|12-05-2012, 06:30 PM||#1|
Joined: Dec 2012
45th Tecate Score Baja 1000 - Just One Teams Adventure
45th Tecate Score Baja 1000 Nov.2012
Just one teams adventure 306x
Baja racing can be one of the most rewarding experiences a racer can have OR it can be a 24 hour train wreck from Ensenada to La Paz.
Unfortunately the latter happened to our team, still its Baja and it brings highs and lows with emotions all over the map, a feeling I could not miss out on.
Letís go back to when the decision was made to race the 1000. Sept.1 2012 left without a team for the 1000 a couple friends of mine and I decided to go it alone without the backing of our regular team we rode and managed. What to do to generate entry and pit money? Scrap metal was the answer as one of the riders owns a Mad Max type of a heavy equipment yard. Looked around, found just what we needed, $6,000 in scrap metal, cashed in at a recycle yard in Sacramento. Shane one of the riders also committed to some cash for the team and I have the bike, parts, spare wheels and cool race van. Hey we are covered!
With entry and pits covered all we have to do is get the race bike up and running. I always seem to have a race bike lying around my garage, a necessity for my sanity.
Pulled motor sent over to motor builder, new crank, bearings, clutch, head job, replace a couple main gears and other missalinias items and we have a race motor $2,500.00 later. Ouch! who is going to cover that? Letís worry about that later.
Start Rider Line Up
Ok this is where things get tilted; letís alter some of the names to protect the guilty! We know our finish rider is Chuck aka ďFlipperĒ (Rider of Record) after all he is the one that donated the scrap to get the ball rolling. Brian will handle most of the night; Shane will do Bay of L.A to San Ignacio. That leaves the start and San Felipe to Bay of L.A. approximately 400 miles to cover, after batting around a couple names we settled on an old friend and his riding partner from Vegas, lets say there names are Dick and Chris B. Riders are Set, Right?? 10-26-2012
Bike is done, now we need bike sent over to get fitted for lights and one final look over. Brian Pinard (Brian Pinard Race Prep) always does a great job on that and is our night rider as well so Iím off to Temecula Ca. from Carson City Nevada. Oct. 29th Thought Iíd leave a few days earlier then the rest of my guys to get a little R/R before the race, kind of a clearing of the cobwebs before all the pre running and chasing riders all over Baja gets going. Quick stop over to the cousinís house in Chatsworth.Ca. (Jim Holley) always seems to have something going on, the busiest guy I know that does not have a steady job. More stop overís at OíNeal USA, pick up some gear for the guys and few days later Iím at Brianís, go over rider plan and final instructions to get the race bike across the boarder. All things in motion, feeling good!
Call my good Friend Francisco (Poncho) Septien, this years class 21 champ to hang at his uncleís ranch in the middle of wine country, (Ruta De Vino) with no worries in sight, 2 days later and several bottles of wine Iím off to meet the crew at Las Palmas hotel in Ensenada Nov.6. Ground zero for bike racers. A little partying in E town to get the crew in the right frame of mind and itís off to San Ignacio
San Ignacio Nov.7th
Stop the trucks just out of Bay of L.A. and start pre running. We get there in the afternoon, I always like to pre run with the new guys to make sure they are safe and handle any emergencies. Shane and I head out on a 200 mile trip. I have Chuck (Flipper) and Rod our chase truck drive head to San Ignacio. We will hook up at Rice and Beans later that evening, Rice and Beans is a favorite place for all types of racers and an information hub as well. The resent hurricane has created havoc on the course, plenty of wash outs and fresh rim benders all over the place, 2 hrs in and our first flat. No worries, Shane is a good listener, had a front 21Ē tube ready to go, change out flat and off again. Running low on gas and worrying if we are able to make it back to highway 1. Minutes later we come around a hard right and there is Baja Pits Service to the rescue at El Arco, fill up, have a snack, many thanks and off we go again, Its dark and Iím having light issues, loose connector, canít locate, moving on but running late. Get to Rice and Beans, around 9 pm, hook up with team and discuss pre run plan for tomorrow.
