Baron of Baja – Tim Withers, wins again!
He’s been called the “Baron of Baja” and for good reason as this Pepeekeo resident continues to dominate the pro class series in the Mexican Baja Peninsula.
Tim Withers recently returned from Mexico where he won the San Felipe 250 held on March 13 over the rugged dessert sand dunes where not much grows from the soil but rocks.
Riding his Honda 450X motorcycle the 53 year old dominated the Pro Class 50 division by winning the 250 mile race by more than an hour over his closest competition.
“San Felipe is the roughest area in Mexico and probably the roughest course I’ve ever rode in,” Withers said. “In the days prior to the race there was one motorcycle death and another person was seriously injured and needed to be flown out by helicopter.”
Withers, along with Jim O’Neal, Andy Kirker and Steve Williams (all but Withers is from Southern California) comprised a relay team that rode a single bike over some of the roughest terrain in the world.
“I had the second leg in the race, some 30 miles from the start,” Withers said. “My section was in one of the most desolate areas and covered close to 90 miles.”
The race included a variety of class vehicles from trucks to dune buggies and dirt bikes and was a constant battle between natures harsh elements and man and his machine.
In the final results nearly 40 percent of the field received a DNF (did not finish) and Withers was the first to admit that just completing the rugged 250 mile course was an accomplishment in itself.
“There were people taking spill and getting broken bones, flat tires, engine trouble and the like,” he said. “We were just fortunate that we could go full throttle and come out of it without a scratch.”
Withers riding team won their division finishing in 6 hours 8 minutes and 40 seconds with an average speed of 40.36 miles per hour.
“This course will wreck you and it will wreck your machine,” Withers said of San Felipe.
For Withers this has become his ninth consecutive San Felipe win which places him as one of the top world level off road champions.
“I train to win and I work hard in the off season to prepare for these races,” Withers said. “At my age I am constantly trying to reinvent myself to work hard and stay focused on what I do.”
Withers also draws from some of the best minds in the field as he is coached by Chris Carmichael, who also coaches Lance Armstrong, and is trained by Jason Tullous.
“I use the Carmichael Training System,” Withers said. “I also surround myself with people that are really good and I draw motivation from those people.”
Withers continues to maintain a high level of fitness throughout the year with weight training (Robert Roos at Penn Training Center)and by logging numerous hours peddling his bike.
“I like the training part and it is still a lot of fun for me,” he said. “I do a lot of bicycling and cross training to be at the top of my game on the motorcycle.”
At San Felipe Withers needed to use caution and good judgment to avoid injury while pushing the pace as fast as the terrain allowed.
“Everyone wants the Number One status in the Baja Series of Racing,” Withers said. “San Felipe was the first leg in the 2010 series.”
The triple series points come from the March San Felipe race followed by the Baja 500 in June and the Baja 1000 in November. Withers has won the overall point series title seven times in the 40 Pro Class and once in the 50 Pro Class.
“It doesn’t get any easier as the course changes with the weather conditions from year to year,” Withers said. “This year we had a little rain prior to the San Felipe race which made it nice to practice on, but once the buggies and trucks got on the course to practice it tore everything up and made it difficult for us.”
“There is a lot of pressure to win and sponsors only want to support winners,” Withers said. “I’ve been fortunate to be sponsored by Moose Racing over the past 12 years.”
Withers has been riding since age 10 and offers the following advice to those youngsters looking at making it into motor cross racing:
“They need to keep going and keep trying,” Withers said. “Do whatever you can to be the best that you can be, strive for nothing less and keep it fun.”
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