Should Baja be easier and more “fair”?

nimrod

KOOK!
I rarely get down to a race anymore but I still love Baja with all my heart and do get down there a few times of year for an adventure with PAB and the Desert Assassins.
For me it’s a place of adventure and challenge that requires incredible dedication and team work to overcome. I love that part the most and I cried like a baby when PAB won Tijuana and the Mil. I know how hard he and the team had worked for years to get those wins. We used to talk about getting beat by baja or about finishing and surviving baja not if it was fair or easy.

It seems now it’s more about having an acceptably “easy” (I use “easy” very loosely here) and fair to all race and that we want a challenge as long as it doesn’t make it too difficult.

Have we maybe lost sight of what racing in baja has traditionally been about?
I realize that there are much different pressures now because of the amount of money and the sponsors but hasn’t it always been expensive and full of pressure?

I guess my question is have we lost sight of what for me is the best part of racing down there, the challenge and the adventure or am I a total nimrod?

I used to come home after every race feeling like a winner because I just spent 2 weeks having the adventure of a lifetime in a place that gave zero cares about me or my ego and privilege and very little for a safety net. The best times I remember we’re overcoming crazy challenges.

I’m asking seriously and I’m okay being totally wrong because I’m way out of the loop these days.

Thoughts?
 
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Lord Green

Well-Known Member
I agree. We don't race Baja because it's easy, it is the challenge of racing against the Baja as well as racing against the other competitors. And because we appear to have 6,248 different classes, one for each possible vehicle configuration, each class has a fair chance of winning his particular class. Having participated in the days before GPS and trackers and sat phones and M-sats, or even the Weatherman, the race now seems easier on the entire team. At least you know where your car is as opposed to beginning your search at the last known racemile and following the course in the morning.
 

Honda48X

Well-Known Member
Boy oh boy are you a nimrod. haha. I like the races the way they are. To me the courses are a bit more beat-up but the technology in the vehicles has also come a long ways. I love the challenge and most importantly the excitement when you can say "I beat Baja" and finished.
 

klaus

Administrator
The F-Word.... only a few things in life are actually fair. Science mostly is like the measurement of time or things like the anatomy of water etc. Is fair because all over the globe it acts the same.

In competition fairness to me means all competitor adhere to the same rules. As individual people and racers we are all different so fairness is out the window.
There are terms like equal opportunity and equal outcome. Not to be confused with fairness. In the context or racing equal opportunity doesn't exist because it costs money and skill and we all have unequal of those two. And we don't want an equal outcome since it is a competition with winners and losers. Is it fair? If the promoters enforces the rules evenly across all competitors it is fair.

Making racing easier? If the Baja 500 had zero silt beds and bottlenecks it would be less challenging, more people would finish and a win would hold less weight.
It needs to be challenging. How much is the fine balance a race promoter has control over by designing the course, defining rules, enforcing rules etc.
 

y2kbaja

Well-Known Member
This race should have been a 2-lap race for TT's. First lap in their truck and second in a limited buggy or Baja. Even a 7 truck. Something with 35" tires or smaller.
 

Dave Cole 4454

KING MAKER
Having just completed the course out of time in a 7F, I wouldnt make it any easier at all. I do think that there needs to be more time. My perspective is that the future of any racing series is based on the present state of its limited classes. You have to grow racers. If you dont intend on giving the limited classes enough time to finish, you shouldnt even let them enter. At a minimum rank the DNFs by the CPs or even VCPs attained by time. That way there is still a 'race' inside of the race.

Make sense?
 

ltr450rider

Well-Known Member
I think the biggest concern for difficulty at this year's event was focused on the silt bed and bottleneck areas in the fist 20 miles. While I agree that Baja races are difficult and should not be made "easier", I think there should have been some better planning to avoid the situations we saw in the first few miles to at least let the competitors get out of town and get into the difficult sections of the course.

I am just a keyboard racer here, but I would certainly be quite frustrated to have my race ended or timed out because of being stuck in the first 5 miles due to what could be regarded as poor course planning. I would not be quite as willing to point the finger at the organizers if I had gotten myself stuck 100 miles in to the race in a difficult section as that would just be race course to me.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
Having just completed the course out of time in a 7F, I wouldnt make it any easier at all. I do think that there needs to be more time. My perspective is that the future of any racing series is based on the present state of its limited classes. You have to grow racers. If you dont intend on giving the limited classes enough time to finish, you shouldnt even let them enter. At a minimum rank the DNFs by the CPs or even VCPs attained by time. That way there is still a 'race' inside of the race.

Make sense?
Totally agreed. Keep it difficult and challenging by all means, but give the limited class folks enough time to reasonably accomplish it. Otherwise as you noted, why bother if you're in a limited class? BITD gives what...24 hours for V2R? From what I can tell this Baja 500 course was a lot more difficult than V2R and had a 20 hour limit? Just seems unreasonable to tell the limited class guys that they're welcome to come and spend a lot of money to come race, but are almost gauranteed to DNF unless they have a perfect day.


I think the biggest concern for difficulty at this year's event was focused on the silt bed and bottleneck areas in the fist 20 miles. While I agree that Baja races are difficult and should not be made "easier", I think there should have been some better planning to avoid the situations we saw in the first few miles to at least let the competitors get out of town and get into the difficult sections of the course.

