Chasing the 43rd SCORE Baja 1000 – Part 4April 1st, 2011 by admin
We added the two trucks that had been in Baja Sur ahead of the rest of us to our chase crew train, saddled up, and headed for Baja Sur.
We had some time before we would see the car again. There were hot showers, a restaurant, cell service, and Wi-Fi at Rice and Beans in San Ignacio. The whole crew stopped there and we regrouped, relaxed for a bit, ate, made phone calls, and checked the race status on computers. The crews that had been in the race car for the first two legs took showers.
Somewhat refreshed, we were on the road again. North of Loreto, we picked up the car on the radio again. They had been stuck in silt beds a time or two and the floor jack on the race car was broken/useless, but they were still moving. Just outside of Loreto there was a silt bed that was miles long. SCORE had attempted to blade the silt bed a couple of days before the race to no avail. Instead, the course was rerouted out to the highway to get around the silt beds. Unfortunately, the reroute was not on the GPS and the signs to direct the cars on the re-route had long since been mowed over. The car was stuck in the silt, the jack didn’t work, and the front differential was questionable at best. The chase crews all rallied at a turn off, consulted our BFG race notes, and fanned out along the various course access roads to try to find the car and lead it out to the highway.
Scott Hartman (pulling the trailer) and I headed down a dirt access road to where we thought we’d find the car. Clem reported that they had the car moving, but the silt was bad. Scott and I headed down the access road that we felt sure would intersect the course in front of the car. Within a quarter of a mile, we ran into some locals coming the other way. Despite the fact that the road was on the BFG GPS download, the locals told us it was a private road and they did not want us on it. Scott backed the trailer down the road, I turned around, and we headed to where we thought the next intersection with the course would be. Then we heard that the car had made it out to the highway, so we tried turning around again. Scott’s truck is only 2wd, so add the trailer and soft sand and it was soon stuck. Some more locals who had been working in a field came over to see if they could help. We managed to get my truck around Scott’s, hooked a strap to the back of the trailer, and got Scott unstuck. We offered the locals some stickers, a couple of hats, a few beers, and some Nitro2Go energy drinks for their assistance. In return, they gave us four fresh-picked honeydew melons from their fields.
The car stopped where our crew chief had pulled off the highway. LJ and crew looked the car over, swapped the jack off of LJ’s truck for the broken one on the car, and sent them on their way. Scott and I got our trucks back out to the highway, waited a few minutes to see the race car coming down the road, jumped on the highway, and followed it to the turn back on the course. Everything was good again and we continued the chase to victory.
Check out my next post where the Baja 1000 journey will continue.