#1433 Baja 1000 Race Report

desertspeed

Well-Known Member
This is going to be a long report of my experience racing the 50th Baja 1000 from a relatively low budget team’s perspective. I am going to break it up into multiple sections and hopefully some of my other Wolfpack teammates will chime in and add their experiences and pictures. I have tons of in car video but haven’t had the chance to go thorough and edit them yet. I will add those to this thread as I get a chance.

First a little background, I have been going to Baja since 1991, lots of surfing and camping trips with friends. We got into desert racing in the late 90’s and our first Baja race was the 2000 where we helped chase for a friend’s 7s truck. Incredible experience and we were hooked. We raced a class 12 car and then a class 10 car for several years before life and work got in the way. Our last race was the 2012 1000, but I still go down to Baja as often as I can.

I have had my truck since new (2001)- it was my daily driver for many years and slowly evolved into a prerunner with an H&M bolt on kit, then a cage and links. I have a full build thread here: H&M 4WD Supercrew Build In 2011 I ran out of talent and took the front end out on a large boulder in the Pine Forest. It sat for several years until last year when I decided to get it going again, so I dropped it off at HM Racing Design for their class 8 kit, rebuild of the front end, and switch from 4WD to 2WD with a new drivetrain.

On New Year’s day I was having a beer (or several) with a buddy and made the decision to race the 1000. I didn’t want to miss out on the 50th, and decided it would be awesome to do it in my own truck, even though it is really more of a prerunner than a true race truck. I also had no team, not enough spares, the truck wasn’t close to being finished, but whatever, it sounded like a good idea at the time :D. The truck was supposed to be done in March, and then April, and then June, but I was finally able to pick it up mid-July. Yay, only 4 months to wire, plumb, test, etc. All from St. George, which doesn’t have anything resembling a Kartek, so almost everything needed to be ordered online and shipped. Amazon Prime quickly became my best friend.

As anyone who has ever built a vehicle knows, it is the little things that seem to take the longest. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but it was early Oct before I was able to start it up for the first time. I got it down to Vegas for the exhaust and tuning- quick shout out here to Gil @ HP Specialties out by the raceway in Vegas. They were awesome to deal with and very reasonable and did a great job on the tuning.

After that it was back home for some final items and I was able to take it on its first shake down run. Everything felt OK except for the power steering, which would cut out at low RPM, which was really fun the first time it happened going into a corner :eek:. After a call to PSS, we diagnosed a bad valve in the pump. It was now early Nov and I was running out of time- I met Kevin from HM Racing in Barstow for some shock testing on Nov 4 and he brought out a new pump. After switching the pump the steering was perfect, except that the pully on the new pump seemed misaligned. It was fully pressed on though, so we ran with it (more on that later). After some shock tuning, Kevin took the truck down to the shop for a week to mount lights, window nets, re-valve the rear shocks, and a few other last minute things. I headed back home to work on wheels/tires, pit boxes, logistics, etc. before heading down to Baja.

So flash back to June- I still did not have the truck home yet but figured I should start putting a team together. After reaching out to several close friends who I was hoping would be able to join me, I decided to post up here on RDC and a couple other websites offering rides in exchange for chase support. I did not want this to be a pay to ride scenario, because I didn’t want there to be any sort of obligation or expectation for me to cater to anyone- I wanted a group of people that were there for the fun and adventure, a group of friends rather than “clients”. I got 35-40 responses from all over, including Canada, but I knew many of them would drop out as the race got closer.

Beginning in August the team members started firming up as peoples’ plans changed, life got in the way, etc., and we were down to 11 people. Two of my closest friends, a couple of people that I had met but didn’t know very well, and several that were imaginary internet friends, including a father and son who were coming out from TN and a badass girl coming by herself all the way from Alberta Canada. We started having weekly group calls, getting to know each other and sharing our Baja knowledge and racing experience, as well as working on logistics for the race. I will introduce everyone when we get to their section, but after a really stressful day two weeks before we were scheduled to leave when 3 people called me to say they had to drop out, we were down to 7 navigators and 5 chase vehicles. Not ideal but we were able to put together a chase plan that would work.