Chuck goes south with David Pearson towards Loreto and I run Shane back to Vizcaino to run a 100 mile section back into San Ignacio. Shane being new to Baja racing was listing to Person at dinner the night before. Person was saying that when going threw rocks itís much smother at 80 mph then 60Ö Ok; that sounds good, but Iím betting that Shane while taking all this in doesnít realize that Person happens to be one of the top desert racers in the country. Meanwhile my hands are blistered up from the 200 mile ride the night before so Iím sitting this one out. Shane is running late to the pick up spot and Iím thinking of what Person said the night before, no Shane wouldnítí be thinking he could do that? No I donít think so. Ĺ hour later here comes Shane, blood on face, handle bar bent and silt dust everywhere. Dude what happened? Silt bed thatís what happened, I just sat back and pined it, it was working fine till I got cross rutted and ended up in a pucker bush, do you have some needle nose pliers? I think his ego was bruised more then the body.
Headed back to San Ignacio for some tacos. Hook up with Chuck, Pearson, Max Eddie and a couple other riders, have a few laughs and talk about the day.
Rice and Beans owner calls out anyone from Honda here, I look around, no but I know most of the Honda guys and so I answer the phone. The voice on the other line says Colton Udallís spot went off and we donít know if he is hurt or just broke down and we are in Loreto headed back. Ok fine letís see where he is at, only 30 miles out. Good enough, I start looking for a ride out there, asked a buggy driver and no response, oíwell screw him youíll need help one day. Local kid says I have a friend that has a way cool truck and all he wants is gas money. Perfect, I grab some tie downs, water and my tool kit. Off we go around 9 pm I figure Iíll be back here no later then midnight. Ok as we leave San Ignacio on the course the speed seems to be increasing each mile, seat belt time. About 10 miles out I see a rider coming towards us, no head light. That must be Colton, letís turn around and catch him. No the boy in back of the truck insist that was not Colton, ďwait lets turn aroundĒ Again no he says ďmy mom keeps track of all the ridersĒ that is not him! Now Iím feeling a little uncomfortable as we start getting a little air in the truck. Just about then we hit a side burm andÖ
The front wheel does its best country song and leaves the truck as we come to a screeching halt. Yes Loose Wheel we are stuck in the desert with no jack!
As I look around there is that sudden feeling of loneliness, man their is dark then there is Baja dark and every Baja racer has experienced that feeling. Moments later out of the dark appears head lights pointed our direction, slight sound of Mexican music is heard in the night air, here comes two slightly inebriated Mexicans with a jack of all things. Up goes the truck only to find out that the jack canít lift high enough to get the tire on. Back down the truck goes a couple rocks solve that problem, up again and we see the problem, the spindle nut is gone, not good. But Iíll be damned they find it several feet behind the truck, man is that luck or what, maybe things are turning around. Maybe! Wheel on Iím insistent now, we are going back. Two miles closer to San Ignacio and yes it falls off again. Come on man! Thinking of Mike Ditka. Ok this canít be happening. No one in site. Eyre silence and darkness again. Several minutes later sure enough here comes another truck with to more inebriated fisherman and yes they have a jack. This time they have the motions down, stack the rocks, put the wheel on and I find a nail to go into the spindle to hold the nut on. Willie said it best. On The Road Again. 5 miles an hour for 20 plus miles, Back at Rice and Beans 4am.
Brian arrives around midnight asks were Iím at, Flip clues him in and they start to look at his tracking devices, sees that Iím headed back slowly but moving. Sleep time
No real issues today, Flip loaned his pre runner to Eddie and he is running late. Rod and Shane head to Loreto to connect with Brian who is pre running his section.
