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Hola, We just returned from our 10 day trip for the Baja 1000. There are many stories to be told, but I felt this subject needed to be addressed 1st.

Chasing is not Racing! I lost count of the # of stupid ass drivers that endangered the lives of hundreds of people by passing when not safe. One that stood out was ont the way south on Sunday the 12th, well below Santo Tomas. If you are the driver of the Lifted Dk Grey F350 c/c towing the 20' flatbed, F*** YOU!! To pass over a hill and around curves then pulling back in with only a 15' gap causing multiple vehicles to skid and swerve or be pushed down the cliff only feet away is a selfish act. I will only say You are lucky that guns are outlawed in B.C.

Sorry for the outburst, It's been eating at me for days.

In the last several days I've heard multiple stories over the radio and in person. Here is a brief rundown of what we belive transpired over the last 2 weeks. Can these be confirmed or denied? Maybe it will slow some of these drivers down so the rest of us will continue to return from this most awsome adventure.

Because these people wont be back. How many did we not hear about?

Lloyd Duane Curtis died below Mulege
photographer run over at Ojos Negros
Quad Racer killed in head-on with a chase vehicle
4 people killed on road by a racer


"Close calls"

Mc Millen chase vehicle totaled
Nitto semi almost totaled
Monster semi almost totalled
head on chase vs local
Chaser into ditch, OK but vehicle runied

I plan on returning to Baja as often as possible,
I plan on retuning too...

Viva Baja
 

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I find it interesting that this is the first post to talk about the chase side of the Baja 1000. This was my first year chasing...and to be honest it scared the crap out of me. People driving way to fast and on little sleep. If you dont have enough of a crew to keep everyone at checkpoints and not on the road....then IMO don't race the Baja 1000. People driving 22-24 hours to chase the race vehicle is insane. I own a transportation company and drive over 20 hours all the time...it is different in Mexico. You dont just set the cruise control and sit back. You have to be on you toes at all times.
For those who don't know...the roads suck below Ensanada.

This may sound ridiculous to some, but I think every racer should have chased at some point and time. This way they know exactly what they are asking from there chase crew. We were not personally pushed by our driver, but I saw quite a few that were.

The rumor I heard was 6 dead in chase vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Rember, most of the drivers spend more time on the roads during pre runs than we do during the race. Some times they travel them several time.
 

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we were there too, chasing an ironman moto rider. i will say that 40 hours with only 4 hours of sleep did effect my ability to do just about anything.

my feeling on the chasers, is that they are all these little penised young to mid twenties something driving an oversized diesel pickup and are pissed because they were not selected to drive the trophy truck.

i've never seen anything quite so stupid in my life! but i have to say that the experience was still awesome and will be back!
 

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Monster Krawler said:
Rember, most of the drivers spend more time on the roads during pre runs than we do during the race. Some times they travel them several time.
True...but not during the intensity of the race.Your first comment about it not being a race of the chase trucks is true and chould be taken to heart.

We also ran the roads during the pre-run, but it was not nearly as hairball as it was during the race. We were down there from Nov. 6th to pre-run.
 

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I agree. It was just plain insane. We left Ensenada at 9AM on Thursday and got into LaPaz at around 12:30 AM on Sat. Fatigue is heavy at that point and we had three drivers for each chase truck.

The guys that stand out to me were the Monster Energy trucks we got passed by at least 4 times that I remember after we passed into DelSur during the night. They would pass us running nearly 100mph, then we would catch them at every gas station.:shaking: They were driving F350's with utility beds(2) and 2 lifted crewcab chevy's.

Anyhow, I had fun and we didn't have any trouble. I thought the raods were just a little worse than Hwy 50 East in Nevada after you leave Fallon:D
 

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Unfortunatley this is one of the many dangers in Baja,I was there, the roads suck on a good day! let alone adding race vehicles,chase vehicles,spectator vehicles,locals and drunks !!! I talked to a guy in San Felipe who said it was insane. I'm glad I spent the night out on the race course. I had a great time and will go back. Hopefully this thread will educate some people.
 

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hugh jeffner said:
my feeling on the chasers, is that they are all these little penised young to mid twenties something driving an oversized diesel pickup and are pissed because they were not selected to drive the trophy truck.

So I guess that includes you??

I've been going down to Baja chasing and racing since 1969. While there are many total losers chasing, there are many of us who take it very seriously.

As far as the Nitto semi almost being destroyed, I was riding in it when we had the problem. The problem was from high gusting cross winds hitting at the same time a cab-over semi came at us from the south. The combination of teh winds caused our front wheel to drop off the road. The driver was doing a great job of recovering from it when the edge of the highway dropping off tore off the brake lines to the low clearance rear axel. We swapped ends a full three times before comming to a stop. We were very lucky.
 

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What happened to the Monster semi? I haven't been to the race but would like to end up there sometime. Just hope it will be possible.
 

