Canguro Racing formed somewhere in the mountains of Northern Utah. Or maybe amongst the saguaros of Baja, Mexico. It might just have happened on the slickrock mesas of Moab. The truth is that there is no exact date when Canguro Racing was created. 15 years ago the six of us were complete strangers. Through a shared love of the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser we all became friends. Each of us has been active in the off-roading community for over 15 years, traveled thousands of dusty, washboard miles and have served in local and national leadership positions for various volunteer organizations. What started as a goal to race the Baja 1000 has turned into passion for racing and a desire to get better and faster. 3 years after our first race we are still loving the adventure and see no signs of change.
Starting at a young age Will has been intrigued by all things mechanical. Whether it was taking the family lawn mower apart, or trying to figure out how a radio worked he was always wrenching on something. During his high school years he fell in love with vehicles, especially anything with four wheel-drive. His passion turned into a career and he spent ten years turning wrenches for a living. Now he is a technical trainer for the teams favorite automotive manufacturer, passing his knowledge onto others in the trade. In his spare time he can usually be found pedaling a mountain bike, in the garage restoring a Land Cruiser or spending time with his amazing wife and four kids.
Growing up in Southern California started the pathway to the Baja 1000 for Darren Webster; pre-runners and Baja bugs were everywhere. His first car was a 67 Volkswagen so it is fitting that his first desert race car be of VW origin. A Land Cruiser owner since High School, Darren has always loved being off the road. Rallying up Saddleback Mountain sometimes replaced a few periods of his High School day. His personal life is blessed with a lovely wife and 3 wonderful kids.
Dave Connors has long had a love affair with the desert and going fast. Racing the Baja 1000 has been a dream of his since before he could even drive. He is very excited to be a part of Canguro Racing and can’t wait to unleash the power of Mathilda on Mexican soil. Born and raised in Utah, Dave gained an early appreciation for the desolation and beauty of the desert. Thousands of miles spent wandering the deserts of North and South America has only strengthened that appreciation and the Baja Peninsula will always have a special lure. Racing in the 2011 Baja 1000 will only add to the romance and mystique. Dave works as a technical sales rep and spends a lot of time on the road. During his free time, if he’s not exploring some remote corner of Utah in his Toyota Land Cruiser, he can usually be found on the golf course.
Whoever said getting there is half the fun was wrong Marc Van Tassell believes the percentage is much higher than that. Growing up in Kamas, UT with the Uintas Mountains in his back yard, getting there was always the biggest part of the adventure. Fishing, hunting or just out for a drive, things started in a Chevy short bed pick up, then later a Honda ATC 110cc three wheeler. Marc is a dentist, pilot, ham operator, Land Cruiser junkie, Major in the US Army Reserves, but his favorite title is Dad. Marc moved out to the high desert of Ely Nevada a few years ago and has been enjoying the new scenery. After the move, Marc stepped into dirt bikes and motorcycles. Whenever he goes out for a spin on two wheels he tell his wife he is off to see his “therapist”. When Marc was approached about the team, it took him about 3 seconds to make up his mind, and has loved the adventure so far. One more thing… yes he is a “doctor” but if someone has a heart attack, we suggest you still dial 911.
Kurt Williams is a life-long off-road enthusiast, OHV access advocate, professional guide and the owner of Cruiser Outfitters, a parts and service company specializing in off-road equipment, accessories and builds for Toyota 4×4 platforms. With an impressive reputation in the Off-Road Community, Kurt’s experience ranges from trips in the Australian Outback to leading trail repair crews in Utah’s high mountain ranges, spending thousands of miles on the dirt each year. He’s also a former UROC rockcrawling competitor, a mechanical engineering graduate, certified Wilderness first aid provider, Tread lightly Master Trainer, HAM radio operator and past president of the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association. Kurt lives in Sandy, Utah with his wife Candace and their 4-year old German Shepherd, Jada.
What do you get when you cross Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, and Willard Scott? Well, we aren’t sure either but we think Ryan Davis might be a good start. Another Utah native with ample off-road experience Ryan has led dozens of groups on trail rides in places from Moab to California’s world famous Rubicon Trail. Ryan is a handy guy to have around, he fixes stuff. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering but owns a company that does home theaters and automation systems. If something has a wire attached to it, chances are Ryan knows what it does and where it goes. Ryan is the Current President of the Utah chapter of the Toyota Land Cruiser Association, Wasatch Cruisers. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, playing guitar in his family band, experimenting with almost anything to do with amateur radio and he’s a proven fabricator to boot.
Ryan was originally part of the team for his chops in communications and to help run the pits but he is now our newest driver. Yeah, we thought the same thing, it sort of like asking the water boy to play football.