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Baja 500 rookies

twin w racing

Well-Known Member
I know this question has been asked and answered before in the past. We have a team of three and we are inquiring about the Baja 500 sportsman Moro class.

I am not under any circumstance believe we can run with the pros but we can finish. I am looking for advise on what else we need. I'll be running the ktm450xcw. I don't know if we will need a front head light What type of desert tires are best ? Will be running a 14/48 gear with bibs in the front. Any and all advise is welcome. It's a bucket list for us. .. Thanks



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Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Lights, CHECK! You never know when you are going to finish if you do. If you don't think you are going to run a winning pace(55+mph) then there really is a great chance you will finish in the dark. You need a light... Actually, make that 2 in case one doesn't work, breaks, you crash, etc... Make 1 a helmet light so it is easy to fix stuff on the bike when you are off it.
 

JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
I have raced a bike in Baja a number of times. The 500 was always my favorite race. Although the 1000 is the "granddaddy" I liked the 500 better.

Anyway, are you planning on doing any Pre-running? I usually arrived in Baja a week in advance to pre-run. If you are new, you may want to pre-run in pairs so if anything breaks you can have help. And it can help keep you from getting lost. A handle bar mounted GPS can be helpful as well with the course downloaded on it to reference while pre-running. Depending on the course route, you may need a chase truck driver too. Although riding your bike on the highway back to the truck is not an issue either as long as you have enough gas. Don't pre-run on the race bike, save it for the race. I did pre-run on our race bike once, it was a fresh frame up re-build, so I wanted to shake it down and break in the engine, and then I went over it all the next day after about 100 miles of pre-run. Remember pre-running is just that...don't do it at race speed. There are many locals on the roads and you don't want to have a head on collision. I would try to have as much gas range as possible while pre-running. Anti-freeze bottles work pretty well to pack gas in a back pack. They are slim and usually don't leak. Try pre-running on a KX 500! Sucks the gas!!

What do you plan to do for pits? Baja Pits and Mag 7 both offer great service about every 50 race miles. I've never used them. I was always on a Honda and we used Honda pits. They were really great back in the day. I have run the whole race on one set of tires when riding with a sportsman team. While riding pro, we always changed the rear tire and the front only if we got a flat. We didn't run a bib in the early days. Later on we never changed the front during the 500 with a bib or tire balls.

Do not leave your vehicle with dirt bikes unattended at contingency or tech. You may come back to an empty parking space. I like to install a simple starter interrupt switch. Pretty easy to do and while they may break into your truck, it won't start.

The lead off rider needs to be decent riding in dust. I understand you are just wanting to finish, but as a sportsman you will have the pro quads breathing down your neck and they make a lot of dust. Lead off rider also needs to be prepared for FOG! Often the fog sets in and he will be riding in dust and fog on the way out of town. Honda factory guys used to cram a clean pair of goggles in their kidney belt and when they got clear of the fog, give the used goggle to a fan and ride on with a clear pair. I never started the race, but we never went to this length, but the lead off guy would tuck a clean rag in his kidney belt to clean goggles with if need be.

If there is a crowd of people along the course slow down. Especially if they are telling you to go fast through water or hit some "jump" they have built. Beware, never blindly trust the spectators, especially near the start. A headlight is a must have, you never know how long it will take you. Have a spare, have helmet lights. In a pinch you can finish the race with a helmet light. I've seen it done. Radio coms to the bike is nice, but I never had it. Coms between chase trucks is wise and now with cell service as good as it is and the use of sat phones, I don't know that I would install radios in chase trucks. If you need to talk to the Weatherman, you can always find someone with a truck team that will loan you a radio, I've done that several times. Try to do rider changes at the pit service you use. The reason for this is the pits usually communicate with each other so you can get a handle on when your rider will arrive at the exchange.

If you have an identical bike for pre-running as the race bike, carry it with you on race day in the chase truck. The spare parts can be a race saver! Been there done that...when your rider throws the bike off a cliff onto the rocks along the coast breaking the handle bars, an extra set kept us in the Baja 2000. (way to long of a story to tell here)

When the TTs catch you, get out of the way! Do not try to out run them. You can't, and if you crash trying to get out of the way it can be deadly. Once it is dark, you will have no problem realizing there is one behind you. But once one passes, wait til the dust clears before jumping back on course. Those guys drive blindly with the GPS and you will not be on it! Once you start getting caught, be patient, you are just trying to finish and those guys are still in a race and you don't want to be in the middle of it. If at all possible, pull off the race course on the inside of turns, not the outside. In fact, never stop on the outside of a turn if you value your life.

Okay, that is a lot of info, take and use what you want. But in my humble opinion it is all good stuff and worth doing. Have fun and good luck. If you want bike prep tips, I can give you a few, but I never raced a KTM.

Remember to have fun and get home safely to your families.
 

twin w racing

Well-Known Member
We have a team of 5 consisting of three racers and 2 pit crew with a truck and trailer. I have a LeadNav on my phone to use as a GPS device which can be mounted on the handlebars . As far as bike set up , We have three sets rims and tires but what type of desert tire is the best there are so many to choose from? On my bike I have a steering stabilizer suspension done by Kraft suspension and recluse clutch with a rear fender bag . With all the advice I will be purchasing a Baja design headlight and rigging up another light on my helmet. Plus p battery also seems to be a must .

As far as pre-running with dedicated four days to that Friday would be prep day specs and anything else we have to do to register then Saturday the race and probably Sunday morning would be finish Lol. Anything and everything is greatly appreciative I don't want to show up there unprepared. We also plan on getting insurance and medical insurance Thank you
 

chicken lips the ocho

Most Annoying RDC Poster
Last year a lot of racers got beat by the heat, every rider should be hydrated(and you can't start the day before )

When the first trophy truck catches you beware because you got a freight train coming and the drive blind a lot. Pull far off the corse in case there's a truck in the dust and don't get back on the corse until the dust clears
 

JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
We have a team of 5 consisting of three racers and 2 pit crew with a truck and trailer. I have a LeadNav on my phone to use as a GPS device which can be mounted on the handlebars . As far as bike set up , We have three sets rims and tires but what type of desert tire is the best there are so many to choose from? On my bike I have a steering stabilizer suspension done by Kraft suspension and recluse clutch with a rear fender bag . With all the advice I will be purchasing a Baja design headlight and rigging up another light on my helmet. Plus p battery also seems to be a must .

As far as pre-running with dedicated four days to that Friday would be prep day specs and anything else we have to do to register then Saturday the race and probably Sunday morning would be finish Lol. Anything and everything is greatly appreciative I don't want to show up there unprepared. We also plan on getting insurance and medical insurance Thank you
I know it is a long haul to Baja from Texas, but you may want to think about having two chase trucks. The problem is the course is usually split in two. The interior section and the Pacific coast, except last year. When the race "crosses over" as we say your chase truck will be no where near your rider, and usually you will want to do a rider change at some point on both sides of course. So we always had a chase truck per rider, but you could do the 500 with two chase trucks, one goes down each of the two highways. You could check into renting a pick up in San Diego to take down for the week. I've had team mates do that. I would leave the trailer in Ensenada once you get down there, even for pre-running, but especially on race day. You don't want to be dragging that around unless you absolutely have to. You will understand once you get down there and see the roads and pit locations.

