1. eNewsletter Sign Up

Bluffers guide to Baja - - {Racing the San Felipe 250}

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Baron Bolton, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Baron Bolton

    Baron Bolton Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    England
    I've been in San Felipe for a few weeks, and seem to have somehow landed a spot in the 'San Felipe Baja 250' race.


    So after all the kindness and generosity that ADV has provided me, I thought it only fair that I now bore the knickers off you, with a full blow by blow account of how this little adventure pans out.


    I've been overland riding for almost a year now, and this event couldn't be a better suited anniversary celebration. Thirty thousand miles and twenty two countries away from home, and I'm grabbing this chance of a lifetime to race Baja.


    The final decision to participate came only yesterday. The opportunity came from a friend I met here in 'Pete's Camp' by the name of Kay. It's been a lifelong ambition of Kay's to race in Baja, and I was in the right place at the right time. Within an hour of meeting Kay, he invited me to be the second rider in his team.


    Since meeting Kay four days ago, we've been out riding in the sand three times. For me, the first thing to figure out, was whether I'm anywhere near good enough to take part.
    It seems I am, nearly, if I train like a bastard for the next month, and have luck on my side, and have the benefit of a fantastic bike, and maybe I'm not good enough but I'm going to try anyway.


    So that's the first instalment. I'll endeavour to keep this thread up to date, with the help of my loyal and talented support team (girlfriend Charlotte “Charlotte Goose” and fellow Brit overlander Andy “Andrew UK”).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    #1
  2. klrcarl

    klrcarl Poser

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle
    So I'm a buddy of Baron Bolton (in a self-delusional sort of way, I'm told) so excuse me while I post some pix of the area he is intending to dash madcap through on his ride to glory.

    For example, here we are in 2008 in modern, well-hydrated downtown San Filipe. Note the conveniently self-flooding streets, as well as the custom protective apparel.

    [​IMG]


    Here's the sort of roads he'll be "enjoying". Note the "biker's waddle" & gas can strapped to back.
    [​IMG]

    He has lots of this to look forward to
    [​IMG]

    And maybe even a little of this
    [​IMG]

    This is what the "roads" in Baja do to vehicles, even 4x4s
    [​IMG]


    Just remember, tho, Gabe. No matter what happens...it could always get worse
    [​IMG]

    There, I feel much better now about being here in Seattle while you race the 250, Gabe.

    Almost.
    #2
  3. Trey650

    Trey650 Are We There Yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,954
    Location:
    Ramona, California
    Well as Andy is a full member of the Desert Assassins you now have our full support. We will do what ever it takes for you guys to finish the race. Let us know what you need and we will see if we can support you. If you don't make it into our schedule we will guide you to someone that will. See you at the pre run and the race.
    #3
  4. BecauseIcan

    BecauseIcan n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1
    WOW - you finally got connected with Andy the LORD! Keep us posted on how it goes and tell Char to take lots and lots of photos!
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,860
    What a great chance!! Best of luck for a safe and fun race!! :thumb

    I can't see the pics with the red x, and I hope klrcarl can fix them.

    :lurk
    #5
  6. klrcarl

    klrcarl Poser

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle
    Let's try this again, as the pix show on some computers but apparently not on others! Here's beautiful downtown San Filipe[​IMG]
    #6
  7. Baron Bolton

    Baron Bolton Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    England
    KLRCarl, though the captions are undeniably interesting, I can't help but think the addition of photos would tie things together!
    Seriously though dude, thanks for getting in touch. Best of luck to you both with the move to Europe, it'll be an adventure I'm sure.

    Trey, That is extremely good of you. As I'm sure you can see, we could do with all the help we can get! To call ourselves amateurs would be kind of understating it. Look forward to meeting you and the rest of the DA team, Andy has been singing your praises since I met him 5 days ago!

    BecauseIcan, I'm sure we know you, but why not come from the lurking shadows and make yourself known! :-) Post no.1, no profile, come on, don't keep us guessing.
    It was great fo finally meet Andy.

    Cheers GadgetBoy, it's going to be wild. We'll do our best to keep this updated and as interesting as possible.

