Why is Desert Racing part of your life?

J Caster

Honda TRX700XX Pilot
With all the drama I see more and more on this site, I noticed I have been visiting it less and am not interested in the majority of the posts anymore. Why? I'm not into gossip. I really don't care who just bought this, who just sold that, who just wrecked something, who called who a name, who got dust on who, etc...........

I have learned people like to read stories (even if they will admit it or not!). All you have to do is look at the responses to Lucho's stories to understand this. I love reading the stories from Lucho (real or not) and from others about their racing.

Most of us that visit this site do so because we love desert racing. The Baja 1000 is coming up soon and there are lots of racers entered for all sorts of reasons. I thought it would be interesting to hear other racers stories about why they do what they do and what their goals are. Hopefully this will be one thread that stays away from all the drama and sticks to the passion of the sport.

I got this idea because I am currently taking a writing class for work. We were asked to write about ourselves and what makes us who we are. I wrote about reaching my goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000.


Below is what I submitted for my writing class. Hopefully it will entertain some of you and at least give you an idea of who I am.



My name is Josh Caster.

I was given a writing assignment and was asked to write about what makes me who I am. I thought about this for awhile, decided to write about something I have been very passionate about and something that plays a big part of my life. It is about reaching a life-time goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 race.

Most people have never heard of the Baja 1000 race before, even though it is one of the most famous off-road races in the world. It has been running every year for over 40 years down the Baja California peninsula and is the longest non-stop point to point off-road race in the world. Many of the racers who start the race never make it to the finish due to the harshness of the terrain. The race runs through some of the most remote areas of the Baja peninsula before the racers finally make it to the finish line. Each year the course is different and every year the course offers more challenges to the racers. Just to finish the race is a great accomplishment that takes great planning, preparation, and training.

The 2009 Baja 1000 will be the first time I will be attending this race as a racer and not just a spectator. I have been to the race many times over the years, but this will be the first time I will be racing. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to give a little background about me and how I got involved in racing.

It all started with my Dad’s love of the desert. He would spend many weekends out in the desert riding ATVs and motorcycles and most of the time he would take my Mom and all of us kids along with him. Like a lot of families in Southern California, we would visit the local deserts or Baja almost every weekend during the winter months to enjoy riding ATVs.

I loved riding so much when I was younger; I would always be the first one awake in camp each morning just so I could start riding. It would still be dark in the morning when I was putting my gear on (if I hadn’t slept in it that night before, which happened most of the time) and then I would sit and wait for the sun to come up. As soon as it was light enough, I would be out there riding my ATV around camp for hours on end. I would only stop long enough to fill up the gas tank and maybe grab some food.

When I started getting a little bit older I moved from the ATV to a motorcycle. It was about this time, my Dad started taking me on long rides down in Baja. Some of these trips were to places most people visit when riding off-road in Baja and they included places like Mike’s Sky Ranch, Guadalupe Hot Springs, The Old Mill, Santo Tomas, San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay, The Sawmill, but we also visited other places that are less well known. I can’t think of any of those trips that were not an adventure with a bunch of stories I will never forget. Things like riding 50 miles with no lights in the middle of the night on my XR100, to being snowed on and not being able to see the road, to being rained on and riding through endless miles of muddy roads (never try Laguna Salada in the rain!), to riders crashing and breaking parts on their bikes or themselves. Many of these rides include other family members from brothers and sisters to uncles and cousins. Each ride was amazing and they are still something I look forward to every year.

One trip that has always stood out for me was when I was still very young and my family was camping on a beach in Baja that we would visit every year. We happened to be down there when they were running the Baja 500 race. The race course ran past our camp up the coast roads following the beaches and cliffs along the Pacific Ocean. I remember watching the racers go by on the motorcycles and ATVs, and thinking to myself I had never seen anyone go that fast before. Little did I know but I was hooked from that point on. I continued to visit the local deserts and Baja with my family. Some of the most fun I had was “racing” my uncle when out play riding.

I didn’t get the chance to see another race in Baja after that one trip for many years but luckily enough for me, my family moved to a new home a few years later and our new neighbors just happened to be one of the most famous families to race off-road cars in Baja. I took full advantage of this great opportunity and would join them at every Baja race I could from that point on, working in the pits and helping with anything that needed to be done.

While I learned a lot and really enjoyed helping out as part of the pit, I still couldn’t keep the thought out of my mind about those racers I had seen on the motorcycles and ATVs that day on the beach. I wanted to race a motorcycle down there just like I had seen those racers do that day.

At one of my first trips to the Baja 1000 I got the chance to attend the awards presentation, the day after the race. When walking in, the first thing I noticed was the trophies set up on the awards stage. Right in the front for everyone to see, there were three bronze Indians with the title at their feet that said “Overall”. I soon learned that these three trophies were given to the fastest overall motorcycle, overall ATV, and overall four-wheel vehicle for the race. The race flyer handed out included names of all those that have won the overall title, many of them had won multiple times. The list is surprisingly short for over 40 years of racing and this made me aware how tough it was to win the overall title, the bronze Indian and join this very select group of racers.