We also decided on a team name, which Wayne (IRONGOOK) was nice enough to let us borrow for the race and seemed to fit perfectly considering how the team came together- Wolfpack Racing.

As Alan from The Hangover said: “You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, "Wait a second, could it be?" And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack.”

Chris Tobin and his son Kyle modified the Wolfpack Racing logo and we got a bunch of stickers made up for the race.

On Sat, Nov 11 I loaded up my van and trailer with a crap ton of spares, pit boxes, and everything else I could think of and headed to San Diego. I spent Sat at Kartek and a bunch of other places picking up parts, went to the BFG meeting on Sunday with Pahl (WannaB-class5), and spent Monday at HM Racing getting things finished up on the truck. As always, it never goes as planned and we were working on getting the brakes working right well into the night. We finally finished up, got it loaded on the trailer, and back to my mom’s house in Escondido. Several hours of packing later, I was able to grab a few hours of sleep before our planned 5:00 am departure for Ensenada.

More to come……
 

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IRONGOOK

Well-Known Member
Thanks Andrew for having me on the team and being able to race the 50th 1000 with you. Was definitely a bucket list item. Chris the decals were awesome! they were worth there weight in gold. Made the military checks fast and easy. When they started to inspect the back of the truck I would offer some decals and away we went. Overall a great experience I wouldn't trade for anything! Plus all the new friends who share the same passion.
 

Chris Tobin

Well-Known Member
Kyle and I had a good time in Baja. It was Kyle's first trip down there and it was a good father/son experience that we were able to share with a nice group of folks!!! The 4700 miles we put on our little Cruze Diesel was tough on the family but we managed to spend over 70 hours in the car together in less than 2 weeks and still all love each other!!! My wife was able to spend some time with family and friends we haven't seen in years while Kyle and I were in Baja and then we got to see them too for a couple days before we loaded up to head back to Tennessee!

I won't give any race details away in this post... I'll let Andrew tell the story from behind the wheel!!!

After spending time in SoCal again, we are all VERY happy that we live in Tennessee now. It's an okay place to visit, but we have no desire to live in SoCal again and enjoy the wide open spaces of Tennessee!
 
Good times indeed! Hats to off Andrew for bringing us all along for the ride! Once your full recap is up, I'll be sharing some of Chase 2's experiences here as well. Viva Baja!
 

desertspeed

Well-Known Member
Apparently my great plan of saving posts to stick my race reports in didn't work, so here is installment #2. Sorry for the long lead up to the race, but I thought some people would like to hear about the whole experience. I promise, we will get to the actual race soon :)
Ensenada/Contingency-

We got on the road early Tuesday morning and headed down to Ensenada, meeting up with Chase 2 along the way. After a brief stop at the border to go through inspection and get our FMMs stamped, we headed south on the toll road and rolled into Ensenada around 10. The original plan was to get set up in Estero Beach on Tuesday and go through contingency/tech on Wednesday, but due to the number of entries SCORE decided certain classes needed to tech on Tues. So we found a parking lot near tech, did some last minute items on the truck, got the vehicles all stickered up, and then Pahl and I jumped into the truck to go find the line for tech.

Here is where the mad rush and lack of time in the days leading up to our departure started to bite me in the a$$. I had been having some intermittent fuel delivery issues where the truck wouldn’t idle very well. I was pretty sure it was due to a clogged fuel filter- I had a brand new fuel cell bladder and I kept finding little bits of foam in my prefilter. I had planned on swapping out the filter before leaving but just ran out of time. So Pahl and I are trying to idle our way through downtown Ensenada, which was completely packed with both vehicles and people, in a truck that wouldn’t idle worth a crap. It kept cutting out at the most convenient times, like when we were trying to make a u-turn in a busy intersection in front of a bunch of policia :).. Good times…..

We finally found the start of the tech line, and here is how the conversation went:

SCORE Worker: Do you have the registration paperwork that SCORE sent?
Me: No, I didn’t receive anything from them.
SW: You can’t enter unless you have it.
M: OK, where is registration?
SW: I have no idea, they don’t pay me to know that.
M: OK.....Could we possibly park right over there where there is plenty of open space while I go to registration?
SW: No, you can’t go past me unless you have your paperwork. You will have to find some place on the street to park.
M: Oh goody, this will be fun.