I am just a keyboard racer here, but I would certainly be quite frustrated to have my race ended or timed out because of being stuck in the first 5 miles due to what could be regarded as poor course planning. I would not be quite as willing to point the finger at the organizers if I had gotten myself stuck 100 miles in to the race in a difficult section as that would just be race course to me.
I think there is a safety component to consider here too. Silts beds right off the start where the entire field is still intact and running 60 seconds or less apart is pretty sketchy. At least when you're 100 miles in time gaps have formed and you're not all stacked up on top of each other.
 

nickybobby333

Well-Known Member
Totally agreed. Keep it difficult and challenging by all means, but give the limited class folks enough time to reasonably accomplish it. Otherwise as you noted, why bother if you're in a limited class? BITD gives what...24 hours for V2R? From what I can tell this Baja 500 course was a lot more difficult than V2R and had a 20 hour limit? Just seems unreasonable to tell the limited class guys that they're welcome to come and spend a lot of money to come race, but are almost gauranteed to DNF unless they have a perfect day.

I think there is a safety component to consider here too. Silts beds right off the start where the entire field is still intact and running 60 seconds or less apart is pretty sketchy. At least when you're 100 miles in time gaps have formed and you're not all stacked up on top of each other.
And also to throw in the proximity to the city and bringing out all of the locals to stand next to this silt bed. I am sure everybody saw the video of the pop up tent trying to be carried out of the bush while the truck was barreling down bypassing other stuck trucks.
 

Zambo

Well-Known Member
When did easy and fair somehow become synonymous? A course can certainly be challenging and difficult and still be fair. Starting an interval race directly into a known obvious bottleneck isn’t challenging it’s just stupid, and this makes two races in a row.
 

nimrod

KOOK!
When did easy and fair somehow become synonymous? A course can certainly be challenging and difficult and still be fair. Starting an interval race directly into a known obvious bottleneck isn’t challenging it’s just stupid, and this makes two races in a row.
It seemed like everyone knew well in advance this would be an issue. Back when I was actually a team member of a race team we looked for bottlenecks and fixes understanding where the crowd might be and doing what it took to find an alternate route. I’m sure many people besides Heidi in her 7sx truck got pulled through frog canyon by Troy Harper other than just her but he was there for her in his big white dodge.

I also remember nearly losing a race in 7sx in the silt and hills of Uruapan because a competitor who had problems early and was way behind drove through town to skip the bottleneck in the middle of the night. Score told us that rules provided for “alternate” routes at a bottleneck. While driving through the middle of Urupan seemed a little extreme score backed the competitor. We still won but we learned something from that.

The guy in second who got bumped to third was not a happy camper though.

I don’t know if that’s still in the rules but I’ve never seen anyone penalized for going around a bottleneck, even going waaay around. I think that was pre VCP days though
 
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klaus

Administrator
Having just completed the course out of time in a 7F, I wouldnt make it any easier at all. I do think that there needs to be more time. My perspective is that the future of any racing series is based on the present state of its limited classes. You have to grow racers. If you dont intend on giving the limited classes enough time to finish, you shouldnt even let them enter. At a minimum rank the DNFs by the CPs or even VCPs attained by time. That way there is still a 'race' inside of the race.

Make sense?
In my opinion pit or course closing time should be based on the average speed of the class you are in.
Oversimplified example:
Give class 11 a 30h time limit. Give TT's a 15h time limit.
Why? A Class11 has to drive 100% of its speed to not time out while a TT can idle along at 30% of its possible speed and finish.

The true heroes are those that drive the same course with more time pressure to finish. Of course going at mach1 speed and not crashing is also an admirable skill.
 

Honda48X

Well-Known Member
That is the smart thing to do. Go around. People could have avoided the silt and just used the road that Roger routed the others around. Even if it cost you a 10 minute VCP penalty you are better off then sitting there for 40 minutes.

If you are the 35th truck off the line and you have a guy sitting there at the silt bed with a radio telling you to take rout number 2 then that is the cue to use the other rout to save time.
 

Wendell #527

Well-Known Member
This pic is why I liked racing in Baja for so long. Well, not just drinking beer out of a chunk of piss tube. That’s just an example of the crazy poop you get in down there. Getting towed after a blown motor on a silty road produced an opportunity to McGiver something and we did. Or the time with the hooker he she my buddy got drunk and rented. Or us getting stuck for hours with boogymen around. Or getting lost in the fog/silt of the pacific side. We don’t want it to be easy! As they grow their population and keep paving, its gonna change anyway though.
 

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BigBlue&Goldie

Well-Known Member
I don't think eliminating eminent bottlenecks and silt bed pileups is making Baja racing any "easier". Why even bother showing up on race day when you're the 25th vehicle in your class off the line and the bottleneck/silt bed will be impassible for hours by the time you get to it? At that point you're just praying everyone who made it through before you breaks down as you have no chance of ever catching them. Silt and bottle necks are part of desert racing, but when they are extreme, they just ruin a race. I think we're going to start seeing a lot more people intentionally taking VCP penalties instead of risking being stuck in a backup. I'd rather the cluster f's be eliminated than watch race cars skip whole sections knowing 1hr in penalties is better than sitting in 2hrs of course traffic.
 

C4

Well-Known Member
I don't think eliminating eminent bottlenecks and silt bed pileups is making Baja racing any "easier". Why even bother showing up on race day when you're the 25th vehicle in your class off the line and the bottleneck/silt bed will be impassible for hours by the time you get to it? At that point you're just praying everyone who made it through before you breaks down as you have no chance of ever catching them. Silt and bottle necks are part of desert racing, but when they are extreme, they just ruin a race. I think we're going to start seeing a lot more people intentionally taking VCP penalties instead of risking being stuck in a backup. I'd rather the cluster f's be eliminated than watch race cars skip whole sections knowing 1hr in penalties is better than sitting in 2hrs of course traffic.
100% agree with you!
 

jon coleman

Well-Known Member
this is another ' racing line' going forward seems like to me.as long as score is Consistent in its rules for everyone, use it to your strategic advantage.the worst thing would be ' selective' rules enforcement
 
It should have been fair, it could have been fair, it would have been fair. But it wasn't: that's life. How do you define "fair" anyway?
 
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