Chas­ing a Race After a Hur­ri­cane

Hot Rod - - The Return Road - Zach Mar­tin News Edi­tor @hotrod_zach

Ijust re­turned from the Baja Rally in which

John, my fu­ture fa­ther-in-law, was rac­ing. It’s a five-day, nav­i­ga­tion-cen­tric race for dirt bikes and UTVs cov­er­ing nearly 1,000 miles of the hard­est ter­rain south of the bor­der. This is the sec­ond year

I’ve chased for him, and it was an ab­so­lute blast. My job was to get to the next camp, set up the “garage” for re­pairs and/or main­te­nance, help with said ser­vice, and have a sand­wich and cold beer wait­ing for him.

Un­like the SCORE races, the sup­port teams for the Baja Rally have mostly high­way routes to fol­low that aren’t very stress-in­duc­ing. This year, how­ever, Hur­ri­cane Rosa did a num­ber on the penin­sula, wash­ing away huge stretches of high­way and mak­ing for some ex­cit­ing road days for the chase crews. The de­struc­tion was epic. In spite of this, road work­ers had been able to cut a graded, dirt de­tour ad­ja­cent to the de­stroyed high­way in less than a week, which was im­pres­sive.

Rac­ers and crews knew of the de­struc­tion Rosa had caused and were also aware of in­com­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Ser­gio to­ward the end of the week, but didn’t care. Like all of the pas­sion­ate gear­heads in the world, we all pushed through. It made for some ex­cit­ing sto­ries, and John ended up achiev­ing his long­time goal of fin­ish­ing the race and plac­ing sev­enth over­all against multi-time Baja 1000 cham­pi­ons, Mex­i­can en­duro cham­pi­ons, and Dakar Rally hope­fuls. Not a bad way to spend the week.

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