When I watched those racers receive their bronze Indians, I could see the pride and sense of accomplishment on their faces. They had just done something very few people in the world will ever get the chance to experience. It was their expressions that made me realize that not only did I want to race the Baja 1000, but I wanted to be added to that list of overall winners and have my very own bronze Indian.

During this time I quit riding motorcycles and started riding ATVs again for a change of pace. Soon I found out I was more comfortable riding an ATV than I ever was on a motorcycle. I was so comfortable on them that I finally decided to enter my first race. In January of 2008, I entered the novice class at a local desert race. I finished second place in my class and was hooked to racing even more so now. It is hard to explain the adrenalin and focus you get while racing. I continued to race at many of the local races and learned a lot in the process. Before the end of the year I had moved up to the expert class.

I continued to try and use these racing experiences to learn enough to one day try for my ultimate goal of winning the Baja 1000. At the end of the 2008 racing season I was offered the dream of a lifetime, the chance to race a Factory ATV. I entered the ironman class and would ride 150 miles in the Nevada desert on an ATV I had never ridden before. I knew I would have some eyes watching me during this race, so not only did I want to prove to them I could win but I also wanted to prove it to myself. At the end of the day, I had done what I set out to do, finishing at the top of my class a full 45 minutes ahead of second place and proving to myself I was just as fast as the other racers out there. Little did I know, but I had also proved enough to the other eyes watching me and I was offered a spot on the American Honda Factory team. With my goal of winning the Baja 1000 this was a dream come true.

American Honda has put more time, money, and hard work into winning the Baja 1000 than anyone I know, so having the chance to be a part of that team was truly amazing. Their teams are the one’s I had looked up to for years. Many of those racers on the overall winners list include riders for Honda. For me, it was like being handed the golden ticket.

I would be joining the Honda team for three races in Baja. The first was the San Felipe 250 and this race was in March. The second race was the Baja 500 in June and then we had the Baja 1000 in November. The Honda team had won every race the year before and were the championship winners, so going into the new season I knew they wanted to keep this title and it was now my job to help them do just that.

In March we headed south to San Felipe for my first race on the team and my first race in Baja. I can’t explain the excitement and fear I felt going to that race. Finally I was getting my chance to race in Baja, something I had been dreaming about for years, but then I also had the fear of letting the team down. Having team mates was something I wasn’t used to because I had finished all my other races solo. It is hard to describe the amount of work that goes into preparing for a race like this. You get a lot of different things going through your head all at once, but on race day I had never been so focused in my life. Everything else was tuned out and I only had one thing on my mind that day – racing! It is amazing how fast time can go by when you are that focused and my 95 miles of the course went by in the blink of an eye.

At the finish line I waited for what seemed like hours until the first ATV crossed the finish. I was instantly choked up when I saw it was our team who had just crossed the finish line and won the overall. That was one of the happiest moments in my life. The next day I got to walk on that stage with those bronze Indians and hold it up to the camera just like I had seen those racers do so many years before and just like them I had a smile from ear to ear.

Before long it was time for us to head south to Baja once again, this time for the Baja 500. I was still super excited about my first race and win in Baja, so I was really looking forward to this race. Just like the prior races, this race kept the team up for many late nights trying to prepare everything. I have had some pretty stressful days at work but nothing compares to getting ready for a race of this magnitude. Once you have finished a race in Baja and get the chance to feel the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, you want it again. The thrill of racing across the desolate areas of the Baja peninsula while the locals are standing on the side of the course screaming and cheering you on, is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

With lots of hard work and determination our team crossed the finish line once again in first place. That feeling I got when our ATV crossed the finish line first was just as great as the first time I saw it happen. I was living my dream and enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately we found out a week after the race we had been penalized along with many other racers and our position had moved to second place. I was very disappointed but knew they couldn’t take away the sense of accomplishment I got from finishing that race.


While those races are great challenges, it is the Baja 1000 this November that I am really looking forward too. For me it is the ultimate race. I can not think of anything quite like it and I think that is what draws me to it. It is still months before the race date and already the team is preparing. This race means more to me that any other race I have ever participated in and I am looking forward to racing down those very same roads I saw those racers on so many years before.

In November I will get the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true. Just weeks ago our team learned American Honda would be pulling out of ATV racing for 2010 and this race will be the last one of many years of racing in Baja for them. While this is a disappointment to loose such a great sponsor, I am truly grateful for the opportunities they have given me this year and I am looking forward to making their last race in Baja, another record setting one.

Hopefully in November I will get to check winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 off my list, so I can move on to other important goals I have set for my life. I do know anything can happen in Baja so if I don’t end up completing my goal this year I will be back again.
 