So we park illegally in front of a restaurant around the corner, I tell Pahl if anyone complains to tell them the truck is broken, and I run off in search of registration. I knew where it was in general so it didn’t take very long to find. Thankfully the registration process was very well organized and easy, I was in and out of there in 20 minutes tops. Then I got my first awesome surprise of the day- as part of my registration I received a commemorative bottle of tequila and a cigar, both with the 50th Anniversary logo. Super cool and great keepsakes. I ran back to Pahl and the truck, cradling my tequila like a newborn baby and sweating in the 85 degree temps. I pull back up to the tech line entrance, triumphantly show my registration paperwork, and we are waived through.

At this point the rest of our team caught up with us, and we started pushing the truck through tech. It was completely packed with spectators and we were feeling like rockstars, handing out stickers, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. This is truly one of the most unique and awesome aspects of racing in Baja- the excitement of the locals not just for the big names but for all racers. Such a cool experience.

……..Right up to our first tech station, which was for the Stella tracker. I was one of the lucky people who never received their install kit, even though I ordered/paid for it in August :mad:. The Anube rep said we had to have it installed and working before we could go any further. I asked where I could get the install kit since I never received mine, and they pointed back to registration. Another mad dash through the crowds back to registration and I found the Anube table. I had to pull up my receipt on my phone to show them I had already paid, and they handed me an install kit. They also had a tube mount for sale, so I picked up one of those as well since we had no idea where we were going to mount the unit. This ended up being a huge help- we ran back to the truck (which was blocking the tech line), quickly attached the power and ground wires, and taped them up. Hopefully this would be good enough to get us through tech and we could install it properly later.

The rest of tech went smoothly- Anube finished the install on the Stella, we got our safety gear inspected, and the truck passed tech. We were out of there in only a couple of hours, which was awesome. It meant we had all of Wednesday to relax, do any last minute things on the truck, go over chase plans, etc. We had some celebratory tacos and hit the road south to Estero Beach RV park, where I have stayed many times. Pahl had his toy hauler trailer, and we had plenty of space to spread out and work on the truck. Plus as an added bonus my truck magically started running smoothly again, so things were looking good.

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise on the bay at Estero, many of the team nursing hangovers from a misguided gin and beer concoction from the night before. The plans for the day were to take care of a few things on the truck, get all of the pit boxes and tools organized, and try and relax as much as possible. We got the gopros mounted, the GPSs programmed, and I swapped out my fuel filter just in case. We had to rig up new hoses for my windshield washer as the sprayers weren’t working, and we took a few laps around the short course track to make sure nothing fell off. A few adjustments to the rear shocks and we were almost done- as you can see from the pic below my springs were way too soft in the rear but there was nothing I could do about that at this point. The last thing I had to do was swap out my gear oil- as a prerunner I typically run 85-140, but for the race I picked up some Swepco 250w. While pumping the old oil out, the pump hose popped off and dropped down into the diff :mad:. SH&%..... FU&%....DA&%.... and other stuff I can’t say on RDC.

There was no option other than to pull the third member, which means pulling the axles. Several of us jumped on it- at this point it was dark and we should have been having dinner and going over our chase plans, but lying in the dirt covered in stinky gear oil is just as much fun :D . An hour later and we were done. Here is where having an awesome team makes all the difference- those of us not working on the truck had been busy making a huge pasta dinner. It was so great to crawl out from under the truck and be handed a plate of food, special thanks to Kimie and Pamela and all the others that helped out!

After dinner, we gathered in the trailer for our pre-race meeting. I had put together detailed chase books and together with the BFG pit books we walked through the chase and pitting plans section by section. By the time we were finished it was getting late and off to bed. Race day morning was a blur of getting the chase trucks packed up and on the road- chase 2 would be heading east on HWY 3 and chase 3-5 would be heading south on HWY 1. We were not scheduled to stage until 12:30, so after everyone left I had a few hours to relax and try to stay calm. I watched a few in car videos from prerunning and followed the bikes on RDC. At 10:00 Chase 1 showed up with Nick (lifted&slifted) who would be riding with me from the start to RM 130. We got our race suits on, talked over a few things, and started heading north to the start line. We topped off with fuel at a Pemex and made our way to staging, while Chase 1 (Nick’s father and Uncle) headed east on HWY 3 to wait for us at Ojos.

