On June 14, 2019, Rod Hall took the final checkered flag at his home in Reno, Nevada. His loss at age 81, although not unexpected, still sent ripples through the off-road racing community. An outpouring of support to his family was overwhelming and continues to be.
A Gathering Of Friends and Family
Since Rod’s life touched so many others in the automotive aftermarket it made sense to honor Rod at the largest gathering of the year in the industry he helped build. Matt Martelli of Terranaut Media was the lead in organizing the evening. Long-time sponsors of Rod Hall, Ford Performance and BF Goodrich, also through their support into making the event a success.
The tribute was held November 4th at the Westgate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and while exact numbers were not available it was a very well attended. Off-Road luminaries past and present crowded into the event center for a program hosted by Bob Bower which included remembrances by BF Goodrich Global General Manager, Harold Phillips; former CEO of SCORE International, Sal Fish; Rod’s sons Josh and Chad and granddaughter Shelby. Also in attendance was Donna Hall, Rod’s wife of 59 years.
There was a wall full of Rod Hall memorabilia from posters and driving suits he used to trophies and photos. You see the people walking along the wall and seeing items that made them remember different moments with him. Crowds gathered in circles and swapped stories from decades of off-road adventures from Baja to Barstow, Australia to Africa.
A Legend Remembered
As people came up and regaled the crowd with personal stories about Rod one accomplishment kept being mentioned his overall win in the 1969 Baja 1000. Aboard his Bill Stroppe prepared Ford Bronco Rod and Larry Minor beat everyone to La Paz, including the motorcycles. Others paid homage to other landmarks in his life. In the 50 years since that has never been repeated. Rod is the only man to run 50 Baja 1000 races. Rod once ran up an impressive 37 straight class wins in his Dodge in SCORE and HDRA events.
At the tribute, Ford Performance was proud to announce that at this year’s Baja 1000 a new Ford Bronco would be entered in the event with Shelby Hall as part of the team and a livery honoring Rod’s 1969 Bronco.