First time Baja Racer help

shrive81

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Hello gents and appreciate the help I am planning on racing the baja 500 & 1000 and will be the first time racing the score series. I have been racing in the states for years and well versed on that aspect but was wondering if you guys have any pointers of things you have learned from past experience you want to pass on. We already have a house lined up and will be going down with two chase vehicles and the trailer with race vehicle. Is there any major issues with crossing the border as far as race vehicle, tires limits, fuel (and if you cant bring fuel who do you buy from once you cross), major race logistics being down south. I appreciate any advice and just want my crew and family to be safe as we take on racing down south.

thanks again
 

SJ073

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Hello,
For crossing the border I would make sure you have the paper registration for all trucks, trailers, any prerunners, and the race vehicle. In Nevada a race car can be registered as an Off Highway Vehicle or UTV I believe which will give you the paperwork you need to cross. If you are missing any of this registration paper work you will be turned back to California unless you can work something else out. Score has a list discussing tires on their site but the rules state something like only 4 tires per race vehicle or prerunner allowed. I'm pretty sure some teams take over 30-40 tires down with them per race vehicle so not sure how closely this one is enforced. All tires must be mounted on wheels and match the vehicles you are bringing. Eg, don't be bringing a bunch of 18 wheeler tires in and have no 18 wheeler otherwise it will look like you are importing them. :)

More info from the 250: Border Crossing – 2018 San Felipe 250 – SCORE Race Info

Fuel - not allowed to bring your own race fuel or regular fuel. It is sold at the pump on the south side of Ensenada but probably best to buy it from VP who will bring it down for you and take care of the import fees, process, etc. SCORE Fuel Pre-Order Form - VP Fuels

Get to where you are going before dark if you can help it. If it looks like it will take 1 day to get somewhere on the map and by mileage then it probably actually takes 1.5 - 2 days. If you need to be down south leave 2-4 days early. If you try to leave to go 300+ miles on race day.....it's too late! Get plenty of rest, drink water, eat, and be smart. Have your crew read this:
What About You? by Bob Bower – SCORE Race Info

Hope this gives you a start. Plenty of folks on here that can pile on and answer probably any question you can think of.
Regards
John
 

shrive81

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So I am use to BITD where every pit is designated but I am
Assuming they don’t designate pit areas from what I can tell for Baja... what do you do for pit area is it kinda just do as you please where ever you please for pitting.
 

AZ7000'

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Siiiii
 

Crusty Shellback

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As far as pits go, you have a few options.
Buy into one of the pit groups like BFG, Baja Pits, or one of the many others. They will have pits set up at intervals that should keep you from running out of gas.
If you have the people to do your own pits, then you will have to plan out the pits as you do your prerunning. Unless you are in a town or somebody's front yard, you can pit just about anywhere out in the open. No pitting on the highway though. :eek:
 

51rcr

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do a pit service for fuel and all. will save you an amazing amount of logistics and people and vehicles. If your a fast class it will be harder yet with 2 chasers . Better load them both with parts and split them. Your going to have to see what fast classes do with that.
 

High4

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Baja logistics are complex and unforgiving to even the most experienced and prepared racers. Over the last ten years, I've organized and led many pit crews to Baja for the SCORE series. I've directed pit placement, studied course layout, access routes, coordinated fuel loads, spare parts - even snacks for the racers coming through our pits. Unfortunately, I've also seen many, many racers come through that are over their heads, usually due to inadequate preparation or an outright unfamiliarity with Baja. The odds are stacked against racers in that position, and the reality is that a lot of them don't even finish.

I'd suggest an intermediate step, before you commit the money and resources required to race the 500/1000. Volunteer with a team or pit service. I work with Mag 7 Pits, and we always have volunteer opportunities to accompany our crews in Baja. That said, given your aspirations, I think you might find even more relevant experience on a Baja chase crew, which would give you firsthand exposure to the planning and execution of a Baja race plan. Race Dezert is an excellent way to connect with a team, most of whom can always use a few more competent volunteers.

The Baja 500 is only six weeks away. If you go for it, you will need help. Money spent on a pit service is a force multiplier. Mag 7, BFG, and Baja Pits are all good options, with slight differences between each of us. Contracted pit service will have multiple locations set up at regular intervals around the course. They'll haul your fuel, and have tools and resources available to help when you need it, along with bodies to assist.

You cannot replicate that with two chase trucks.

It is very, very common for us to be joined by a chase crew at one of our pits - for a driver change, planned service, or emergency repair. We provide a well lit and well equipped location, usually where there is little else around. Chase and Pit Service complement each other very well, and provide the full spectrum of support needed to be successful in Baja. It's not one versus another. It's both.

Best of luck. No matter what you choose, come home dirty, happy, and safe.

