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2013 SCORE Baja 1000 Course Announced

SCORE announced yesterday the 2013 Baja 1000 course which will allow us to start planning for our four day adventure on the actual race course.  I’m personally really excited because the course is very similar to the 2003 Baja 1000, which was my first Baja race in my career.

The course that SCORE has laid down will be tough. SCORE alternates between a peninsula race and a loop race each year; meaning every other year we finish in La Paz/Cabo or Ensenada. On the loop races which finish back in Ensanada the course is typically no more than 750 miles, while the peninsula runs are at or greater to 1000 miles long. So for SCORE to pick a loop course that is 900 miles is a little out of the ordinary. The roads used for the loop race are typically more traveled and always rougher.

How much tougher could a race that loops back to Ensenada be? Well, to start with your going to need multiple chase teams. Teams will need to separate their chase teams into two crews. One crew will be dedicated to the Sea of Cortez side and the other crew be focused on the Pacific side. Running down the Baja Peninsula is 10k ft mountain know as El Diablo. There is no way for the chase crews to get to the other side of the peninsula with out jumping on race course or heading back up to Ensanada. The course its self has very little access to chase support.

The racers can expect a pretty nasty course. At race mile 100 the racers will go over the ‘Summit” which really is a narrow boulder stricken road that would better suit a rock crawler than a trophy truck. After the Summit you reach the playa floor. The racers can then expect another 120 miles of 3ft sand woops into and past San Felipe. From Puertecitos the racers will get a break with a pavement section into Coco’s corner. From Coco’s they will head into the very wet Calamujue wash. Many racers will be caught off guard by the narrow canyons of the wash. The wash its self isn’t that challenging technically. What’s challenging about the wash is low visibility and high grasses. There is only one way through the wash, but many wrong turns and deep sand. Many racers will loose hours in the wash getting stuck in the sand and water holes. After the Calamujue wash the racers will cross the highway at El Crucero and head for the Pacific Ocean. The next 125 miles is where the racers will find some pretty large and very soft silt beds all the way to Catavina. Again this isn’t an overly tricky area, but it will be ran at night with low visibility thanks to fog and heavy dust. The dust can get so thick that racers wont be able to see 3ft in front of them. On top of that the fog will mix with their dusty visors and turn into a muddy mess. So now were at race mile 500. They’ve made it past half way, there is a good chance they’re into the second day of racing. It’s probably going to feel like the racers are nearly back to Ensenada with all the difficult challenges behind them. Not exactly. The next 250 miles are all through the mountains and will have silt climbs as they pass the infamous Mike’s Sky Rancho. If racers have any mechanical failures in this area, they can expect chase crews to take hours to get to them and their hopes of winning the race over. Once past Mike’s the racers that have kept their vehicles alive should be able to push to the finish in Ensenada. The roads are rough but racers shouldn’t find anything overly technical, just another 150 miles of rough roads.

The team that will win this years Baja 1000 will be a very cool and collected team. The race wont be won in the first day. Each driver will have to conserve their vehicle to pass it onto the next driver as fresh as possible. I think that the course that SCORE has laid out this year is a truly worthy course for the legendary Baja 1000 and will really push the racers and chase teams to their limits! I can’t wait.

We will be pre-running selective parts of the race course. I don’t feel the need to spend a day in the woops of San Felipe. We will be focusing our adventure around the tricky parts. For the first day we will cross the border at Tecate and head for the Summit. After the Summit we will be staying in San Felipe or Gonzaga bay that night. The next day will the Calamujue wash stretch into El Crucero and silt beds near the Pacific. We will either stay in a fishing camp or in Catavina. The third day will be in the mountains and staying at Mike’s Sky Rancho. The fourth day will be a dash back to the border.

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The view from the top of Summit

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