    Right, off for another whoop practice punishment session on the XRR now, photos to follow this afternoon...
    #7
  8. klrcarl

    klrcarl Poser

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle
    Hmmm, well, apparently Advrider has changed it's policies on linking to already-linked pix on sites! Or maybe I'm just a tool.

    Downtown San Filipe. Note the conveniently self-flooding streets, as well as the custom protective apparel.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the sort of "roads" he'll be enjoying. Note the biker's waddle & gas can strapped to back.
    [​IMG]

    He has lots of this to look forward to
    [​IMG]

    And maybe even a little of this
    [​IMG]

    This is what the "roads" in Baja do to vehicles, even 4x4s
    [​IMG]

    Just remember, tho, Gabe. No matter what happens...it could always get worse
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. klrcarl

    klrcarl Poser

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle
    Amazing - it worked! At least it did for me. I await more jeers at my lack of tech-savvy. At least it's not as though I work in the field, right? :asshat

    Gabe, I am sure you are a thousand times more prepared than most of us would be, not to mention you have your stalwart companion to snap stunning photos of you as you hurtle by and to gently press a damp cloth to your fevered brow after you come off at 100+. More likely, she'll have to hunt you down when you get lost out here in the sands, which I guess is a real hazard & happens most every year to someone...

    In any case, keep us updated & let's hope to see some more pictorial examples of BB & Char's misadventures in Sandland.
    #9
  10. Baron Bolton

    Baron Bolton Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    England
    Well the plan was to take the bikes out for a blast on the course, take some more whoop punishment, and do some comparisons to see which bike we're going to use for the race...

    But that all went to sh8t. Whipping along Zoo road in 5th gear on Kay's WR400 and it starts loosing power and dies. Loud dead engine noises as I coast to a stop. Kick it over, no compression, smoke from somewhere. Not looking so good.

    Kay blasts off on the Honda to get a tow rope, and I start pushing the WR back to the main road. Mile and a half to the road, and I see a figure waiting by the junction. Turns out that Kay's engine's blown too! Two engines in two miles, unbelievable.
    I've owned over 30 bikes and never had an engine go. I mean two engines in a year would be extremely bad luck, but two in two miles is crazy.

    So that's it for training today. Luckily Kay's got two more bikes, and so it looks like we'll be using the XR650R for the race. Unless we manage to blow the engine on that too.
    We may tear down the bikes tonight and see what's up, photos to follow...
    #10
  11. SP's Dad

    SP's Dad Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    90
    Wow!! Crazy story.

    The 650R should be good to go.

    Enjoy the first 30 miles of the course (the whoops SUCK).
    #11
  12. sab

    sab Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Seattle
    SWEET! Get 'em! :thumb :thumb :thumb

    Sean
    #12
  13. fourstroke650

    fourstroke650 You got red on you

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    167
    Location:
    San Diego
    Good Luck. I will be watchin' the thread.
    #13
  14. Trey650

    Trey650 Are We There Yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,954
    Location:
    Ramona, California
    After looking at your pictures of the bikes and reading the stories. I have to add a bit of caution. The SF 250 is not a fun race to ride on a bike. If I could rate it as a race to do for the first time, this would be the last one on my list. It is miles of nasty sand whoops and HUGE Trophy Trucks that come up on you at a 100 MPH. As a n00b run I would say don't do it. Your bike looks stock and it won't last 1/8 of the way, unless you plan on trail riding it. Then it will only last half of the race, until you hit a booby trap or get run over by a 4 wheel vehicle. If the bike has stock suspension then don't even think about it you won't make the first 50 miles at any speed.

    I say this only as someone who has ridden that course many times and was smart enough to be talked out of racing it by Tim Morton. Ask Andy what TT's do, he saw them up close and personal.

    Before you enter the race and spend too much money. Go pre run the course on the bike and try and see if you can make it in 10 hours. If not you will not finish.

    I'm not sure of your racing experience, but Baja is not as easy as some think. Just giving my option and I could quote others with the same info.

    But on the same note, our pits will support you if we are still there, if you race it.

    We'll be down that way soon to pre run. You will get a taste of it if you want to pre run with us.

