It’s that time again! The 41st annual Baja 1000 is coming up in less than two weeks – Nov. 19-23 to be exact.
Over 350 teams are expected to participate in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Entries so far have come from the USA, Mexico, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.
This years race begins and ends in Ensenada.The race course will follow a loop around the state of Baja California. While the fastest finishers are expected to complete the course in approximately 14 hours, all vehicles will have a 31-hour time limit to become official finishers in the legendary adventure.
November 19th and 20th are pre-run days where the racers get to check out the race route. Then the opening festivities will commence, and the race will begin on Friday, Nov. 21.
The high-tech vehicles will line up on Boulevard Costero along the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in the heart of Ensenada. It promises to be a crazed party atmosphere as the Vehicles tear out of town in 30-second intervals.
The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 10:30 a.m., or three hours after the last ATV leaves the line.
Entries for the 2008 Baja 1000 are accepted right up until the start of the race, so it’s not too late to get in on the action if you’re so inclined.
Last year’s race saw a rash of lawlessness and violence in the remote border areas of Baja. The most well publicized was a helicopter crash involving alleged drug cartel players. The bodies of the victims were removed at gunpoint from the office of the coroner 24hrs after the crash.
On a personal note, one of my friends was documenting the 2007 race for Team Hummer. The night before the race one of their spanking-new Hummer chase vehicles was stolen from their hotel in Tijuana, along with some very expensive video gear.
In response to last years lawlessness the military has assumed policing responsibilities in the border areas of Baja and a significant number of police in the region have been disarmed and dismissed. Having had my own hair raising experiences with Mexican policíaI, I can tell you that this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Attending the Baja 1000
If you were considering attending the Baja 1000, please don’t let all this bad publicity dissuade you. I’ve been down to Baja at least 20 times in the past couple decades and have never had any serious incidents. Okay, maybe one or two – but I’m still alive!
After missing last year’s event (I was in SE Asia during the race), not even the threat of banditos can keep me from attending the 2008 Baja 1000.
See Ya There!