Driving down from Phoenix Weds night is like my own race to paradise. It about 350 miles, I often think about how the course is next the road are the many race courses over the years. I relax once I clear the border at Mexicali and head down route 5 for San Felipe knowing I am only 2 hours away. I have run this so many times its like the back of my hand.
We had an outstanding day on the Baja. Since we missed the team Weds night, we showed up early and found the team preparing for a full day. It was nice to see my fellow planet members T-Rod and Mike, as well as Neil Grider again. Lots of time was spent on making sure all of the trucks were loaded correctly. It is amazing how Robby has orchestrated to my best guess over 10 vehicles to chase around this course. You have to plan well but be prepared for every eventuality.
My friend Martin, who accompanied me was born in Mexico but has never been to any of the SCORE Baja races. I will tell you that he was like a kid in the candy store. He was thrilled when he met Robby and the team.
The Robby team moved out like the precision of an army. I will tell you that it was a long ride through valleys and hills, through small villages around hairpin turns. I can’t image Robby driving through this country off road at the breakneck speeds of the Baja. We stopped in Ojo Negros so that Robby and Andy could pre-run that part of the course. We met up with the other half of the team who had in spent the night in Ensenda.
While Robby and Andy went pre-running, Martin and I headed for Ensenada for the contingency. We parked in a lot about a block from all the action. And for the first time ever in the desert I got struck in the parking lot in the sand. I was fortunate to bring a shovel. The parking lot attendant had one too. With a few volunteers to push I was out of the silt and back on solid ground.
We were met by the blow up Tecate can and the girls dancing on main stage. The crowds were like Mardi Gras. The black Robby Gordon fan trailer was on the main corner and doing a brisk business. We walked up and down the contingency in between the fans, the colorful tents selling T-shirts, hats, and beer to name a few. There are quite a few tents selling Robby Gordon t-shirts. The beer is cheap and the girls are hot. The noise of the race vehicles moving up the contingency line interrupt the music from time to time. The official photographer gets up on a ladder and takes a photography of each glistening car. Martin can’t believe he’s there. He chatters away in Spanish making deals, buying stuff for the folks back home.
The mood is great I wish various teams for all over good luck and talk about the race. Drivers like BJ Baldwin are on top of their cars throwing stickers, t-shirts, and cards to a frenzied crowd. Yes this it is all about for the SCORE Baja 1000 contingency. We of course caught up with Baja Bill at the IRC, who as always was in the Baja mood.
We headed back to the truck and found a guy up to his axles in sand. He was to deep in and spinning his tires. I guess too many Tecates.
Back up through the hills navigating the hairpin turns and narrow roads, we past Robby’s pre-runners, box trucks, and chase trucks getting over to Ensenda for the start of the race. It was dark and I was tired. Martin was ecstatic from the experience. I headed to Playa de Oro for some dinner and to upload the video and photographs. In walks, Neil and Jay from the Gordon team. We made the rounds in downtown San Felipe talking other teams and having a good time.
We will start all over again this morning on our own, heading to mile marker 210 to watch the race and capture the action. I am still waiting for Martin to finish making the chorizo, so we can leave.