Coast 2 Coast 2023: Stage Two  Have We Peak’d Your Interest?

Coast 2 Coast 2023: Stage Two Have We Peak’d Your Interest?

Share this content:
Pin It

Traversing the Country’s Highest Sierra into a Mexica New State (and State of Mind)

However much sleep you’re able to squeeze out of the night, early mornings always offer the necessary reset rally folk – racers, support crew, media, and organizers alike – need to continue the trudge forward. It’s an ethereal scene to witness as a bulging orange sun breaks apart the darkness by the second. There’s something about pastel colors and bighting cold which can really refresh the system and keep even the most haggard of us coming back to the starting line. That, and poor short-term memory.

The jungles near Jalcomulco protected bikes, quads and UTVs under a low canopy on their voyage to the national park, Citlaltepeltl Cara Sur. A place which gave participants a whole new perspective on the landscape. A light fog sat on the horizon as far as the alpines which, from tens of kilometers away, hid in plain sight against the grey-blue sky, waiting for the event to arrive. The second special of the 2023 Coast 2 Coast Rally started at elevation. Each category was given two hours to find their way to DSS and cue up in anticipation at Timing & Scoring. But not before passing through the capitol of Veracruz’s famous coffee country, Coatepec, which spans back to the 18th century. From there, the dirt-packed path gradually expanded into wide gravel roads watched closely by the resident cattle, quickly ascending to fast twisties cut between the trees. This is what set the scene. Harmless, right?

Racers buzzed the “Mountain of the Stars” for miles, winding in and out of the lower lands around the base of North America’s highest volcanic summit: Pico de Orizaba. At the peak, the county’s tallest pinnacle stands at 5,636 meters or 18,491 feet. A destination for mountaineers around the globe, its foothills now welcomed the motorsports community with open arms and busy roads. Loose shingle set a precedence, for the bikes especially, but it was the stretches of fesh-fesh [read: deep silt] outlining the mountain which set the trap. No vessel out there trying to sail across the knee-deep baby powder made it without a hitch. Earth seemed to swallow bikes whole at times. UTVs and ATVs were too heavy to float over the obstacle, even with a running start. And those who could manage the slippery mayhem ended up losing their machines to clogged air filters.

Stage champion, Willem Avenant (12), was no stranger to fesh-fesh, and knowing an arid desert was in his future, the South African came prepared – going to extra lengths to keep his KTM’s airways clean. This required his air filter, a pre-filter, and the sock, all of which were so caked with dirt, they could’ve been relics uncovered in an archeological dig. Most others weren’t quite so keen, of course, so the recovery crew was on speed-dial for several hours. And this wasn’t even close to over yet. After traversing Puebla’s famous Laguna Alchichica (a deep crater immersion lake) and crossing a vast dry lakebed – another complex set of notes – then overcoming the final hurdles of the timed section, pilots still needed to travel another 100 kilometers on liaison to the bivouac in Tehuacán, Puebla. And much of that continued off-road (and in silt).

“[It was] a long day. The silt sections on the liaison from the special were brutal on the machines, claiming at least one (as far as I saw). I’m riding ultra-careful for my family’s sake, and just taking advantage of any confusing navigation on the stages – which I’m pretty confident with. I feel like Mike Johnson, Willem Avenant and I are likely some of the more experienced navigators at C2C this year, so hopefully that will benefit the Freedom Rally Raid team and bring them some more deserved attention.”Scotty Bloom #14, Bikes, Freedom Rally Racing

Opening a stage hardly guarantees a strong finish, but generally paves the way for the next competitors who can (unreliably) follow tracks early on and avoid pesky navigation. Losing a stage is often a strategy in the Big Leagues because the position is so statistically unfavorable. Being anywhere between second and tenth in starting order offers that much more of an advantage. Mike Johnson (9), however, is one of the few riders out there who probably feels at ease in front – a clean slate to draw his own masterful strokes of rubber. Owner of Rally Comp, he lives and breathes rally-raid, and his lengthy history reading tulips has shaped him into an extremely proficient navigator, a quality which outweighs speed in this sport. It’s a lesson to the rookie that velocity only takes you so far, if you want to win, you need to do it with your head and your heart.

Having plenty of both, Johnson was a favorite to take the win again today. But fate, cruel as it is, had other plans. SS1’s victor, he was first out the gate. Within five kilometers, he turned a corner and encountered a speeding truck – a possibility that the organization drilled into the racers at the meeting and before their launch. A near-miss by a hair; Johnson’s quick thinking deescalated the situation from head-on to a graze. Not to say he didn’t suffer some injury, and a hell of a fright, but he was able to evaluate the scene, put that incident behind him and carry on to the finish. No doubt this changed the trajectory of Johnson’s day, if not his race.

