Charlotte, NC (December 11, 2018) – Robby Gordon and Team SPEED will return to the 2019 Dakar Rally with three SPEED Edition Textron Off-Road XX’s and competing in the car category. The vehicles will have sponsorship from Toyo Tires, King Off-Road Racing Shocks & SPEED Energy Drink.
Gordon will drive his familiar bright orange and black SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires/ SPEED Edition Textron XX entry. Joining Team SPEED for their first Dakar Rally attempt, young Stadium SUPER Truck racers Blade Hildebrand and Cole Potts, who will field their own separate SPEED Edition Textron XX race vehicles.
Xavier Gavory, Director of the Dakar Rally, commented the following after learning of Gordon and Team SPEED’s return in 2019.
“The Dakar Rally is excited to welcome back Robby Gordon the most famous American competitor in it’s history. An absolute legend of the Dakar for his aggressive driving style and showmanship, Gordon and Team SPEED will be one of the teams to keep an eye on in the 2019 edition, 100% Peru, 100% Dakar.”
All three race vehicles will race on Toyo Open Country M/T tires, which will deliver the maximum Off-Road performance and durability needed to tackle the 10-Stage challenge; 3,107-miles (5,000 KM) through the extreme sands of Peru.
Gordon, a Dakar fan favorite, is no stranger to the event and will make his 13th start in the historic rally. Since his first Dakar Rally in 2005, Gordon’s vehicles have captured 17 stage wins & five top 15 overall finishes. Gordon became the first American in the history of the Dakar to capture a stage win and overall podium finish, even as a manufacture.
Joining Gordon in the cockpit of the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires / SPEED Edition Textron XX will be his previous 4-time Dakar navigator, and Dakar special winner, Kellon Walch.
“Kellon has been my navigator for three out of my last four Dakar’s. I fully intend to come to Peru to compete for the overall, and there is no better person to have in the right seat than Kellon. The in-car communication and mechanical skills between the both of us over the years allows me to have the trust to concentrate on driving,” stated Gordon.
For the first time since 2010, Team SPEED will enter two additional racecars in the Rally with Stadium SUPER Trucks racers Blade Hildebrand and Cole Potts driving their own SPEED Edition Textron XX’s.
Hildebrand, whom spent 2018 in his first season behind the wheel of his Empire Destructive Stadium SUPER Truck, claimed eight top 5 finishes, while reaching the podium twice.
“DAKAR, Yeah it’s that real! This is a race I’ve followed all my life, and to represent Team SPEED and the USA at the international level, competing against the worlds best off-road racers in the most grueling race known to man. What an absolute honor! To partner with King Shocks, Toyo Tires, and my mentor Robby Gordon, I have the right people on my side, and I am ready for the ultimate challenge.” Commented Hildebrand on the Dakar experience.
Jonah Street, a motorcycle veteran whom has competed in six prior editions of the Dakar (2006-2012), will navigate for his second Dakar, sitting along side of Hildebrand.
"I think Blade is super talented, so getting to work with him in his first trip to Dakar is going to be awesome. Having navigated for Sheldon (Creed) back in 2016 gives me the prior experience to help get him up to SPEED quickly!" Street commented in regards to competing with Blade.
Cole Potts, who also competes in the Stadium SUPER Trucks Series, is a talented young racer who claimed victory in just his second SST race of the season, driving the HallmarkTrust.com SST entry.
An excited Potts commented on the Dakar Rally.
“Having this unique opportunity to participate in the 2019 Dakar Rally, with Team SPEED and Robby Gordon in a SPEED Edition Textron XX is an absolute honor. Having raced North America’s toughest off road races already, I’m very interested to see how Dakar compares to them. With the opportunity to compete in the Dakar in the country of Peru is an exciting opportunity. As we are going to be able to tackle some of the world’s toughest sand dunes and witness some beautiful terrain.”
Max Eddy, a veteran motorcycle racer, has claimed victory in the Baja 1000 and Vegas to Reno, will navigate for Potts, providing the driver with extensive course detail and direction.
"Cole has proved to be an excellent competitor this year in the Stadium SUPER Trucks series as well as in the desert with the Trophy Truck. I am confident Cole will be able to adjust to the XX, and course conditions easily to get a respectable finish in each Stage.” Stated Eddy.
Beginning on January 6th in Lima, Peru, competitors will gather in front of more than a hundred thousand fans on the worlds stage for the traditional Dakar opening ceremonies. Each team in the rally is recognized prior to the start. Stage 1 will feature a short 84 km special with a 247 km liaison bringing the competitors from Lima to the Southeast along the Pacific coast to the port city of Pisco.
Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2019 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring on Dakar.com, updates at http://www.SpeedEnergy.com, http://www.stadiumsupertrucks.com, and http://www.planetrobby.com.
Instagram pages of RobbyGordon, SSuperTrucks, and SpeedSXS will also be updated daily with content.
NBC Sports Network will produce daily television highlights, and interviews throughout the rally, starting January 7 at 7:00 PM ET featuring Team SPEED drivers and navigators.
The 2019 Dakar Rally would not be possible without the support of the following great partners; Textron Off-Road, Toyo Tires, KING Off-Road Racing Shocks, SPEED Energy, KMC Wheels, SPEEDSXS.com VP Racing Fuels, DeVilbiss, Hawk Performance, IMPACT, Mastercraft Safety, Ron Davis Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Torchmate by Lincoln Electric, Techni Waterjet, Eibach Springs, Rugged Radios, Loctite, Race Case Design, and all the hard work from the staff at Team SPEED.
Did something happen with Jonah Street? Is he not navigator for Hildebrand now?
He had a schedule conflict.
What’s more important than the Dakar race? Anyway I’m sure someone will step up and replace him.
Bill Conger is the replacement
Thank you for sharing.
Hi everybody. I think robby is now enough experiencied to know that agility is one of the most important characteristic for a car in this competition (remember Al Attiyah in Jefferies buggy, he was flying..!!) . but actually, we don't know if downsizing is the wright answer...
Let's not call it downsizing. Let's call it running a funded vehicle :)
yes RG is also a businessman. He is the XX chassis conceptor.. age of wisdom....;)
someone knows about the interview they did with Robby Gordon on Monday
This will be interesting. Just read the rules (well, pages 123 - to Appendix). Seems more flexible than other classes....probably because it's new.
I'm no engineer, but I do wonder how tire and wheel dimensions are measured in "pounds" - that's hard to build.
I laughed at that also, lots of typo’s