ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico -- Jean-Paul Cyr completed a childhood dream on Saturday, racing in and completing a 500-mile off-road race at Baja, Mexico. The seven-time champion of the American-Canadian Tour stock car series began his racing career riding motorcycles as a teenager before moving to full-bodied cars in the mid-1980s. After seeing enormous success in stock cars for more than 20 years, Cyr began to return to his roots recently, training for races at Baja. The Milton, Vt. racer set aside his ACT plans this year in order to attack the Baja 500 in early June.
By finishing second in the Iron Man (solo) class on Saturday, it was mission accomplished on Saturday, though at a price.
"I reached my goal, which was to finish the race in under 12 hours," said Cyr, who rode a Honda CRF450X motorcycle solo around the 500-mile course in 11 hours, 43 minutes, and 26 seconds. Cyr suffered an injury to his right arm early in the event, but continued on. "I was going really well for the first hour until I hurt my arm," he said, "but I kept going. I think I would have won the Iron Man class, but I was in a lot of pain. I could feel every little bump, so I went pretty slow for the last 100 or 150 miles."
Despite the injury, which is undefined, Cyr isn't slowing down; he'll be at Thunder Road in Barre on Thursday to open the Thursday-night season driving the #11VT Late Model. And that's not all: Cyr is already planning on returning to Mexico in November for the Baja 1000.
"The next challenge is to put together a deal to run the 1000," he said. "I'll be back."
(PHOTO: Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton climbs into his ACT Late Model at Thunder Road last month. After finishing second in the Baja 500 on Saturday, he'll be back in Vermont racing on Thursday evening. Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)