HPD Blog

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Baja 1000 - Journal #5

The Race begins. . .with motorcycles.

11.20.09 The race started officially at 6:30 a.m., as the first of the motorcycles got underway; the four-wheeled vehicles followed off approximately three hours later, for reasons of safety and to try to give a decent break between the two groups. Despite knowing that a long day was in store for us, I was up at 6:30 a.m. to see the bikes leave. It seemed a very relaxed affair, but I am sure that the riders’ hearts were pounding! I can’t imagine what it would be like for these guys (and girls); 670-plus miles is a long way to ride on a bike, even if you are sharing with another rider or two. As for the guys going solo….

Waiting for the start of the bikes.

An interesting show unfolded in front of me. Just past the start, I noticed a rider standing without a bike, all suited up and ready to ride. The reason became quickly apparent: the "start" rider left the starting line, rode about 50 meters, and then pulled up alongside the waiting rider. A quick rider change followed, and the bike and new rider left. I can only surmise that the guy riding off from the start was the one that paid the most money or owned the bike, and he wanted the official start photo shot!

Despite the fact that the riders were now faced with at least 12 or so hours of riding, this didn’t mean that they took Turn One easily! But it was 6:30 a.m., the "track" was very cold and they were all on new tires, so you can imagine how much grip was available. Some were tentative and others … well … plain crazy! But the fans loved it!

Showboating: 2-wheeler on 1 wheel, ATV about to go there, too!

And if you thought the bikes were going for it, you should have seen the ATV riders! Now, having an ATV at home, I know how hard (and heavy) these things are to ride, so I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to ride something like that for the duration of the race. The first ATV past me caught me by surprise; it came so close to the barrier I could have reached out and touched the rider. But they provided a lot of entertainment for the fans, who just loved them!

to be continued. . .

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