Flips bike shows up with a broken head light lens and dirty as they come, got to love doing favors for friends. Now we are on the road around 4pm. Baja roads especially in southern Baja can be very narrow as the night sets in. about an hour out I catch something out of the corner of my eye. (Cow) slow down hard, swerve hard, unlucky cow in the road or at least half of it, we go down the road a little farther and find the rest of the cow on the hood of this smashed up Toyota. All seem ok just shook up a little, they have help on the way. Moving on, just out side of Loreto we run across a wreck, a chase truck clipped a local. We stopped to help, grabbed one of the riders and brought him back to his hotel so he can get help for his group.
Rumors are starting to spread that our lead off rider and our San Felipe rider are bailing out on us. Best get to the bottom of this. Quick phone call to Dick and affirms on speaker phone that he is there for us and will have the bike in San Felipe race day. Hummn what does that really mean he is riding the bike or is he trucking it there or is he finding someone else to ride the start. Have to take the manís word at this point. Next call to Chris B. Chris you in or out? Dead silence,, canít make it personal problems. No 5 days before the event and we have no rider to get bike from S.F. to Bay of L.A. Ok no need to panic Iíll make a few calls. Lined up a rider, cool. Letís have some fun in Loreto for a couple days while Flip and Brian do some pre running, couple flats and Brian ran out of gas. But all and all good couple days of pre running.
On to La Paz Nov.10-12th 2012
Because we are splitting up the night we are leap fogging riders. Flipper and Brian split up San Ignacio/ San Janice/Santa Rita to finish. So everything seems in place. Have house rented in La Paz, regroup and set up plans for rider exchanges. BUT rumors still persist.
Make the Call! I call Dick to clarify. This time we have a different story 2 days before the race he admits he can no longer do the start for us. Emergency meeting with Shane Rod, Flipper, Brian and myself. This is serious! I make a few calls and long time Baja chase drive Tim (Gomey) Gomez contacts a friend and we have the 400 miles covered. Start to Bay of L.A. Not exactly what we wanted. But what do we do, fold or soldier on? At this point Brian becomes our team couch and number one motivator, Ala John Bulushi when the boys get kicked out of Faber College. We rally together and head to our designated points of rider exchange. I have Flipper and Shane in the van headed to Bay of L.A. Things are not feeling to good, Stomach knotted up and looking at Shane; I can see the concern in his face or discus. When you have 250 miles to drive strange things pass threw your head like what are we doing here, should we have a personal meeting with Dick. I mean up close and personal. Things turn ugly quick. Screw it; letís get to E town and to the bottom of this now! Shane wants the money back that was taken for the job before anyone starts and he doesnít care how he gets it. Van is cruzing the 80-90 mph mark, tensions are as high as they get. I know if we make it to E town there is going to be consequences, several miles later the word is out that we are headed north. Social media does come in handy at times. Calls start coming in to stop us from making it all the way north. Money is guaranteed to be paid back and a little extra payment for our troubles from the team that Dick all along was lead rider for.
Still driving north, calmer minds starting to take affect. Lets just ride and deal with it later. We pull into Guerrero Negro for the night, as we head down Main Street black cat darts out in front of the van, a little chuckle out of us and we check in to a room. Room 13 now that is funny. What else can go wrong!
As we head to Honda pit 6 where Shane is to get on, we reflect on the trip as a hole. With high hopes of being in the top ten at the finish to just getting the bike to La Paz at this point will be worth the effort. Still a little down but not broken we wait for the bike and who ever is actually riding it. 2 hrs late the bike rolls in with this elderly Mexican gentleman riding it; I thank him and tell him he saved our effort. Hand him some gas money for his troubles and we go to work on the bike, This pit was not to be were we install lights but itís late and we need to get them on, naturally there is a bur or something stopping it from fitting on the welded mount. Shane is impatient, tires go on, filter and finally the light is on. Off he goes into the afternoon. Flip and I head south to the point were the course crosses Highway 1 to see if Shane needs help, He is running late, Finally comes in complaining that the light is not adjusted properly, thinking we will fix when Flip gets on at pit 11 Hop into the van and head down the road. I get a call from Shane half hour later, ĎDudes Iím out of gasí. What? Out of gas, you miss a pit or something, No just ran out, ** °Ay, caramba!**** °Ay, caramba!**** °Ay, caramba!**** °Ay, caramba!**, I turn around and find some kind of access to send Flip in with Gas. We find an access and Flip finds Shane, now another 2 hours behind. What else can happen? Shane pulls into the Honda pit 11, pissed, still complaining about the lights. I pull off and find that the lower mound was not lined up properly. Off the light come and a new set installed. Flip is off and running around midnight Iím thinking to myself 4 hours late, Flip can make up at least Ĺ hour and I know when Brian gets on he can easily make up hour or more, maybe not so bad. We should get to the finish a little after dawn.
