2015 BAJA RALLY 3.0 - September 28- October2, 2015

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Scotty Breauxman, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Scotty Breauxman

    Scotty Breauxman Baja Breaux

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    Race-Dezert story and pics HERE

    Trent Burgiss (aka "My Boy Blue") so badly terrorized the entire field of Rally 1 that the Obama admin is sending the prez in to console the victims.
    Never seen anything so impressive from a rookie since Caselli's 2013 Dakar debut.
    [​IMG]
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  2. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Xplorer Supporter

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    Congratulations Scotty. Though I was not present in the race, it was a real pleasure following it.
    The tracking was perfect!
    I think Rally comp should be used more, and I am sure all the early glitches will be ironed, so thumbs up from me on making the race a pleasure to follow. Even OiLybia without live tracking is poor to follow...
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  3. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to asphalt! Supporter

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    Trent is so bad he doesn't even wear goggles.
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  4. rides2little

    rides2little Braaaaaap Supporter

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    Trent was at the PNW rally school in early August that Konflict and RMS put on. No one saw him from 10 min after the start of each day until we got back to camp unless there was some gas stop or something to regroup for. The only telltale sign that he had been on route was the massive full throttle drift marks coming through the corners. That was his first time using a roadbook and makes the BR3.0 result even more impressive. One fast dude for sure.
  5. EdGear

    EdGear Edventurer

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    Any of the guys from the BMW Escondido Rally Chase group please contact me, start a conversation...
  6. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

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    Home safe just before midnight, 5288.8mi on the GPS odometer, plus abt 600 in GF's truck. I'll try to get the pics up this weekend while "working" on improvements at Ghost Rancho. And riding "Jenny's" EXC. :ricky

    It wuz PHUN!!! Bang-up job, Scotty!!! :bow:bow:bow

    Muchos gracias to all who helped and especially to Goofy Footer who was Johnny-on-the-Spot with transport to the bivvy at El Roasrio, thence to La Progreso, and to beechum1 (and Patrick's truck/trailer) for hauling the 690 back to TX; couldn't have done it without y'all! And of course to JMo without whom there wouldn't even have been a dream to fulfill. :happay

    Next year? :deal
  7. ghostrider1964

    ghostrider1964 Edumacated Red Neck

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    I need to go next year!!! I will have a passport by then!:baldy
  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    The other side of the Baja Rally...

    [​IMG]
    Photo courtesy of Nishant Verma Photography

    If you're going to f**k it up, make sure you do it in front of a photographer ;o)

    More soon...

    Jenny xx
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  9. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

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    Total COOL! :bow:bow:bow

    Stoke took pics of me blasting the salt off the EXC Sunday. No white spots showing up, got it in time and the wheel bearing change is coming up soon, maybe this weekend but if not ("working" at Ghost Rancho tomorrow and Sunday), definitely next week.


    9 days, application submission to in-hand via the Tyler Main PO. The passport guy there said, IIRC, that he's been doing the job 31 years and he's a hoot.
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  10. Pyndon

    Pyndon Long timer

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    Currently in the middle of writing articles for the Baja Rally but wanted to say a few words here.

    The organisation have really got this thing going, I've raced all over the world and they are getting close to those as the top of their game. Small improvements year on year are proving this, keep improving and in a few years time you'll have something big.

    I had a blast, right from crossing the border to the finish party. The bit before that was mad, preparing two bikes, one which only arrived 2 days before and needed a full overhaul, then after the race I had 4 days to get everything cleaned up and both bikes shipped out to their next destination. No time to do much either side but work. It was all worth it though.

    I'm back home now, sat at my computer crunching over 100GB of movies to get it into something fun for you peeps.

    Back to the race, it was Epic, the exact reason I knew why I would go there one day to do a road book rally. I completed the Baja 1000 before I even got into road book rallies but when I learned the road book, I knew Baja was the place, it has everything and this race proved it. It was very much like Sardinia FIM World Round for me. Very rocky and technical with only a few places to rest (when the big bike came into its own). Next year I hope they can fit a few dunes into the program....Scotty?

