident to what we are bringing to the table.
How can we follow along with you?
People can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @teamdietrichracing. We will also have live tracking available through SPOT GPS. We will post a link will be posted on Facebook prior to the start of the race.
Barker's Performance will also be keeping up with Team Dietrich Racing as they continue to prepare for the race and we will stay current with all details of the race as they come across the wire. Follow along with Barker's Exhaust on Facebook and our blog for more information.