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Friday, October 26, 2007

Two Guys and a Land Rover in the Baja 1000


Brothers Chad and Ryan Ulansky have little or no off-road vehicle racing experience.

So as they head to Mexico to take part in the Baja 1,000, an off-road race that stretches over 1,608 kilometres (1,000 miles) and will take nearly three days of straight driving to complete, it’s comforting to know the vehicle they will drive has all kinds of experience.

The Ulansky brothers will ride in a modified 1986 Land Rover 110. Nicknamed Tazi, the Land Rover was raced extensively in long-distance off-road events in Dubai before being purchased by the brothers.

On Nov. 13, the three—Chad, 33, Ryan, 31, and Tazi, 21—will begin their first off-road endurance race together.

“The only thing that is experienced is the vehicle,” Ryan joked, a couple days before the two brothers were to drive to Mexico to start preparing for the race.

“My brother found this Land Rover that was prepared for rally racing so we bought it and had it shipped back to Kelowna. We had this truck so we figured let’s go and try to do this race.”

While this might be the Ulanskys’ first foray into off road rally type of racing, the two are definitely not strangers to competition.

Chad is an extreme athlete, having competed in the Eco Challenge and long-distance runs, while Ryan is a self-described weekend warrior who has competed in cycling and adventure-type races.

The Baja 1,000, which is actually closer to 1,300 miles, will be a new challenge for both of them.

“It just sounded like a whole lot of fun to go down to Mexico and be involved in the race,” said Ryan, when asked why they were doing it.

“To be able to drive for two days with no speed limits sounded like a perfect vacation.”

The Ulanskys will race in the SUV portion of the Baja 1,000.

Competitors will race the entire Baja Peninsula, beginning in Ensenada, Mexico and ending in Cabo San Lucas.

Vehicles will leave at 30 second intervals and will use GPS technology to follow the route.

While finishing is probably the main goal, the Ulansky’s competitiveness will have them looking to make up ground on anyone they see.

“Realistically it’s probably not very feasible that we are going to win anything in our division,” said Ryan.

“But we are both mildly competitive people so when we are there and driving we are going to pass any car we can and keep up to anyone we find along the way.”

Both of the Ulansky’s attended high school in Kelowna as Ryan went to Mt. Boucherie and Chad attended Kelowna Secondary.

The pair will be joined in Mexico by their parents, as supporters, and hope to meet up with their support vehicle two thirds of the way through the race for supplies.

This weekend the local pair left for Mexico where they are able to scout the course before the start of the race Nov. 13.

You can follow their progress on a website they have established at www.teamdust.com.