Friday, December 15, 2006

Update On Kathy Jarvis Protruck Race

But Kathy Jarvis Still Holds The Distinction Of Being The Only Woman To Solo Attempt The Race In A Protruck

La Paz, Mexico (November 20, 2006) – Kathy Jarvis was exasperated. Months of practice could not prepare her for the numerous technical difficulties that her Protruck would endure in the first day of the SCORE International Baja 1000. After successfully maneuvering 328 miles through silt beds, mud bogs and whoops she was forced to pull out of the race because of electrical problems with “Jinx.”

“Finishing this race was my goal,” said Jarvis, “but I haven’t failed. We I pursued my dream and I’m still pursuing it. Women need to know that they are strong enough to blur the gender lines and accomplish anything that they can dream. Sometimes there are things that are just out of your control and on this day there wasn’t anything else that we could do to get that truck to finish this race. That doesn’t mean I’ll give up.”

“I pre-ran the entire course in my stock 1998 Toyota Tacoma. I honestly believe that I could have finished the actual race in that Tacoma. It really speaks integrity of the truck,” Jarvis said.
The off-road race is held on a 1,052 mile stretch of rugged terrain leading down the Baja peninsula into La Paz, Baja California. It is the final race of the SCORE International Desert Series and the event routinely draws an impressive entrant list composed of celebrities like Paul Newman, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey, Mike Metzger of motorcross fame, Julia Roberts’ husband and cinematographer Danny Moder, and Jesse James from the show “Monster Garage.” This year that list expanded to contain its first solo woman Protruck driver Kathy Jarvis.

Protrucks are full blown high performance race trucks that are disguised underneath a stock body and they are just one of several different vehicles that race in the BAJA 1000. Motorcycles, buggies, ATV’s and Protrucks all tested the limits of human possibility as they barreled down the rugged terrain of the Baja Peninsula.

Unfortunately for Kathy, there were several instances that she was careening down the peninsula in a shroud of darkness. Kathy’s alternator failed for most of the race causing her instrument panel, radio and GPS navigation to go blank.

“There were points where I really had to dig down and keep focused. I realized what was at stake for female professional racing. Every couple hundred feet there was a different hazard to avoid. The course tests your versatility as a driver, so my training as a stunt driver came in handy,” said Jarvis after the race.

Off-road legend Ivan Stewart was very encouraged with Kathy’s attempt and he tried to get Kathy to look at the positive. “She showed a lot of courage and professionalism in a form of motorsports that is very male-dominated. Her knowledge and appreciation of off-road racing makes her a very marketable force in our community,” Stewart said.
Jarvis, a professional stuntwoman by day, has been no stranger to hazardous and life-threatening experiences. She has jumped a minivan in a Taco Bell commercial, flipped a
flaming Chevrolet Suburban, crashed through buildings and performed many high-risk vehicle stunts and chases. Kathy has also been a stunt double for actresses Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, and Anne Heche in blockbuster films like City of Angels and Six Days Seven Nights.

A few years ago, Stewart encouraged Kathy to start her own female Protruck team but that dream was derailed when she was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor that would require surgery. A botched procedure led her to decline synthetic drugs and embrace holistic treatments like Qi Gong, an expanded yoga program and acupuncture. Not one to sit idle for too long, Kathy continued working as a stunt professional and in February of this year she attended the Team O’Neil Rally School to hone her driving skills. Excited about rally racing, she entered and won her first National rally race, the Main Forest Rally in July of 2006.

“This was another big step for women in professional racing,” Jarvis said. “I’m excited to come back next year and compete against other determined and talented drivers and finish, I know I can finish.”

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