Polarcub

Well-Known Member
Very nice piece, my reasons are simple. Growing up around it and spending much of my childhood exploring and enjoying the deserts I found myself constantly mesmorized by it. Desert racing has always presented many great memories as a kid. I remebering helping racers that were very grateful and watching my dad being a mechanic often work his majic and get them going down the road. At about 12 years old i remeber sitting in my aunt and uncles ,living room with my dad and uncle and saying "Before I die I will race in at least 1 race".
Fortuantley thanks to alot of hard work with my brother and dad we made that dream come true. I drove in my first race last year and have co driven in a few. I am very grateful to have been able to share that with my brother and dad and will always be in debt to them for allowing me that opportunity.
Along with that I am trying to give my children some of the great memories that came for me from this wonderful sport. THe people are what sets it apart. Perhaps its throwing tiem and money into the dust but it is a big part of who I am wether I am racing or spectating. Ihope that my sons and daughter find some of the majic that I have.
Jeremy
 

randy s

Well-Known Member
it's something i've always wanted to do since the late sixties and early seventies. every chance we got, my friends and i would be in some desert somewhere. whether it was the colorado river, ocotillo wells, or laboring down the three sisters road from puertocitos to gonzaga bay. we all had old toyota landcruisers, jeep commandos, ford pick ups with no travel that beat us to death but served us well. wanting to race was just the natural way of thinking for me and i always would follow the exploits of drino miller, bobby ferro, pj, ak miller, scott king on bikes, malcolm, the evil ivan stewart [in my mind anyway] , macphersons vehicles, and a very, very, young maniac named robby gordon to name just a few. off roading and racing in particular is a disease for which there is no cure. i finally got off my ass in 2005 and bought an older, worn out ford ranger 7s racetruck to race in the baja 1000 and have been racing in the score mexican races ever since with a small degree of success having won our class [sportsman truck] at this years baja 500 after totally rebuilding the thing to it's present open 7 configuration. i'm not sure how much longer i'm going to be racing because i ain't getting any younger but even if my goals are reached [to win both the 500 and the baja 1000] or not, and i step down from competition, it's going to be impossible to not continue to chart the progress of the brilliant new racers in their high tech machines that follow in the footsteps of the great racers previously mentioned. i won't be able to help myself because i've got an incurable disease and it's called desert racing.
 

abriley

Member
With all the drama I see more and more on this site, I noticed I have been visiting it less and am not interested in the majority of the posts anymore. Why? I'm not into gossip. I really don't care who just bought this, who just sold that, who just wrecked something, who called who a name, who got dust on who, etc...........

I have learned people like to read stories (even if they will admit it or not!). All you have to do is look at the responses to Lucho's stories to understand this. I love reading the stories from Lucho (real or not) and from others about their racing.

Most of us that visit this site do so because we love desert racing. The Baja 1000 is coming up soon and there are lots of racers entered for all sorts of reasons. I thought it would be interesting to hear other racers stories about why they do what they do and what their goals are. Hopefully this will be one thread that stays away from all the drama and sticks to the passion of the sport.

I got this idea because I am currently taking a writing class for work. We were asked to write about ourselves and what makes us who we are. I wrote about reaching my goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000.


Below is what I submitted for my writing class. Hopefully it will entertain some of you and at least give you an idea of who I am.



My name is Josh Caster.

I was given a writing assignment and was asked to write about what makes me who I am. I thought about this for awhile, decided to write about something I have been very passionate about and something that plays a big part of my life. It is about reaching a life-time goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 race.

Most people have never heard of the Baja 1000 race before, even though it is one of the most famous off-road races in the world. It has been running every year for over 40 years down the Baja California peninsula and is the longest non-stop point to point off-road race in the world. Many of the racers who start the race never make it to the finish due to the harshness of the terrain. The race runs through some of the most remote areas of the Baja peninsula before the racers finally make it to the finish line. Each year the course is different and every year the course offers more challenges to the racers. Just to finish the race is a great accomplishment that takes great planning, preparation, and training.

The 2009 Baja 1000 will be the first time I will be attending this race as a racer and not just a spectator. I have been to the race many times over the years, but this will be the first time I will be racing. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to give a little background about me and how I got involved in racing.

It all started with my Dad’s love of the desert. He would spend many weekends out in the desert riding ATVs and motorcycles and most of the time he would take my Mom and all of us kids along with him. Like a lot of families in Southern California, we would visit the local deserts or Baja almost every weekend during the winter months to enjoy riding ATVs.

I loved riding so much when I was younger; I would always be the first one awake in camp each morning just so I could start riding. It would still be dark in the morning when I was putting my gear on (if I hadn’t slept in it that night before, which happened most of the time) and then I would sit and wait for the sun to come up. As soon as it was light enough, I would be out there riding my ATV around camp for hours on end. I would only stop long enough to fill up the gas tank and maybe grab some food.

