The Baja 1000 is one of the biggest off road races in the world. If you ever get the privilege to participate in the event, make sure you jump at the opportunity. A couple of my friends, Bobby B. and Arik Swan were out for redemption from their performance last year and we showed up with a wily bunch with riders including Arik Swan, Bobby B, Trevor Danka, and myself. Our chase crew consisted of Joel P., Eric Montanella, Kyle “No Mickey Mouse” Krause, and Pancho Villa. Pancho’s real name was a bit of a secret since saying it required taking a shot of tequila. Without these guys there was no way to get it done. Going to Baja is not about you, but instead is a team effort for the riders, pit crews, and chase drivers.
Joel was my chase driver. We left a few days behind the rest of the crew and when we arrived in Ensenada at the Flamingo Hotel, there was a note telling us the crew was down in San Filipe. We had a bunch of pre-running to do so the arrangement was going to work out well. Originally I was going to start, but everything changed as I started to realize the scale of the actual race. Loading up the bike, I started heading south down Highway 1 through Coco’s Corner and back out to Highway 3, half pavement and half dirt. With no road signs to be found, Joel and I were drove aimlessly through the desert in the middle of the night dodging soft ball size rocks for like four hours – good for the van. Finally we hit the other end and it was time for a night under the stars. Early the next morning, we started heading south to pre-ride the next section and map out the pit areas. This is when reality hit. First, the highway is super dangerous and the Baja Peninsula is huge. We didn’t even get halfway to where we needed to be and it was time to abort the mission to drive back up to Ensenada. By the time Joel and I got back to the Flamingo, the rest of the crew was there waiting for the report. Time to get your game faces on guys, this race is real. Not just for the riders but also the chase drivers as they are on the road in the middle of the night and the roads are crazy dangerous. We spent the next couple days finalizing are new logistics and prepping the motorcycle. A new plan fell into place with Swan taking the first 80 miles, the rest of the boys splitting up the rest and final leg to finish myself.
Baja is such a unique race. My first leg wasn’t starting until mile 550, in the dark and after the race had been in action for ten hours or more. It was a seven hour drive to mile marker 550 and Joel and I headed out a day early to prep. After a start of twists and turns by the team, night approached and I got on the bike as Bob tagged me off for the next section. The first 50 miles were all silt beds which made riding quite interesting at night. There I was, riding along at about fifty or sixty miles per hour and all of a sudden poof, giant silt bed of craziness. Besides that it went smoothly up until I stopped for gas in Ignacio and headed out for a 250 mile section. It started to go downhill quickly after that.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Brian’s Baja 1000 adventure.