    The people of the organisation made it enjoyable too. That Eric guy who did the timing cracked me up every time I saw him with his energy and enthusiasm, don't loose him!

    I got to race with some of the best and finishing only 26 minutes behind Henge after over 15 hours of racing was not too bad. There were times, I was thankful of the rally bike, blistering past the enduro based bikes on the fast sections but then times where I cursed the small bikes as their agility gave the edge in the technical sections. If I had the choice I'd probably choose a smaller bike, as Henge did this year but I'm not complaining or making excuses. I rode the best I ever have and I feel comfortable on the big bike (apart from when it's following me into the silt headfirst!).

    I has fun racing along side Quinn, Steve H, Cameron, Trent and the other boys at the front. I also enjoyed hanging out with everyone in the bivouac, a great bunch of people indeed.

    To have two of my bikes at the finish of the rally was extra special after all the hard work preparing for the race. Yuji did the team proud and struggled on with broken ribs after stage 3 to put in a solid finish.

    I thought it was a long way to go for a 4 day, relatively short rally but I tell you what, I totally got my money's worth. Expectations were exceeded and lots of challenging fun and enjoyment was had.

    Keep up the hard work Baja Rally. Some of the key memories from the race:

    1) Getting my navigation all wrong within 0.5km of the start of the first stage and finding myself lost with Quinn Cody, that made me feel better :-)

    2) Face-planting in the silt beds on day three - a reminder NEVER to ride on in dust.

    3) Getting lost for 15 minutes due to a navigation error, the most lost I have ever got on a rally and having to really dig deep to my inner qualities to figure it out. It was challenging nav in places, road book was good but riders had to be on their toes....that day I was not.

    4) Taking out a Catcus, full bore, head on and having to ride 85km with huge Cactus spikes stuck in me all over. Every time I moved or hit another bush, the pain was pretty immense. The extraction process wasn't any more pleasant. Lesson learnt, steer clear. Thanks to Cameron Steele's Paramedic for pulling them all out with a pair of pliers...ouch!

    5) Pulling into the finish line and seeing the look on Scotty B's face.

    6) Seeing my team mate Yuji bring it home in 18th place. His first Rally outside of Asia, well done mate. Both bikes had a clean run with no issues other than rider induced ones :-)

    Finally, thanks to Dave, Phil and Alex and the ICO Racing / RMS crew for transporting our bikes to the race and back and letting us use your tents and equipment as required.

    Rally on dudes.

    Lyndon

    [​IMG]

    The girls knew where it was at :-)

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    Finish of final stage, just behind The Henge.

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    Yuji and I...

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    Top 5 pool party!

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  11. brent tex

    brent tex Been here awhile

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    pleased I could amuse all of you.
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  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    OK, finally - time to shake the leaves before this thread finally settles down for the winter, and almost inevitably is replaced with a brand new Baja Rally 4.0 thread in the spring…

    With the prices and dates just released for 2016 here, I feel now is the perfect time to tell you all how I got on during this year's event, and hopefully inspire some of you to sign up early and take advantage of the discounted entry fee!

    While Lyndon has already given you a stellar report from the sharp and pointy end, my story is from a little further down towards the blunt end of the blade - that sticky part covered in fish-guts... (yes, a strange metaphor perhaps, but I’ll get to that part about riding in the ocean soon enough ;o)


    Pre event:

    So to re-cap, my campaign started the moment Scotty announced the free-shipping deal for European riders this year, and I jumped at this unique opportunity to finally race in Baja California. I even specially built up my one remaining dirt bike (my venerable 2003 model XR400R) in rally-lite trim, complete with retro 80’s colour scheme - but you’ll have to wait until next year to see that now - because…

    Unfortunately the organisation had to postpone the proposed Euro-shipping deal due to the fact that many riders who would have certainly signed up, had already committed to events in Europe and Africa at this time of year - and which is why I'm here now, encouraging you all to sign up early for the 2016 event - as Lyndon has already said above, it is one of the best organised and stunningly diverse rally-raid events I have ever had the pleasure of riding too - utterly utterly recommended!


    So back to this summer - fortunately, a very generous offer from an equally generous benefactor and all-round rally-tragic Garfey, meant that I now had the opportunity to ride a bike based in the US, which would vastly simplify the logistics and significantly reduce the overheads of taking part this year.