When I started getting a little bit older I moved from the ATV to a motorcycle. It was about this time, my Dad started taking me on long rides down in Baja. Some of these trips were to places most people visit when riding off-road in Baja and they included places like Mike’s Sky Ranch, Guadalupe Hot Springs, The Old Mill, Santo Tomas, San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay, The Sawmill, but we also visited other places that are less well known. I can’t think of any of those trips that were not an adventure with a bunch of stories I will never forget. Things like riding 50 miles with no lights in the middle of the night on my XR100, to being snowed on and not being able to see the road, to being rained on and riding through endless miles of muddy roads (never try Laguna Salada in the rain!), to riders crashing and breaking parts on their bikes or themselves. Many of these rides include other family members from brothers and sisters to uncles and cousins. Each ride was amazing and they are still something I look forward to every year.

One trip that has always stood out for me was when I was still very young and my family was camping on a beach in Baja that we would visit every year. We happened to be down there when they were running the Baja 500 race. The race course ran past our camp up the coast roads following the beaches and cliffs along the Pacific Ocean. I remember watching the racers go by on the motorcycles and ATVs, and thinking to myself I had never seen anyone go that fast before. Little did I know but I was hooked from that point on. I continued to visit the local deserts and Baja with my family. Some of the most fun I had was “racing” my uncle when out play riding.

I didn’t get the chance to see another race in Baja after that one trip for many years but luckily enough for me, my family moved to a new home a few years later and our new neighbors just happened to be one of the most famous families to race off-road cars in Baja. I took full advantage of this great opportunity and would join them at every Baja race I could from that point on, working in the pits and helping with anything that needed to be done.

While I learned a lot and really enjoyed helping out as part of the pit, I still couldn’t keep the thought out of my mind about those racers I had seen on the motorcycles and ATVs that day on the beach. I wanted to race a motorcycle down there just like I had seen those racers do that day.

At one of my first trips to the Baja 1000 I got the chance to attend the awards presentation, the day after the race. When walking in, the first thing I noticed was the trophies set up on the awards stage. Right in the front for everyone to see, there were three bronze Indians with the title at their feet that said “Overall”. I soon learned that these three trophies were given to the fastest overall motorcycle, overall ATV, and overall four-wheel vehicle for the race. The race flyer handed out included names of all those that have won the overall title, many of them had won multiple times. The list is surprisingly short for over 40 years of racing and this made me aware how tough it was to win the overall title, the bronze Indian and join this very select group of racers.

When I watched those racers receive their bronze Indians, I could see the pride and sense of accomplishment on their faces. They had just done something very few people in the world will ever get the chance to experience. It was their expressions that made me realize that not only did I want to race the Baja 1000, but I wanted to be added to that list of overall winners and have my very own bronze Indian.

During this time I quit riding motorcycles and started riding ATVs again for a change of pace. Soon I found out I was more comfortable riding an ATV than I ever was on a motorcycle. I was so comfortable on them that I finally decided to enter my first race. In January of 2008, I entered the novice class at a local desert race. I finished second place in my class and was hooked to racing even more so now. It is hard to explain the adrenalin and focus you get while racing. I continued to race at many of the local races and learned a lot in the process. Before the end of the year I had moved up to the expert class.

I continued to try and use these racing experiences to learn enough to one day try for my ultimate goal of winning the Baja 1000. At the end of the 2008 racing season I was offered the dream of a lifetime, the chance to race a Factory ATV. I entered the ironman class and would ride 150 miles in the Nevada desert on an ATV I had never ridden before. I knew I would have some eyes watching me during this race, so not only did I want to prove to them I could win but I also wanted to prove it to myself. At the end of the day, I had done what I set out to do, finishing at the top of my class a full 45 minutes ahead of second place and proving to myself I was just as fast as the other racers out there. Little did I know, but I had also proved enough to the other eyes watching me and I was offered a spot on the American Honda Factory team. With my goal of winning the Baja 1000 this was a dream come true.

American Honda has put more time, money, and hard work into winning the Baja 1000 than anyone I know, so having the chance to be a part of that team was truly amazing. Their teams are the one’s I had looked up to for years. Many of those racers on the overall winners list include riders for Honda. For me, it was like being handed the golden ticket.

I would be joining the Honda team for three races in Baja. The first was the San Felipe 250 and this race was in March. The second race was the Baja 500 in June and then we had the Baja 1000 in November. The Honda team had won every race the year before and were the championship winners, so going into the new season I knew they wanted to keep this title and it was now my job to help them do just that.

In March we headed south to San Felipe for my first race on the team and my first race in Baja. I can’t explain the excitement and fear I felt going to that race. Finally I was getting my chance to race in Baja, something I had been dreaming about for years, but then I also had the fear of letting the team down. Having team mates was something I wasn’t used to because I had finished all my other races solo. It is hard to describe the amount of work that goes into preparing for a race like this. You get a lot of different things going through your head all at once, but on race day I had never been so focused in my life. Everything else was tuned out and I only had one thing on my mind that day – racing! It is amazing how fast time can go by when you are that focused and my 95 miles of the course went by in the blink of an eye.

