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Baja 500 Pre-Fun!

May 25 2005 / Wednesday

Pistol Pete's new 3 seat Speedway pre-runner.

Dirt is dirt, and if you like dirt then you probably like most dirt sports. Most people checking this out probably like motocross. Riding dirt bikes is all about having fun, going fast and catching some air. Right? Off-road racing, though it will never be as fun as riding motos, is pretty much the same deal. Trophy trucks get going 120+ mph through some of the roughest terrain in the world and they definitely catch air. Those two things alone make it fun, but add the whole team and racing atmosphere and it makes it cool for those who are not even in the truck. Watching 750 horse power truck fly over a jump at 80mph and land 120 ft away is pretty freakin’ sweet.

I went to my first race a few years ago at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and I was hooked. Since then I have been to just about every SCORE race that our Desert Assassins team has entered and many of the pre-runs that we do weeks before the actual race to get a feel for the course and mark the GPS with skull & crossbones.

The pre-run, or as we like to call it “pre-fun”, is in its own way the best part of off-road racing. Yeah, the rush of racing in a 750 horse power trophy truck bumper to bumper at 100mph + through the middle of Baja is unreal and like none other, but while pre-running you get to experience the real Baja at your own pace with good friends, cold beer and none of the pressure or stress that comes on race day.

Santo Tomas is the home of the best road sign everrrr! Bean digs it.

Last weekend, a small portion of our team, led by TV dork and trophy truck driver Cameron Steele, loaded up the trailers and crew cabs and made the trip south to Ensenada to pre-run for the upcoming Baja 500. This is how it went...

We got settled in at the Villa Marina Hotel in Ensenada early enough Friday night to go out and tear up the town a bit. Well 5:30am finally rolled around and getting out of bed was a struggle but I made it to the trucks and we were on the road. Highway 3 took us out of the smoggy and smelly ghetto of Ensenada to the fresh air and beauty of the Baja desert. We got on the race course at Ojos Negros at about race mile 34 and began the pre-fun. The windy rain rutted roads led us down to Santo Tomas, a small town where the crew stopped and ate some breakfast, screwed around and worked a little on the cars.

Next the course took us down towards the coast and by that time it was easily 90 degrees inland, so the cool pacific breeze was a relief. I was in the lead 4 seater so I had time to stop and snap some photos while waiting for the others to catch up. The beaches down here are amazing compared to anything you will ever find in So-Cal. The party train headed back inland towards Valle de Trinidad and made its way up to Simpson Trail and all the time stopping to hang out and enjoy a beer or snack. Simpson’s is a 1000 ft. climb up a rocky mountain that you wouldn’t even think to walk up, it is that nasty. All of our cars made it up, but J-Gun's Ford Ranger of had to go back because of a Bronco that was stuck in the middle holding up traffic. It was getting close to dark and we had already pre-run about 150 miles so we found the road that cut to the other side of the course to Mike’s Sky Rancho. Mike’s is a relatively nice hotel with a pool and bar, but it’s in the middle of f-ing nowhere. It was awesome; we had a kick-ass dinner, drank some margaritas, took a dip in the pool and just camped out in the dirt.

We left early from Mike’s because the plan was to finish the remainder of the course early enough to get back to Ensenada and party (at least that was my plan). Next we finished the southern loop of the race course which is really rough and tight. Took highway 3 back up through Valley T and made our way up to the pine wood forest and down to Tres Hermanos. The rules didn't allow us to go right and pre-run up the course from Tres Hermanos to the finish because of oncoming pre-run traffic so we went left and took another look at the section between Tres Hermanos and Uruapan and then took highway 1 north back to E-Town.

After 2 days playing in the dirt it was right back to business in town. All the old guys had to rub toes with their ladies so that night Slarf, Bean, Squirly, the Littler One, Azam and I went to every club, shady bar and taco stand we could find and went nuts. It gets a little blurry after Papas and Beer but reportedly we stumbled into the room at about 5am and woke everyone up. Needless to say we didn’t get up to pre-run in the morning. Once we finally woke up we got some breakfast/lunch tacos and talked this guy into selling us four pair of “authentic” Oakley Blades for 15 dollars, the deal of a life time. After that we just cruzed around town but people kept telling us to “Slow down!” I didn’t realize how fast and athletic those blades made us look. I’ve never pulled so many chicks in my life!

The entire trip was bad-ass! We got to see the whole course, camp out in the dirt and party like Mexican rock stars. I can’t wait to go back down next week for the actual race and see our Desert Assassins/etnies #16 Trophy Truck take the over-all! Check back for my race report and photos of the Baja 500.

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