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I drove our trailer down behind Camo's rig from Mulege to La Paz, couple stops on the way. Yes I was tired and yes I realized it. I decided that I was probably the safest person to do the job at that point. No offense Lance/Jeff. It was scary as hell at points but I just played it extremely carefull and only passed where absolutely safe to do so. We had made it that far and there was no way I was going to take any chances of not seeing our vehicle cross the finish due to being wrecked or injured somewhere along that freaking Hwy.
I agree way too many people were makin way too many stupid passes.
 

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While driving down to our pit at Insurgentes we had a radio on the weatherman channel 151.625. I was absoluttely amazied to hear several guys using it to call out to their buddies behind them were clear to pass on blind turns and hills. Now I can see doing that on some obscure channel or one that you team has been assigned, but to use the weatheman for that was just stupid. When I got on the radio that they probably shouldn't use that channel for what they were doing, they whanted to know if I was the weatherman police. What a bunch of F'n idiots.

I have seen a lot of stupid stuff while chasing, and I'm starting to think that people deserve what they ask for. Kind of a Darwin Award deal I guess. I do feel sorry for the those they drag into the mess they create though.
 

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My second time doing it from the chase/pit side. Last year I drove myself and I was so amped there was no way I could sleep really. Still, I used a lot of caution. The team I was with used their own internal freq to aid in passing and alert the following rigs of questionable drivers, overloaded semis, debris, etc. SUPER useful so I absolutely advocate the use of radios for this. I also advocate the use of a blunt instrument on those who abuse other's (especially W-MAN) channels. There is just no excuse, not even ignorance. This year I felt like our crew did a good job of swapping out drivers and taking a pace that was pushing it for sure but only in sections where risk was diminished. Everything in Baja is risky, you simply must choose your risks wisely and not take the high stakes ones. I'm sure every team wishes they could not have chase teams running all over at night.

I also wish for world peace and an end to poverty.
 

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chase

My second time doing it from the chase/pit side. Last year I drove myself and I was so amped there was no way I could sleep really. Still, I used a lot of caution. The team I was with used their own internal freq to aid in passing and alert the following rigs of questionable drivers, overloaded semis, debris, etc. SUPER useful so I absolutely advocate the use of radios for this. I also advocate the use of a blunt instrument on those who abuse other's (especially W-MAN) channels. There is just no excuse, not even ignorance. This year I felt like our crew did a good job of swapping out drivers and taking a pace that was pushing it for sure but only in sections where risk was diminished. Everything in Baja is risky, you simply must choose your risks wisely and not take the high stakes ones. I'm sure every team wishes they could not have chase teams running all over at night.

I also wish for world peace and an end to poverty.
 

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As a first time spectator I was amazed at the driving of the competitors and disgusted at the driving of the chase vehicles. I suggest that if your going to chase you take a long hard look at your driving and WHO is driving with you.

As for the weatherman channel. I cannot believe people are that damn stupid. I used the channel the day before to find the police station in Ensenada (yes that was me if you heard it), but once the race neared I just unplugged the mic and listened.

Hearing WM Air have to repeat 2 or 3 times to talk to a WM Diablo about a racer who was on fire was sad. Hearing some slap dick chime in about Balloons when they were figuring out the Check point Totals for CP 1,2,3 made me pretty mad too. Sad really, since he and his son do a bang up job and fucktards just can't get the hint.
 

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This is precisely the reason we haven't attempted the race yet after 10 years of hard off-road racing. Makes Lance/Jeff/Mike's accomplishments all that more impressive to me. (Excellent job guys. Congrats!)

I posted a response to one of Lance's questions on RDC regarding the absolute hairyness of chasing in Baja during/before/after a big race, and told him there would be plenty of stories of stupidity killings of at least one or two. Looks like I guessed low. :(

We have several quality, experience crew members, and could rally easily another 20-30 if we put out the feelers, but supporting a point-to-point race in Baja takes a lot more work, people, rigs, money, coordination, etc. than I've been comfortable with to date. We finished the BITD Tonopah 300 in '01 I think it was with ONE chase vehicle, and two crew members. (1.5 if you consider one of the guys had a broken ankle and was wearing a cast) While it was an amazing accomplishment, it was basically a stupid idea and could have even been unsafe if we were to wad the thing out in the boonies.

We learn from every race we do. Even though several on my crew go to Baja every year and help out with the Locos Mocos pits, we still will wait for a "loop" race, make sure everyone involved is reasonably sure the truck has a realistic chance of finishing, and start planning well in advance before we attempt it.

I've been to baja when there wasn't a race going, and it's still 10 times sketchier than anywhere in the US I've been. I have heard the sad chase stories for years, and it scares me more than the very real possibility we'll get our shit jacked. Again, congrats to the boys and I'm very happy to hear you all came back safe.

Billy
 

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Billy_Manfroy said:
This is precisely the reason we haven't attempted the race yet after 10 years of hard off-road racing. Makes Lance/Jeff/Mike's accomplishments all that more impressive to me. (Excellent job guys. Congrats!)

