The Baja 1000 - from Ensenada to La Paz - 1047 miles of toughest racing in the world!
etnies rider Steve Hengeveld took the overall win at the Baja 1000! Steve finished almost 1 hour ahead of the next finishing vehicle and over 2 hours ahead of the next motorcycle on one of the toughest Baja 1000 courses ever!!! Steve made history with his 5th Baja 1000 win in a row, beating out the previous record held by Johnny Campbell. Steve, congrats from etnies and good luck on six in a row next year!
The etnies-backed Desert Assassins team was in full force at this year's Baja 1000. The team had 5 different vehicles attempting the 1000 mile race which started last Thursday morning in Ensenada! Here's the rundown:
The first of the DA vehicles off the line would be the 19X FMF/Service Honda/Nicoll Racing Open Pro CRF450X ridden by Cameron Steele, Trigger Gumm, Grant Steele, Craig Smith, Larry Badgwell, Conner Gilmer, Cody Stuart and Max Eddy. The eight of them would trade off riding duties until the finish, but some bike problems around mile 680 would leave Conner Gilmer stuck in the middle of nowhere to sleep under a bush until he could get a ride back to a pit. That was the end of the race for the DA bike team.
The #16 Unbound Energy Trophy Truck driven by Cameron Steele was next up. With 700 HP, this thing will go 120+mph through the desert, destroying everything in it's path including other Trophy Trucks! But, unfortunately, the Baja 1000 got the best of it this time. The truck had mechanical problems all day (the wheel fell off while going 80MPH!!!) and called it quits after trying every possible thing to get going again. Better luck next time, eh.
Darren Hardesty is a bad-ass when it comes to driving off-road cars (he even nerfed Travis Pastrana while pre-running!). Darren came into the final race with the lead in Calss 10 points and requested a rear start (so he started behind everyone in his class!). His driving partner Mark Randazzo started the race and handed off the Class 10 car to Darren in really good position at the halfway point. Darren then took it to the finish in first place in Class 10 (9th place overall!) and won the Class 10 Championship! A big congrats to the whole Hardesty crew!
Another Champion and bad-ass in the DA crew is Brian "Cheater" Burgess! Cheater, who has been know to wear women's dresses, drove a smart race and finished in second place. But what really matters is that he finished ahead of the guy who was first place in points going into the Baja 1000. Cheater did just that and walked away with the Class 1/2-1600 Championship, which is arguably the most competitive class in off-road racing!
Last to finish but not least (at least it finished!) is the Unbound Energy 7SX Truck driven by Heidi Steele, Chris Vano, Danny Ellender and Justin Smith (AKA Bean). I (the etnies web guy) was the co-driver for Bean for the last 300 miles, and anything that could have gone wrong pretty much did! The first 70 or so miles of our section went perfect. We were going pretty fast and passing a bunch of cars and trucks as the sun was setting behind the mountains.
how's the hole we hit at 40MPH!
Just 15 miles from a scheduled pit stop we hit the silt...if you don't know about silt, just imagine miles of road covered in dust just like baby powder, but it's 2 feet deep and the second you hit it you cant see a thing and the car instantly wants to get stuck! Well, there was another car stuck in the silt in the middle of the road and there was no way we were slowing down because we would get stuck, too. Of course we hit the other car, went through a barbed wire fence and about 10 cactus, and broke the steering box! Not good!
About an hour later we got that all fixed, took off back down the course and got stuck a half mile later! We dug ourselves out, then got stuck again! It took about 3 hours to go only 15 miles! We still had over 200 miles to go!
In the next 200 miles we got stuck in the silt two more times, hit a big hole and broke the I-beam, welded it back together and had 3 flat tires! Bean and I first got in the truck at 2PM on Friday afternoon... we finished at 5:00AM Saturday morning! 15 hours and we went only 300 miles...but at least we finished!!!