At the finish line I waited for what seemed like hours until the first ATV crossed the finish. I was instantly choked up when I saw it was our team who had just crossed the finish line and won the overall. That was one of the happiest moments in my life. The next day I got to walk on that stage with those bronze Indians and hold it up to the camera just like I had seen those racers do so many years before and just like them I had a smile from ear to ear.

Before long it was time for us to head south to Baja once again, this time for the Baja 500. I was still super excited about my first race and win in Baja, so I was really looking forward to this race. Just like the prior races, this race kept the team up for many late nights trying to prepare everything. I have had some pretty stressful days at work but nothing compares to getting ready for a race of this magnitude. Once you have finished a race in Baja and get the chance to feel the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, you want it again. The thrill of racing across the desolate areas of the Baja peninsula while the locals are standing on the side of the course screaming and cheering you on, is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

With lots of hard work and determination our team crossed the finish line once again in first place. That feeling I got when our ATV crossed the finish line first was just as great as the first time I saw it happen. I was living my dream and enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately we found out a week after the race we had been penalized along with many other racers and our position had moved to second place. I was very disappointed but knew they couldn’t take away the sense of accomplishment I got from finishing that race.


While those races are great challenges, it is the Baja 1000 this November that I am really looking forward too. For me it is the ultimate race. I can not think of anything quite like it and I think that is what draws me to it. It is still months before the race date and already the team is preparing. This race means more to me that any other race I have ever participated in and I am looking forward to racing down those very same roads I saw those racers on so many years before.

In November I will get the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true. Just weeks ago our team learned American Honda would be pulling out of ATV racing for 2010 and this race will be the last one of many years of racing in Baja for them. While this is a disappointment to loose such a great sponsor, I am truly grateful for the opportunities they have given me this year and I am looking forward to making their last race in Baja, another record setting one.

Hopefully in November I will get to check winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 off my list, so I can move on to other important goals I have set for my life. I do know anything can happen in Baja so if I don’t end up completing my goal this year I will be back again.
Dang man, that's a great essay. I grew up in Illinois reading 3 wheeler mags and then 4 wheeler mags when they came out. Most, if not all, of the coverage was of the west coast racing and I always dreamed of racing my 3 wheeler in the desert. Fast forward many years and now I live in the desert and help pit for a Jeepspeed team. I'm 34 years old now and I still dream of racing still and being more than a member of the pit crew. Your story really inspires me that it's never too late. I'm surprised that you say Honda is pulling out of racing next year. That sucks.

Good luck to you in Baja!! Give 'em hell!!!

-Tony
 

jsallenbach

Well-Known Member
Love the atmosphere, the people, The desert all around great sport, you versus mother nature. Grew up in a family of racing, Espcially desert, great time to hang with the family.
 

randy s

Well-Known Member
With all the drama I see more and more on this site, I noticed I have been visiting it less and am not interested in the majority of the posts anymore. Why? I'm not into gossip. I really don't care who just bought this, who just sold that, who just wrecked something, who called who a name, who got dust on who, etc...........

I have learned people like to read stories (even if they will admit it or not!). All you have to do is look at the responses to Lucho's stories to understand this. I love reading the stories from Lucho (real or not) and from others about their racing.

Most of us that visit this site do so because we love desert racing. The Baja 1000 is coming up soon and there are lots of racers entered for all sorts of reasons. I thought it would be interesting to hear other racers stories about why they do what they do and what their goals are. Hopefully this will be one thread that stays away from all the drama and sticks to the passion of the sport.

I got this idea because I am currently taking a writing class for work. We were asked to write about ourselves and what makes us who we are. I wrote about reaching my goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000.


Below is what I submitted for my writing class. Hopefully it will entertain some of you and at least give you an idea of who I am.



My name is Josh Caster.

I was given a writing assignment and was asked to write about what makes me who I am. I thought about this for awhile, decided to write about something I have been very passionate about and something that plays a big part of my life. It is about reaching a life-time goal of winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 race.

Most people have never heard of the Baja 1000 race before, even though it is one of the most famous off-road races in the world. It has been running every year for over 40 years down the Baja California peninsula and is the longest non-stop point to point off-road race in the world. Many of the racers who start the race never make it to the finish due to the harshness of the terrain. The race runs through some of the most remote areas of the Baja peninsula before the racers finally make it to the finish line. Each year the course is different and every year the course offers more challenges to the racers. Just to finish the race is a great accomplishment that takes great planning, preparation, and training.

The 2009 Baja 1000 will be the first time I will be attending this race as a racer and not just a spectator. I have been to the race many times over the years, but this will be the first time I will be racing. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to give a little background about me and how I got involved in racing.

It all started with my Dad’s love of the desert. He would spend many weekends out in the desert riding ATVs and motorcycles and most of the time he would take my Mom and all of us kids along with him. Like a lot of families in Southern California, we would visit the local deserts or Baja almost every weekend during the winter months to enjoy riding ATVs.