    Just sayin'
    #14
  15. Baron Bolton

    Baron Bolton Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    England
    Trey, thanks for the advice. It sounds like it's honest and based on a lot of race experience. I assure you that I read carefully and have not discounted what you've said at all.

    But I'm committed to this, and I'm not quite as inept and inexperienced as I write. I just feel that there are a million and one people out there saying they're experts at stuff, and in actual fact don't know shit.
    I'm much sooner be the guy that says he's worse than he is, rather than the other way round.
    I'm 27 and I'm physically fit. I run a lot and since meeting Kay we have been riding the course every day.

    I've ridden a lot, including Enduro racing in the UK and lots of off-road riding, I've also come across some real challenging terrain on this trip from England.

    There is a good chance I'll fail. But what's more important to me than reaching the finish line, is to take part in the race and know that I'm giving it everything I've got.

    We will pre-run the whole course, and unless we can do it in under 10 hours, you're right, it's stupid to enter. But 232 miles divided by 10 hours is about 23mph average, and we already do better than that over the first 30 miles (which I'm told is the hardest?).

    The XRR is not quite stock, but the suspension certainly is. We'll go through the bike with a fine tooth comb in advance of the race, and beyond this I don't see there's a lot we can do.

    I hope I don't come across here as arrogant, or give the impression that I'm not taking your advice seriously. But I really want to give this my best shot.

    I really appreciate the fact that you've taken the time to give this advice, and any help you can give on race day would be fantastic.
    It will be great to meet you and the rest of the team when you come down for pre-running.
    #15
  16. Trey650

    Trey650 Are We There Yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,954
    Location:
    Ramona, California
    No worrys Gabe. I'll make sure you ride with Ox and Colton on the pre run. You will feel totally inadequate after the first 10 miles.:lol3

    Also note that a 25mph average doesn't take into account pits and down time. The bike you are riding is NOT up to baja racing standards. To tell the truth I wouldn't trust it in Ocotillo Wells. If we had time I would bring my bike down and we would switch out the engine and you would have a chance. Just sayin'

    I'm just making sure you know what you are getting into. The 500 or 1K (loop) is actually easier then this race.

    Looking forward to meeting you and seeing Andy again. Prepare for the circus to come to town.:deal
    #16
  17. Statdawg

    Statdawg Do U feel lucky ?

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,331
    Location:
    Close to NYC
    :beer :jose
    #17
  18. BDKW1

    BDKW1 KL"X" not "R"

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    915
    Location:
    Easton, KS

    Less :lol3

    I would rather stay home and get beat with a rubber hose than ride the start to 3 poles agian. Well, almost. :evil See y'all down there. :freaky
    #18
  19. Andrew UK

    Andrew UK over socialised

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    South America
    Foolhardy, maybe? Gabe likes to grab life by the balls, cant fault that.

    I wouldn't/couldn't do it, just as happy being part of his support effort.

    Regardless, the after party will be awesome :freaky sure we will see a few ADVrs down here :clap
    #19
  20. kay

    kay Mobilekay

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    Baja, california
    "Your bike looks stock and it won't last 1/8 of the way, unless you plan on trail riding it. Then it will only last half of the race, until you hit a booby trap or get run over by a 4 wheel vehicle. If the bike has stock suspension then don't even think about it you won't make the first 50 miles at any speed"

    Trey, it just amazes me how precise your predictions are, Even though you did't race it. " was smart enough to be talked out of racing it"


    We are not as smart as you or scared either, we are willing to try, we are not afraid of loosing and will not be arrogant if we won,we also believe, tough is not bad, what don't kill you, make you stronger.


    Me and Gabe propably are not the best out there, but I can gurantee you we have more milage on and off road in more motorcycles, terrain and more countries than most people out there.

    When I ridden with Gabe, I was amazed of his riding skills, which he don't talk about, in the sand he was just as good as me keeping in mind I logged more than 50 k in the Sahara Desert.

    I am sure your intentions are good and we appreciate the advice and your offer, and looking forward to see you down here in San Felipe and ride with you, peace.

    Kay.
    #20