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what would YOU do?

As media people (for lack of a better word at the moment) we are often faced with situations that can change the outcome of current events. Hmm, what im trying to say is: while covering a race (photo, video, etc) we (or should i say some of us??) search for places that will make the image look exciting. Be it a jump, silt bed, hairpin, or any other obstacle that may cause the race vehicle to behave in a abrupt manner thus giving us an oppurtunity to capture the action on film and then turn around and sell the image to the consumer. It's our job, it's what we do. And we are merely there to "capture" or "record" what is going on in the race course. We are not course workers or race officials and we should not, at any moment interfere or interact with the racers DURING the race (by this i mean helping them, changing tires, directing traffic, turning vehicles back on their wheels, etc). Once again, our precesence is only there for journalistic reasons and nothing more.
So what happens when, after WALKING upteen miles in the scorching desert lugging along all our camera equipment, we find what seems like a decent shooting location. We set up and then wait and wait. And then we see the first cars barely handle the given obstacle. Knowing that the following cars will surely either roll, flip, or break something. Who are we to and when do we step in and tell them to slow down? Or do we just sit tight and shoot the action? As long as we haven't touched or moved any of the course markers (which some of us NEVER have or will do) should we even intervene?
What about after a car rolls? Do we, as journalists, actually put our cameras down (a big no-no) and go help. There is a very thin line (i guess) between being human and doing your job but....what do you think???

I am really interested in hearing (reading) your opinions on this matter as this is something we face every time we go out filming. We always hear the "well if you where there then shouldve done something to prevent it" or "what do you mean you missed the 5 car pile-up?, you where right there!"


victor fabian
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I think that no matter who you are or what you are doing you should try to help everyone that you see. If that means you have to put down your camera then do it. I was at Parker with a couple of the Locos Mocos guys and we were on our way back into town when we saw a 7s ranger sitting on the side of the road scratching there heads looking at there motor. So we decided what the hell why not help. Well upon arrival we found out they couldn't reach there pit because there radio wasn't working. So we worked on there truck and fixed it to the best of our abilities. And to make a long story short they ended up winning there class. I figure if you help someone no matter how small it will repay 10 fold.



Well-Known Member
Well the way that I see it is that it is a desert race and it is the Drivers/Co-Drivers job to negociate obsticles that are out there. I do think that the line is drawn when someone might be or is in imminate danger of being injured or killed. At that point you and other journalists/course workers, whoever is in the area should do what is possible to help the vehicle in trouble. I know I would hate to be the one that watched someone get hurt or killed and have the lingering thought that I could have done something to prevent it. No matter how small my part may have been. Maybe it's just my background as a firefighter. Just my .02.



Here's a topic I blew up on before... :)

If you or any other media related person thinks their job is more important than my life... or the life of some other racer... that's pathetic. If someone was out there taking pictures and got hit in the head with a rock thrown up by a passing vehicle... would you sit there and let him bleed to death while shooting the rest of the race... or throw your camera down and try to save him/her? What if you knew that cars had been consistently blowing a sharp corner... and noticed someone filming right in the path... would you yell to them to move or just sit there saying to yourself how stupid it is for them to set up in such a dangerous location? I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. If your an a55hole that doesn't care about others you'll eventually get what you deserve. The reason I enjoy off-road racing as much as I do is because of the comradery and willingness almost all racers have to help each other out.

To the people that remove course markers or alter the course for better action (carnage), I hope you get hit in the head with the biggest and sharpest rock in the desert. If you know people are getting hurt and just stand there filming it I think you deserve a 37" Baja upside the head. There are plenty of sections of any given race course that are safe that still provide excellent footage - you don't need carnage to appreciate off-road racing.



Well-Known Member
I think that the only time you should get involved is when someones life is in jeapordy. If you witness an accident, and are at a spot by yourself, and a race vehicle is upside down and it has been a substantial amount of time, and there is no movement coming from the car, then it is your obligation as a human to at least make a radio call and get someone out there. I mean, at Parker this year I saw a car rolled badly and slowed down long enough to ask their co driver if everyone was alright, and we were running in 2nd place at the time. I also know of a protruck team, that dropped their co driver off with an injured motorcyle racer this year at Baja to make sure the rider would get the proper attention. That is just awesome. If it comes down to money, a $2 trophy, making a great video in your case, or someones life, it is our obligation as humans to think about someone else's life before we think about some personal gain. This goes regardless of wether you are a racer, spectator, or part of the media. I personally think that it is your obligation to not interfear with anything as far as the race goes, but when someone wrecks, chances are the race is over for them, and then if someone is injured and needs help, you do have an obligation as a human. This is in no way directed at you personally Victor, just anyone involved in racing at all, I mean all the glory, action, or video in the world is not worth someones life.