Staging was the typical clusterf**k- we had plenty of time so I wasn’t worried, but we had to drive through every back street in Ensenada to get to the end of the line. We were entered in class 1400 (Sportsman truck) and therefore started almost last, directly behind class 11s. I think there were only 5-6 vehicles starting behind us. No one was there directing traffic so we ended up with all of the 7s trucks, which was a happy coincidence because I was parked next to Mike Horner, who I haven’t seen since chasing most of the Baja 2000 with 17 years ago! We told some old stories, talked to a few of the other racers parked around us, and tried to stay out of the baking sun as much as possible. Some of my family who had come down from San Diego found us- they had found a tequila bar and were having an awesome time :).

1:00 came and went with no movement in line. 1:15….. 1:30….., then suddenly engines started firing up and everyone rushed to their vehicles. We let the 7 trucks past us and jumped in line after the last 11 car went by- from here things moved pretty quickly. We barely had time to get strapped in and situated, make sure the gopro was on, and before we knew it we were on the start ramp looking down as the car in front of us took off. At this point what we were getting to do really hit me- I looked over at Nick and said “Holy sh**t, this is awesome, we are at the start line of the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000!!!”. Such a cool feeling that I will always remember.

We rolled down the start ramp and pulled up to the start, took a deep breath, and watched the starter count us down from 5….4….3…2….1, and we were off.

More to come…..
 

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Rory

Crayola Killer
Loving the story.....
 

desertspeed

Well-Known Member
Section 1- Start to RM 130

5….4….3…2….1, and we were off, a quick left immediately after the start line and then on the gas then BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. WTF is that?!?! This was my first introduction to my new best friend Stella, who would lovingly stay with me the whole next week, all the way home to Utah. SCORE was serious about the speed zones, and we hit one right from the start. I have been in the passenger seat in a class 10 car at the start and have prerun it a few times, but they added a chicane in the first straight and then another one before you drop into the wash, which threw me off a bit. We dropped down into the wash, BEEP BEEP’ed out of the speed zone, and started moving. I had told Nick that his primary job in this first section was to calm me down and force me to go slow. There was going to be tons of traffic in front of me and limited places to pass. It was going to be dusty and the risk of doing something stupid and wadding it up was not worth gaining a couple of positions only to be stuck behind another vehicle. I wanted to just cruise until we got to San Felipe where I knew it would open up.

We got through the wash fine, passing a few stopped vehicles, although it was very weird not seeing very many spectators down in the wash. At the end of the wash we hopped back on the road and then BEEP, BEEP, BEEP into another speed zone, this one lasting 10 miles @ 37MPH. I never realized how hard it was to go that slow…. The only positive of this section is it allowed my nerves to calm down and for Nick and I to start getting comfortable with each other’s driving and navigating styles. At the end of the 10 miles we were in a line of 3 class 11 cars when we made a right turn into the dirt and the race was on again. After a brief navigational error and launching off a 6’ dropoff that the spectators were so helpfully pointing towards :) we were on our way through the outskirts of Ensenada. It was exactly as expected, mostly single file, dusty, with limited places to pass. Nick was awesome in keeping me from taking any unnecessary risks.

