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First timer's guide to participating in the Baja 1000

Taquache

Well-Known Member
I'm creating this thread to do a few things.

1. To document my journey of preparation for competition in the 2017 Baja 1000

and

2. To compile a comprehensive "beginner's guide" to going to Mexico as a participant or spectator.

I have found that the search feature on this forum leaves a little to be desired on this particular topic so I though I'd try to build a thread that encompasses nearly every aspect for making the journey to the greatest off road race in the world. I will be compiling information gathered directly from my own experiences along with advise from locals and veterans to not only help my during my trip but to help any future "green" competitor prepare for Baja.


A little background on me:

I am a first generation off road racer and hot rodder in general. It has been a passion of mine for my entire life however, until recently I have not had the means nor the contacts to properly pursue my interests. I grew up on the complete opposite US/Mexico border from Baja, down in the Rio Grande Valley near South Padre Island, Tx. I have spent a lot of time traveling in Mexico as a youngin and am looking forward to returning to that wonderful country in a new area I have yet to travel.I try to research and prepare as much as possible before large undertakings such as this. For example, in 2013 I spent a year researching and communicating with a diesel drag race team from Thailand to bring them to the US to participate in the NHRDA World Finals. That was exciting!

There are many things to prepare for not only with the team and vehicle but also regarding safety, actions, communication, interactions, etc when attempting a journey such as this. I'll be separating each topic into it's own post to help keep things clear.

I look forward to learning as much as I can to get ready for this undertaking.
 
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Taquache

Well-Known Member
To begin I found a couple of partners I have known for years who are similarly interested in racing as I am.

We set a budget and went about looking for a race vehicle, with no vehicle there will be no racing. That was seen as the biggest hurdle in our plan.

Our preferences were that the vehicle be as complete as possible and SCORE legal.

We came across the Big Dog Performance Class 8 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. It was with in budget and had a strong finishing record for the 1000. This is also a platform that my partners and my self are experienced with having owned a few similar trucks our selves over the last few years.

The truck was located in Calgary Alberta which presented its own challenges. After a few months discussion with the Feds on how to legally import the truck and acquiring the correct permission letters from the EPA and the NHTSA we made the 4000 mile round trip journey to go pick up the truck over this past Thanksgiving holiday.

 

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steve0we

Well-Known Member
Great thread to start, and I wish you the best of luck on ALL of your new adventures. You have a bucket load of adventure on your pate!

Check out the many other threads on the site about first time trips to Baja, and pit support for the 1000.

It looks like you made a good choice on trucks to race, and that's half of the problem with a lot of the people that post threads like this. Many of them buy a half completed truck or buggy on a "deal" and then it turns into a money pit that just goes down hill and motivation and funding disappear.
 

TJERGENSEN

Well-Known Member
I think the 2017 1000 might be longer then usual, its the 50th anniversary,
1 plan on a budget and add 50% it just works out that way
2 get twice the people you think you need. Its safer and funner for everybody
3 Bfg , is a must, for the best tires and pit support, they have the best communication, you can contact them during the race for updates.
4 Have 2 radios in each chase truck 1 on bfg relay or weatherman and 1 on you're race channel
Prerun the course at least 2 times, prerun the chase roads.
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
I think a sat phone rental is justified. Also, read Bob Bower's "What about you?" article, here on rdc.
 

Hayward Racing

Well-Known Member
I think a sat phone rental is justified. Also, read Bob Bower's "What about you?" article, here on rdc.