I loved riding so much when I was younger; I would always be the first one awake in camp each morning just so I could start riding. It would still be dark in the morning when I was putting my gear on (if I hadn’t slept in it that night before, which happened most of the time) and then I would sit and wait for the sun to come up. As soon as it was light enough, I would be out there riding my ATV around camp for hours on end. I would only stop long enough to fill up the gas tank and maybe grab some food.

When I started getting a little bit older I moved from the ATV to a motorcycle. It was about this time, my Dad started taking me on long rides down in Baja. Some of these trips were to places most people visit when riding off-road in Baja and they included places like Mike’s Sky Ranch, Guadalupe Hot Springs, The Old Mill, Santo Tomas, San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay, The Sawmill, but we also visited other places that are less well known. I can’t think of any of those trips that were not an adventure with a bunch of stories I will never forget. Things like riding 50 miles with no lights in the middle of the night on my XR100, to being snowed on and not being able to see the road, to being rained on and riding through endless miles of muddy roads (never try Laguna Salada in the rain!), to riders crashing and breaking parts on their bikes or themselves. Many of these rides include other family members from brothers and sisters to uncles and cousins. Each ride was amazing and they are still something I look forward to every year.

One trip that has always stood out for me was when I was still very young and my family was camping on a beach in Baja that we would visit every year. We happened to be down there when they were running the Baja 500 race. The race course ran past our camp up the coast roads following the beaches and cliffs along the Pacific Ocean. I remember watching the racers go by on the motorcycles and ATVs, and thinking to myself I had never seen anyone go that fast before. Little did I know but I was hooked from that point on. I continued to visit the local deserts and Baja with my family. Some of the most fun I had was “racing” my uncle when out play riding.

I didn’t get the chance to see another race in Baja after that one trip for many years but luckily enough for me, my family moved to a new home a few years later and our new neighbors just happened to be one of the most famous families to race off-road cars in Baja. I took full advantage of this great opportunity and would join them at every Baja race I could from that point on, working in the pits and helping with anything that needed to be done.

While I learned a lot and really enjoyed helping out as part of the pit, I still couldn’t keep the thought out of my mind about those racers I had seen on the motorcycles and ATVs that day on the beach. I wanted to race a motorcycle down there just like I had seen those racers do that day.

At one of my first trips to the Baja 1000 I got the chance to attend the awards presentation, the day after the race. When walking in, the first thing I noticed was the trophies set up on the awards stage. Right in the front for everyone to see, there were three bronze Indians with the title at their feet that said “Overall”. I soon learned that these three trophies were given to the fastest overall motorcycle, overall ATV, and overall four-wheel vehicle for the race. The race flyer handed out included names of all those that have won the overall title, many of them had won multiple times. The list is surprisingly short for over 40 years of racing and this made me aware how tough it was to win the overall title, the bronze Indian and join this very select group of racers.

When I watched those racers receive their bronze Indians, I could see the pride and sense of accomplishment on their faces. They had just done something very few people in the world will ever get the chance to experience. It was their expressions that made me realize that not only did I want to race the Baja 1000, but I wanted to be added to that list of overall winners and have my very own bronze Indian.

During this time I quit riding motorcycles and started riding ATVs again for a change of pace. Soon I found out I was more comfortable riding an ATV than I ever was on a motorcycle. I was so comfortable on them that I finally decided to enter my first race. In January of 2008, I entered the novice class at a local desert race. I finished second place in my class and was hooked to racing even more so now. It is hard to explain the adrenalin and focus you get while racing. I continued to race at many of the local races and learned a lot in the process. Before the end of the year I had moved up to the expert class.

I continued to try and use these racing experiences to learn enough to one day try for my ultimate goal of winning the Baja 1000. At the end of the 2008 racing season I was offered the dream of a lifetime, the chance to race a Factory ATV. I entered the ironman class and would ride 150 miles in the Nevada desert on an ATV I had never ridden before. I knew I would have some eyes watching me during this race, so not only did I want to prove to them I could win but I also wanted to prove it to myself. At the end of the day, I had done what I set out to do, finishing at the top of my class a full 45 minutes ahead of second place and proving to myself I was just as fast as the other racers out there. Little did I know, but I had also proved enough to the other eyes watching me and I was offered a spot on the American Honda Factory team. With my goal of winning the Baja 1000 this was a dream come true.

American Honda has put more time, money, and hard work into winning the Baja 1000 than anyone I know, so having the chance to be a part of that team was truly amazing. Their teams are the one’s I had looked up to for years. Many of those racers on the overall winners list include riders for Honda. For me, it was like being handed the golden ticket.

I would be joining the Honda team for three races in Baja. The first was the San Felipe 250 and this race was in March. The second race was the Baja 500 in June and then we had the Baja 1000 in November. The Honda team had won every race the year before and were the championship winners, so going into the new season I knew they wanted to keep this title and it was now my job to help them do just that.