There were a couple of soft silty hills that I was a little worried about, but the truck powered up them with no problem- we did get stuck behind an 11 car that had stopped partway up a hill on a 90 left turn, but we were able to back up and get some momentum and get around them easily. Everything was going well until RM 35 or so when I looked down at my coolant temp and it was at 265, then 285, then I lost all engine power and stalled partway off the course. WTF????? We climbed out and I realized that neither of my radiator fans were running….. They are controlled by the ECU and had worked fine in testing (all 40 miles of it). Crap, what do I do now? Are we already done 35 miles in? My mind was not in a good place at the time, but here is where working on your own car and doing your own wiring comes in handy. I knew which wires controlled the fans coming from the ECU, so I pulled my center console apart and grabbed my electrical bag. A couple of cuts and a couple of crimps and some electrical tape and the fans were now hooked up to hot ignition wires. Maybe not the safest thing in the world but I was not going to be out of the race only 35 miles in. We put the center console back together, put the tools away, and crossed our fingers we had not done any engine damage. She fired right up with good oil pressure, and we got strapped in and took off, now with a UTV in tow. They had broken at exactly the same spot with no power, and they asked us to tow them into Ojos (8 miles or so).

The temps were still running high, so after a few miles we had to pull over and unhook them. I felt bad about doing it but we still had 1,100 miles to go and I knew a chase vehicle was coming out to get them. I felt much better when we passed a chase truck only a couple of miles away- sorry guys! At this point I am pretty sure we were the last running vehicle on the course- about 8-10 cars had passed us when we were stopped for 40 minutes fixing the fans, and as we got into Ojos we started dealing with lots of local traffic. Most were pretty good about pulling over, but some had to be “persuaded” to move over with some flashes of the light bars. We crossed the highway, radioed our situation to Chase 1, and kept moving, now having to face mostly oncoming spectator traffic. It was pretty bad for the first 10 miles or so south of Ojos, but then the traffic cleared out and we were able to pick up the pace.

The next 40 miles or so were mostly pretty fast with a few rough sections- we quickly caught and passed several of the vehicles that had passed us when we were stopped. I did have my first (almost) dumbass moment when we were following too closely behind an 11 car that unexpectedly stopped while climbing a short sandy hill. We had to stop as well, but we were in the middle of a ravine and had no space to back up or get any momentum. The only option was to try to drive up the ravine and go around the hill- we almost made it but got high centered on a sandy ledge. Nick had to jump out and push us off the ledge backwards, but I got some momentum going back down the ravine and was able to power up the hill. I wasn’t stopping for anything until we got to a safe spot at the top, so poor Nick got to chase after me on foot for several hundred yards :).

We made it to the next road crossing at RM 75 without incident, stopped for a quick visual check by Chase 1 and got back on the course. The next 20 miles or so was awesome, mostly smooth with some sandy washes and great fun. It was getting dark so the lights came on- I was keeping a close watch on both the coolant and trans temps and they were looking great. We came up to another vehicle just as we started going down the goat trail, and realized it was the one other vehicle in our class. They had started behind us but had passed us when we were stopped fixing the fans- we passed them again right before the road crossing and then they passed us back when we were stopped for our visual check. I had met them very briefly in staging, and got to know them better later, but that comes in a future section. I don’t know if they are on RDC or not, but if you guys are it would be cool to hear your story.

As we were slowly going down the goat trail, I glanced down at my trans temp and realized it was starting to creep up. This didn’t make any sense since the prior 20 miles or so had been mostly uphill with lots of sandy washes, and it had been running cool. Now that we were almost idling downhill, and then on a short highway section, it was running hotter. We radioed to our pit (@ BFG pit #1) that we needed to check the trans fluid, and then headed off to do the “Mikes” loop, stuck in the dust of the vehicle in front of us and not wanting to push too hard. The trans temp kept creeping up, and by the time we hit the pit I was starting to stress. The BFG guys were awesome, they added a quart of fluid and gathered a few more up for me to throw in the truck. Geoff Falzone of Giant Motorsports, who I had raced with in the past, came up to my window:

Geoff: How are you doing man?
Me: Good, a little stressed about the trans. It is running hot.
G: Can you do anything about it?
M: Not really.
G: Then why worry about it? It will either blow up or not. Turn off the gauge…..
M: Brilliant!!!!

We did a co-driver change, scarfed down a sandwich and drank a couple of waters, said thank you and good-bye to Nick and his dad and uncle, and then Pahl and I headed out for section #2........
 
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desertspeed

Well-Known Member
Not sure what happened, the first part got cut off.... i will have to fix in the morning


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Speedy Gonzales

Well-Known Member
Great read so far, can't wait for the rest. Me and my son were so excited as we pulled up to the starting line. We kept whispering " I can't believe we about to start the Baja 1000" If I get off my lazy ass I might do a race report.
 