"On A Mission"
dont worry, im not taking ofense by any of this nor taking it personally, at all. I just want to see it through other peoples eyes. I for one have my standards set when i go out there filming. And many a times i've put my camera down to help other racers, once even completely stopping the filming to help a total stranger (a racer) with a blown engine by hand delivering a written message across the track (i was on a dirt-bike at the time and not walking). But this isn't about me and this reply is not a justification of any kind.
Thanks to all that have replied so far, keep em coming!

victor fabian
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Well-Known Member
I dont know too much on this subject since I have never been to a race and witnessed a crash. But I do know that a persons life SHOULD be more important then wether or not you got the crash on video! I do understand that the "media" gets as close to the action as they can, possibly?? causing accidents, but what am I to say...but that all the filmers, photographers and spectators should do anything in there power to keep off road racing and the drivers safe! just my oppion for whats its worth

" Hondas are like Tampons, Every Pu*sy has one!"


Well-Known Member
Interesting comment there. As Off_Road racing fans or journalist or whatever, just by the nature of this sport,you will probly find youself in any one of the situations mentioned at one point in time or another. We all have stories if you have been around this sport long enough. All I can say is,USE COMMON SENSE.
Common sense should prevail at all times.............

Speed Safely


Krittro Campbell

Thanks for the help in Parker. DMS appreciated it greatly.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.csupomona.edu/~kjhernandez>My Web Page</A>


Well-Known Member
i think helping is at your descretion wether they have a flat rolled the truck or someone is injured. as far as the injuries go you should try to help but also recognize how you can help and not put yourself in danger also. as for people who are stuck or have flats its up to your descetion, but i know that every time i go to glamis, at night, we end up helping like 5 or 6 trucks get out of holes that the incopetant drunk and stoned drivers get themselves into, we even attempted to fix and ended up towing a 3000# sandrail from oldsmobile hill to the glamis store after he blew out his cv's jumping his long travel sandrail.
i guess what it all comes down to is if you feel you should or not

how ironic is it that most people slow down for speed bumps yet almost all of us here im sure pin it


Well-Known Member
as a firefighter-I believe in prevention. not telling folks to slow down at a dangerous obstacle is almost as bad as putting obstacle there. the course markings are suppose to prevent tragedies in the desert, but don't always function in that way. by standing by and allowing the tragedy to occur when it could be prevented, you have taken a stand to allow the possibility to occur when it could be prevented. I am not taling about moving every rock, but common sense says to prevent the injury is much better than having to treat it out in the desert with no tools or help around. just imagine doing cpr(if you even know how to do it) by yourself for 45 minutes until real help arrives.


If your gonna go, go BIG


Active Member
As an Off road race promoter, we would like to think that anyone on the course, be it a race official, racer, team crewmember, fan or media, would intervene in the case scenario you have stated.
We (the Off road race community) are all one big family, that is what has kept our unique sport alive for so many years, and we should all keep an eye out for each other.
No video clip, picture or race note is worth someone’s well being.
We have always worked very hard to educate race attendants not to litter, stand to close to the race course, make jumps or in any way put the competitor in a dangerous situation, and invite all to do the same, or if necessary please notify a race official if such a situation develops during an event.
So let’s all work together and keep enjoying our sport and deserts.
CODE Off road.

Race Promoter


Well-Known Member
It is easy to say "yes help when somebody has crashed",but I think the question is more do you flag them down beforhand to tell them "hey this is a bad spot", I say "no" That is part of the sport, the desert has all kinds of tricks to dish out and the job of the driver / codriver is to get there in one piece. So they should read the turran. If you have been in a few races, you know that all the gotchas are not maked, so you have to be ready for anything. Also if you see a camera, there is going to be a reason for that.

On the other hand, as a chaser, I help peolpe all day long, and flag peolpe about danger areas, but I don't like hear people say it is the respocabilty of everone to tell the driver about the course..

...You knew the job was dangours when you took it...


I think they should get rid of the NASCAR spotters. I mean, isn't it the job of the racer to avoid oil on the track or the big pile up in turn three? That whole yellow and RED flag thing is stupid too... just when people are starting to enjoy the wrecks the darn officials step in and stop it. If you can't see 20+ wadded up cars a 1/4 mile in front of you shouldn't be racing. Same goes for smaller tracks, if you can't see the wreck in front of you, just think Days of Thunder, punch it, and go high. There's no need to slow em' down or remove debris from a race track - it's a race track and racing is dangerous... you knew that when you took the job right? Imagine how fun NASCAR would be if they got rid of all the flags, especially the BLACK FLAG... I love it when guys haul ass with their hood covering the windshield or their door panels are flapping like a bird. Considering how cush the NASCAR guys got it compared to OFF-ROAD racers, it's a wonder anyone watches NASCAR at all. How hard is driving on a paved or concrete circle all day? No rocks, no holes, no boobie traps, not even a cow or farmer flooding his land... and your pit crew is always right there waiting for you. A hospital is always nearby, in fact, an ambulance is waiting there to scoop you up should you decide to zig instead of zag. And since you only really have to turn left all day (except for a couple road courses), you don't need any course markers telling you to turn right or watch out for the GOTCHAS. And why do these NASCAR guys have to prerun so much? Padded HUMPY BUMPER walls? Come on. That is for wussies.