    The bike in question - a 2014 (EFi) model KTM 500EXC had already been partially prepped for fellow inmate Bananaman to race in the Baja 500 this year. Unfortunately Max subsequently crashed during pre-running and was unable to take part, which meant the bike was effectively gathering dust in Garfey's shed, complete with a large Acerbis gas tank and Scotts steering damper already fitted.

    Therefore all I'd really need to do is bring over my own rally nav gear and mount it on the bike (using the simple Rally-Raid billet bar-mounting kit), slip a couple of mousses inside a pair of Michelin Deserts and I'd be pretty much good to go... keeping things as simple as possible, especially as I'd be competing Malle Moto style and doing all my own prep and service work.


    [​IMG]

    photo. The EXC in rally-lite spec - and a rare photo of me not in the ocean...

    cont.
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  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 1 - Monday 28th September: Scrutineering.

    Having originally planned to have at least a day in hand to prepare and set up the bike, a series of unfortunate circumstances immediately preceding departure meant that the bike eventually arrived in Ensenada just 15 minutes before the end of scrutineering…

    Fortunately we’d been able to keep the organisation informed of the delay over the preceding days, and they assured me they would do their best to accommodate this last minute entry.

    So with no choice but to prep the bike in the dark, I subsequently missed a key briefing on the Rally-Comp device (more on that later) and ended up fitting my tyres and mousses by the light of the RMS tent (thank you!). Ultimately I didn’t get to bed until after 1am, having finally marked up my road book for stage 1… not the most auspicious start to a week of hard rally racing of course, but I was optimistic [for now at least] that everything was suitably prepared.

    cont.
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  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 2 - Tuesday 29th September: Ensenada to Rancho El Coyote.

    “A fully paid up member of the over-the-bars club…”


    Up at 4am, this is already way more ‘Dakar’ than I’d been expecting, and while a heady mix of adrenalin and caffeine was doing it’s best to fire me up, I was also concerned that so far I’d only actually ridden the bike around the car-park (to ensure the IMO sensor was working) the night before!

    At 5.30am the rally left en masse and was [police] escorted through town, and I spent the initial 90km liaison desperately trying to calibrate the IMO on the fly, and eventually got it to be pretty much bang on with the GPS and road book. I was happy with that.


    The start of the first special was on the beach, and I have to commend the organisation on the quality of their snacks available while we waited - us Hobbits like a second breakfast.

    Starting mid-pack, I soon got into the swing of things, and was increasingly confident the road book was both accurate and detailed - again, in general something I can also commend the organisation on, bar the odd inaccuracy later in the event.


    However, relatively early on in the event I was able to prove quite comprehensively the crash-ability of the KTM, as the road book sent us off-piste on a cap heading with the words ‘caution, uneven ground’.

    Now this is not usually a problem for someone of a modest pace like me, but halfway across what was essentially a ploughed field was a deep drainage ditch, and in almost a carbon copy of events that took me out of Dakar 2011 (and kept me on crutches for five months), I saw the hazard far too late, barrelled headlong into this hole at about 30mph, and flew like a rag doll over the bars with the bike cartwheeling behind me…

    Dazed and amazed that nothing was actually broken this time, I sprang to me feet and desperately tried to right the bike, despite being winded (as the day progressed and so too the week unfolded, my ribs became increasingly sore - bruised if not broken at least).

    Fortunately for the handful of following riders, this incident gave them all plenty of warning to slow down and take an alternative route around/across the ditch. #10 Yuji Shinohara from Japan was the first on the scene and helped me get the (still nearly fully fuelled) bike upright again - thank you!


    The rest of the day passed without incident - other than the fact that on arrival at the mid-stage refuel, the Orga told me I had missed a large number of waypoints… Wait, what?

    Now I might not be all that fast at this rally racing malarky, but the one thing I can do is navigate pretty well - and I was convinced I had followed the road book implicitly, and therefore should have made each and every waypoint - indeed there were some towards the end of the first sector that I knew I’d met, so why hadn’t they recored as such on the Rally-Comp tracking device that we all had fitted to our bikes?