I posted a response to one of Lance's questions on RDC regarding the absolute hairyness of chasing in Baja during/before/after a big race, and told him there would be plenty of stories of stupidity killings of at least one or two. Looks like I guessed low. :(

We have several quality, experience crew members, and could rally easily another 20-30 if we put out the feelers, but supporting a point-to-point race in Baja takes a lot more work, people, rigs, money, coordination, etc. than I've been comfortable with to date. We finished the BITD Tonopah 300 in '01 I think it was with ONE chase vehicle, and two crew members. (1.5 if you consider one of the guys had a broken ankle and was wearing a cast) While it was an amazing accomplishment, it was basically a stupid idea and could have even been unsafe if we were to wad the thing out in the boonies.

We learn from every race we do. Even though several on my crew go to Baja every year and help out with the Locos Mocos pits, we still will wait for a "loop" race, make sure everyone involved is reasonably sure the truck has a realistic chance of finishing, and start planning well in advance before we attempt it.

I've been to baja when there wasn't a race going, and it's still 10 times sketchier than anywhere in the US I've been. I have heard the sad chase stories for years, and it scares me more than the very real possibility we'll get our shit jacked. Again, congrats to the boys and I'm very happy to hear you all came back safe.

Billy
Team 1701 had 7 chase rigs and about 20+ team members.
 

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Honestly of the thousand + mind boggling stories our crew came back with NONE of them begin with ..."dude we almost died"
Our guys can party like rock stars but they all knew when it was time to put the cowboy egos aside and get it done. We all stayed within our capabilities and helped each other 100% of the time.

The only issues with transportation were making it back from the bar in La Paz and I would have been just fine if Lance hadn't stepped on my hand.
 

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chasing in baja

I Have been chasing for about 6 years many trips to Baja and Nevada the roads are crazy and the other crews are who you need to watch out for. Fatigue is a scary thing you must plan on the race car breaking down and that only makes the day that much longer. We had 6 trucks at the start of the race and as we made the pit stops one would peal off and go get a hotel then head back home by the time we made it to La Paz there where only 2 chase trucks left to drive home. The crews that went south headed out Tues. and Wed then stayed the night in Catavina, Guerro Negro and Laredo till race day. Then went to their respective pits the trip home from La Paz was the real adventure as we drove and slept in the trucks as we could not find a room in catavina we took 30 hrs to return to Phoenix we helped the lucky sperm crew members that drove off the road around Santa Rosario. We took turns driving and then pulled over multiple times to sleep for a couple of hours. The truck traffic and fog was crazy. it is all part of chasing and the adventure but you do not have to be stupid about it my wish is that all chase teams take the time needed to get home safe and not think they are the racers
 

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Where to start? I know most has been said already but I had to throw in my 2 cents. I drive Chase 2 for Old Horse Racing (OHR). This was the teams 4th year in Baja. I work right along side Dan Wright the owner of OHR. Dan is in charge of all aspects of support including pit teams, food for the crew and chase teams. During the race, Dan runs pit 2. Each pit has two members and each chase truck has two members. You should never travel alone in Baja. Each pit truck tows the chase truck on a trailer. This means that we end up with 4 people to drive one rig. It also means that if we have to tow the racer we do not have to go back to Ensenada to get a trailer. Futher, a Super Duty can tow a chase truck and still get better mileage than some chase rigs get on there own. On the point to point years Dan and I handle the pit at La Purisima. Our rig will not come through until early Friday, even so we make a point of leaving Ensenada on Wednesday morning to give ourselves pleanty of time to get there. With Baja you never know what will happen on the highway. Three years ago while coming back from La Paz I was driving at night and a horse walked right on to the highway. This year the semi filpped just North of Santa Rosalia. This closed the road for around 6 hours. If you were not in place already then you may not make before the racer. This year both of the rigs we were supporting had problems and were out of the race early (that's racing), This meant that we were headed back to Ensenada on Friday. I saw the chase rigs from monster going the other way and I would guess that the speed was well over 100 for some of them. Now I am not going to tell you that we always keep it down to 60mph but we always make sure that we have a fresh driver and keep saftey in mind. Passing a semi has to be done with caution. The truckers are pretty good about letting you know when the road is clear but, you still have be awake for the unexpected. Every year when I come down Baja I want to make sure I am going home. Every year someone dies.
 

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Whitewater said:
I drove our trailer down behind Camo's rig from Mulege to La Paz, couple stops on the way. Yes I was tired and yes I realized it. I decided that I was probably the safest person to do the job at that point. No offense Lance/Jeff. It was scary as hell at points but I just played it extremely carefull and only passed where absolutely safe to do so. We had made it that far and there was no way I was going to take any chances of not seeing our vehicle cross the finish due to being wrecked or injured somewhere along that freaking Hwy.
I agree way too many people were makin way too many stupid passes.
We acted on your advice (thanks, great spot on the beach!). Pitched a tent in San Felipe and just watched the racers go by. It gave us 12 hours of competitors to spectate. Probably not as exciting as Ojos or satisfactory as seeing the finish, but we came back alive. Had a great time just sitting by the fire and cheering on the racers.

As for the "weatherman" channel, I was definately shocked by the lack of respect some people displayed by cracking "ballon knot" jokes and walking over people that had a genuine emergency. Kudos to Bob for putting up with them all these years.

We had a great time and will be back, but not to chase.
 
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