Dirtracer 619

Well-Known Member
Keep it going. There are a lot of 1450 guys that were hoping you did well. Cant wait for the rest of the story


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desertspeed

Well-Known Member
Not sure what happened, the first part got cut off.... i will have to fix in the morning


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
So on my phone using Tapatalk the first 5 paragraphs are missing from the Section 1 post??? On my computer using Chrome it is all there. Strange-
 

desertspeed

Well-Known Member
Section #2- RM 130 to RM 260

I had first met Pahl in 2009/2010? or so when I was helping another buddy at a race in Ridgecrest. We were out prerunning and came across Pahl and his wife in their bug which was having issues, so we towed them back to the main pit. We had met up in Ocotillo for another desert trip one weekend but we didn’t live very close to each other at the time. When I posted up about the 1000 looking for navigators, Pahl contacted me right away. I’m very glad he did- as you will read in the next couple of sections Pahl and Chase 2 played a huge part in the race. He brought his toy hauler down to Ensenada and we were able to use it as a base while at Estero, he and his sister Kimie hooked everyone up with dinner for the two nights before the race, and they put together food packages for each chase vehicle to feed me at the pits. I am so grateful for their help.

Right after leaving pit #1, we had a short highway section and then dropped off the highway onto the race course which paralleled the highway. Here I had my first (and only) “oh I failed spelling I am going to crash I suck” moment- up until this point there really hadn’t been any whoops on the course, and we came up on some huge sand whoops all of a sudden. We were going way too fast, and I locked up the brakes as much as possible to scrub some speed before launching off the first one. Sky, ground, sky, ground, sky, ground, bush, bush, bush. I haven’t seen the gopro footage yet, but it was a close one. I looked at Pahl, apologized, back out of the bush we were in, and got going again. The next 15 miles or so were more of the same sandy whoops before we crossed the highway again and started heading south across the dry lake bed.

This was a super smooth fast section and other than pockets of fog and a little dust it was nice and relaxing. I decided to check on my trans temps just to see how they were doing, so I toggled though my dash options until I got to the trans temp- 143. WTF??? I could almost chill a beer on it. What is going on? I started hitting buttons on my dash, and then it dawned on me, and I started laughing. Pahl asked what was wrong, and it took me a minute to stop laughing at myself and my stupidity. I have a Racepak UDX dash, which I like but it is not ideal for racing purposes. There are different screens you have to toggle through to see the various gauges, and every time you turn off the ignition it reverts to the default screen. At some point before going down the goat trail I must have hit the button which changed the screen from showing the trans temp to the odometer. Coincidentally, the odometer was right around 170 or so, which is what the trans temps had been running at, so I didn’t notice at the time. Then the “trans temp” started creeping up, 1 degree every mile :). By the time I had hit pit #1, we were at 220 “degrees” and rising. The sad part is chase 2 had called ahead to our chase teams further down the course who were frantically tracking down more trans fluid- they even asked BJ Baldwin’s chase team (who, by the way, immediately gave them a gallon and refused any payment).

Transmission crisis averted, we continued on the dry lake bed, just cruising at 60-70 when we came to the end and hit a huge silt bed. There were several stuck vehicles and this was the first major silt we had hit. I pinned the throttle and with the engine screaming dodged around the vehicles and trees as best as I could, windshield wipers flinging silt everywhere. With the help of a few bushes we got through it and got back into a sandy wash. 30 seconds later we heard a BAM and the rear end started getting squirrely- our first flat of the race. We jumped out and stared at the right rear tire in amazement- the tread had completely delaminated and all that was left was a slick carcass with a few threads hanging from it. Pahl went to work on changing the tire while I started zip tying my bedside down- the tire had bent/broken a couple of the lower bedside mounts and cracked the fiberglass in a few places, but it was still in good enough shape to leave on. 15 minutes later we were back moving, and the next 15 miles or so into San Felipe were a mix of sandy washes and some whoop sections.