We have it saved in our team SOP's

What About You?
I will be blunt. Not brief. This may be the wrong time for brevity.
Deal with it.
It is possible that there will be at least one less member of the greater off-road
community around, come November 19, 2005. Someone could die because of their
involvement in the Baja 1000.
Dead. Gone.
Will it be you?
“Of course not”. “No way”. “That stuff happens to other people!”
If it pleases you, just toss this thing now. After all, it's just the ranting of one of
those guys who never lacked an opinion, or wasted the opportunity to thrust it upon
you. Now is the time. There’s a trash can around here somewhere. Toss it if you
want to.
If, on the other hand, you might be open to what one guy with a little experience
has to offer, read on.
People, the single biggest danger to our safety as we involve ourselves in this race
is us. Us. We represent the single largest jeopardy to our own well being out of all
the freak things that could happen. On the surface, it would seem that those most
in danger of clobbering themselves are those that have less experience down there.
I wonder.
I am one of those with experience, and I know how seductive it is to tell myself that
my experience gives me license to risk more than those without it. “The rules are
for the new guys” “I can compress time frames”. “I can eat later”. “I don't need to
take a nap”. “If I follow this stupid overloaded truck all night, I'll miss my deadline”.
“I've got great lights, and I can see past all 6 vehicles ahead of me and take them
all in one pass”.
This race is one long son of a gun. All drivers will feel the pressure to drive past
sunset. It's a given. It's a must! There are loads of stories about Baja at night.
What is interesting is that very few of the really scary stories come from the race
cars. The most amazing and most tragic come from the highway travelers. Is that
you? Have you had “Your Story” yet? It's out there, waiting for you. There have
been times when the situation happens very far north. Like a tanker full of fish
crashing around Santo Tomas, and closing the highway for over 5 hours. Now your
time frames are shot. What do you do?
The history of what goes on and how we deal with it is not something to take
lightly. Motorhomes crash. People fly, land, and suffer. Tractor-trailer rigs roll over
and burn. A pickup full of drunk locals veers over the line and smacks a perfectly
good Bronco with chasers in it.
It is not a case of “Will it happen?”, but a fact that it will happen. To whom, we
don't know. We will know when the flash comes on the radio. Not right away mind
you, but only after all the wrong information has had its chance to stab the hearts
of those that know names, and care.
Know this. Medical assistance for emergencies comes late, and is lacking. You have
to hope that someone associated with the race will be close by and help you. It is
first aid at best. Worse is going through a nasty wreck, and you coming through it
fine, but your buddy is bleeding and out cold. You were behind the wheel. How do
you feel? He trusted you to take care of business so he could sleep.
Here is what you should do to increase your chances of staying out of harms way.
Eat food even if you are not hungry.
Drive for a maximum of 6 hours and give it to your partner.
(There is only one Ironman)
Leave early.
Plan on getting to your destination late.
Don't drink alcoholic stuff. Period.
Do not use drugs. Period.
Ask yourself, “Are we important enough to the people in the race car that
they will feel good about us getting maimed trying to catch them?”
Ask yourself, “Would I do this if my kids were with me?”
Now…
Think about the great time you will have when you make it back home.
Think about the great feeling of being involved in the toughest offroad race in the
world, and getting back home to tell the tales.
Think about how those at home will roll their eyes, and be patient, when you start
on one of your stories.
Think about how proud of yourself you will be when you hear a horror story about
someone else and realize you did things the right way, and went through the
danger successfully.
It may sound corny, but think about how happy your Mom & Dad, or wife, or sister
or brother, and yes, your kids, will be when you talk to them after you are home,
safe and sound.
You've just had the adventure of a lifetime, and you are back! Wagging your tail,
your mouth going like a ducks butt, telling everyone what an experience it was.
I'm going to the Baja 1000. I am going to have a ball. I won't forget a moment. It
will be the biggest, baddest damn race ever.
And, I'm coming back from it.
With stories. With experiences. With laughs. With memories, and with the pride that
comes of doing a good job.
What about you?
BB
“Life Is A One Lap Race!”
 

