viernes, 13 de octubre de 2017



 The annual Baja 1000, the most exciting and inclusive off-road race in the world
The Baja 1000 was conceived in 1962 by two Honda representatives, Jack McCormack and Walt Fulton. Honda had just released the CL72 Scrambler, an off-road motorcycle that they hoped would challenge the traditional market domination of American bikes for long-haul riders. But they needed to prove that the Scrambler could hold up over long distances and rigorous terrain, so they approached dirt biker Bud Ekins for suggestions. Ekins, one of the greatest motorcycle stuntmen of the era, was an expert in dangerous driving, having driven the Mustang 390 GT in Bullitt's famous chase and coordinated the bike stunts for CHiPs. He suggested the treacherous and varied stretch of land between Tijuana and La Paz. Optimistically named Mexican Highway 1, the run was actually a 950-mile stretch of dry riverbeds, rocky slopes, steep mountain passes and occasional lengths of actual paved road. Two racers agreed to do the trip for Honda, and after scouting the route in a small airplane, departed on March 22, 1962. It took the pair just under forty hours to make the run, and Honda's name was made in the dirt biking business.

After the success of Honda's run, maverick dune buggy designer Bruce Meyers saw an opportunity to get press coverage for his new invention, the Meyers Manx. The Manx was in many ways the prototypical dune buggy of the 1960s, with its curved fiberglass shell over a stock VW Beetle frame and engine. Meyers took his original prototype of the vehicle to La Paz in April of 1967 and managed to beat the Honda record by more than five hours. A massive amount of media coverage followed, and the floodgates were opened. Every auto manufacturer with a stake in the off-road market set their sights on Baja and the Mexican Highway 1 course. Attempts to break Meyers' record continued throughout the year, and eventually racer Ed Pearlman would organize a governing body that would put all of the drivers and machines in one place for one race - the inaugural Mexican 1000 Rally.
The very first sanctioned Mexican 1000 was run on October 31, 1967 - Halloween. There were 68 entrants, but the racers actually took a leisurely drive to Ensenada and started racing in earnest the next day. The first year was won by the dependable Meyers Manx dune buggy against a field that also consisted of trucks and motorcycles - one thing that makes the Baja 1000 unique in off-road circles is that every racer is on the same course, at the same time as the other drivers. Winners are announced not only in their individual vehicle and engine classes but also overall, and the greatest honor of the ride is taking the overall championship. For the most part, the race has been dominated by motorcycles, with Honda, Kawasaki and Husqvarna all fielding winning teams. But one of the sure things about the 1000 is that there is no sure thing - races have been won by trucks and other four-wheeled machines as well.
From 1967 to 1973, the race was dominated by four-wheelers, in fact, with the Meyers Manx taking the first year's trophy and a medley of Ford Broncos and Volkswagens capturing the top time for the rest. In 1973, the Mexican government set up a non-profit corporation to run the race, but they bungled their only crack at it so badly that it was rapidly handed back to an American group, SCORE International. Unfortunately, the burgeoning oil crisis in the early 70s resulted in there being no Baja 1000 in 1974, and the proud tradition almost came to an end. Thankfully, OPEC came to their senses and the race was back on in 1975, but the entire playing field had changed. Off-road motorcycles had come a long way since the 1962 Honda Scrambler, and the rugged machines being produced by Honda, Kawasaki and upstart manufacturer Husqvarna dominated the scene almost exclusively for the next few decades.
The 80s were perhaps the most uneven in racing history, as no one team dominated the standings for very long. Honda and Husqvarna traded wins each year, with neither breaking any new ground in design or performance. All that would change in 1988, however, as the upstart Kawasaki team consisting of Larry Roeseler, Danny LaPorte and Ted Hunnicutt Jr. would come from out of nowhere to win the next five Baja 1000s. The only interruption came with Ivan Stewart's 1993 win for Honda trucks, but Kawasaki would be undefeatable in the motorcycle division for nearly a decade. The 1990s saw racing trucks make a comeback, under the skillful hand of dirt track champion Ivan "Ironman" Stewart. Stewart's win in 1993 would establish Toyota's truck division as a contender in the race, and his 1998 win with the new Tundra would show that he was more than just a flash in the pan. On the whole, however, standard-body trucks would be phased out as the decade went on, with advances in technology ushering in the era of the "trophy truck," the feather-light, wildly expensive vehicles that would come to dominate the field.
In 2000, the organizers decided to pay special tribute to the turn of the century by doubling the odds, renaming the race the Baja 2000 for that year and making the course double the length - some 1726 miles. The brutal run took the winning team, composed of Honda riders Johnny Campbell, Tim Staab, Craig Smith and Steve Hengeveld, nearly thirty-one hours to accomplish, and many teams dropped out from attrition along the course. It's ironic that that thirty-one hour timespan was considered a marathon, when the 60s Baja 1000s took nearly as long. The 2000 win also marked Hengeveld's first bow in the Baja 1000 winner's circle, and he would go on to win six out of the next seven races.
One of the most unusual things about the Baja 1000 is the yearly reports of sabotage and booby-trapping performed not by the competitors, but rather by the spectators. Along the 900 miles of brutal terrain that the racers must travel are a number of small Mexican towns, and each year the chaos brought by the drivers from up North is an event that is part holiday and part war zone. So, to make things more interesting for both themselves and their drivers, the locals often construct a variety of bizarre and dangerous modifications to the track, including rickety jumps and makeshift obstacle courses. In addition, you are driving through undeveloped farmland, so drivers need to keep an eye out for wandering goats, cattle and children. Racers know that dealing with these unexpected hazards is just part of the game, so it's considered good etiquette to radio to other drivers when you encounter one. That doesn't help you if you're the first in the pack, but you can't win 'em all