    Eventually it was explained to me by the device’s originator Mike Johnson. It turns out that if you miss a waypoint, then rather than automatically jump to the next (or at least reset itself once you pass the next one in the sequence), it keeps trying to send you back to that missed waypoint, and will not record any subsequent waypoints as reached, unless you manually skip to the next one in the chain (and log a corresponding time penalty). Of course I didn’t know any of this because while everyone else was in the briefing the night before, I was still routing IMO cables and fitting mousses. Damn it.

    With hindsight, I can only imagine that I had in fact missed a waypoint during that off-piste and subsequent crash section, and that is why none of the following waypoints were recorded.


    Fortunately I had recorded a track-log of my route in my own GPS and (together with the independent track log from the Rally Comp device) ultimately the Orga could ascertain whether or not I had reached all the subsequent waypoints or not - but that would have to be done under the process of appeal, on reaching the bivouac that evening.

    I was a bit deflated and frustrated by this to honest, but grateful that Mike had at least explained the workings (and the skip forward procedure etc.) to me during that mid-stage rest stop, and was confident that no further penalties of that nature would now occur during the rest of the event.


    On reaching the first bivouac - a delightful shady camping spot on a ranch adjacent to the ASS in the middle of the desert - that afternoon, I met up with Lisa who had already set up our tent and created a tidy workspace, so that I could inspect and service the bike after this first and full day racing, and get on with those jobs that I’d been unable to complete the night before.

    This primarily involved re-routing the front brake hose along the lower triple-clamp below the headlight so that it wouldn’t snag on the bar mounted navigation gear, and removing the huge (and rapidly deteriorating) rear light and licence plate holder assembly - Lisa getto-fixing the lamp unit itself to the underside of the fender with duct tape - yeah, now we were properly ready to race!


    The bike itself had been excellent so far - it was the first time I’d raced an EXC, and was impressed by the power, the tractability of the EFi engine and the stock suspension in general. As I say, I’m really not a contender at the sharp end of these things, and on the whole like the bike set-up soft and comfortable - as I tend to ride sitting down whenever I can to help preserve my energy during a multi-day event.


    Unfortunately the day ultimately ended on a note of ambiguity since when I went to submit my track log (for the first half of the day’s stage), my GPS crapped-out and wiped it’s memory before they had a chance to download it. Gaaaaaah - you couldn’t make it up!

    cont.
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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 3 - Wednesday 30th September: Rancho El Coyote to El Rosario.

    “Out of gas in a garden of rocks.”


    Having slept well under canvas, it was a further relief to hear that overnight the Orga had decided that due to the number of riders with ambiguities during that first sector yesterday, that no penalties would be applied for missed waypoints - or more accurately waypoints that were not recorded - for the first half of the day. Thank goodness!


    I was still a little concerned that there had been no sign of Garfey at the bivouac, neither the previous afternoon/evening, nor again this morning. His intention had always been to follow the rally himself on his own bike and meet up at the bivouacs each evening - not least to lend a hand and advise on the intricacies of the bike as required.

    Fortunately during breakfast I was relieved to hear (via our mutual friend Steve) that he was in fact ok after all, but that he’d elected to stay in the hotel in Ensenada after his huge and exhausting journey over the weekend, and planned to catch up with us all later in the week.


    With a relatively short distance to the mid-stage refuel this morning (157kms), I elected to only fill the tank to the ‘4’ (out of 7) markings that had been sharpie-inked on the side of the opaque tank. I mean, 4 gallons ought be ample for a 100 miles right?

    There was a short 30km liaison at first light, as the proposed initial section of the stage itself had been washed away by recent flooding - and we were rewarded with an epic twisty tarmac ride as the sun came up over the mountains. I’m sure I’m not the only first timer to Baja who didn’t realise the region was quite so mountainous, and quite so stunning!


    The first part of the stage was pretty technical - some really rocky canyon riding, and a lot of fun - well, if you were on an enduro bike at least - all credit to the guys who were on the full-size rally bikes (and again especially later in the day in the rock garden section!)

