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A BRUTAL BUT CLEAN WIN . A setup miscalculation and a rocky racecourse almost ruined the day for Cody Parkhouse . Story by Stuart Bourdon .Photograph By Get Some Photo . Class 1 winner Cody Parkhouse told us, “All things considered, we had a really good race day.” A suspension setup issue with their car and a brutally rough racecourse for the 2023 King Shocks 36TH SCORE San Felipe 250 presented by Baja Vida Snacks could have put them far back in the pack but driving skill and good luck got them to the finish line and the top of the podium. . “My father Brian drove the first half of the race, and right off the start, the course takes you through that really bad section up through Zoo Road,” said Parkhouse. “My dad said the car was feeling sort of ‘skatey’ and that it was a handful to keep under control at times.” . “We had tried something a little different when setting up the car’s suspension, but it turned out to be just a bit off.” Parkhouse got in the car for his turn on the course. “In shakedown, it felt okay, but later during the race, the car wasn’t handling at 100 percent.” . . Course Conditions . The SCORE San Felipe racecourse was worse than Parkhouse had expected. “San Felipe is always rough– you always know that going into the race, but this year seemed much rougher than in the past. The storms and all the rain this winter have really torn up the roads in Baja.” . “On sections that usually have rounded off bumps (he called it “a nice kind of rough”), you can set a good speed and rhythm and stay on top of the holes, but this year those bumps were now square with sharp rocks that had been uncovered during the heavy rains. I really think it was much worse than I remember. It was brutal.” . . Baja Luck . Racing in Baja is part skill, part preparation, and part luck. Sometimes, it’s good luck. “My dad drove the car to race-mile 130, where we had a pit, and then I took the car from there. From that point on, the only problem we had occurred while going through one of the rocky wash sections of the south end of the racecourse.” . “We got a little crossed up and ended up high-centered on a big rock. That could have been disastrous and cost us a lot of time, but we were lucky because the rock was directly underneath one of our onboard jacks. We hit the jacks and popped the car up high enough to get our spare under one of the rear tires.” They drove off the rock, put the spare tire back in its rack, and got going again. In all, Parkhouse had been stopped for just a couple of minutes. . Other than the miss on suspension setup and getting high-centered for a minute or two, the Parkhouse team had a clean race, which turned out to be the deciding factor for the win. “We crossed the finish line second,” he said. “We were happy with that, considering the problems with the car. Later we learned that because of time penalties, Brad Wilson, who had finished first on the course, had been moved back a position. This put us in first place. Overall, we had a good race that day. We’ve won and lost races for that very same reason (penalties). It’s all part of racing, so we’ll take the win.”SJ .

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