Although the primary goal of every racer is to take home the whole thing, there's dozens of sub-races going on over the course of the event, as drivers compete in a number of smaller subclasses, divided by number of wheels on their vehicle and engine capacity. At the top of the heap is the SCORE Trophy-Truck class, which is essentially an unlimited class racing division - as long as the thing runs, everything else is legal. A number of less powerful classes rank below it, including the Baja Challenge, which removes vehicle design from the equation entirely, as every driver in that class pilots an identical two wheel drive Baja touring car. One of our favorite divisions is the Class 11 license, which is restricted to stock factory-specified Volkswagen sedans - always a pleasure to see them struggling over the desert sands. In the world of motorcycles, the primary divisions are by engine capacity, but interestingly enough they are also restricted by age, with the amazing Class 60 ranking for Baja 1000 challengers who were alive in the 1940s. And yes, there are brave souls in that division every year.
The race has transformed from a group of hobbyists getting together each year to something that's more celebratory, with the opening day's festivities resembling a Mexican block party - dancing girls and copious amounts of beer mingle freely with racers psyching themselves up and vendors selling everything from driving gloves to catheters. Modern technology has made navigation easier with the introduction of GPS systems that guide racers through the chaotic course, but there are still plenty of dangers to be found. The day before the starting gun, the entire town of Ensenada is a bacchanalia of drivers realizing that the next turn could be their last - even if you don't drive, it's almost worth just going down for the party. If you're really committed, get yourself to La Paz for the finish line as well - the sight of the drivers, dusty and exhausted, pulling up to the end of the race is something to behold.
This year's Baja 1000 is scheduled to start on November 14 2017 - pushed forward a month or so from the usual end of October starting time. Look for Steve Hengeveld and Honda to try to add another win to their six-year streak, but anything can happen down on Highway 1, and upset victories are just the name of the game. Now that you've been briefed on the ins and outs of the race, it might be time for you to pack a lunch, hop a plane, AND GET DOWN TO BAJA FOR THE RACE OF A LIFETIME...

We are 182A, Sportsman Quad BAJA 1000, and are ready to race...WE SEE YOU THERE

Course Map




  • Trophy Truck – Veh #1-99 (Trophy Truck Unlimited)
  • Class 1 – Veh #100-199 (Unlimited single or two-seaters)

  • TT Spec – Veh #200-299 (Trucks/sport utility vehicles, stock, sealed V-8s)
  • 10 – Veh #1000-1099  (Single or two-seaters limited engine)
  • 8 – Veh #800-899 (Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks)
  • Hammer Truck Limited- Veh# 4400-4499 (Rock Crawler/Hammer Truck Limited)
  • Hammer Truck Unlimited – Veh# 4500-4599 (Rock Crawler/Hammer Truck Unlimited)
  • 5 Unlimited – Veh #500-549 (Unlimited Baja Bugs)
  • SCORE Lites – Veh #1200-1299 (HDRA Lites-Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc)
  • Heavy Metal – Veh #8000-8099 (Open Production Trucks, V8 engines)
  • 3 – Veh #300-399 (Short wheelbase 4X4)
  • 3000 – Veh #3000-3099  (Class 78-2,unlimited mini-truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)
  • 2 – Veh #2000-2099  (Unlimited open-wheel, car/truck, 3.6-Liter Turbo or supercharged)
  • 1/2-1600 – Veh #1600-1699 (single or two-seaters to 1600cc)
  • Trophy Lite – Veh #6000-6099 (Unlimited Mini-Truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)
  • 7 – Veh #700-739 (Open Production – Mini Pick-Ups)
  • Pro Truck – Veh #1350-1399 (Limited Production Trucks)

  • 11 – Veh #1100-1199 (Stock VW Sedans)
  • 1700 JeepSpeed – Veh #1700-1799 (Jeep Speed Challenge)
  • 3700 JeepSpeed – Veh #3700-3799 (Jeep Speed Cup)
  • 5-1600 Ltd – Veh #550-599 (1600cc Baja Bugs)
  • 7sx – Veh #740-759 (Modified, stock mini-trucks)
  • 9 – Veh #900-999 (Short wheelbase, single or two-seaters)
  • Stock Full – Veh #8100-8199 (Stock full-sized trucks)
  • Stock Mini – Veh #760-799 (Stock mini trucks)
  • Pro UTV – Veh #1900-1999 (Naturally Aspirated UTVs) 
  • Pro UTV FI – Veh #2900-2999 (Forced Induction UTVs) 
  • Pro UTV Unlimited – Veh #1850-1899 (Unlimited UTVs) 

  • Baja Challenge – Veh #BC1-BC99 (Spec open wheel cars)
  • Sportsman Ltd Truck – Veh #2000-2099
  • Sportsman Unlimited Open Truck – Veh #1400-1499
  • Sportsman Unlimited Buggy – Veh #1500-1599
  • Sportsman Unlimited UTV – Veh #1800-1849

  • Pro Moto Ironman  (Solo) Veh# 700x-799x
  • Pro Moto Limited (400cc or less) Veh# 100x-149x
  • Pro Moto Unlimited(401cc or more) Veh# 1x-49x
  • Pro Moto 30 (Riders over 30 years old) Veh# 300x – 349x
  • Pro Moto 40 (Riders over 40 years old) Veh# 400x-449x
  • Pro Moto 50 (Riders over 50 years old) Veh# 500x-549x 
  • Pro Moto 60 (Riders over 60 years old) Veh# 600x-649x
  • Pro Quad (450cc or more) Veh# 1a-49a

  • Sportsman M/C – (any engine size) Veh# 200x-299x
  • Sportsman QUAD- (any engine size) Veh# 100a-149a



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