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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Behind the scenes at the BAJA 500

Ensenada, BC, Mexico- With just minutes to go before the BAJA 500 Awards ceremony, Baja Racing News has some behind the scenes details of the race, the mayhem, the 24 hours of the BAJA 500.

During contingency of Friday a huge bottle, can, glass throwing melee took place at the west end of the contingency park. Taking place over thirty minutes, a central part of the huge crowd at the extreme west end of the festivities, began hurling debris in all directions. Several people were hurt by flying debris, including large pieces of broken glass, broken beer bottles. The police wagon arrived and a half a dozen locals were being hustled away. The music restarted after forty minutes of mayhem.

During the race, the run up and past Simpsons was a disaster. As reported for over a week, the uphill, rocky and nasty hill run became the bottleneck from hell. At race mile 202. Race mile 240 was another problem. Some reports listed 60 vehicles not going anywhere on this badly conceived section of Baja norte pergatory. Two bad hills and 3-5 hours of waiting, problems and getting pulled out.

The injury heaped upon the insult was that late after 2 AM, after an announcement from "HQ", that no time extensions were going to be allowed, a time extension WAS allowed and furthermore, if you crossed the finish line before 6 AM, a racer would be considered a "finisher". All at a time after many teams quit and turned off their radios. All of this after several weeks of complaints from teams directly to "HQ" that Simpsons was more than a problem. The issue was safety. And it was NOT addressed. When it finally was, after 2 AM during the race, a reversal after a public announcement to the contrary, has contributed to a common opinion from many teams voiced to Baja Racing News, many teams will prerun the next "BAJA" course first, prior to paying any entry fees.

One accident injury, #804, lost its brakes and was heading down a hill when the co-driver bailed, breaking his pelvis, "among other things".

Unconfirmed reports cited the Flueger team as DQ'ed.
More details later..Baja Racing News