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Noob question - Getting Started

I suspect there are several of "me" here :)

Late 40's ADV rider looking into race participation at amateur level, fueled by watching Dakar, Baja and other. Particularly interested in navigation and not a crazy fast guy. Physically fit. Looked at lots of videos and info online so not totally uninformed. Understand basics of RB nav etc. and a reasonable off-road rider on 700GS. Not an unlimited budget but can spend maybe $10K on equipment plus race entries.

The question is where to start. Both event, bike etc. I'm Canadian, Ex-Pat live in Mexico.

Baja (1K, 500 and SF250) seems a little much to begin (according to this forum, SF250 will end me - and have to admit waiting 2-hours plus my slow ass time to RM 70 to see a TT coming is pretty daunting). Or am a being a p***y? C2C looks good (offroadlogistics) - maybe Baja Rally (https://www.bajarallymoto.com)? Not sure ... Is there a list of events somewhere?

Bike. 4-stroke. 450 is too much for my skill-level, not sure about a 250 at 6"1"/195. 350 EXC-F would be awesome but expensive. Thoughts about a XR250 (cheap / bullet-proof) but maybe too small? DR-z 400 maybe? Not trying to win, want to finish and ride well. Usually I'll be solo.

Thought of something basic for navigation - fairly complete to start and upgradeable - maybe: Complete Rally Navigation Kit with upgrade to Max-G for CAP/GPS ? I know Rallycomp is big and F2R - not sure. Stella seems to be used for the race? Maybe start without RB and GPS in Sportsman?

Any ideas/comments welcome. Not looking for hand-holding, just getting my info together. Don't have anyone I know who does this - so reaching out to you guys is the best option I think.




Well-Known Member
I would definitely enter a smaller and cheaper race before jumping straight into an expensive SCORE, NORRA or BITD endeavor. I raced several seasons in the local series before attempting SCORE. There are a few smaller series running in Mexico that use many of the same trails. Do one of those to get you feet wet, learn the ropes, get a an understanding of the fitness level required to have fun while racing, etc without dropping thousands on entry fees and with less concern about getting run over by a trophy truck.

You don't need a nav kit unless you are doing the Baja Rally. A basic Ram mounted GPS is helpful but not even required, the courses are marked pretty well so there is very little navigation required. A helmet kit to talk to your pit crew is nice but not required either especially since the backpack radios have terrible range. A sat phone is a lot nicer to have but also not what I consider cheap.

Some friends did vegas to reno on on a DRZ400 last year, they didn't really enjoy it. The bike was underpowered for a race like that. Definitely DO NOT do SF250 as your first race. You will hate it and likely never race again.

Get the best flat prevention system you can afford, flats suck.

There will be plenty of good advice by people smarter than me, good luck!


MX know-it-all
These come up often and maybe could/should be sticky?
Trent has good advice. I don’t have anything to add, considering you’re in Mexico to start with. Usually I advise D-37 stuff to start but this is different.
I agree with Trent on the DRZ400 - Pig.
Listen to most of the advice you get here...and if PAB and/or BajaBound or AZ7000 (I know I’m missing a few others) replies, print and laminate it.

Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert mobile app
@Andrew J. Boundy , how about we get more specific, starting with WHERE do you live? Sure "Mexico" but anything anyone has said so far doesn't matter for squat if you live in Mazatlan.
Hey BBM - yeah, I am in the east, but travel is not a huge problem for me and Baja has some attractions for the misses too (kite-boarding). Obviously, most desert stuff is on the west coast but there are some rally events closer to me and I'll look at them and/or attend a course/school to get my feet wet (dry) in the west - there seems to be a few to look at.


Well-Known Member
I'm a 50s guy on a bike and have been doing local AMA Enduro/Hare Scrambles for 5-6 years and BITD races for 3 years. I have around bikes since high school. I tried my first vegas to reno last year (540miles). made it to mile 242. finished a 300 mile off road race this spring. going to try for the V2R again this summer. I suspect it will take a few V2R finishes before I will attempt a B500 or B1000.

any bikes smaller than a 450 is going to be painful for the longer races. wide range gear box (6-speed) is nice for some of the races that have some technical terrain. tough tires, extra wheel sets for the longer races, so you can swap out a wheel, and then the pit crew can change the tire off line. have spare parts for like shocks, brakes, clutch set, etc...

logistics is a big deal. most bikes go less than 100 miles with stock tanks at race speed. bigger tanks will be heavier (7lbs/gal) and shift the CG farther forward. so that's potentially a lot of pits and you can't always hit all of them with one chase crew. hiring a professional pit service is good (Baja Pits, etc...).

good advice about hitting some of the smaller races to get the flow of how registration/tech inspection, etc... goes. also, grab GPS tracks from some of the past races and ride some of the section, especially the difficult ones, to get a feel what it's like and what training you need to focus on.

in the mixed races (with trucks and buggies), nothing is going to prepare you for the first time you get passed by a trophy truck or big buggy...

keep a diary/log of every ride/race and especially note all the problems you have and review them and learn from them and how to address them. I.e. specific training to learn things like silt beds or equipment upgrades/changes, like suspension or lighting issues. also, plan for stuff and have backup plans and backup to the backup plans, because stuff rarely goes as you expect.

the thing I'm learning as I'm getting more addicted to offroad racing, is that every team has their own "secret sauce" of how to deal with stuff.

as far as physical condition for bikes (I assume you are Ironman'ing) . I don't know what your background is, but basically it's the same as with most endurance sports, like ultra-marathoners, etc... maintaining hydration/calories, nausea, cramping, pain, etc... and eventually there is severe fatique which effects people in different ways. i.e. some have hallucinations, vision problems, impact on reasoning skills, sluggish response time, etc... if you have never experienced this, then you should try to experience it in a safe setting, i.e. where a lack of judgement won't kill you. you need to learn to recognize symptoms before you become too unsafe.
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