Now imagine what an off-roader has to go through to complete a race like the 1000. If an off-roader got to make 100 trips around the course before he/she raced it I am confident racers would finish faster and finish safer - not gonna happen. I agree it's the ultimate responsibility of the driver to avoid the danger that presents itself on each and every race track regardless of type or location... but if you can prevent a wreck or even just a simple flat tire by alerting the driver or if you can safely move an obstacle that has damaged a few vehicles, DO IT.



Well-Known Member
That is my piont, In NASCAR the track is predictable, and they expect it to be the same every time they go around so yes they need to know when somthing has changed. But off-road it is always diferent, and what may have been marked in the morning may not be marked in the afternoon, and so YOU the driver has to read the road, not have it speeled out to you that is why off-road driving is more dificult.


Well-Known Member
its off-road endurance racing. if you cant endure the constant obstacles and "danger spots" dont race
off-road.walker evans said once in an interview "we dont stop for oil on the track or rain, their is always something
new day to day . their could be cows and booby traps in baja or rocks the size of refridgerators in nevada and you only have a split second to
react to the current situation." if their is an imediate danger to spectators or race personell then yes do try to
remedy the situation, but if it is a big hole that cars are hitting and crashing or whatever then in my opinion
thats just a part of the course in which we are racing---film or photograph at you will. if you are so safety conscience
about race course saftety then go race daytona.


Ok, here's an idea. To those that want off-road purity, this idea will still allow you to crash and burn. If those of you that don't want any warning or preventative assistance when racing will kindly e-mail me your vehicle number, I'll make sure I never help you. But don't cry foul when you ruin your $100,000 chassis or hurt yourself. If I'm present when the wreck happens, I'll even offer you a beer if you wad your vehicle up (if your still concious) to show there is no hard feelings. :)

Not trying to push peoples buttons here... just posting my own opinion on this topic.


PS - for those that say or feel that safety isn't the most important part of a successful race, I hope you knock on wood before your next race.


Well-Known Member
Wow...a topic I can actually comment on that I have some experience with! Well, first of all, I think most racers would be pissed if you flagged them down and said "Hey, be careful that's a doosie up there." I would hope that during the course marking any especially dangerous spots would be identified and either corrected or a warning given to the drivers beforehand, and if it's only marginally dangerous, well that's what down arrows are for. I think most racers know that where there are a lot of people there's something spectacular they're waiting to see, so in some way, seeing a group of photographers in the middle of nowhere can serve as a kind of warning in itself. I don't think anyone is OBLIGATED to do anything they don't want to do, but personally, myself and Greg have often helped out drivers in need, whether its helping them change a tire (I've got a Herbst 37" beadlocked BFG Project in my garage to prove it!) or lending a knife (to Steinberger's TT co-driver) or other tool or just radioing in and saying, "Hey this spot at mile marker whatever is confusing and the drivers are going off-course." We've helped roll back over cars and assisted with first aid. We've even just kept stranded racers company while they wait for support. In series where the general public is not allowed on the course but we, as media are, we are privledged to be there in the first place! Hell, we should be given first aid kits when we pick up our media passes, just in case we can be of some assistance. Not because we'd HAVE to but because any decent person would.

<font color=red>JEN!</font color=red>


Well-Known Member
These scenarios are the reason I carry a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, misc tools and parts, tow strap, cell phone, radio or c/b, and this may seen funny but I have the Phone # of Barstow , Lucerne, Hesperia, and a few other police and fire departments programmed into my cell phone. I have been racing motorcycles and spectating off road races for many years and have many stories. But being prepared and aware has always served me well. The more time spent watching / racing events you soon are able to tell when obstacle is a danger or just a part of racing. Human nature tends to make us helpful.

<font color=red>PAT KAPKO</font color=red>
<font color=yellow>Fab by travolta</font color=yellow>


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I would have to agree that most problem spots on the course should be marked. I have even stopped during a prerun to fix a marker that had been, yes, taken down. If I thought a racer was in serious danger then I would try to slow them down. I have been part of a race team so I guess for me it is just second nature to help. Other than that, well welcome to the sport of off road racing!

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