    The route then headed for the coast, followed by a fast blast right alongside the Pacific ocean on the beach itself - the soft sand sapping the power away in the higher gears, but exhilarating none-the-less.


    I felt I’d been making good time this morning, nailing the nav and not getting passed by too many other riders - indeed, I’d been riding on my own for much of the day. However, towards the end of the first half (just prior to the refuel) there was clearly an ambiguity in the road book, where what was on the ground really didn’t match the tulip diagrams at all.

    I back-tracked a couple of times to a known point, and took an educated guess… The #1 rule is always to trust your own instincts of course, but seeing a rider returning down a track that I initially thought was correct caused me to doubt that decision, and I elected to ride on a little further and see if there was an alternative, since the road book instructions were still a little ambiguous.

    Sure enough, there was a right hand turn that sort of corresponded to the notes, followed by a track junction that could well be at the distance I should have been at. However, a kilometre or so further on and it was soon clear I was on the wrong track.

    As I went to turn around the engine died, and looking down, I realised to my horror that I was out of fuel. Completely out of fuel. This is an EFi bike with a pump, no reserve.

    I laid the bike on it’s side to try and drain the dregs from the opposite side of the tank, but it still wouldn’t start. Nothing. Nada. Shit.


    I waited for a couple of minutes or so, but of course no-one else was going to come by were they? - because I wasn't actually on the course anymore!

    There was nothing for it but to press my SPOT tract to alert the Orga to my actual position, and see if I couldn’t get my bearings, and perhaps walk back to the correct track and flag someone down… It a long shot I know - but the alternative was to sit out in the sun all afternoon and wait for the sweep truck - not an option!

    [​IMG]

    photo. this frame-grab might have been a cause for concern at the time, as the SPOT seems to have flagged a ‘withdrawing’ message.


    I walked a few hundred metres to the top of a hill, and as luck would have it, in the distance saw one of the SSV buggies - albeit driving in what looked to be the opposite direction. Perhaps he was lost too? Of course he blasted onwards without even considering there might be some idiot on top of a nearby hill waving their helmet frantically.


    I was about to resort to the sat phone, when in the distance I spied what looked like a pair of bikes further down that same track, and when I realised they were not moving, I began the long trudge across the desert towards them - again waving frantically to try and catch their attention before they remounted and sped away.

    It was a good 800 metres across the desert, and as I drew closer I recognised the silhouette of a white 450RFR - well that has to be fellow Brit #36 Kurt Burroughs I thought?


    Sure enough, Kurt has stopped to help a fellow RMS team-mate #35 Erez Avremov, who had crashed and broken some ribs, and was now waiting for the medi-copter under a makeshift sun shade, having been there for quite some while.

    Obviously this was hugely disappointing for Erez, especially in his first competitive rally-raid event, but as ever he remained in good spirits, despite clearly being in a lot of pain.

    I had barely explained my own predicament before he immediate offered me some fuel from his bike “Take as much as you need, I’m not going anywhere now” he groaned.


    The only receptacle we had between us (other than my Camelbak bladder, which at this stage and in this heat particularly, I did not want to forfeit) was an empty drink bottle, with the remains of a powdered energy drink inside. No problem, I’ll just rinse it out with some fuel I thought… However, the moment the petrol made contact with the sludge, it turned into a gloopy emulsion, coating the inside of the bottle with gunk. Shit.

    Don’t panic. Fortunately, a few mouthfuls of water from my Camelbak was all it took to liquify this sorry mess, and I soon had it cleaned out sufficiently to carry a half litre of fuel back across the desert in an effort to get my bike running again.

    Retracing my footsteps in an effort to ride the shortest possible distance back towards the guys; I then decanted another half gallon or so with gratitude, thanks, and promises of beers all round once we all got safely back to the bivouac that evening.


    In an effort to stretch this particular story out just long enough so you begin to feel the same sense of time slipping away as I did back then, it was interesting to note that Kurt was adamant he was at kilometre ninety-something, when I knew I was at 146 or thereabouts… Later, after zooming out on my GPS track-log screen, I realised that the rally route today effectively looped back on itself, and because I’d missed the correct turning, had in effect crossed over the previous outbound leg, which is why the buggy and Kurt and Erez appeared to be facing in the wrong direction. They weren’t, they were just not as far along the course of course - and indeed, I must have already ridden the very same ground they were on a little earlier that morning. I thought it looked familiar!