In March we headed south to San Felipe for my first race on the team and my first race in Baja. I can’t explain the excitement and fear I felt going to that race. Finally I was getting my chance to race in Baja, something I had been dreaming about for years, but then I also had the fear of letting the team down. Having team mates was something I wasn’t used to because I had finished all my other races solo. It is hard to describe the amount of work that goes into preparing for a race like this. You get a lot of different things going through your head all at once, but on race day I had never been so focused in my life. Everything else was tuned out and I only had one thing on my mind that day – racing! It is amazing how fast time can go by when you are that focused and my 95 miles of the course went by in the blink of an eye.

At the finish line I waited for what seemed like hours until the first ATV crossed the finish. I was instantly choked up when I saw it was our team who had just crossed the finish line and won the overall. That was one of the happiest moments in my life. The next day I got to walk on that stage with those bronze Indians and hold it up to the camera just like I had seen those racers do so many years before and just like them I had a smile from ear to ear.

Before long it was time for us to head south to Baja once again, this time for the Baja 500. I was still super excited about my first race and win in Baja, so I was really looking forward to this race. Just like the prior races, this race kept the team up for many late nights trying to prepare everything. I have had some pretty stressful days at work but nothing compares to getting ready for a race of this magnitude. Once you have finished a race in Baja and get the chance to feel the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, you want it again. The thrill of racing across the desolate areas of the Baja peninsula while the locals are standing on the side of the course screaming and cheering you on, is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

With lots of hard work and determination our team crossed the finish line once again in first place. That feeling I got when our ATV crossed the finish line first was just as great as the first time I saw it happen. I was living my dream and enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately we found out a week after the race we had been penalized along with many other racers and our position had moved to second place. I was very disappointed but knew they couldn’t take away the sense of accomplishment I got from finishing that race.


While those races are great challenges, it is the Baja 1000 this November that I am really looking forward too. For me it is the ultimate race. I can not think of anything quite like it and I think that is what draws me to it. It is still months before the race date and already the team is preparing. This race means more to me that any other race I have ever participated in and I am looking forward to racing down those very same roads I saw those racers on so many years before.

In November I will get the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true. Just weeks ago our team learned American Honda would be pulling out of ATV racing for 2010 and this race will be the last one of many years of racing in Baja for them. While this is a disappointment to loose such a great sponsor, I am truly grateful for the opportunities they have given me this year and I am looking forward to making their last race in Baja, another record setting one.

Hopefully in November I will get to check winning the Overall title at the Baja 1000 off my list, so I can move on to other important goals I have set for my life. I do know anything can happen in Baja so if I don’t end up completing my goal this year I will be back again.
hey. with your passion for the race, it's only a matter of time with your skills. whether it's this go round or down the road as an independant or with another manufacturer that you just might join the elite. keep working at it and it'll pay off for you. it would be great if you can get it done with honda this year, but if things don't work out, then go get it next year. but i think just being out there a part of what's going on is the biggest rush ever. i've tasted alot more bitter than sweet and although the sweet was better, i've always got shivers just to be there and the worst experiences i've had down there were still the most fun a person can have with his clothes on in hindsight. whether or not you ever win overall won't matter all that much when you're older if you did your best and had fun. but i think you'll be tasting the sweet if you don't get run over by a trophy truck. ja ja. good luck bro. happy trails.
 

Shannon

Bear on a Unicycle
Essay,You can say that again!!! Passion is good!!!

Short hand version , FAMILY,dirt,rocks,sand,(no silt),whoops,Mikes,Baja in general,being part of something,the people,adrenaline,tacos,stupid plaques!!,the smell of,race gas,trans fluid,gear oil.Mexico,free time,meeting new people,staying up late for weeks on end prepping, Sal saying"welcome to La Paz!!!So on,so,on!!!!

Did I mention that at this point I have no choice I'm addicted!!!! And were all stupid!!!!!
 

Total Loss

Well-Known Member
Short answer- Its fun.
Next shortest answer- The insanity keeps me sane.
 

BuzzChaser

Well-Known Member
Shortest, most correct answer, if I can quote the hero that is Joe Dirt, "IT JUST DOES"
 

BoothPacific Films

Well-Known Member
leaving the movie theater when i was 6 or 7 years old and never forgetting the images in "On Any Sunday".
The force field of anticipation that surrounded San Juanico BCS before the 2006 Baja Mil.
Driving the roads of the Baja Peninsula for the last 25 years.
The love of driving fast on the dirt.
Watching the defining movie of the sport, getting goosebumps everytime but always come away with an overwhelming feeling that there is more of the story that needs to be told.
 

randy s

Well-Known Member
.... is there anything else?? ;)
i just saw your erection signiture and let me tell you there's no such thing as an unwanted erection at my age migo. more like an unexpected erection. and the more you think about it the faster it goes south. sorry to jack....the thread, but i had to.
 
