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Old 12-09-2008, 11:07 AM   #13
PacWestGS OP
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: A Worldly Traveller
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'Tech-Day' Thursday, November 20th - One day before.

Pre-Race Inspection and Preparations: Thursday, November 20th, was here already: one day before the biggest race in all of our histories and lifetime. There were many things needing to be accomplished on this day: Registering, tech-Inspection, riderís meeting, and being a part of the greatest spectacle in these parts of the racing world. Ensenada, was in full-blown party mode. In overnight influx of more than 100,000 people had shown up. The hotel I was in filled to capacity with the VW sponsorsí of the Baja 1000. The parking lot was full or Tourags, and there was no leaving or coming in as the road out front was closed. The level of excitement started around 3 Oíclock in the morning, when race trucks, buggies, Beetles, and quads began lining up around the blocks in the tech-inspection parade. After the line grew longer than the road in front of the hotel it quieted down just a little, we were now wrapped in a sea of vibrant colors (race vehicles) and anxious people waiting for their chance to see what they hadnít done and what they would have to fix prior to Friday.

I saw this kid who had broken both his arms during pre-running but he was still part of the team...



I thought this was pretty cool.


A race quad waiting in line:


We had agreed to meet about 09:00 at the San Nicholas hotel to get everyone registered. I only found Austin and Noah waiting in the press-corps line. They needed a sponsor from a race team, and I sufficed to meet the requirement. Then I got myself registered, the line was small and moved quickly. Then the waiting game began. Where is the team, where is the bike? Traffic around this part of town was in gridlock there were no places to park and people were everywhere, walking, partying, buying T-Shirts and everything else. I tried calling but my phone couldnít get out, I found some locals, and borrowed their cell phone, but the lines were still overwhelmed and couldnít get out. Finally, while wandering about I saw some of the support team and friends back at the San Nicholas and then Springer showed up. We unloaded the bike from the truck, and I gave some suggestions on where there might be parking Ė on the racecourse in the wash. After explaining where Tech was, I pushed the bike over and shortcut the line, (we had been advised by JCR to do this, as bikes were different and given some special considerations.) I waited a bit for the team, but it was evident they were not making headway or got distracted with other events.

Eventually the tech-inspector was like letís go. To be honest in all the time before this, I had not ever handled the race bike. I didnít know its quirks, like, I didnít know the starter button had developed an itch (the steering head had to be turned for the switch to work). I could have really used Deano, as every wire behind the headlight was unplugged. The inspector looks over my battered helmet, with an outdated M2000 Snell rating, and I explained that while I had a brand-new helmet in the bag, I was hoping to race the abused one. He said itís good, and puts the inspection sticker on it. Then he looks over the bike, when he gets to the tail light, ďI need to see if this worksĒ. I turn on the gas, and hit the starter button, nothing, I began looking for an on/off switch (but knew there wasnít one) feeling stupid at the moment in an awkward position. I immediately thought the battery might be dead, so in flip-flops Iím jumping up and down on the starter. Bang, she comes to life, the taillight comes on, and then I hit the on/off switch for the headlight, it burns bright. I hear an OK, and then the other inspector comes over with a purple armband and attaches it to the left fork-tube. I sign some checklist sheet and away I go. Wow, tech inspection is done, and I still donít know where the team is. I ride around the block (shorts, t-shirt, flip-flops, and two helmets Ė one on, one in hand) and go by the hotel St. Nick, no one is to be found. Oh well, this is done and it was going in the room, (remember I said it would be nice to have a room downtown Ė well the bike and myself would be at the starting line first thing in the morning, no matter what happened the rest of the day). I secured the bike at my hotel, then walked back to find my wife and look for the team. Eventually everyone was tracked down,

and the two handheld radios would be our network for the day; cell phones were becoming worthless. The rest of the day the team got everything done, the lines to registration got longer and longer but eventually we were all ready to race. I suppose let the party begin.



At 7:00 PM the Riderís/Driverís meeting began and the whole team plus others were there.

Sal Fish began with introductions of the Mexican hosts and then National Anthems were played for both countries, then the invocation. After that, Sal got to business with describing the course and the rules. It was very nice to hear such a detailed explanation to the race truck/buggy drivers that motorcycle and quad guys donít have three thousand pounds of steel safety cage wrapped around them, and tagging was not allowed.

Robby Gordon gave his side note on passing and others chimed in as well. It was an honest exchange amongst professional in a dangerous sport. Many questions were fielded and answered by Sal Fish or someone from SCORE, then the meeting wrapped up. Afterwards (just to meet the man) I walked over to Robby Gordon and said, that while I understand your position on passing, as a rider, I try to know which way the wind is blowing and stay up-wind of the dust. So, that would most likely be the side that a rider would (should) go to. He helped me understand that during the race, riderís of quads or bikes, are usually so focused on the trail ahead, that they rarely know anything behind them and then freak out and look like a rabbit thatís about to get run over (I would find this out the next morning). Andy Grider was there (part of Gordon Racing), and helped both of us through the thought process of the discussion. Here I am, with Robby Gordon and Andy Grider, shooting the shit like old friends, how cool is that! We shook hands, and I departed to catch up with the team. I donít know when they left the city, but I was about done. Time to get some food and some sleep.

Austin and Noah getting some quick shots in:



My friends gave me a very cool Baja 1000 KTM shirt:


My wife, didnít follow doctors orders very well, so she had returned to the hotel hours ago. I met some friends for dinner and we all gorged one more time. Pasta, or Mexican, it all tasted so good. Even the three Ďgayí amigosí

Good night all, it was about 10:30, tomorrow would be a big day!
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