I lifted this from Dirt Newz,
Great story Brad.
Sorry if its on here all ready I just thought it should be added to this thread.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE BAJA
In The Racer's Own Words - Brad Lovell
2006 SCORE Baja 1000 Racer
As we crossed the start line, throngs of Mexicans created an isle little more than a car width wide. We raced through several blocks of town before dropping into the wash and starting the long journey south. This is where the Baja 1000 starts and we felt the first of 100,000 bumps between Ensenada and La Paz. It did not take long for the confusion of the race to set in. Around mile 7 some locals that switched signs sending cars crashing into the bushes. We recovered and the locals desperately tried to convince us that the right way was the wrong way.
We crossed the highway at mile 15 and were dismayed to see that the GPS was not giving us any course information. Baja racing is as much about the dust as anything. If you can see, you are off course. If the windshield is full of nothing but a dust cloud, you are probably on track. The GPS is your vision through the dust, without it, our world extended only a few yards past the hood. The best teams had been pre-running for months and recorded everything into the GPS. They knew every bend in the road, exactly where the whoops started, where to hit 140 mph, and where to hit the brakes. At this point, all we had was an occasional course marker and luck.
Right around mile 55 I began to realize the danger behind Baja racing. The horrors of silt (extremely fine powder) are not easily explained. We hit the first silt bed and a wave of darkness engulfed the entire Jeep. After that all I saw was the bushes scrape the truck as we made our blind charge. You must not stop and you can't even see the dashboard. Eventually, we became stuck and waited for the crash we knew would happen. It came as JeepSpeed #1749 glanced off our right rear corner and rolled only a few feet away, barely visible. The craziest man I have ever seen appeared on foot, checked on #1749, and volunteered to pull us out. I can't imagine a place more dangerous or miserable to be spectating than a silt bed. As the strap tightened, #1701 hit us from behind and we were set free.
A "JeepSpeed" is a basically a stock Jeep Cherokee with safety and suspension upgrades. Ours, #1702, had over 200,000 miles on it as the race commenced and chose race mile 75 as a place fit for service. We continually lost power until we had no choice but to stop. We got out and could not find room to diagnose the problem as a swarm of locals were performing every maintenance task needed and cleaning the windshield to boot. With additional help from the #1701 chase crew, we unclogged the fuel filter and were quickly on our way.
Darkness fell and fear did not cross me but I now had a sense that this was deadly serious business; it was not a game. You could lie hurt in the desert for hours and not receive proper medical attention for days. Our course notes were now illegible, camera filled with dust, and sunglasses sandblasted. Every bit of concentration in the truck was focused on the road. The night hid things. It hid a terrible unlimited class wreck (and subsequent stripping of the vehicle by locals) as we sailed by sight unseen. It hid some manner of parked vehicle that we sideswiped, instantly appearing and then gone in the murk. It hid a turn and sent us charging into a campfire with locals running for their lives. I have little doubt that hundreds of death defying stories were created that night as 450 vehicles charged the dark in a race with no rules.
Course markers now became sparse and we began to question exactly where we were. My stop was at race mile 236 and I was ready to be out of the truck as the welcoming lights of BFGoodrich Pit #2 came into sight. The crew gassed the Jeep and we surveyed the damage. One blown front shock, a broken suspension bolt, questionable fuel filter, and broken axle truss. We welded, grinded, and turned wrenches for an hour before the truck raced into the night, leaving me behind. I would camp in the desert before catching a 2-day ride back to San Diego airport. This is where my story ends and that of others begins. I would not hear the following until I was safe at home in Colorado.
It seems that the shock repair could not be made for at least a couple hundred more miles. During that stretch the relief team of Ron Stobaugh and Shannon Booth spent a good bit of time stuck in the mud unable to find anyone to pull them out. Later in the race they could be found getting a 40 mph tow from a local due to a faulty fuel pump in the Jeep. Even with the problems, the race continued. The best plan for this race is to plan for all your plans to fall apart. The team kept the Jeep racing and headed south straining to meet the 43-hour time limit.
The end of the race came at mile 783. Racing only slightly ahead of our truck was the BFGoodrich / Baja Challenge #3 car. This car was in part co-driven by fellow rockcrawler Tracy Jordan. They had come in wide on a switchback and fell about 300 feet off the mountain into a dry wash. The pair was able to climb hand and foot back to the road but had sustained threatening injury. Our driver at that point, Eric Filar, made the call that the team would not leave the injured until medical help arrived. It proved to be a wise call as no assistance came for over 4 hours, sealing the DNF (did not finish) fate for our team.
In the end it was the Alloy USA team that footed the bill for beer in La Paz as the Pirate 4x4 team made the finish under their own power and in good time. It was likely not important who was picking up the tab. Everyone was safe and in one piece. To drive down the Baja non-stop is a high adventure. To race 1000 miles on the Baja carries the danger of Wild West. To win is an admirable feat. The coordination and investment to race the Baja 1000 is immense and while I owe a thank you to dozens, I would like to extend it foremost to Ron Stobaugh and Eric Filar for helping me fulfill a lifelong goal.