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Off-road legend Robbie Pierce dies at 63

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Credit: Robbie Pierce

Robbie Pierce, an Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee in 2018, passed away after an accident while scuba diving. His Jimco Racing company announced the news on Tuesday. He was 63 years old.

Pierce had been vacationing in Bonaire in the Caribbean to ring in the new year.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our great leader, racer, builder, entrepreneur, and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee, Robbie Pierce,” reads a statement from Jimco. “Robbie died in an accident while scuba diving, his second biggest passion in life.

“His dedication to the safety and advancement of off-road racing and motorsports will continue to save lives, and thrill racers and fans alike for years to come.

“What you do in life echoes in eternity. Drive fast, take chances. Race in Peace.”

Pierce did not get into racing until he was in his forties, but was already involved in motorsport via his businesses. A machinist in his early adulthood, he worked for MasterCraft Safety before buying out the company in 1999; MasterCraft produces racing seats and other related accessories for both pavement and off-road racing, as well as military vehicles. Pierce also owned Impact Racing founded by racing safety pioneer Bill Simpson before selling it and MasterCraft to Sparco in 2017.

From 2018 onwards, he oversaw Jimco Racing, a Trophy Truck builder and equipment supplier that carries MasterCraft, Impact, Simpson, and Sparco products. Jimco’s trucks have mainly enjoyed success in North American desert racing like SCORE International and even competed at the Dakar Rally. The company won the SCORE Original Open-Wheel Chassis Manufacturer in 2020.

As a driver, Pierce competed in both long-distance desert competition like SCORE and Best In The Desert as well as short course series in TORC, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, and Stadium Super Trucks. He continued racing into his sixties, recently running the Baja 1000 in the Trophy Truck Legends class in November. In 2020, Pierce challenged the Dakar Rally, serving as navigator to Bobby Patton in a Toyota Hilux provided by Overdrive Racing and therefore being a team-mate of now-four-time Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.

His passing continues a tragic string of losses for the off-road community after fellow Baja 1000 alumnus Ken Block on Monday.

“Robbie Pierce had one of the biggest hearts in off road,” said 2022 Baja 1000 winner Rob MacCachren, a longtime friend and team-mate of Pierce. “He jumped at any opportunity to help someone out. His passion for safety helped raise the bar with many racing products, we as racers, depend on every time we hop in the seat. Or even when our crew guys are in the pits. His generosity, passion and friendship will be truly missed by myself, my family, my crew and the entire racing industry. Godspeed my friend.”

Robbie Pierce: 29 April 1959 – 3 January 2023

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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