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After a first try, Baja do Pinhal was finally on the road on the weekend of 18 and 19 of September,  one week after the Portuguese government to decided to stop all kinds of activities in rural and forest areas due to the high risk of wildfires.    The somewhat unexpected government decision caught everyone who was preparing to the organizer and take part in the race since it came late on Friday 11 of September, just a few hours before of race start.  The confusion was immediate, since the race organizers didn't get any kind of official contact from the authorities, and instead got to know about it via the television.      On the very first moments, the race officials announced the cancelation of the race, but after many contacts and some more clear thought, it was decided to postpone the race to one week later.

Supporting the government decision was the very high temperatures and the very low air humidity forescated for the region where the race should take place, with both conditions raising the danger of wildfires to a very dangerous level.  In fact, the worse was confirmed, with a fire starting in the exact same area where the race should have taken place and lasting for several days burning a huge extension of pine and eucalyptus forest.

But, September marks the start of the change in the weather pattern, and the rain came just before and during the first day of racing, and ironically making the Civil Protection Authorities to issue a severe flood warning for the same area that just a few days before was dry as a bone. In ct, the participants could almost experience all 4 seasons, sometimes with rain, cold, wind, and even fog, and other times they faced warm weather, sun and clear skies, and towards the end of the race even dust.  Baja do Pinhal 2020 had all too ofter to the participants, from slippery and treacherous stages on the first day, to a long, fast and at times dusty sector on the second.

The delay of Baja do Pinhal to one week later also meant that the teams will only have a short break to repair and prepare the following event, Baja TT Capital dos Vinhos de Portugal, raced on the next weekend.   With all of this going on, most teams adopted a cautious approach to the race, since any kind of damage due to mechanical failures or accidents could jeopardize the participation of Alentejo's race, causing also severe damage to any championship ambitions.

João Ramos won the race after a "controlled fight" with Miguel Barbosa.  Both drivers are racing with Toyota Hiluxes and they were consistently the fastest on the road.  Barbosa took the early lead, but  Ramos soon reclaim for himself the first spot and kept it until the end.

“It was an extremely tough race. Very twisty and narrow, as is characteristic of this region. Because the roads are so complicated, the roadbook is an incredible challenge for the co-driver who did an amazing job. Congratulations to the organization for all its efforts and we are also to be congratulated ”, stressed João Ramos as soon as the last selective sector was finished.

First to congratulate the winners was Miguel Barbosa, who makes a positive assessment of his participation in Baja TT do Pinhal. The Toyota Hilux driver does not hide that he wanted to win but highlights the points won.

"Went well. We finished in second place, we got important points for the championship. We have to enter all the races until the end of the championship because we didn't go to Beja (1st race of the season). With the proximity between events, it was important to score here. Obviously, we would have liked to have won, but congratulations to the winners who made a great race ”, said Miguel Barbosa.

Miguel Barbosa - 2nd Place

Third-placed Tiago Reis had a really tough race, with several punctures and a "to close" encounter with a wall along the way.

“Baja Baja TT Pinhal did not started as we expected, where we had two punctures and a small crash that made us drop in the classification. On the second day, we started with the objective of improving the fourth place of the General that we were occupying. The objectives were clear and recovering positions was paramount. Despite one more puncture 60km into the race, at that point we were already recovering time for the front of the race, and our the goal was achieved, as we went up to the podium and maintained the Championship lead ”, said Tiago Reis

Regarding the following race, the Racing Lancer said:  

“Having another race right the following week is not usual and we will be forced to work harder to get the car ready since it suffered some damage at Baja TT Pinhal. Even so, we are very motivated to improve the result obtained in Sertã and continue to fight for the renewal of the Portuguese title ”

Tiago Reis: 3rd Place

While the huge local SSV Caravan keeps their distance from the car competition, fighting epic battles among themselves while included in the Portuguese Motorbike Federation competitions ( a "special" from Portugal, where it is much easier and inexpensive to race in among the motos instead of being among the cars) there are a few brave ones that are starting to sniff the smell of victory among the cars and are making more and more brave attempts against the all-mighty Hiluxes, Minis, Rangers and others all-powerful cars of the Portuguese championship.  This is the case of Alexandre and Pedro Ré.  The brothers Ré took their Can-Am Maverick to fourth overall, after an exceptional third place on the first day.  The demanding conditions of the first day that slowed down almost everybody else were no problem for the small SSV. On the second day, the race gained speed, and the Can-Am team finally had to realize that under these conditions it has no change to challenge the leaders, and to make things worse, they even suffered brake problems.  In any case, the car teams should consider themselves warned that if given the opportunity, the "pocket-rocket" could score an overall win.

In T2 Georgino Pedroso in Isuzu D-Max and João Ferreira in Nissan Pathfinder were the main contenders for the victory.  The D-Max team finished the first day ahead of their rivals but wasn't able to keep the rhythm until the end on the second day, letting the Pathfinder crew overtake them and grab the category victory.


Rally-Raid Network

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