We're racing the 53rd Baja 1000! (Here's how to follow along)
We're part of a team helping to get #1074 almost 1,000 miles through some of the roughest terrain in Baja. I (Tim) will be co-driving from Race Mile (RM) 275 to RM 605. We head down (11/16/20) to start prerunning our section. We'll be taking 2 days to prerun it all and make copious notes so on race day we'll have a customized view of what's around each corner and over every rise.
This is the racecar, but it will have a new wrap on it.
Here's how to follow along:
Live updates from us:
Follow our instagram stories page. We'll be trying to post via whatever cell service we can muster as we prerun and race: https://www.instagram.com/stories/dirtsunrise
First off: Tracking
There will be a link to the vehicle GPS tracking system. We'll be under Class 10. Brady Whitlock is the driver of record.
The tracking link should be on http://score-international.com/ main page before race day. If they use the SAME tracking as in the past it would be here, but if this doesn't work look for a fresh link from the main SCORE page: http://score-international.com/weatherman-live-stream-of-baja-1000/
Another cool thing to have up on your computer to feel like your in the middle of the race is the race radio. Weatherman Bob has past on, but his son Scott is keeping the tradition alive of setting up a Race Radio station on the top of a mountain in the middle of Baja. This in addition to roaming planes and radio sites scattered throughout Baja will keep everyone in contact for emergencies, race car status updates and announcements.
The link for "Weatherman" and the "BFG Pits" radio stations will also be on the SCORE main page or in this thread on RDC. https://www.race-dezert.com/forum/threads/2020-baja-1000.134592/page-11
For race updates besides what you can see on the tracker and hear on the radio (You want pictures and video, RIGHT??) there are two sources.
Instagram and Race-Dezert.com
On Instgram search the #baja1000 and you'll see posts from random Mexican and American Spectators as well as official posts by race teams as the race progresses. Refresh or search it again to see what's new.
This thread on RDC posted above will be the hub for racers and fans to post updates of every kind: https://www.race-dezert.com/forum/threads/2020-baja-1000.134592/page-11
Are you going to be following from your phone? Try getting the race app from SCORE: https://apps.appmachine.com/scoreapp
How does one get into racing?
"My interest in desert racing started when I was in High School. Off-Road Magazine had plenty of chromed up Jeeps crawling through the mud, but at the back of each issue was a prerunner or baja race truck flying through the air. This captured my imagination. The idea of using technology and experience to build a mechanical thing that seemed to defy the laws of nature while racing through an exotic country where rules appeared to only be a suggestion had me hooked!
After spectating some races in High School I decided I wanted to get involved. In College I made a post on the hub of Off Road Racing called Race-Dezert.com I offered tire changing, fuel dumping help. Really, I offered any kind of labor help that a team might want in exchange for just being near it all. A team reached out and I was off to Mexico in 1999. A couple races later and I was riding "Right seat." Also called Navigator, Co-dog or Co-driver. It has so many names, but I was in the racecar. I met a new lifelong buddy who owned a fabrication shop.
Soon I was working at McKee Motorsports getting my "on the job" hours for a degree in Finance as required by the college, but mostly I was trying to learn this VERY foreign skill of working with my hands.
Over the course of a summer we took steel tubing from the wall and turned it into a racecar. Our racecar. Cutting, bending, welding, bolting and unbolting through long weekends and evenings we eventually had a racecar. Brent was the real fabricator, but I was there for every step and helping and learning where I could. It was often made from other teams used parts or hand me downs, but it was ours and we both took racing so seriously that we believed we could win any race we entered. I went from Co-riding to driving more and more. I loved it. I loved the control. I loved the competition.
We raced in Baja and Sonora Mexico. We raced in Arizona, California and Nevada. This activity occupied most of my mind and time these years. The memories of midnight repairs the night before the big race or finishing in Ensenada on three wheels cutting a line in the asphalt and sending an arc of sparks into the night are some of my favorites. It was like living out every Mad Max fantasy I could think of. We won many races and series and we lost plenty or had the car blow up before the finish line. It's all part of racing!
I went on to build shocks for a bigger fabrication company and we built/raced some different cars there, but it was never as visceral as racing with my buddy Brent where it was OUR car.
Over the years real life and the expense of keeping racing took it's toll, but I will always have a wild hair and a great desire to get into the racecar when I can. The last time was just before our "big trip" in 2017 and I'm excited to be back in a racecar this week."