As far as tires, we always ran Bridgestone ED 78 on the rear and we used several different front tires. The ED 78 is a tough tire. I rode on the only flat I ever had with one for more than 30 miles in the 1000 one year and I didn't slow down much. If you run a tube in it, run it at 16 psi. That may sound excessive, but you shouldn't get a flat. You probably won't need to change tires. I've never been a fan of rear fender bags. Each rider on our team wore a fanny pack with a small assortment of items to repair the bike. I carried more than most guys: leatherman, crescent wrench that would fit axle nut, multi-tip screw driver, three double open end wrenches of the major sizes, a small 1/4" drive "T" handle with an 8,10,12,13,14 sockets, safety wire, zip ties, small flashlight, and a small first aid kit. You could put the first aid kit in the fender bag so one kit travels with it, a first aid kit is required by SCORE (or at least it used to be, Red always asked me where my condoms were when he inspected it Ha Ha)

As far as finishing time goes. You should be done way before morning. Just keep forward progress even if it is slow that is better than sitting still. I have never needed lights at the 500, but we always had them in case we needed them. Hydration is key as was mentioned. Start several weeks in advance.

There's some more info for you.
 

nickybobby333

Well-Known Member
I highly recommend the last two posts in regards to hydration. You cannot over hydrate yourself enough prior to race day. A gallon and a half of water a day for two-three weeks prior, and then incorporate pedialyte and Gatorades when prerunning (and on race day as well) IS ESSENTIAL!!
 

twin w racing

Well-Known Member
All great info. I have the camelbak mule. And I mix Pedialyte and Gatorade. 20/80. To much pedialyte. Make me sick. Ask me how I know that ! Lol. Not sure about leaving the trailer in Ensenada. Alone tho


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osborne

Well-Known Member
I agree with all that was mentioned. We did the 1000 without pre-run (time and money wouldnt allow it). If you just ride smart its just like any other race. (maybe a little longer). We used 3 chase trucks and a spare bike in each for parts. When the map comes out you will get a better idea of what you will need. Maxxis desert IT tires work well and last. We ran bibs front and rear and no issues. 500 miles on each set and were still used after the race. Lights are a must and have a spare setup. Hydrate, take a good selection of tools, air filters, shift lever etc. You can pack too much though, be careful. We have used mag 7 and baja pits over the years and had good luck. They will have gas and usually food. They have tools to help fix stuff. Use them in places your crew cant get to in time. Just ride smart, Keep forward momentum if at all possible, fix a problem right the first time, remember that you have buddies counting on you to get the bike to them. Good luck.
 

GoLeft

Well-Known Member
Here is some timing information you might be able to use based on last years race. It is basically what time you should be where based on a particular average speed up to that point. This will give you an idea of when/if you need to put on lights, and also where/if the Trophy Trucks might/will catch you.

Keep in mind that these are based on the finishing average speeds, not gospel by any means.
 

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JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
All great info. I have the camelbak mule. And I mix Pedialyte and Gatorade. 20/80. To much pedialyte. Make me sick. Ask me how I know that ! Lol. Not sure about leaving the trailer in Ensenada. Alone tho


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I don't know where you are planning on staying, but many of the hotels do have security guards. Lock the trailer up, chain through the wheels or if it has a removable hitch, pull it. I think all would agree with me, that if you don't have to pull a trailer you are much better off. Especially on race day, it can get very crowded at road crossings and pits when all the truck teams start showing up.
 

deano

McDeano
Did you ever consider racing the San Felipe 250 on April 1st just to get your feet wet - Then graduate to the 500 ? You do sound like you are somewhat prepared and are getting great advice from everyone here, but in my eyes taking baby steps in Baja is the way to go, especially on two-wheels .. Good luck to you and have fun it's what it's about -- :cool: Braappp
 

twin w racing

Well-Known Member
All great advice we have thought about racing the 250 but time from work money and the wife put a damper on most of my hobbies LOL and technically if you look at it split three ways isn't that Kinda a 250 race in LOL.


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JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't even think about doing the 250 solo. That is a rough course! It is easier to do, and shorter, but I would still use at least 3 guys. The whoops on that course eat your energy.
 

AZ7000'

Well-Known Member

twin w racing

Well-Known Member
Talk to a guy who's raced the Baja last year. I said it's just a bucket list for us probably never do it again. His response yea u said the same thing four years ago !!! Lol.


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