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BUGGIES IN THE BLOOD The Four-Time Class 1 Champion, Cody Parkhouse, Is Staying Put Story By Mike Vieira Photos by Get Some Photo Four-time Class 1 champion Cody Parkhouse followed in his dad Brian’s footsteps by working his way up through the buggy classes and into Class 1. When Brian started, the affordable buggy classes were what Baja racing was all about, and they have captured and held the family’s racing enthusiasm through the years. Class 1 has been Cody’s mainstay for the last decade after starting with his uncle in the 1600 class. He’s seen the changes from carburetion to fuel injection, analog gauges to digital screens, manual switches to electronic, computer advancements, and so on. While those changes are great, he says that they have meant improvements in ease of use– but for the most part, those technological developments didn’t substantially improve the vehicle’s speed or capabilities. The Parkhouse team campaigned their previous car for twelve years, only upgrading shocks, tires, and some engine development, precisely because there had been no major changes in chassis development. However, the latest generation of buggy engineering has upped the game, especially with their latest Jimco Hammerhead. “With the longer trailing arms, and the truck-style front end, there are finally major improvements,” he says. “From the cab forward, it’s the same geometry as the Jimco Trophy Trucks, so it’s a lot more forgiving ride. And there are some more suspension changes that we’ve worked on to make it even more comfortable to drive. It’s a completely different car than our old Jimco Champion.” That extra comfort translates directly to less fatigue for the driver throughout a long race. Parkhouse says that after completing 600 miles in last year’s SCORE Baja 1000, he and his co-driver felt they could have easily continued to the end of the race. “I like to call the new chassis kind of a Trophy Truck that only has twenty inches of rear travel because you do have a lot of comfort in it.” Parkhouse also has seen a definite decrease in Class 1 entries from when he started in it ten years ago, when it was normal to see more than thirty cars in the class. People have come and gone, as they might move on to other classes, but for the most part, he feels that the number of entries is probably beyond the control of SCORE. ‘Some of the movement to SCORE Trophy Trucks and TT TSpec Trucks is the result of their higher profile,” says Archibald. “I know that maybe it’s hard to hype Class 1 when there’s only ten of us– compared to thirty SCORE Trophy Trucks, and thirty Spec Trucks, and UTVs. There are quite a few guys who have stepped away from Class 1 to run the other classes because of that.” With the smaller entry list in Class 1, Parkhouse says, “We can kind of take it easy. We can drive at 85 or 90 percent for most of the race, then wait for the last 50 miles or so to see where we’re at because we don’t have the entry numbers. With the SCORE Trophy Trucks and Spec Trucks, because there are so many, they have to run pretty much at 100% all the time. It’s not that Spec Trucks are faster than Class 1 cars, it’s just that they’re running harder because of the competition.” The Parkhouse family Class 1 clearly has buggies in their blood, and regardless of how high a profile the class has, they are there to stay. SJ

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