Fernando Pasquel (3) and Scotty Bloom (14) of the Rally Pros took advantage of the opening – unaware of Johnson’s situation – and gunned for the position at head of the pack. Bike number #3, unfortunately, ran into some trouble as well along the tougher spots on the track dropping him instead down to 8th place, whereas Bloom played it safe, according to him, which put in him in a comfortable rank in the standings until the silt slowed his ride more significantly than he’d hoped. This was not the case for Pro Willem Avenant (12) whose was favored by fortune today, left the DSS in 10th and found himself at the top due, in part, by proper planning. The climb up the ladder was not a smooth experience, and each rung seemed to be gripped by a new set of hands. Dohnsie Nyguen (37) who held beat out a number of Rally 1 riders to take the win. A shark at the handlebars, Nyguen has so far pulled in times which outdid the upper crust Rally Pros.

coast2coast 16 2 w 3

Closing the loops, Rally Pro racer Mauricio Santana (5) performed like a champion making him runner up. The Rally 1 class collectively held a decent pace. That likely faded as they headed into heights climaxing to 3,200 meters. Twenty-five percent of the stage was race among the pines before the inevitable descent into a high-altitude plateau named Los Llanos de San Juan which can be described as a ‘‘cool desert’’. Rally 1 contender Mario Mendoza (28) settled for second seed. While his comrades Ladislao Hernandez Arest (27) and Oscar Gilberto Alvidrez (30) made their best of the tricky topography (and trickier nav), landing Second and Third in the category.

This terrain allowed the side-by-sides to showcase their power and capability. Wide gravel roads, hard-packed dirt, and twists through the tree tunnels. The daredevils put their suspension to work, yawing their rigs into the outside of every sweeping corner. Angel Martin Perez in UTV Stock pushed the limits of his Can-Am X3 all the way to ASS. And they came out the other end as winners – placing First in the SSV Stock category while Humberto Martin (16) came in just behind. Parts were certainly stressed on the UTVs, and still, Perez, Martin and Unlimited Class winner, Arturo Garza (107) found their rhythm. Third in stage “Manolo” de la Concha (102) is setting a high standard of excellence for himself this week keeping feet firmly planted on the podium. For Iran Sanchez (104), the rally didn’t go so well. He lost significant time on-course and was assigned the full time for his efforts. But that’s rally-raid. Nothing is ever as it seems, and no outcome is ever sure. Even Juan Carlos Lorenzo Diaz (101) in Fourth is only a malfunction away (by an adversary) from passing the nearest opponent. Better is their chance of nabbing a step on the podium if all goes well for the remaining competition.

While motos and SSVs seemed to battle the elements more than each other on-course, the two Quads duked it out for much of the Special. Nose to tail, they drifted through corners, climbed gradients, and slid into the sandy bits in unison. Mauricio Segura (51) held his position as the leader for a spell, but Sergio Padilla (50) didn’t let up one bit, nipping at the wheels of SSV #51, trying to hold onto his results from the day before. Ultimately, Segura outrode Padilla who suffered some major setbacks which who could recover from in the standings. It was the sort of brilliant fight for first that keeps fans coming back for more. Padilla was shoved off his thrown to make way for Segura in a great victory for UTV #51. With so much action already, it’s hard to imagine the event isn’t at the halfway point yet.

Reviews were surprisingly positive for an unexpectedly brutal second stage. The longest route this week at 275 kms, the organization created a nine-hour window for the competitors to finish. Just like a full night’s rest, the few years when the Coast 2 Coast took a break from racing has rejuvenated Race Director, Patrick Reyes Morrison, and his dedicated team. And now they’re hell bent on giving new and veteran racers alike have a well-rounded experience in some of Mexico’s most beautiful expanses.

To learn more about the Coast2Coast Rally:

Follow the race on Instagram @rallyc2c and through hashtags #RallyCoast2Coast.


Ø Jalcomulco, Veracruz > Tehuacán, Puebla – 275 km; Liaison > 170 km & Special > 105 km

Terrain: Jungle → High Sierra à Arid Desert

*Arid desert = cactus, a little bit of sand, lots of silt and a lot of rock

*High sierra = very loose gravel, dusty, volcanic

Ø Coffee first came to the Americas in the 18th century, with Veracruz hosting the first plantings near Córdoba. By the end of the 19th century, it was a producer of three-fourths of Mexico’s beans which had also made their way to other parts of Mexico and South America. Different economic, political, and social issues over the years eventually lowered the percentage a bit, and today, Veracruz is responsible for about 24% of production in the country. While the region became ubiquitous Nescafé brand some time back, there’s been a push to try and reverse the less favorable “commercial” label. Plenty a small producers have stepped up to try and join a new rank in the shrewd coffee community.