Shane and I head to Loreto and try and meet up with Brian. Brian will take the bike from Flip at San Juanico and Flip takes a break before the final stretch from Santa Rita to Finish. About an hour into the ride we get reports that Flip is off and Brian is headed to Loreto. Thinking we are late from dodging a couple head onĒs and some extra slow military check points we decide to go directly to Honda pit 15. Arrive around 2 am and start watching the bikes roll threw. No Brian. Ask Honda 15 to call pit 14, sorry no can do, they are out of touch. Wait another hour and nothing, ask a few riders if they saw Brian, nothing. Did I mention that Brian got on at Honda pit 13? Well lets see if we can get close to pit 14 and radio in to them, we drive north of Loreto about were we think Honda pit 14 is from Highway 1. I canít seem to raise anyone. The sun is coming up now. We check our Honda access maps and decide Iíll ride in to Honda 14. Iím kind of fuzzy in the head after all we have been up 24 hrs now. Iím riding the bike in with Helmet, gloves, goggles and shorts/sneakers. I forgot to put on riding pants, what the hell just going to the Honda pit. So I head south on the course. ( should have went north) 20 miles in Iím actually having some long over due fun, wait a minute back it down dummy look what your wearing. I notice a Mexican family on the side of a rise, set up nicely. Ask, ďDo you remember a 306x bike come threwĒ. They had a complete list of cars and bikes, very cool people. No Brian. So I take an access road out to the highway and ride back north to the van. As I get closer I see our race bike leaned up along side the van.
Relieved, I hug Brian and Shane, things can get emotional at times in Baja, and we load up and discuss what happened.
Brian ended up spending the night out in the desert and as I know there is always a story to be told. Van in gear we are headed to La Paz. (The race is over for us) still many competitors trying to make the finish. What happened was asked. Brian: ďdonít know I was in about 30 miles in from my rider exchange and I jumped up on this culvert and it locked upĒ. But let me tell you what happened during the night. Look at this scorpion I took a photo of on the I-Phone (as big as his hand) Then Brian tells us about the couple that he ran into, hunting for Scorpions, the trophy truck that almost hit him and showed us the video he made, sort of his version Blair Witch Project. (I see things) All this while he was lying on his back on top of the bike trying to take in a nap. ďBrian eat somethingĒ. 10 minutes later he is out. I start thinking and ask Shane if the bike is locked up how did he get it to the Highway. ďDonít wake him weíll ask later.Ē
Driving in all we want is a shower and some well deserved sleep. Later that evening over some beers and great food the discussion continues on. Brian how did you get the bike going? After several miles of off and on pushing the bike I accidently hit the start button and it turned over so I tried it and nothing, but it was turning over. I forgot that I disconnected the fuel line for my bonfire last night I started so the scorpions and what ever else was out there would stay away I reconnected the fuel line and she fired up but there is something in there that came loose or is grinding badly. Hey did you see my video I made?
Yes we did. After several more stories and some good laughs we called it a night.
Brian heads home about 9am, the rest of the crew gets ready for some La Paz party life. Itís over and this is the first time that we have not finished Baja 1000 race in 10 years but still itís Baja and I canít think of a better place to be with friends and racers.
11am Phone rings Brian whatís up ďMy truck broke down in ConstitutionĒ
See some great shots on FaceBook ďBaja Score Race TeamĒ
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