M

memin.pinguine

Guest
i just saw your erection signiture and let me tell you there's no such thing as an unwanted erection at my age migo. more like an unexpected erection. and the more you think about it the faster it goes south. sorry to jack....the thread, but i had to.
Sorry to jack the thread more for the reply but this is an important issue. I cant determine your age by your personal profile, however, by the number of cars listed I conclude we are somewhat in the same age bracket and the signature saying was more aimed at the life part then the other.... however, there is another saying that also applies and should be considered:
a) never miss a bathroom
b) never trust a fart
c) never WASTE a erection

So you doing something wrong if you wait for the "...going south" moment - like you think to much........ roflmao
 
I'll offer up the old cliche: IT'S THE MOST FUN THING YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR PANTS ON!
 

trentk

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing Josh, that was a cool essay. That is really something that you went from your first novice atv race in 08 to the factory honda team in 09!

here is my story:

I got my first ATV when I was about 13. I grew up in a small town in Arizona so I was able to ride everyday after school. I road the wheels off that suzuki 230 until it blew up about 18 months later. We couldn't afford another one so I just focused on school and other sports. I was into trucks a little bit in high school and I remember thinking about how great it would be to be a pro desert racer. I was never able to attend any races and eventually everything off road fell by the wayside while I was in college. I got into fast cars and racing towards the end of college and up through 2005. Drag racing was pretty boring and working on the car all the time was really boring.

My dad became friends with larry beshaw a local desert racer who is the head sweep rider for whiplash and his son is a pro motorcycle desert racer. My dad started planting ideas in my head about getting an ATV again and in Oct of 05 I bought a new 05 TRX450R. We went to the dunes and it was a blast. In 2006 I entered my first race and I loved it. I committed to racing the entire 2007 whiplash season and I ended up 2nd overall in the novice class. For 2008 I decided to start taking the racing seriously, I moved up to expert and ended up winning the class. I was getting faster every race and I was given the last second opportunity to race in the 2008 Baja 1000 for the fays3racing Kawasaki team. That story was published in ATV Insider if anyone wants the details. In 2009 I raced the baja 500 with some local guys and gals and we won the sportsmen atv class.

I love atv desert racing because it takes skill, endurance and talent. The other forms of motorsports I tried didn't take nearly as much skill, it seemed like whoever had the fattest wallet would win; there was no athleticism involved. I love the desert because it is just you versus the terrain versus yourself. MX racing is fun too but I dont like the idea of trusting 29 other aggressive, testosterone filled maniacs flying over and around me. In the desert you mostly just have to trust yourself, you don't have to worry about some guy slamming into you (mostly). Also endurance racing is a good excuse to stay in shape! At least for me my results are directly tied to how much time I put in at the gym. If my cardio is crap my results are crap.

The #1 reason is because I need a hobby and something fun to do. We all do or we'd all go crazy. :) If I had the money I'd do every BITD and Score desert race. The GP's are fun too but the long desert races are where it is at! Racing has been a good way to hang out with my dad, he has been my pit crew along with my friend Adam since I started.
 
M

memin.pinguine

Guest
Rep for a rad post!!! Almost spit up my soda when I read that.
See, for today I had already a purpose to be on this planet....

On a serious note: I have to extent desert racing to offroad racing since I actually did only a few district 37 races but 20 years MX and Enduro in Europe (not much desert there) and US and from the beginning on a 50cc Rond-Sachs to my last race in a Mickey Thompson stadium event on a tricked out YZ I ALLWAYS had the feeling to be in a big family. No matter what location or language spoken. I got hurt 2 times real bad, broke my back twice, second time when living SoCal and choose not to get surgery but lay put for 6 weeks in a hospital bed. I had guys drive from Ocenside all the way to Eastcounty past Alpine after the end of their days job to bring me some video tapes to watch since I was tied to the bed. Guy's i barely know from the races and may had a brew after the race and shoot the breeze. And so on, and so on. Many stories that made me love that sport so much and i try to give back as much as I can today when I have an opportunity.

Sure love watching the "big wigs" in the TT's and Class1 and factory guys on the bikes but when go to the races like to "hang" with the grass-root movement and see if I can be of use somehow. They guys that put their last $ out to be there and race. Knowing there is no way to be even near a podium. To be there "just" for the racing.... Maybe it's the age and I get sentimental..... :p..
 

SKISPEED

Well-Known Member
Racing is Freedom

to go as fast as I can drive
to race whenever you want
to build whatever I can
to be with the people I like
to be passionate
to show my ingenuity
to show my integrity
to test myself
to be careful
to be risky
to forgive
to be helpful
to choose
to love
to mourn
to regret
to look to the future

racing allows me to be all I can be and shows me all I need to improve on through the humanity and mechanical elements of racing.

Freedom isn't always a part of our daily life but when we are racing we are free!
 
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