Brabec and Bruce big winners on Sonora Rally Day 4

Image by Justin Coffey

Brabec and Bruce big winners on Sonora Rally Day 4

Off Road

Brabec and Bruce big winners on Sonora Rally Day 4


While the rest of the racing world sits in quiet hibernation with an eye toward a much better summer, the 2020 Yokohama Sonora Rally presented by Method Wheel has rolled on this week. Outrunning inclement weather and, hopefully, any exposure to COVID-19 this week, yesterday the rally made its way through North America’s biggest sand dunes and the Sonora Rally’s tough Day 4.

In many ways mimicking the barren sandscape seen for decades at the Dakar Rally, on Day 4 the Sonora Rally took competitors through Mexico’s desolate Gran Desierto de Altar (Altar Desert). The area represents the only active erg (a broad, flat area of desert covered by wind-swept sand with little or no vegetative cover) dune region in North America. The desert here extends across much of the northern border of the Gulf of California, spanning more than 62 miles east to west and over 31 miles north to south.

This adventure is a highlight in this year’s Sonora Rally, with competitors challenging themselves over difficult terrain and crucial navigation. It was a 211-kilometer test between the coastal resort town of Puerto Peñasco and the event’s final bivouac just outside of San Luis Rio Colorado.

Brabec glides over an erg dune. Image by Miguel Santana

One of America’s heroes at the 2020 Dakar Rally, Honda factory rider Ricky Brabec took full advantage of his vast knowledge and skill in the dunes yesterday, posting the fastest time and winning the Moto category on his No. 1 CRF450. Brabec beat overall rally leader Skyler Howes by just under three minutes. The performance was good enough to close the gap between Brabec and Howes (No. 2 Husqvarna 450) down to a 1m2s margin. The No. 9 of American Bill Conger sits in third place in the overall Moto standings going into today’s final leg of racing.

In the UTV category, American female off-road star Sara Price and navigator Kellon Walch maintained their top spot in the overall standings despite finishing the day in fifth driving their No. 78 Polaris RZR Turbo S. The day belonged instead to the team of Nick Bruce and Cam Muldner, a tandem that took the day’s fastest time in the No. 71 Can-Am Maverick X-3. Finally enjoying a good day in 2020, PJ Jones — son of off-road and Indy legend Parnelli Jones — and Kyle Westermark completed the run in their No. 63 Can-Am (pictured, top) in second place, just 1m26s behind.

Today the Sonora Rally winds down to a dramatic finish in San Luis Rio Colorado. We’ll have a complete recap tomorrow but, in the meantime, enjoy this stirring video wrap-up featuring some of the world’s most beautiful desert:

Sonora Rally Day 4: Category Winners

1. Ricky Brabec (No. 1)
2. Skyler Howes (No. 2)
3. Mason Klein (No. 11)
4. Bill Conger (No. 9)
5. Wes VanNieuwenhuise (No. 5)
6. Mike Johnson (No. 8)
7. Matthew Ransom (No. 35)
8. Gavin Ferguson (No. 30)
9. Daniel Bartolucci (No. 13)
10. Kevin Omo (No. 12)

1. Nick Bruce & Cam Muldner (No. 71)
2. PJ Jones & Kyle Vestermark (No. 64)
3. Oscar Ramirez & Marc Sola (No. 77)
4. Luis Pelayo & Abelardo Ruanovai (No. 63)
5. Sara Price & Kellon Walch (No. 78)
6. Jorge Cano & Alfonso Alonzo (No. 72)
7. George LaMonte & Tony Albano (No. 65)
8. Butch Jensen & Tricia Reina (No. 68)
9. Cameron Ornelas & Kevin Heath (No. 73)
10. Robert Jones & Larry Dysert (No. 69)

Sonora Rally Day 4: Top 10 Overall Results

1. Skyler Howes (No. 2)
2. Ricky Brabec (No. 1)
3. Bill Conger (No. 9)
4. Mike Johnson (No. 8)
5. Wes VanNieuwenhuise (No. 5)
6. Colton Udall (No. 4)
7. Jim Pearson (No. 15)
8. Matthew Ransom (No. 35)
9. Taye Perry (No. 28)
10. Nathan Rafferty (No. 66)

1. Sara Price & Kellon Walch (No. 78)
2. Oscar Ramirez & Marc Sola (No. 77)
3. Luis Pelayo & Abelardo Ruanovai (No. 63)
4. Nick Bruce & Cam Muldner (No. 71)
5. Jorge Cano & Alfonso Alonzo (No. 72)
6. PJ Jones & Kyle Vestermark (No. 71)
7. Lee Banning & Roberto Ruiz No. 66 (DNF)
8. Cameron Ornelas & Kevin Heath (No. 73)
9. Butch Jensen & Tricia Reina No. 68

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