It looks like co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and avid off-road enthusiast, Bobby Patton, will not be completing the 2020 Dakar Rally. Despite making a strong start, and overcoming mechanical and terrain challenges alike, Patton’s “Fastball Racing” Toyota Hilux was totaled after flipping in Stage 6.
Patton apparently hit a nasty rut in the midst of a high-speed left-hand turn, at which point the Hilux went soaring through the air, before crashing into the scorching Saudi Arabian sand. Truck totaled, and ASO officials and medical staff on the scene, it became apparent that while neither Patton, nor his navigator, Robbie Pierce were seriously injured, the Fastball Racing team would be unable to complete the rally.
“You only need the best safety equipment when you need safety equipment,” Pierce mused after the accident. “Our Stilo helmets, MOMO race suits, gloves, and shoes, and HANS devices all did their job when we really needed them.”
“We are competitors we push the limits of our equipment and ourselves, sometimes it doesn’t work out,” Pierce continued. This statement was supported by Fastball Racing’s improved standings after the close of each passing day during the 2020 Dakar Rally. After completing the first stage, the team sat in 62nd place, but upon conquering Stage 5, the Fastball Racing team had jumped all the way up to 38th place. This is an impressive jump in standings, especially since GPS, driver changes, and pre-running are all forbidden.
“Having to go home early is unfortunate,” Patton explained. “What I will miss most is the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish a stage.”
But we get the feeling that this won’t be the last time we will see Bobby Patton in the driver’s seat. Not just because the man has an insatiable love for all things off-road, but because he was just awarded the Rod Hall SCORE Milestone Award for Fastball Racing’s rookie year. Patton apparently finished every mile of every SCORE International desert race as the driver in his No. 240 Jimco-built, Trophy Truck, thus earning him the coveted award, which is gifted to only 46 other SCORE series racers competing in 18 different classes.
So here are Fastball Racing’s 2020 Dakar Rally effort by the numbers:
- 1,900 Kilometers Raced
- 1,347 Kilometers of Liaison
- 2,243 Kilometers Covered by Support Crew
- 1,500 Liters of Fuel
- 28 BFGoodrich Tires
- 84 Crew after-hours over 5 Stages
- 1 Helicopter Ride, 4 Ambulance Rides, and a Jet Medi-vac (a new Robbie Pierce personal best)
While Patton and Pierce were able to walk away from their wrecked Toyota Hilux, not everyone competing in the 2020 Dakar Rally was so so fortunate. Therefore, on a more serious note, Fastball Racing would like to extend its sincerest condolences to friends, family, and competitors after the death of Hero MotoSports Paulo Gonçalves.