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TecateRay

Well-Known Member
Just remember that the folks in the chase trucks are in way more danger than those in the race truck. Your chase plan should be well thought out, very conservative on speed/time estimates and have alternatives. You can plan your chase fuel and driver rest times, but you can't plan for the blocked roads, slow trucks, cattle and a million other issues.
Your race success should never depend solely on one chase crew being at one place at a specific time.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
Just curious about your build plan on the truck. Or are you racing it as is? Looks like it's still leaf sprung which I suppose would be "legal" for Class 8 but not remotely competitive obviously. In which case I'd think you'd be better off attempting some kind of open sportsman class or something if your goal is just to participate and finish. Would be a lot of extra cash for a Class 8 entry fee that you aren't going to be competitive in anyway.

Even though its not consolidated there is definitely plenty of good info around here to help direct your choices, strategies, etc. Good luck!
 

Taquache

Well-Known Member
To address some of what's been posted:

I've been reading through the other threads and talking to as many people as I can, I will be working to consolidate all of that information here.

The truck has been raced in Class 8 every time it's been to Baja so that's the class we will run it.
It is essentially ready to race as it sits needing a few TLC items and seat time for us to become intimately familiar with it.

We are planning on the 50th anniversary being a 2000 miles race and are preparing with that in mind.

Our plan does not include a podium finish. We are intending to just finish, with that strategy we feel that we can beat the 50% attrition rate. Slow n Steady and all. Just finishing might lend it self to a good placing over that long of a race.

BFG will be the tires run for a few reasons:

1: The truck already comes with them.
2: They have the best reputation for survival
3: Pit support provided by BFG will be an invaluable service.

I'm setting an initial budget for $40k to make it to the race, participate, and go home (Not including the purchase of the truck). More on that will be posted.

Communication is a good topic to discuss and will be touched on later on. This will include satellite phone, radio, satellite text, and other option.

I agree that setting up a strong well planned chase/pit strategy is essential to the success of a good team.

There are innumerable variables when attempting this type of a race but with just under two years to plan I think we can hit most of the points that we possibly can leaving the biggest variable to Mexico it self.

I've got a 5 subject notebook filling up with information that I'll be posting here as organized as I can.

Thanks for all the advise thus far!
 

Deenracing

Well-Known Member
40k seams light to me. In 06' we made the run to la Paz in a 5-16 and it cost us 30k. And that was way more then I wanted to spend. You have a good plan started that's half of it. I have my team pit book on digital file that I can email. PM me your email if you're interested. You can use it as a template if you want. We had a copy in every vehicle.


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Taquache

Well-Known Member
40k seams light to me. In 06' we made the run to la Paz in a 5-16 and it cost us 30k. And that was way more then I wanted to spend. You have a good plan started that's half of it. I have my team pit book on digital file that I can email. PM me your email if you're interested. You can use it as a template if you want. We had a copy in every vehicle.
That would be great! I'll send you my email. Thanks!

That $40k number is a very rough estimate. I haven't put pen to paper just yet on accommodations etc.

The nice thing about our truck is it runs on pump gas and is relatively fuel efficient for a race vehicle so even worst case scenerio wont be as bad as some teams on race gas and low MPG. It is also a very stock powertrain allowing spares to be easily purchased here at the auto parts store, saving cost on backup parts. From the previous owners it hasn't had a whole lot of failure points in previous races.

Good prep should help keep that true.
 

43mod

Well-Known Member
you can do it for 40k. 2014 we pre ran all but RM 80-140 over a couple of trips. 14 people to start the race and then cut it back to 10 after RM 270. 22k for all costs in Mexico including entry. I am sure a couple of my guys spent a grand + on their own. a couple didn't spend more than lunch money.
I would not even think about this race without knocking out another Baja race before hand. Get there somehow in your truck or another. You will learn a ton. The money spent will possibly save you much more later on.
Get one of your partners to find me a truckload of 2 7/8 oilfield tubing and we may be able to get you in a truck in 2016 !
Great start on a worthy project,keep going.
 