    So, returning to a known point for a third and final time, I rest my trip meter and followed my original instinct after all, and other than passing by another accident (where again the injured rider was being well cared for by another competitor), made the refuel and was able to continue - somewhat frustrated that I’d wasted a good hour and a half on miscalculating the morning’s fuel range.

    It wasn’t long after before the ghetto tail-light finally parted company with the bike over a particularly harsh whoop, and ultimately that final sector through the rock garden couldn’t come to an end soon enough.


    Rolling in to El Rosario later in the afternoon that I would have otherwise liked, to add insult to injury, the second night bivouac was hosted in a dry and dusty baseball field, with very limited facilities; and despite being tasty, the rather meagre portion sizes dispensed by the outside caterers also did little to raise my spirits.

    Fortunately Lisa had had the same idea as some of the other assistance crews who had arrived much earlier in the day, and thoughtfully booked us into a local motel so at least I could get properly clean and have a good nights sleep. But of course first there was an oil change and other general service work to undertake.

    cont.
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  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 4 - Thursday 1st October: El Rosario to Mission Catavina.

    “Ocean’s uneven.”


    Another early morning - indeed its worth noting that the Baja Rally features early starts throughout, with the first bike away from the bivouac at typically 6am and barely first light. That is not to say you need a bank of HID lights on your bike - as none of the racing itself is undertaken before sunrise - but it’s worth noting that at that time of year, even in Baja it can be a little chilly before the sun is up.


    A tasty (but again rather small) breakfast and I was about to jump on the bike, when who did I spy waving a camera in my general direction but my old mate Garfey! Having suitably recovered from his ordeal of driving across four states and a chunk of Mexico, he’d now driven south in a borrowed pick-up to meet us at the bivouac after all.

    It was really nice to see him, and to reassure him that there had been no mechanical issue or injury yesterday, only that I’d run out of fuel. He laughed and asked how on earth I’d run out of fuel with that huge tank he’d fitted?! - it was only when I explained that I had not intended to overly fill the [presumably] seven gallon tank for such a comparatively short sector, than he revealed the markings on the tank were not full gallons, but in actual fact only 2.68 litres each…


    Stage three started in a series of shady canyons, before heading for the coast again. At the briefing the night before, Scotty had explained that our schedule coincided with low tide, and that part of the course would actually run along the waters’ edge where the beach narrowed, before heading inland in a hidden canyon. Sounded pretty epic to me. It was.


    Since your start position is traditionally based on your finish place from the day before, I was towards the back of the pack this morning; and while the tide was out for the front runners, by the time I arrived on the beach the tide had most certainly turned, and was rapidly encroaching on what was left of the shingle below the rocks.

    It was kind of fun, right up to the point I realised the surf was getting significantly deeper, and that there was now no chance of me diverting up on to higher ground.


    [​IMG]

    photo. that’s me in the water, that’s me in the spot-light… loosing my religion.


    I managed to jump off the bike and brace myself against the incoming tide, and eventually turn the bike so that it was at least facing towards the cliffs, and that the waves wouldn’t knock me over… otherwise that really would have been a disaster.


    [​IMG]


    Try as I might though, I couldn’t get any traction on the wet rocks:


    [​IMG]


    Fortunately #34 (and ADV inmate) Brent Tex who had been just ahead of me, saw my predicament and ran back to help - and together we pushed the bike until there was enough traction to get it up onto the shingle path.

    And of course typically there had to be a photographer right there to capture this failure on both our parts - Thank you Nishant Verma for all the above photography.



    While I’d managed to escape from the sea itself intact, the rest of today proved to be no less eventful - as the rally route continued to hug the coast for much of the morning, and included some particularly challenging climbs and descents in and out of deep dry washes along the cliff edge.

