Follow along as we share coverage from our friends WestX1000 from the Baja Rally 2022.

Begin Press Release: 

Age Verse Experience

ISDE Veteran Beats the Fast Rookie by a Thin Margin

Key points: Baja Rally sees a new stage winner, #10 Paul Neff, but #44 Nick Brawner remains first overall with a big gap. And the second race day had some withdrawals, mainly for technical reasons.

Portrait of the Stage. Riding a perfect combination of sand and stones among huge boulders and several types of cacti, all which awaited racers inside a cloud of mist. That was Stage two: fast and fun. Some trails were new even to the most experienced Baja riders. At 132 miles long, without much tricky navigation, this stage gave the racers chanсe to regain strength before the tomorrow’s marathon stage to Bahia de Los Angeles. Some of them had to spend a bit of time taking out the cholla spikes after the Special, but most of the pilots agreed it was one of the best stages they’ve ever done.

New Stage Winner. All eyes are on the Brawner brothers. Was their success a one-time thing? Or will they keep it rolling? In this case, Nick Brawner managed, posting the second-best time despite opening the stage. He lost one minute and nineteen seconds to the ISDE veteran and Dakar entrant #10 Paul Neff, who was Third yesterday. The difference between them in general standings is almost half an hour, so Nick can take it easy… For now. However, his brother and teammate, Alec, had bad luck today. The engine of his bike blew up in the most remote part of the route, and the sweeper crew had a lot of “fun” extracting it.

“Nick opened, which is always a disadvantage, but the youth was ripping. I started pushing a little faster, and [my] Freedom Rally Factory Rally Replica is super-fast. At the long stretches, I was doing over 150 km/h, made no mistakes, no incidents, pretty boring day. I lost a bit of time yesterday with a chain guide derailment. It was pretty close today, but I got it, and it was pretty cool. I got the opportunity to ride the same machine that I’ll ride at Dakar, so I’m just practicing and trying to stay healthy.” – Paul Neff, American Rally Originals

“Leading the stage was a difficult task, but I think I got it done pretty good. Alec was on me, but I guess something happened to his bike. In the beginning of the stage there was a big cloud of mist. We were inside it for around 20 kilometers, taking goggles off, it was a different experience for sure.” – Nick Brawner, Freedom Rally Team

As for standings among the categories, they replicated themselves in Pro and Rally 1 classes. American Rally Originals #10 Paul Neff and #1 David Pearson on P1 and P3 are separated by the RallyComp developer #3 Mike Johnson in Pros. And in Rally 1, it’s #21 Benjamin Myers, #20 Willem Avenant and #26 Scott Purcell in the One, Two and Three seats, respectively. Of the Rookies, some of whom are surprisingly fast during this race edition, #43 Alec Brawner with his broken bike yielded second place to #30 Toni Palandrani. While #46 Oswaldo Lara from Mexico climbed to the third position, despite having made some damage to his navigation tower by his helmet on the way.

Baja Fact of the Day: Cholla! Among dozens of types of cacti of the Valle de los Cirios, cholla is definitely the riders’ “favorite”. Sometimes it’s called “jumping cholla”. Barbed sprouts detach from the body so easily that it may seem they are jumping on you, penetrating jerseys and gloves easily. A number of riders, arriving at the finish today listed cholla as their most prominent impression of encountering Baja flora so far. However nasty it can be, cholla’s spikes reflect light, and with illumination, looks gorgeous, as if surrounded by a luminous halo.

Story of the Day. Brett Fox on his Triumph Tiger 900 has been through a lot of adventure during these two days. On the first day at kilometer 8, his rear mousse came out, causing the chain to pop off and damage the engine casing. He crawled back towards the hotel, changed the mousse to the tube and fixed the casing. Brett still had to skip a lot of waypoints through to the neutralization but did the last part of the race on-course, posting 32 hours’ time with all of the fines. The second day wasn’t much easier for him. This time he battled with a front mouse and spent over two hours changing it to a tube… Then puncturing it and patching it again (and again). But he did the whole thing and finished! Brett stays optimistic, saying that he’s the only one in his heavyweight class, and if he ultimately finishes, he’ll call it a win.

We’ll continue following up with daily updates and more stories from the one and only premiere Rally Raid on Baja peninsula. You can also check @bajarally Instagram account for behind-the-scenes footage.

Unofficial Stage 2 Results Overall

  1. #10 Paul Neff (USA)
  2. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)
  3. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)
  4. #1 David Pearson (USA)
  5. #30 Tony Palandrani (USA)
  6. #46 Oswaldo Lara (Mexico)
  7. #31 Steve Varni (USA)
  8. #33 Carlos Garcia (Global)
  9. #20 Willem Avenant (South Africa)
  10. #30 Scott Purcell (Mexico)


  1. #10 Paul Neff (USA)
  2. #3 Mike Johnson (USA)
  3. #1 David Pearson (USA)

Rally 1

  1. #21 Benjamin Myers (USA)
  2. #20 Willem Avenant (South Africa)
  3. #26 Scott Purcell (USA)


  1. #44 Nick Brawner (USA)
  2. #30 Tony Palandrani (USA)
  3. #46 Oswaldo Lara (Mexico)