Rod Hall (racer)
Rod Hall (born 1937/1938 — died June 14, 2019) was an American professional off-road racer. He was inducted in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005. He has spent his entire adult life around four-wheel-drive vehicles. He competed in fifty straight Baja 1000 races and had class wins in 25 of them. At his death, he had the most desert off-road race wins.
His racing career began in the 1960s, when organized off-road competition was just beginning. Traveling from his Hemet, California, home to races in the Rocky Mountains and desert Southwest, Hall quickly earned a reputation for going faster than other competitors – and surviving races with less vehicle damage. He won the 1964 Afton Canyon Jeep Junket near Riverside, California in what may have been one of the first organized off-road races in the United States.
As the popularity of organized off-road racing mushroomed in the late-1960s, so did Hall's success behind the wheel. In 1967 he won the inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally (the race now known as the SCORE International Baja 1000). He won the overall Baja 1000 race in 1969. As of 2016, Hall was the only racer to have competed in every Baja 1000 in a four-wheeled vehicle. He raced in the first fifty Baja 1000 races with his final start in 2017 when he was nearly 80 years old.
Hall remains the only driver to win Baja overall in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. He has accumulated over 160 major event wins and more than a dozen SCORE/HDRA & Best in the Desert (BitD) championship titles. His string of 35 consecutive race wins in the early 1980s remains the longest unbroken string of race victories in off-road racing history.
Hall switched to Hummer in 1993. In addition to being the owner of Team HUMMER, Hall is partner with Mike Winkel in Reno's Rod Hall/Winkel HUMMER. His franchise was the first stand-alone Hummer dealership in the country. Hall regularly conducted BF Goodrich tire seminars, HUMMER Happenings for dealerships and corporate excursions in HUMMER vehicles.
Hall is the driver of the new Hummer H3 SUV race truck, which debuted in the 2005 BitD “Vegas to Reno” competition and helped Hall earn his record 18th Baja 1000 victory in November 2005. Hall retired the Hummer race team from full race series action in 2009, but continues to field a Hummer entry at the Baja 1000. Hall captured his record-breaking 19th, 20th and 21st Baja 1000 class wins in his H3 in 2007, 2009 & 2012.
Hall switched to helping to train drivers though his Rod Hall DRIVE program. The Rod Hall DRIVE off-road driving school was located at the Wild West Motorsports Park in Reno, Nevada.
On a SCORE video, Hall described his driving style, "I was never a fast guy, and I was never the first guy to the first checkpoint. But I did learn that you don’t go any slower than you have to in the rough stuff, maybe you can just pull out a mile and a half faster than the other guys without beatin’ up your car. Anybody can go fast in the fast area, but it’s the slower areas, I think, where I learned how to win races."
Former SCORE owner Sal Fish said, "Rod Hall was one of the founding fathers of desert racing and certainly a major pillar in the history of SCORE desert racing. Rod was one of the elite racers for over 40 years but he always maintained his humble personality and was as approachable, as friendly and as open with a handshake and a friendly smile as the first time I met him when I did a little racing back in 1969."
- Biography at the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Retrieved March 12, 2007
- Vaughn, Mark (June 15, 2019). Desert racer Rod Hall: 1937-2019. Autoweek. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
- Biography at his official website
- Olsewski, Steven (June 17, 2019). "Losing A Legend: Off-Roaders Mourn Loss Of Rod Hall". Off Road Xtreme. Retrieved November 27, 2019.