    Later in the afternoon, the route headed inland at last, and though a forest of giant Saguaro Cacti. It was a surreal experience to be winding my way through the desert beneath this huge green monsters, only to be rudely awakened by the searing pain of punching a smaller cactus that was growing right at the side of the two-track - with first my left hand, and then a few kilometres later, another with the right. These things are like sewing needles sticking into your knuckles - excruciating!


    The final remote bivouac was a delight - an outpost oasis hotel in the middle of the desert, complete with pool, bar, and that provided one of the most comprehensive buffet dinners I have ever seen - such a contrast from the night before! I suggested to Scotty that next year he might consider running a clover-leaf style event with five nights based out of this place - purely to simplify logistics of course!

    With little [service] work to do to the bike, other than a thorough wash (as best we could) after the dunking in the sea that morning, and it was early to bed for the 4am alarm call the following day…

    cont.
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  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,397
    Location:
    California
    Day 5 - Friday 2nd October: Mission Catavina to Ensenada.

    “A Dakar(ish) day.”


    Throughout the week I’d endeavoured to manage my energy pretty well I thought. I was tired but never exhausted at the end of each day, and recovered well enough overnight to start next morning with fresh optimism. While on the surface the Baja Rally might seem relatively short compared to some European and North African events, you have to remember that each day is almost all special stage - with either no or minimal liaisons on the highway - rather you are typically straight out of the bivouac and onto the stage. Nice.


    The special stages themselves are also longer than your average European rally too (around 300kms per day) and on the whole, far more technical than you find in a typical North African desert rally - more a combination of the eastern European style of mountain rally, interspersed with fast open going, punctuated with seemingly endless dry-river sand-washes (this is Baja after all) and not least some terrain that is completely unique to this part of the world.

    In fact I would suggest it is this very combination of such varied and technical terrain, coupled with the stunning scenery all around that makes this event so epic and intense, and an absolute joy to take part in.

    There is also the issue of the weather - even at the beginning of October, most European riders would consider the conditions ‘hot’ - temperatures in the mid thirties (degrees centigrade of course), and little opportunity to take shelter out of the sun if you unfortunate to have a mechanical issue for example. Similarly, the wind can be harsh (you are on a narrow peninsular facing the Pacific Ocean), and I was surprised by the altitude of some of the stages - well over 6000ft - and I thought Baja was one flat sandy spit! Coupled with potentially cold nights, and those early morning starts - you are essentially subjected to all these extremes on a daily basis.

    Setting your alarm for 3.45am (so you can make the head of the breakfast queue) is another thing that many Europeans (outside of Dakar) might not be used to - and the final (and longest) day of the rally was also the earliest.


    With the first bike away at 5am this morning, it would be a long cold and dark liaison over the mountains to the DSS back at EL Rosario, and where the final Special Stage would then be tailed by another 100+ miles of final liaison before the official finish in Ensenada. Furthermore, the organisation made it clear that to obtain a finishers medal, you had to complete the whole distance under your own power.

    I was confident that the KTM 500 - which had performed faultlessly all week - would just carry me onwards in a similar manner, and sure enough it did. Still a little groggy from the early start, the first few kilometres of the special were in a soft sandy wash, that soon sapped my remaining strength this far into the event. I knew it couldn’t last forever (actually I didn’t know, just hoped!), and sure enough, once onto firmer ground I was able to pick up the pace again and trust I had enough energy to retain my wits about me, and concentrate on the final day’s navigation.


    Some of the terrain was familiar (albeit in reverse direction to the journey south), but there were some equally exciting and scenic new sections, coupled with some tricky navigation, just to keep everyone on their toes right up to the final flag.

    Throughout the final stage I’d been criss-crossing paths with Bob Jones (inmate Silverstone) in his UTV, and having entered the final wash ahead of him and with the ASS in sight, he stormed past, covering me in a cloud of dust - Bastard! ;o)

    But hey, I’d manage to ride a clean stage, helped a fellow competitor who’d run out of fuel, and hopefully at least hung onto my position in the overall standings, and that is all that really mattered now.


    Of course the bike had one last insult for me - after the final refuel, I went to get back on and the notorious KTM side stand finally snapped (admittedly it had been damaged earlier in the week), dumping me and the bike itself in a heap on the ground!