Now that you're ready to armchair race, watch "Dust to Glory" (A movie by the son of Bruce Brown of "Endless Summer" fame) to get psyched up! ...but first, read this little letter. Bob Bower, a legend in the racing community that has been around for a while in many important roles. Almost every year someone dies at the Baja 1000. We used to print this out and everyone would get a copy. This is the 20th year it's been in circulation and is as true now as ever: "What About You?
I will be blunt. Not brief. This may be the wrong time for brevity.
Deal with it.
It is possible that there will be at least one less member of the greater off-road community around, come November 22, 2020.
Someone could die because of their involvement in the Baja 1000.
Will it be you?
“Of course not”. “No way”. “That stuff happens to other people!”
If it pleases you, just toss this thing now. After all, it's just the ranting of one of those guys who never lacked an opinion, or wasted the opportunity to thrust it upon you. Now is the time. There’s a trash can around here somewhere. Toss it if you want to.
If, on the other hand, you might be open to what one guy with a little experience has to offer, read on.
People, the single biggest danger to our safety as we involve ourselves in this race is us. Us. We represent the single largest jeopardy to our own well being out of all the freak things that could happen. On the surface, it would seem that those most in danger of clobbering themselves are those that have less experience down there. I wonder.
I am one of those with experience, and I know how seductive it is to tell myself that my experience gives me license to risk more than those without it. “The rules are for the new guys” “I can compress time frames”. “I can eat later”. “I don't need to take a nap”. “If I follow this stupid overloaded truck all night, I'll miss my deadline”. “I've got great lights, and I can see past all 6 vehicles ahead of me and take them all in one pass”.
This race is one long son of a gun. All drivers will feel the pressure to drive past sunset. It's a given. It's a must! There are loads of stories about Baja at night. What is interesting is that very few of the really scary stories come from the race cars. The most amazing and most tragic come from the highway travelers. Is that you? Have you had “Your Story” yet? It's out there, waiting for you. There have been times when the situation happens very far north. Like a tanker full of fish crashing around Santo Tomas, and closing the highway for over 5 hours. Now your time frames are shot. What do you do?
The history of what goes on and how we deal with it is not something to take lightly. Motorhomes crash. People fly, land, and suffer. Tractor-trailer rigs roll over and burn. A pickup full of drunk locals veers over the line and smacks a perfectly good Bronco with chasers in it.
It is not a case of “Will it happen?”, but a fact that it will happen. To whom, we don't know. We will know when the flash comes on the radio. Not right away mind you, but only after all the wrong information has had its chance to stab the hearts of those that know names, and care.
Know this. Medical assistance for emergencies comes late, and is lacking. You have to hope that someone associated with the race will be close by and help you. It is first aid at best. Worse is going through a nasty wreck, and you coming through it fine, but your buddy is bleeding and out cold. You were behind the wheel. How do you feel? He trusted you to take care of business so he could sleep.
Here is what you should do to increase your chances of staying out of harms way.
Eat food even if you are not hungry.
(Energy drinks will not nourish. They are not food)
Drive for a maximum of 6 hours and give it to your partner.
(There is only one Ironman)
Plan on getting to your destination late.
Don't drink alcoholic stuff. Period.
Do not use drugs. Period.
Ask yourself, “Are we important enough to the people in the race car that they will
feel good about us getting maimed trying to catch them?”
Ask yourself, “Would I do this if my kids were with me?”
Think about the great time you will have when you make it back home.
Think about the great feeling of being involved in the toughest off-road race in the world, and getting back home to tell the tales.
Think about how those at home will roll their eyes, and be patient, when you start on one of your stories.
Think about how proud of yourself you will be when you hear a horror story about someone else and realize you did things the right way, and went through the danger successfully.
It may sound corny, but think about how happy your Mom & Dad, or wife, or sister or brother, and yes, your kids, will be when you talk to them after you are home, safe and sound.
You've just had the adventure of a lifetime, and you are back! Wagging your tail, your mouth going like a ducks butt, telling everyone what an experience it was.
I'm going to the Baja 1000. I am going to have a ball. I won't forget a moment. It will be the biggest, baddest damn race ever.
And, I'm coming back from it.
With stories. With experiences. With laughs. With memories, and with the pride that comes of doing a good job.
What about you?
“Life Is A One Lap Race!”"
A little Baja history of racing: