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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SCORE Silence Over Baja Crime Devastating

Numerous Teams Bail On SCORE
Baja Crime Stories Pile-up
UPDATED! SCORE Remains Silent

Repeated Calls to SCORE by Baja Racing leads us to conclude the felony gloss-over continues at SCORE. No concrete response to the crime wave from Sal Fish.

MARCH 28, 2008


SCORE put out a press release prior to the Baja 250 in San Felipe that everything is A-OK.

The Hall family, stolen trailer, was found last month east of Yuma, Arizona.

These latest messages are directly from the Hall Family:

"Got the weirdest call yesterday.
The State Department called to let me know that Chris' BODY had been found. Craziness, I flipped out. After a few minutes the man told me that the person found had hanged himself and had Chris' drivers license on him. Can you believe that? Anyway it obviously was not Chris but what a crazy few minutes it was. My coworkers were flipping our because I was- craziness. They found this man in La Playas, outside of TJ. Chris would a) never do that to us or himself b) never go into Mexico.

It took awhile for that part of the conversation to come about (like after I threw up in the trash can). Then they called back to let me know that the TJ police may have released the information that Chris Hall of El Cajon killed himself in TJ...

Chris & I had to call our families to let them know he was fine all just in case the media did get a hold of the story. OMG. What a freakin mess. Now the State Department wants a copy of our home owners claim so that when they go through this man's home they may recover some of our belongings. AND they asked if we want the license back- aaah! No, it was in the man's pocket when he HANGED himself, are you kidding me with that?! Today I received two calls from the US consulate informing me of the same thing.... amazing. Just thought I would post this for those who have been following along with the circus. Submitting the homeowners claim this week."

The last update:

"Now the US Consulate is trying to contact me with regards to "transportation of the remains". I have had three telephone messages this week from the US consulate. Okay, a little sick humor is making this easier.... I left this on the contact's voicemail on Wednesday afternoon. " I really do not want the body back, I never liked him anyway." Wonder why they suddenly quit calling?! Those of you who know us know that we are taking all of this with a grain of salt and teasing around in a sick sort of way about the whole lastest round."

If the consulate didn't have enough trash to deal with.

The reactions to the Hall family crime and other events/crime wave are concrete, see for yourself-from November 2007 until today.

The Hall Family:
"You are right, many will make the trip south for the Baja races. Your quote "the next two baja races are relatively incident free" scares me. This is your life and the lives of your family and friends. Racing the Baja is just NOT WORTH IT. Some of the [Baja travel] suggestions are great but the truth of the matter is that a team was chased down during the day on the toll road. Walking down the street people had guns pointed at them- in populated areas.Where and when is it safe in Baja? Is racing in Baja really worth risking your family and friends? I know what our family is going through everyday. I hope no one else has this experience, race the Best in the Desert or SNORE, SCORE minus the Baja. It really is just not worth it."

Jerry Benoit:
"Reading about the incidents with police and thefts and everything else from the Baja racers and surfers, what happens with our snowbirds going down for the winter months? If these scumbags have no problems holding up younger age people they will have no problem preying on the elderly. It will only get worse in a country that is so corrupt. I would imagine chances are it will never change though. Score has been thrown out of most of the US race venues over the years and Baja is all they have left. I also feel Sal is too lazy to deal with things so they will continue to have the races in Baja. We have been going to the races for a couple of decades and this is just some of the things we have been through over the years. We were leaving Mexico this last time and discussing the Helicopter crash at RM 120 and that lead to Dale Whites fathers crash then on to a motorcycle rider in San Felipe one year and then to people in TJ. These are the 7 bodies I have seen racing down there over the years. Every year you here about people that are not coming home from the race. I have seen more people die in Baja than the United States. Then we have the auto accidents over the years with the Litners head in 89 and other crashes on Highways 1, 5 and 3. Then we have multiple times someone in our group has been held up by the cops or the Mexican border inspection station for doing nothing and they forced to pay them off. We have had trucks broken into out in front of the San Nicholas the night before a 500 and they stole our driving suits, helmets, shocks, radios, we had a suitcase stolen out of the backs of a trucks at another 500 and 1000, Tool box stolen ice chest and other things stolen from trucks at other races, We had tires taken from the back of a truck in side the fence area of contingency. The place is not safe and I will never take my family down there anymore it is just not worth it."

Mike Nix:
"I'm with all of you baja is unsafe. In 2000 i got my jeep stolen."

Tim McCreary:
"My son was wrongly arrested in Ensenada, during this Baja 1000".

Pete Sohren:
"I don't take my family to Ensenada, ever".

Brian Groff:
"I think that if enough teams band togehter the Mexican political/social machine will have to address these problems. My hat is off to teams McMillin, Ashcraft, Mendeola, Hall, etc. for making the decision that family welfare and support crew saftey is more important than a finish line in Baja."

Camburg Racing:
"For now I am going to push for BITD and race there well organized series where I feel much safer. They have EMT's at every pit location and BITD official trucks to help us get our equipment if we go off a cliff. in Mexico we our on our own and get no help retreiving or expensive truck. We do not have the budget to leave our truck down a [ravine] and call it a loss. That is what happens in Mexico. So to sum it up, United States races for Camburg Racing."

Mendeola Racing:
"Unfortunatley, it has come to a point were the Score Races Draw too much of the wrong attention, I know there are other Race organizers in mexico that for some reason do not have these kinds of problems. Thankfully we have yet to have any of these experiences, but we are no longer willing to risk something happening. Even the booby traps can be just as dangerous as being held up. So we say, No Thanks! If there are significant improvements we will return. This is very disappointing."

Ashcraft Racing:
"We have come to the conclusion that we will no longer subject ourselves to the atrocious events that occur while we race in Baja. Our Team is tired of being harrased by the "policia" for bribes, Tired of vehicles being stolen, Tired Hotel rooms being broken into while crew members are sleeping, and Tired of unsafe road conditions. Racing is supposed to be about Family and Friends. Well I can no longer ask my friends to come and pit for fear of losing them on the dangerous roads. We dont bring the wives and girlfriends for fear of their safety. We have lost the two main reasons we started racing. We have had enough. Baja offers the most beautiful terrain and challenging race courses. My family has been raicng in baja since the late 70s. So this has been a difficult decision for us to make. Baja has changed from what it used to be. Untill conditions improve you will not find us there."

Terry Webb Racing:
"The real question is, What has Sal ever done for us? Nothing Sal is in it for Sal nothing more. He doesn't care for the racers only how much money he can put in his pocket.If a few get killed oh well its Baja and the lure of Baja (sounds so cute when Sal says it I just get all goose bumpy thinken about it) To answer the question what can we do? For me its off to BITD for good, Casey has always been a worry wort for our safety so this is the final straw, no more SCORE for us."

Faster Caster Racing:
"As much as I love going down there I will not be going back until it is safe. Never had any issues with the cops, never been pulled over or shook down and never even had the guys at the military check points ask for anything and I'm the whitest white boy you have ever seen! Drove down to the 500 alone in my new truck and trailer with no issues but there are too many stories now and I don't want to press my luck anymore. Heck if we all got together and spent the same amount of money that the crook cops steal from you guys think of how much land we could buy in the US for races! I think we need a thread to post how much money the cops stole from everyone so we can add it up. Somethings wrong when you need a bodyguard to go have some fun in Mexico."

Brain Groff:
"it has become increasingly dangerous in the past couple years I have limited the trips I take down there with my family because I am not willining to subject them to the negative side of what camping in Baja may bring. When the dangers get so out of hand that merely traveling the toll roads is potentially life-threatening, I have to re-think my priorities. Even keeping my family at home (as you mentioned that you do) is no longer enough for me. If I were killed or incapacitated my family looses their sole source of income. I know that anything could happen to me anywhere, but for me (personally) i just can't justify the risk vs. benefit"

Tony Modica Racing:
"I Raced For 5 Years Straight And Last Year After The Thousand I Just Had It . No More !"

Hancock Racing:
Racing in Baja, "Sponsor says NO! I'd like to explain but not sure if this is the place to do it. Also these are just opinions based on experiences in Baja. I wanted everyone to know how dangerous it is in Baja. Our team is class 25. We took second last year at the Baja 1000. This year we were riding for a factory and took fifth after fourty some hours.First let me say racing means more to us than our jobs and we all love Baja. We would do anything to race Baja. We will never take our families to Baja. Stopped doing it three years ago when rider of record had his son. This year our families flew into to Cabo and flew out."