Ø “Tehuacán is a city in central Mexico, southeast of Mexico City. The baroque Tehuacán Cathedral overlooks leafy Juárez Park. In the 18th-century Ex-Convento del Carmen, the Tehuacán Valley Museum has exhibits on maize and pre-Hispanic tools. Southeast of the city, the ruins of Tehuacán Viejo include ancient temples and dwellings. The Site Museum has ceramics and basalt sculptures found at the archaeological site.” [Site: Google]

Ø “Pico de Orizaba [indigenous name: Citlaltepetl or “Mountain of the Star”] is an inactive stratovolcano, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America, after Denali of Alaska in the United States and Mount Logan of Canada. Pico de Orizaba is also the highest volcanic summit in North America.” Snow veils some of the basalt rock which makes up this illustrious mountain. 80 percent of the volcano sit in Puebla, while the rest lies in Veracruz, and it stands at 5,636 meters or 18,491 feet. [Site: Wikipedia]

Ø Many people were very complimentary of the stage, its scenery, the variety of terrain and the level of challenges, despite the great many obstacles they all faced. This stage was particularly difficult for the ADV bikes, who were forced to manhandle their machines through long stretches of sand and silt beds, let alone the volcanic rocks and gravel pits. Those were the riders that sustained the most minor injuries (bruised asses and egos more than anything). This was not only the longest day, meant to be as much as 9 hours in the saddle, it also climbed the highest altitude with some extremely tough navigation. Other issues aside, even roadbook pro Mike Johnson found himself wandering aimlessly in search of WayPoints for a spell. A lot of fesh-fesh at the base of the Pico. Almost knee deep, it was a mighty challenge for most of the riders. With so much dust and silt kicked into the air, many vehicles needed to be rescued – some due to the level of difficulties they faced, others just from clogged air filters.

Top Five Stage Results

All results are unofficial. Please see event website for the most current standings.


  1. #12 W. Avenant – 02:26:12
  2. #53 M. Santana – 02:29:41
  3. #7 O. Lara – 02:30:15
  4. #13 S. Lopez Jaimes – 02:30:55
  5. #6 S. Olarte – 02:37:00


  1. #37 D. Nyguen – 02:23:19
  2. #28 M. Mendoza – 02:27:53
  3. #27 L. Arest – 02:37:02
  4. #30 O. Alvidrez – 02:53:40
  5. #24 D. Stanton – 02:48:32


  1. #51 M. Segura – 02:53:45
  2. #50 S. Padilla – 04:08:31


  1. #107 A. Garza – 02:37:25
  2. #105 W. Vasquez – 02:55:21


  1. #103 A. Perez – 02:36:02
  2. #102 M. Concho – 02:38:36
  3. #106 H. Martin – 02:39:11
  4. #101 J. Gonzalez – 03:48:40
  5. #100 J. Diaz – 03:49:10


  1. #73 M. Varela, ADV Pro – 02:52:37
  2. #71 L. Padilla, ADV Pro – 03:28:18
  3. #70 J. Bolado, UTV Pro – 03:50:48
  4. #72 J. Cortes Li, UTV Pro – 10:00:00
  5. #74 R. Jaloptis, ADV Pro – 10:00:0

Top Five Overall Results

All results are unofficial. Please see event website for the most current standings.


  1. #37 D. Nyguen – 02:23:19
  2. #12 W. Avenant – 02:26:12
  3. #28 M. Mendoza – 02:27:53
  4. #53 M. Santana – 02:29:41
  5. #53 M. Santana – 02:29:41


  1. #103 A. Perez – 02:36:02
  2. #107 A. Garza – 02:37:25
  3. #102 M. Concho – 02:38:36
  4. #106 H. Martin – 02:39:11
  5. #101 J. Gonzalez – 03:48:40

Source WestX1000

Share this content:
Pin It

More from the same region

As a service to the sport we all love and follow, Rally-Raid Network posts numerous media releases from a wide variety of sources on our website. Due to the large number, and some times short time available, it is nearly impossible to review each public release. These articles are written by reporters or press officers who work for various organizers, teams, drivers, riders, and other parties, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rally-Raid Network.