SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - APRIL 2017

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 77 of 107

FUELED BY PASSION TIM AND TROY HERBST LOOK BACK AT THEIR FAMILY’S 40 YEARS OF OFF ROAD RACING HISTORY AND THE UPCOMING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SCORE BAJA 1000. By Stephen Romero When Terrible Herbst Motorsports patriarch, Jerry Herbst, raced the SCORE Baja 1000 in the early days, he teamed up with legendary racers like James Garner, Walker Evans, and Parnelli Jones. Little did he know, however, that his deep passion for the sport would set into motion a desert racing empire that in itself has become legendary, and continues with generations of the Herbst family contributing and participating in the greatest race of all. The family’s racing heritage spawned from the success of their Terrible Herbst gas and convenience chains across the Southwest United States. The company’s airplane hangar at their headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a testament to their business savvy and is where Tim and Troy Herbst shared their family’s experiences surrounding the SCORE Baja 1000. Putting the family’s participation in off-road racing into perspective, their accomplishments span more than 40 years and includes seven SCORE multi-class season points titles earned by Troy Herbst, four earned by Ed Herbst, and four by Tim Herbst. Troy also earned four SCORE All-Time Overall season points championships from 1998 thru 2006, and two SCORE Baja 1000 overall championships winning in 2004 and 2005. If you think that’s a great record, these stats are only a fraction of the family’s many class and overall wins within SCORE alone. Despite their many victories, the influence of the SCORE Baja 1000 race itself has always been the most important to the family. Their introduction to it, however, began well before Tim and Troy strapped into a race car. “I remember waiting for my dad at the Ensenada Convention Center to return back from the SCORE Baja 1000,” said Tim Herbst. “It was 1969, and I had watched him start and then I waited for him on a block wall to finish the race. I was five years old at the time.” His brothers Troy and Ed had the same experiences watching their dad race, which ultimately built the foundation for the family’s eventual success and overall contributions they’ve made to the sport. Despite the time and effort spent racing and winning multiple overall and class championships, the love for the race has always been about the experience. “I especially love the SCORE Baja 1000, the people, racing the peninsula, and the experience,” said Troy. “I can’t explain it. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world during the event.” The Baja peninsula and racing on it may very well be an annual relief to the demands of running a large corporation, but to the Herbst family, it’s all part of their DNA. “Well…we don’t golf,” said Tim with a laugh. “But we work hard and play out in the desert. Going to the SCORE Baja 1000 is still a thrill and a big adventure for us.” A Continuing History Of Vehicles And Family With all the innovations coming out of the Herbst/Smith Fabrication headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, no one connected to the Herbst family has ever forgotten where it all started. “We were very fortunate that our father had the passion and know-how which allowed us to have good people around us to go racing and to build vehicles like the Truggy and Land Shark,” said Tim. To the Herbst brothers, the motorsports team has become more like family than employees, something which they are very proud of. “When we decided to build our own vehicles, people like Mike Smith and Todd Gorsuch became part our family,” said Troy. As the family’s racing history and vehicles continue, there’s a new generation that is also wanting to continue their legacy within SCORE and off-road racing. “We have some new and improved drivers coming up,” said Tim. “Our brother Ed has a son, I have two sons, and Troy has a son. That passion that began with our father and was handed down to us, is now being passed onto to the next generation. Aside from being excited about it, it just makes us feel old!” While passing the racing torch off to their sons is exciting to watch, the important thing on the minds of the Herbst family is the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000. Tim and Troy recall some of the unique experiences that make that race more special than any other, especially due to the fact that at the “1000” they race at night. “It’s the craziest thing when the driving lights come on,” said Tim. “At night the desert becomes a different place at the SCORE Baja 1000. It’s a mystical place at night that you don’t see in the day, and Mexico becomes something special.” With the race reaching its 50th year, Troy, the youngest of the brothers, has seen many changes during his racing career, including the development of the Baja landscape. While it’s changed from when he first experienced Baja, he understands it’s just an evolution of the event. “It hurts to see the new houses, and paved roads being built,” said Troy. “It seems like just yesterday that we started racing in the desert and seeing those empty roads going down to Coco’s Corner.” “It’s amazing how much time has gone by and that we are still doing this,” said Tim. “I never thought I’d have children with the same passion, continuing to do this for generations.” Winning the Holy Grail of Off-Road With a long history of racing, Tim and Troy Herbst are still hardcore competitors and are preparing for the 2017 50th SCORE Baja 1000 in a big way. The brothers realize this year’s race is the one event everyone wants to win, especially after hearing that the course may be a peninsula run like it was during the early days of the race’s history. “It’s the Holy Grail of racing,” said Troy. “There will be more people participating in this event, so we know we’ll have to come in with some type of advantage over the rest of the competition.” While the Herbst family is well known for building winning vehicles, for the 50th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000, they’re planning on continuing in that tradition. “In the past, we built innovative vehicles like the Truggy and a four-wheel drive Trophy Truck so we could beat the other guys,” said Troy. “Now we’ve built a new Trophy Truck chassis to take it to the next step.” The truck is lighter and has a lower center of gravity. In addition, it is easier to work on and manufacture, making it much easier to maintain and less expensive to fabricate. “Mike Smith and Todd Gorsuch are really the top fabricators and the brains behind Herbst racing,” said Tim. “They have developed this new Trophy Truck that continues to undergo tweaks to make it lighter and even more competitive.” Although more people will be running Herbst/Smith chassis at this year’s SCORE Baja 1000, they hope that their latest vehicle will give them an advantage over the other vehicles on the course. Monster Energy Partnership Aside from family members and a small cadre of faithful technicians, engineers, welders and fabrication specialists working at Herbst/Smith Fabrications, the Herbst have acquired some powerful sponsors too. Monster Energy has been a great major sponsor, which began when the drink inventor, Mark Hall, spotted the Truggy in Mexico and he wanted to wrap it in Monster Energy black and green. “I think we were sponsored by Rockstar at the time, but since then we started a relationship with Monster and we couldn’t be any happier,” said Troy. For the 50th anniversary SCORE Baja 1000 in November, Tim plans to drive the new #19 Trophy Truck, while Troy will drive #91 truck. “We’re hearing that the course will be extremely long and if you win any race at Baja this would be the one to win,” said Troy. No doubt, it’s going to be an amazing race with every competitor chasing the checkered flag at the most historic off-road race in the world. Whether or not these champions of Baja will make history at the 50th anniversary is anyone’s guess, but at the very least, they’ll be holding nothing back in the process .SJ

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