Tony Cerone Racing:
"I had some friends attend a wedding in Rosarito the weekend before the start of the race. The reports back from 8 different groups that drove themselves was that they will never go into Mex. again. One couple were taken out of their car by Police after making a u -turn. The woman was felt up under her clothing during a search and her guy could do nothing! They paid their way out after the "Search" with $340.00. I could never forgive or forget this if it was my wife or daughters that this happened to. I too love Baja but I don't think I will be going back any time soon. How can you feel safe if you can't trust the men that are there to enforce and protect the people and the laws."

Game-Over Racing:
"I just want people to realize that there are plenty of organizations out there that do offer a much safer environment to race in. Yes there is crime in the US and the possibility of it happening here but the odds are in your favor on this side of the border. You have to realize that it's not just the racers who are in danger but every single person that comes to help you.You ultimately are responsible for your team and their safety, I beg of you please stay out of mexico,we are no longer safe there."

Jack Webber:
"I'm never going back."

Tony Campbell:
"I agree that ALL RACERS need stand up and demand change. It may be hard to boycott Baja races but may the only way to change things."

Desert Empire Racing:
"I can tell you who will NOT be racing or going down next year!!!!! ME!! They can have this place. This will be my 4th year and it get’s worse every year!! Me and my guys are done with Baja!"

Sourapas Motorsports:
"I most likely have raced my last Mexico event for many reasons but I will truly miss racing down there. The risk to reward just isn't worth it at this stage of my life and racing career. I know many of you believe Sal Fish and Score can fix the problems in Baja and make it safe for us but that's just not realistic at all. The problem is larger that even the Mexican government can control even if they wanted to. It's like the wild west down there now and we are bringing a knife to a gun fight. The last couple races down there I didn't even bring my family because I was concerned for their safety. I was lucky at the Baja 250 this year as they tried to pull me over in the same spot as the Hall family but I didn't and escaped. The only way you are going to affect change is hit them where it hurts and not go to Mexico and take dollars out of their pockets. We have plenty of great races in the U.S. so we have options thank God. Once again I think Score and Sal do an outstanding job but we are asking the impossible from them on this issue. The biggest losers are the young people who may never get the opportunity to race Baja like I was able to or even watch the race without unacceptable risks."

This week, on November 20, McMillin Racings, Andy Mcmillin, took the first step in calling on SCORE to responsibly address the tidal wave of Baja criminal activity impacting Baja racers, chasers and fans. Baja Racing has also received many complaints about what happened to more Baja race people during the recent Baja 1000. Many more are not being reported.

After more than a year of attempts to coverup the criminal activities and the related mexican insurance fraud by race related minions, Baja Racing supports Andy's public call-out to SCORE to address the issue.

All the stories of Baja crime against racing community.

All the stories of Mexican insurance fraud against the racing community.

The truth is, American racers in Mexico are at unacceptable risk.

SCORE must act.

Here is Andy's message to SCORE:

""This [message] is for Sal Fish to read because I know Dominic comes on here and reads what is on here.

After coming back from this race and hearing about what Chris Hall's family went through, along with numerous other tragic stories, my family and I are deeply concerned about our safety while at Baja Races.

Now is the time where WE THE RACERS need to stand up for ourselves and not let this happen to us anymore.

We either need Sal to help us and stand up for us, because we know the local police are "dirty" and will probably rip you off instead of helping you find your stolen vehicle, or we just aren't going to be returning to Mexico, period.

On Monday night before the start of the race, I was walking to my hotel room from where our trailers were parked (right across the street) with my mom and my girlfriend. The sidewalk got small so I hopped down onto the street. A truck turns the corner and is creeping along at maybe a half mile per hour, going super slow. My mom tells me to get on the sidewalk but I think nothing of it. As the truck drives by, its going so slow that I can see inside the truck: a guy driving, a girl in the middle seat, and another guy in the passenger seat. The passenger window was down and the passenger was HOLDING A RIFLE AIMED OUT THE WINDOW!!!!! My heart sank, I lost my breath, thinking they were going to jump out of the car and rob us or kidnap us, heck, or shoot us!

After that encounter, combined with all the other stories from this years race, I have come to the conclusion that NOBODY IS SAFE DOWN IN BAJA. Either SCORE steps up to help us racers, or we go start racing in Best In The Desert or start new races in Utah, New Mexico, or somewhere where you don't feel your life is being threatened 24/7.

Who else is with me? Who else feels unsafe? SCORE...what can we do???""

Andy, Baja Racing is with you. The stop-watch on SCORE has begun! We will keep you updated.

Gary Newsome
Baja Racing