Despite the troubles on Day 2, Robby Gordon had high hopes for Day 3 only to run into more mechanical problems with a failed pump on the transmission. It didn’t drop him any positions to the leader but it definitely put a kink in things as Robby had hoped to make up a lot of ground during this stage of the rally and was really hoping this would set things up for a real good run on Day 4 where Robby‘s skill and experience from the Baja races would really pay off as they‘d be running in the desert and on some massive sand dunes.
Then came Day 4. If ever there was an example of Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the most inopportune time at the most inopportune place) Day 4 was it. During the liaison stage of Day 4, Robby’s Hummer broke a wheel bearing. Robby’s team, Eliseo Salazar, had passed Robby while Robby was gassing up the Hummer, so the spare wheel bearing and hub were long gone when Robby actually broke down. Then there was the problem of the T4 support vehicle. Somehow, it managed to somehow miss Robby’s bright orange Hummer sitting on the side of the course. It’s not like the Hummer was painted up in desert camouflage and could easily be missed. Maybe he needed some flashing signs and billboards with circles and arrows pointing to the Hummer? It was fluorescent orange by God. Only a blind man could miss it. Oh well. Bitter disappointment for Robby even though his teammate, Eliseo Salazar, is still running along with the Speed Energy sponsored Quinn Cody motorcycle. Salazar is about 6 hours behind the leader so he’s got a lot of making up to do while Quinn Cody is 12th overall in the motorcycle category after 6 stages.
Once Robby’s Hummer gets back to the shop in the USA, it’ll be torn down completely and every nut, bolt, and screw will be thoroughly examined to determine what caused the bearing failure. The failed bearing is off a design that had been used countless times before not just on the Hummer but also on Robby’s SCORE vehicles. Since Robby still has a vehicle running in the Dakar rally, he’ll be sticking around til the finish and has been giving some journalists a ride in his repaired Hummer in what can best be described as “the ride of a lifetime”.
Since Robby is out early, he’ll be heading to Laughlin Nevada after the Dakar rally finishes to compete there in a SCORE off-road event in his trophy truck. Hopefully he’ll have more luck there.