Hey Tom...thanks. Yes...the Baja500 took place on June 2nd- there were 2 bikes (PhatFireman in Class 22- Expert Vet, and his friend Lou in Sportsman), and BZZZ in his Class 1 car. Many of us went down to support them in Chase vehicles. Unfortunately, we had a couple of incidents that will forever be embedded in our minds.
The accident with Chris (Mr. Nibbles) was so unreal many of us still can't believe it. About 11pm Saturday night, the car's tranny blew. For about an hour and a half, the driver (who was another Class 1 driver from the Terrible Herbst Team) and Chris (the co-dog) froze their buttts off trying to stay with the car. Chris decided at approx midnight that he would hop a ride in a Class 15 truck to go to the next Pit/Checkpoint to get help. The Class 15 truck he hitched a ride with was a F-150 extended cab, and of course, didn't have any restraint system in the back seat, so Chris was not buckled in, but he was wearing his race outfit complete with helmet. About a mile or two after he was picked up , there was a nasty hill that the truck attempted but failed to make to the top, and in trying to back down, obviously hit something and rolled down the hill into a crevase about 100 yards down. It took BFG's medical person 45 minutes to arrive at the extremely remote site, where he was pronounced dead. We knew from listening to the Weatherman's frequency that an accident did occur, but because our team didn't announce they were stuck on the track, there was no mention of our #157 car, so we didn't have any reason to believe anyone was part of it. Hours later, we learned that our car, indeed, was broke down in almost the same race marker as the 1505's accident, but still had no reason to believe we were involved.
It was about 5am in the morning when, after some conversation with the Weatherman by me looking for our boys in Chase 5, I was told by him to contact SCORE Ops immediately. I called on the Sat Phone, and was transferred over to Sal Fish (Founder & President of SCORE) where he proceeded to tell me of the terrible accident. I subsequently alerted the other team members but, by then, the only purpose my call served was to confirm the incident.
Chris had just swapped out the co-dog ride from Brian's sponsor, David, a few miles prior to this. As they were waiting, he was able to talk to his wife, Megan, and express the sheer joy he was experiencing by being able to run in the Baja race.
The brutal part of this is that just a couple of months ago, Chris and Megan had their first child: a girl- Lauren. He was so proud of her- you could see him beaming every time he was asked how she was. Truly a devastating time.
I cannot forget to also somewhat detail Phatty's plight: late Saturday morning, Phatty had an accident around the bottom part of the track close to Mike's Sky Ranch, where he severely broke two bones in his leg and had to be medivac'd out by SCORE's medical team to Ensenada. He has had surgery just last Wednesday to repair the damage, and is somewhat resting at home trying to still deal with the pain of such a terrible injury. Kris was a very good friend of Chris, and the mental anguish of losing a good friend like that has been excruciating for Phatty. Worse yet, the Sunday after the race (the day after when we learned of Nibbz' death), it was Kris who had to contact Megan and break the news to her, as well as drop by on the way home to comfort her. IMHO, it was the worst job of any of us to have to perform that day.
If there is any good news to come out of this, it's the fact that it has drawn our forum families a lot closer together. The outpouring of support has been incredible.
I am including here what Phatty announced elsewhere- many of you have probably seen it, but this will also give you an opportunity to donate to what has been setup:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Christopher R. Lokken
a.k.a. "Mr. Nibbles"
April 18th, 1976 to June 2nd, 2007
Chris Lokken, affectionately known as "Mr. Nibbles", was tragically taken from all of us on June 2nd, 2007. He was killed while participating in one of the most prestigous off-road races in the world, the SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico. Chris was filiming on board a chase helicopter during the first few hours of the race, after which he was the co-driver in a Class-1 race car, #157.
#157 suffered a mechanical failure near race mile 197. Chris hitched a ride in a passing race vehicle, Sportsman Truck #1505, in an attempt to get to a nearby checkpoint. Shortly thereafter #1505 lost control while negotiating a steep incline and rolled over, off the steep hillside. Chris was thrown approximately 100 yards to the bottom of a ravine where he died instantly from blunt head trauma.
Chris had a genuine good 'ol boy Southern-hospitalilty personality, having spent much of his young life in Alabama. He embraced life and everything it had to offer. There will forever be a large hole in the lives of many people now that he is gone. Chris was loved by everyone he knew.
Chris enjoyed many, many outdoor activities. He was an integral part of a large group of friends that camp and ride throughout Southern California. Chris will always be remembered as an easy-going, fun-loving guy who was the life of any party. He was intelligent, funny, charming, and boisterous.
Chris was the CEO of Red Belly Racing, an upstart company recently founded by a small group of friends dedicated to off road motorsports and the family oriented lifestyle associated with it. Chris took on this challenge like any other, he jumped in with both feet and gave it 110%.
Above all else in Chris' life was his devotion to his family. Chris is survived by his lovely wife Megan, and his infant daughter Lauren who are in the greater San Diego area. Chris was an excellent father, the birth of his daughter being one of the highlights of his life. Megan always supported Chris in persuing his dreams. At one point during the Baja race Chris called her just to tell her what an amazing time he was having.
A Wells Fargo bank account, and a PayPal email address link, has been established for the purposes of collecting donations to benefit his family. All existing Red Belly Racing clothing will be sold and/or auctioned off with ALL proceeds going directly into this account.
Please direct all donations to either of the following...
Wells Fargo Checking Account #5076550887
PayPal Account: email@example.com
Please feel free to post memories, feelings, wishes, stories, or pics of Nibbles. I know there are volumes of them out there. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>