Taquache

Well-Known Member
you can do it for 40k. 2014 we pre ran all but RM 80-140 over a couple of trips. 14 people to start the race and then cut it back to 10 after RM 270. 22k for all costs in Mexico including entry. I am sure a couple of my guys spent a grand + on their own. a couple didn't spend more than lunch money.
I would not even think about this race without knocking out another Baja race before hand. Get there somehow in your truck or another. You will learn a ton. The money spent will possibly save you much more later on.
Get one of your partners to find me a truckload of 2 7/8 oilfield tubing and we may be able to get you in a truck in 2016 !
Great start on a worthy project,keep going.
I can do some asking around on the tubing, That's my income source. Shoot me a message with contact info and how much you are looking for.

We are planning to attend an earlier Baja race at a minimum to chase with and/or shadow an experienced team in order to learn and not go into this completely blind. We are also going to put race miles on the truck in the US beforehand with the intentions of learning about ourselves and our vehicle under race conditions.
 

43mod

Well-Known Member
45,000 pounds of tubing would fill a truck. It would be going to California so cheap and ability to load out a truck is important. We are oilfield trash in Nor Cal addicted to racing in Baja. Tubing and sucker rod sales funds a good chunk of it.
Horse people have money ! PM with an email. Vaya con Dios.
 
I would not even think about this race without knocking out another Baja race before hand. Get there somehow in your truck or another. You will learn a ton. The money spent will possibly save you much more later on.
Get one of your partners to find me a truckload of 2 7/8 oilfield tubing and we may be able to get you in a truck in 2016 !
Great start on a worthy project,keep going.
Without a doubt the best advice given you.
 

Jimmy Jackpot

Active Member
Wish you lots a luck you have better plan then I had this year Bought a Class 7 truck showed up a week before the race got some paying customers in the truck a 3 seater and drove it without support
Till they said uncle
Hope to be back with more prep experience and money


Sent from the RDC Mobile App. Get it for your IOS device today
 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
To begin I found a couple of partners I have known for years who are similarly interested in racing as I am.

We set a budget and went about looking for a race vehicle, with no vehicle there will be no racing. That was seen as the biggest hurdle in our plan.

Our preferences were that the vehicle be as complete as possible and SCORE legal.

We came across the Big Dog Performance Class 8 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. It was with in budget and had a strong finishing record for the 1000. This is also a platform that my partners and my self are experienced with having owned a few similar trucks our selves over the last few years.

The truck was located in Calgary Alberta which presented its own challenges. After a few months discussion with the Feds on how to legally import the truck and acquiring the correct permission letters from the EPA and the NHTSA we made the 4000 mile round trip journey to go pick up the truck over this past Thanksgiving holiday.

I might be wrong but I believe that is the former RPM Off Road Dodge truck. If so it does have a good race history and guys at RPM Off Road in Bristol TN should be able to help you or Kent Kroeker (KORE) on RDC is a Dodge guy, I think Kent raced with RPM in that truck? Try those two resources.
 
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Taquache

Well-Known Member
I might be wrong but I believe that is the former RPM Off Road Dodge truck. If so it does have a good race history and guys at RPM Off Road in Bristol TN should be able to help you or Kent Kroeker (KORE) on RDC is a Dodge guy, I think Kent raced with RPM in that truck? Try those two resources.
I think that is a different truck. This truck is born and has always lived in Canada. It was built by Carli Suspension.

I believe this is the truck you may be thinking about:

baja-14.jpg


There were 3 diesel Dodges running the Stock Full class in 2006 I believe.

Our truck is a Hemi.
 

Taquache

Well-Known Member
Without a doubt the best advice given you.
While we may not be able to get the truck to Mexico before 2017 we are working to attend a race down there and help chase / shadow an experienced team to take notes and learn before we race.
 

jeepspeedcom

Well-Known Member
Your Dodge is legal for Jeepspeed Mopar Outlaws Class 3700 or 3750. Come run a couple of Best in the Desert races with us in 2016 to gain experience with your new toy. Mint 400 or Vegas to Reno would be good. Go to www.jeepspeed.com for details. Good luck to you and your team.
 
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