Living in Washington DC and racing in California poses some shall we say, logistical nightmares. I can usually only come out for 3 days to race, getting to actually work on the car is a luxury, and don’t even get me started on all the money I’m spending on plane fare. Fortunately I have an awesome team that helps me out, and I wanted y’all to meet them!
First, there’s Dale. He’s our go to guy for welding. He’s made us a trailer (A WHOLE TRAILER!), repaired the floor pan of the 1600 car, and is making a new skid plate. He also sometimes stores the car in his shop and his wife makes the best iced tea this side of Las Vegas.
And what team would be complete without a logistics person? This is actually the hardest job in racing, as you are basically trying to predict the future while herding a bunch of unruly cats. No…worse than that. Unruly wild mustangs. See racers can be like unruly wild mustangs; they are smart but damn do they want to do their own thing! Your logistics guy has to figure out who is chasing and who is pitting, where they will be, when people are arriving, where they are sleeping, what they are eating, when you’re going through tech…I could go on and on. And now, for this race at least, I have my very own Logistics Luminary. And we call him westy (no capital w, he sez).
westy has run logistics for the Baja 500 and 1000 as well as events stateside and he’s also a racer, so I have no problem turning everything over to him. I know I’ll learn a lot with him running the show and if it all goes well, maybe he’ll join us permanently. He’s bringing some awesome pit/chase people out to the race and I am so excited to meet everyone. It always floors me when people I don’t even know step up to help me. Sure, they are getting the thrill of being on a race crew but still. Sometimes sitting out in the desert for hours on end waiting for the car to come through can be a nightmare. Fortunately the car is in great shape and our goal is just to finish. It would be great not to finish last, but honestly this is the first race with me behind the wheel of the new car AND it’s a night race. I am doing this more for experience than anything else. I want to drive well, not break, and finish.
So when is this next race? I return to my native CA for the combination MORE and SNORE KC Hilites race on September 8th. Tech is on Friday September 7th at the Slash X so if you’re around, come say hi. I have no idea what color my hair will be, so just look for #1617!
Quick note again, as we need to get over to El Borracho for the breakfast provided by Cam of Lucky Sperm Racing. Dad and I got off to a great first day. We started near the end of the pack, before all the stock bugs but after all the big Broncos. We immediately passed all those guys since the first part of the course was pretty rough. I thought I read the name Parnelli Jones on the side of the big Ollie truck, but I could have been wrong. So there is a tweet out there about my passing Parnelli Jones that might be a lie. Ooops! We got off course a little bit…added quite a few miles to our first stage. We had GPS but usually you can parallel a course with no problem. Not so here. We were paralleling the race course and the next thing we knew we were WAAAAAy right of the course. Dad somehow lost his radio in his helmet, so we had no communication between the two of us, which was frustrating. At any rate, we saw 4 other cars who had deviated from the course as well, so at least there were other idiots out there. I think we were on an old Mexican (ie NOT SCORE) race course, and we knew it would lead us back to where we needed to be. Eventually we got back on the dry lake and were kicking ass when I noticed I was losing power in 4th gear. Uh oh. So I downshifted to third, brought the revs back up, back to 4th and again, losing power. Then we started to hear it popping. The engine sounded like it was making microwave popcorn. We were able to get through the time station and on to the transit road. Our chase was nowhere to be seen as we weren’t planning on meeting up with them until after Coco’s Corner on the highway. We doinked around with the engine on the side of the road and diagnosed a blown cylinder and carburation issues. Oh boy. We limped into San Felipe, about 100km down the road and took the baja into our good buddy Juan’s place. He confirmed our suspicions. We did what we could but it wasnt enough. Oh, wait….while we were limping into San Felipe on the highway…WE RAN OUT OF GAS!!! First time that has EVER happened to me in baja! And who should drive by about 30 seconds later? The McMillin chase truck! These guys had given me shit at contingency (good naturedly) about changing my tire, and now I actually need them to help? And we were THISCLOSE to the first Pemex station outside El Dorado. But I digress…
We knew if we got the baja to Bay of LA that our chase guys could fix the car, but San Felipe to Bay of LA is a long way to go on 3 cylinders, wasting a ton of gas. So, as much as it pains me to say it, we went back to Dad’s house, put the old Hot Tamale in the garage, threw our shit in the truck and joined chase. We didn’t pull into Bay of LA until 10:15 at night, so we violated TWO cardinal rules of baja in one day: Don’t Drive at Night and Don’t Run Out of Gas.
It’s been fun chasing our pals, Ron and Steve. They are in a NORRA class 4 Meyers Manx with a V6 Subaru engine. It’s pretty sweet and they are doing really well. They are car 40.
I’m pretty disappointed, to say the least. I know that bigger and better racers have had to drop out of races, and the baja doesn’t give a shit if you’ve been planning a trip for a year or flew out from DC to drive. Baja is what it is, and all you can do is go with it. So far now, this is Mega Monkey Chase, live from Loreto, on my way to get a breakfast burrito.