Viva Baja.
 

shrive81

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I appreciate the help guys, we are committed to running these races and already have money committed to the event. With that said I am trying my hardest to be prepared as possible for myself and my crew. We will be at a minimum using one of the pit services for at least emergency coverage if not full pit coverage. I am trying to make sure our communication is set and prepared for the team with sat phones and radio protocols in place for the car and chase team. I have been looking at old maps of the 500 just to kind of get an idea of how pits laid out on those courses based on our fuel range. My biggest concern is just general lack of area knowledge. I am looking in to lead nav off the grid for the trucks and also the good old paper maps (you know the ones we use to use a long time ago) also spare parts and emergency items prepared on the car. I know we will be fine if everything goes to plan and their aren't any issues and that is not a concern. My major concern is all the what if's. Like what happens if the car breaks down in a are that is inaccessible by chase trucks and lack of radio reception (aka the need for SAT phones) so with that said please feel free to continue laying on the advice and knowledge on me as I am more then happy to take what ever you have. Once the race course is released I feel like I will have a way better idea of where we stand.
 
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I know we will be fine if everything goes to plan and their aren't any issues and that is not a concern.
That never happens, and that's a concern to us. It should be a concern to you.

I'm afraid you will DNF if you continue under that delusion.

IF everything goes to plan, you will have issues.

It's a rare event when things go to plan even for veteran Baja racers.

You should plan for things not going to plan, and how you will deal with issues.

It's like TT said of the Tijuana Police: "They don't need you, and they expect the same in return."

Be prepared for any eventuality.

Rent a Satphone, you may not need it. Don't, and wish you had.

Good Luck and see you at the finish!
 

shrive81

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I understand that never happens I was being rather sarcastic with that statement as I have been racing for many years and understand things NEVER go perfect and you always have to have a back up plan and probably two or three back up plans for that hahahaha we have say phones for the race vehicle and the chase trucks along with a home base that they can call in case their is a issue with them back here in the states that has the teams contact info as well. I understand I am a baja newbie but this is the reason I started this thread to help get productive info from experienced individuals and help make out experience and race safe and effective.

what have you guys found is the best method of finding routes for the chase team ( and please don't say experience looking for useful information)
 

Regardstobuck

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We were new to Baja at the 1000 last year. One tool we found to be invaluable was a satellite tracking device for our race vehicle and chase trucks. Go to bajatracking.com or racingtrax.com and check it out. It’s a great way to get status updates at regular intervals without having to bug weatherman. Also you can message each other via the device. We dnf’d a little ways in and it would have been a real headache without the sat tracker.


Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert
 

stewwalker

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what have you guys found is the best method of finding routes for the chase team ( and please don't say experience looking for useful information)
Do you mean routes to the race course from the highway? I'm sure long time veterans have a better way, but I just use google earth. If you can see a decent road from the air, it's probably well traveled and smooth enough for a chase rig. You can even look at the street view of highway 1, 3 and parts of 5 to look for fences and gates that may be locked. Obviously this isn't the best method, but it's worked for me so far. While prerunning you will see plenty of support vehicles driving down random roads. Take notes and correspond them with satellite imagery.
 

JDDurfey

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What brand of tires are you running?

BFG has free pit support about every 150 miles of the race course if you run their product. They also hand out a great pit book that gives you mileages and detailed directions to many race course access points. In my opinion the book is worth running the tires alone, not to mention the pit support and great tires.

You still need your own chase vehicles as well, but when you are in the BFG pits the guys do the best they can to get you back on course.
 

Bro_Gill

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"what have you guys found is the best method of finding routes for the chase team ( and please don't say experience looking for useful information)"

Sorry, but that experience you say don't speak of IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN BAJA you can fall back on. Please don't say you guys are all Baja newbies. You NEED to have some experienced Baja hands on your team. There are plenty of folks who can and will help you if you ask. I know there are other VERY EXPERIENCED TEAMS that race in Baja regularly in your neighborhood. Go meet some of them and ask questions and shake hands and become friends. This will be the most important thing you do to prepare for these races at this point.
 

shrive81

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appreciate it guys keep it coming, and I have been trying to make contacts as I go and have had a couple great guys already send me a DM with great advice and willing to help. Please know I am not taking this lightly and trying to be as prepared as possible. I just meant that saying expierence is the best bet doesn't provide me with any useful information on this forum. If I could find someone that knows BAJA very well and is willing to be part of the team and come along we would love to have them and in all reality probably NEED them hahahaha
 

shrive81

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Do you feel the 500 (obviously depending on the course) can be done with 1 chase truck or is it best to have two
 

mgobaja

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Do you feel the 500 (obviously depending on the course) can be done with 1 chase truck or is it best to have two
Two for sure, you ideally would not want anybody fueling you to risk being hung up in traffic/ accident / lost or whatever.
 

stewwalker

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Do you feel the 500 (obviously depending on the course) can be done with 1 chase truck or is it best to have two
Absolutely not. You do NOT want your chase team racing down the highway trying to beat the race car to a pit. At minimum you need 2 trucks and leap frog to pits. Now if you are using Baja pits, mag 7, or who ever, you could possibly lean on those guys to take care of a couple pit stops for you.

What class/car are you racing?
 

shrive81

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We are building a new car races non turbo UTV for last 5 years new car is a turbo UTV ( Insert golf cart jokes here )
 

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AZ7000'

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Promise us a post race recap, Pleaseeee
 
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