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Monday, November 13, 2006

BIG GOTCHAS AWAIT RACERS

The 39th Annual Baja 1000 has some gotchas that will test the metal of the best of desert racers. At over 1,000 miles, damage from a major hurricane and southern Baja offroad racing innuendo, the 2006 event will be memorable.

Firstly, the road south out of San Felipe will be the first major CF. No chase vehicles are to run into Puertocitos, with only one route south, all chasing is urged on Highway 1, like a massive army sweeping around a frontal conflict. The northern section into San Ignacio, with its clear conditions and low elevations, once out of the San Pedro de Martir Mountains, will surpise many with very fast speeds.

South of San Ignacio Lagoon, the natural and man made gotchas really begin. The natural ones are a result of hurricane rains and the wild topography of the Sierras surrounding the olde capital of California, Loreto. Because of the sponsorship with the race organizer, Loreto will be visited for the first time in Baja 1000 history. It just so happens, that this is also the year of Hurricane John. Heavy rainfall has caused the race route to be wiped out, changed and re-routed several times. South of Loreto is ugly, the race could be determined at San Javier canyon/river. Big mud holes and more than you can imagine. If you are racing that section and have not prerun...bring your SCUBA gear. Outrageous cliffs and deep water crossings dot the route from the lagoon all the way into Santa Rita, just North of La Paz.

The man-made gotchas are the race markers and route changes of the local race that hasn't been yet. It's rescheduled for December 9. A local race scheduled before the storm was slammed when the storm hit and more rains lingered and forced the race to move dates, three times! Those race markers are all over the Baja 1000 route! Racers must beware of the markers and the hazards they present.

Just as the racers are hitting the mental and physical wall of human performance in a long race, they hit El Datil and the gotchas. Those who have not heavily pre-run, can fail here.

After passing the wild west of San Luis Gonzaga, its the CABO 500 route into the finish at La Paz, fast and furious.

Pay attention to the solar cycle, day-night-day.
Watch what happens to the teams and runners at the time frame 12 hours into the race. With a predicted 22-23 hour finish for the fastest perfomer, the 'wall' looms in the mysterious night of the coastal fogs of the coastal Mag Plains and the twisted, contourted mountain canyon cattle trails of the mountains surrounding the spirit filled soul of Baja California, Loreto.

Say a prayer for everyone. The green flag drops Thursday morning.
Gary Newsome, Baja Racing News