    Ultimately I returned to the Rally HQ in Ensenada without incident, and was pleased to hear I’d made up a place during the final stage, to finish 19th overall (and 8th in the Rally Pro class)*

    *Although technically that means there were ten Rally 1 riders ahead of me of course! - but then these are all guys who ride and race Baja regularly, and I’d be the first to admit that soft sandy washes are not my forte in the first place.

    I was really happy with that result - and particularly on a borrowed bike. I'm eternally grateful for Garfey stepping up at the 10th if not 11th hour and offering me the ride, and trust the result reflects all his hard work and investment. In all honesty, I don't think I'd have been any faster on my own bike, or with any more time for prep - my intention throughout was to ride as clean a race as possible, and come back with a finishers medal and no injuries to myself of the machine. Mission accomplished I'd say!

    cont.
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  18. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,397
    Location:
    California
    My final event summary for 2015:


    First of all I would echo Lyndon’s appraisal - this event is already world-class in the terms of logistics and the terrain, and I encourage you all to seriously consider the Baja Rally 4.0 as part of your calendar next year.

    From a competitors point of view, although this year was only 4 race days (5 race days for 2016) I consider the entry fee very good value for money indeed.

    Not only is all your race fuel included (the Orga expect you to start the event with a full tank, thereafter all fuel is provided at the fuel-stops and the bivouac by Baja Pits), but it’s details like the quality of the race plate stickers, a lovely pewter finisher's medal, and the fact you even got a personalised race jersey with your own name and race number on that might initially seem superficial, but it's these little things that actually make you feel special; and are an excellent illustration of the attention to detail the organisation take as a whole.

    Certainly the crew are all well presented, and utterly enthusiastic (even at 4am!), and there is a relaxed but at the same time professional feel to the whole proceedings.

    The bivouacs/hotels are also excellent (save the dust-bowl in El Rosario), and the associated staff made the whole rally very welcome.

    The road books were also clear and accurate (bar the odd anomaly), and the number of medical and sweep riders, together with the timing/scoring and admin staff all helped to make the event run very smoothly.


    However, the stand out feature of this rally for me was the incorporation of the Rally-Comp, again, included as part of the entry fee. This was the debut event for the device, and once I’d been shown how it worked properly, it proved invaluable as a second trip, speedo and cap repeater - plus the way it tracks you in real time and opens up the waypoints etc. as the stage unfolds. The fact that the data can be instantly downloaded at the DSS also helps with the timing and scoring procedure, and really lifts this event to a level above anything other than a full FIM event.


    I have already given my own more detailed feedback to Scotty and the team regarding this year’s event (precious few criticisms I would add), and cannot tell you how excited I am to see the dates for the 2016 edition are already confirmed. Seriously, you owe it to yourself to be part of this too!

    I really hope you’ll be there with me next year!

    Toot toot for now!

    Jenny x
  19. rides2little

    rides2little Braaaaaap Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,160
    Location:
    Lost in Utardia
    And one month later......tick tock! :amazon


    Jenny, thanks for taking the time to post that up. Great read and even more incentive to sign up for this one for 2016!
  20. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,090
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    Worth every penny, and sleepless night, and that interminable it's-a-wonder-I-didn't-kill-everyone-on-the-hwys-between-EasTX-and-Ensenada drive!

    :bow:bow:bow Ms. Jenny!!! :bow:bow:bow
    :clap
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    :clap:clap:clap:clap
    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap
    :clap:clap:clap:clap
    :clap:clap:clap
    :clap:clap
    :clap

    The Tomato and bikes and, if we need it, The Baja Chase Truck (running strong, it was just a gear in the transfer case, not the transmission, and that was fixed by a guy from up the road for a Benjamin and a 30-pack of Bud), and crew will be ready to lend support in 2016; now, what spares and consumables will we need to keep that XR400 on the boil?

    Happy Turkey Day to you Colonists, a joyous Fall to all, and a Very Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year to all y'all. There - I think I'm the first to say that this year.

    So . . . . how long is it until kickoff, Dakar 2016?
    Gotta get my Command-R left hand tuned up.

    Magnificent pics, Nashant!!!!! :bow:bow:bow
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