When we got closer to San Felipe we got on the radio and let Chase 2 know we had had a flat. We asked them to look for an access road that we could meet them at to swap out the flat spare (I have 2 on the truck), but then decided we were going at a pretty good clip and didn’t want to stop if it wasn’t necessary. The course through that area isn’t far from the highway and they were mostly keeping pace with us so they weren’t far away, so we decided to keep moving. There were several miles of fun fast sections once we hit the town of San Felipe before we hit the rocky whoops south of town. I know San Felipe really well and had driven these roads numerous times, so I knew what we were in store for. I had been dreading this section, because I knew that I wanted to take it slow rather than risk trying to stay on top of them and breaking something or blowing out my shocks, especially the rears which weren’t working all that great anyways. That meant 30 miles of 15-20mpg boring rocky bumpy crap.

We got through the whoops with our sanity intact and hit the highway south to Puertocitos and BFG pit #2 (RM 260) where we would be doing the next navigator change. There was a long section of highway that was speed controlled, so Pahl and I just chatted about random stuff. I could tell he was bummed to be getting out of the truck with his Baja 1000 experience almost over. Little did he know what was in store for him and Chase 2 in the coming hours………

We pulled up to the BFG pit- it must have been around midnight, 1 am at this point. I was feeling pretty good, not very tired, and I was really looking forward (at the time) to the next two sections, which I thought I knew very well and had driven many times. Other than Calamajue (Frog) canyon, the next 260 miles should be fast and easy and allow me to make up for some lost time. I had a sandwich or two, pounded some water and a 5-hour energy drink, Mike got in the truck, and we were off.
 

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WannaB-class5

Well-Known Member
Pahl here...since he just finished writing about my section I'll add my take. What I'm really ready to add to is the next section!

First off Andrew THANK YOU. I got to check a bucket list item off by racing the Baja 1000 (I may add to my list though...driving in the baja 1000!). Even though I've been racing for years and life events might have made it easier, I will say there's no way I could have raced this race a inexpensively as I did without your generosity. Which was important because with a pregnant wife at home with our 2 year old I needed a selling point!

As Chase 2 we just needed to be at BFG Pit 1 (RM 130) before the truck...best case that was 4PM my sister, Somer, Mike and I went out to find a spot to watch the TTs and other classes come through. Posted up around RM 80 and got a show! Helicopters flying low, TTs blowing a turn ending up in a farm, and locals seeing our race numbers asking for stickers (it's so cool down there!) While waiting we see the truck stopped at RM 40 for quite a while and we started talking about if we were out of the race already how would Andrew be feeling! We started planning what we'd do the rest of the day just to keep the horrible thoughts of DNF out of our minds. When they started moving again we decided to get farther down the road.

So we get all set up at the Pit, I start getting nervous and the rest of Chase 2 starts to go over the list of their tasks like filling up the chase truck in San Felipe. Its crazy how much each part of our team had to deal with and Andrew had been getting ALL of us ready for weeks. So the truck is close and we get a call on the radio to have cutters ready to extract the driver mirror. I let BFG know and sure enough the thing is just flapping by the cable! Andrew we forgot to grab the mirror...you'll have to buy a new one, sorry!

Finally take off from Pit and hit those whoops like Andrew said and honestly I forgot how bad it was until I watch the incar. There is just a little sky, ground, SKY, HOLY I failed spelling GROUND, tree. Fun if you ask me! I will say changing the flat was pretty fun...I remember thinking I've only had to change one flat in a race ever...and it was my very first race ever...and now I'm changing a flat in BAJA! Get back in, deal with 2 hours of whoops and then it ended. A little too uneventful if you ask me. I know it's a good thing, but I was sad to be getting out!

So we had the long road section before I get out and we are getting close to the spot we exit the road. I try to call out how close we are to the turn but we are looking for SCORE workers on the highway...well the turn comes and goes and we saw nothing. Make a 10 point turn down the road (pitch black night with drop offs), find the turn and realize the road crossing guy is dead asleep in his tent!

That was it for me...got out with a huge smile on my face and helped Mike get in. 4 of the most memorable hours in a race truck, but not the most memorable hours in baja....the best was yet to come!
 
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