Baja 1000: A Joy in the Dirt – Auto Racing
Since 1967, off-road enthusiasts have been converging in northern Baja Mexico to partake in the legendary Baja 1000. A race that covers a 1000 miles of rugged terrain from Ensenada to La Paz in the south. For many this weekend in November is the highlight of the off-road racing season and the winner reaches legendary status by crossing the finish line with the fastest time.
The race is a timed event and the start is staggered to make the start equal for all who enter. Just about any type of vehicle can be entered into the race with the most popular being the dune buggie. Recently a majority of the winners has been the factory sponsored truck teams, but the crowd favorite has always been the Baja Bug. With the conversion of a Volkswagen Beetle to an all terrain vehicle, this little car has been a mainstay at the event since its inception.
This is not a race for the novice. This race takes skill, a good vehicle, and guts the size of Baja itself. Whether on motorcycle, dune buggie, Baja Bug or like Erik Carlsson in 1969 and ’70 a stock front-wheel drive Saab96, you need to have the endurance for this grueling race. The drivers of these vehicles will experience punctured tires, over-heated engines, and exhaustion, but to win you must possess a determination that is beyond sane.
The people of Baja Mexico are hospitable, warm, friendly, and inviting, unfortunately for the drivers the terrain is not. For many of these drivers deal with desert heat, getting airborne from the many hill and bumps that line the course, and a sore rear from the uneven terrain that is off-road racing.
If you plan to visit Baja and witness this amazing event, book your hotel early for this is one of the most popular events of the year in the area. When arriving, you will be welcomed with a smile from your host, scenery unlike any you have seen before, cold beer, great food, and you will be able to witness a test of endurance that is the Baja 1000.