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Friday, October 12, 2007

Shell Racing Fuels offers Sunoco for Baja 1000

Shell Racing Fuels posts $30,000 fuel contingency

Shell Racing Fuels has posted almost 5,000 gallons in racing fuel
contingency for the 2007 TECATE SCORE Baja 1000. All classes are
eligible to compete for the largest fuel contingency in off road racing. The
2007 SCORE contingency posting has all of the fuel awards broken down by
class and finishing position. Now there is more reason than ever
to switch to the fuel that Ferrari
and Audi trust to win.
Quality and consistency win races. Shell is the global

leader in racing fuel development. You will not find
a more consistent
quality fuel anywhere. Remember to order
before November 2nd for delivery to the Baja
1000.



Shell Racing Fuels Debut at the SCORE Baja 1000 Commercial Tire Inc. is pleased to announce race fuel delivery for the 2007 SCORE Baja 1000.

CTI, the exclusive supplier of Shell Racing Fuels, will immediately process orders for Shell Racing Solutions 100 unleaded and 110 leaded product. Only exclusive use of Shell Racing fuels will qualify your team for its share of the largest fuel contingency in off road racing. Fuel delivery to Ensenada and Southern Baja pits will be available. As an added bonus, our distributor has graciously allowed us to import Sunoco’s full line of race fuels for this event as well.

ALL fuel orders must be received no later than midnight Friday, November the 2nd. Orders must be complete with payment arrangements to be considered for export to Baja. Pre run fuel will be available for pickup in Ensenada. Call for details.

Pricing as follows:
Ensenada or Pit DeliveryShell Racing Solutions 110 $6.50 p/g $8.25 p/g
Shell Racing Solutions 100 unleaded $6.70 p/g $8.35 p/g
Sunoco Standard 110 $6.50 p/g $8.25 p/g
Sunoco Supreme 112 $7.15 p/g N/A
Sunoco CA Phase 3 unleaded $6.70 p/g $8.35 p/g

For more information and to order:
In the U.S.- Chad Susag 949-254-7902 or 125*17243*3
chad@commercialtireinc.com
In Mexico- Carlos Jimenez 011 52 1 624 108 5424 or 62*338638*1
autoservicioyokohama@hotmail.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

Start of a new off road era, Baja Mexico, 1962. "A ride down the Baja". PART III

Baja Racing News.com EXCLUSIVE

LINK TO PART II

PART III

A RIDE DOWN THE PENINSULA
By
Dave Ekins

The Men Who Started A Whole New Kind Of Racing

Nearly 100 years after the acquisition of California North by the United States the Auto Club of Southern California surveyed Mexico’s 1000-mile long Baja Peninsula in an effort to make a legible road map. While in the process they planted small blue and white baked enamel signs along the way directing greenhorn travelers south. (An experienced driver would never even attempt the ordeal.) Left untouched by native Mexicans over the years, these road signs began to find their way into living rooms and dens when stateside adventurers trekked south during the heyday of “Jeeping”.


El Arco Sign


Adventuresome 4-wheelers would cross the Mexican border to experience this sparsely populated desert; now picked clean of those nifty little Auto Club markers; and promptly loose their way. Partly because of these perverse pleasure seekers Baja’s economy began to grow; Ensenada had become the second busiest seaport in all of Mexico and an observatory site found on Baja’s 9,286-foot Sierra De San Pedro Martir mountains boast as being one of the largest gathering of telescopes in the north western continent. Not an accident, the air is so pure one can see both the Pacific coast and, looking east, view the Mexican mainland seacoast on the other side of the Sea of Cortez; about a distance of 100 miles.

It’s not often the right people get together at the right time to make history. This whole idea of riding a motorcycle the length of the Baja Peninsula against a clock belongs to motorcycle racer-turned-Hollywood stuntman, Bud Ekins. And it was American Honda Motor Company (AHM) who supplied the vehicle to make it work. Actually, it was AHM Sales Manager Jack McCormack and Western States Sales Manager Walt Fulton whom Bud convinced a “Baja Trail Ride” with Honda’s brand new CL72 Scrambler would be a great way to kick off sales for Honda’s first dirt bike. Jack and Walt then had to convince AHM management to set the wheels in motion. (Heh, heh!) To the Japanese a failure of this magnitude made the idea “difficult sell’ for the U.S. team. Remember, there was no record to break, just a record to make. And the primary job would be to get it done.


Honda CL72


The plan was Bud and Dave Ekins would ride the new bikes and Walt Fulton would fly cover; not a bad idea. Then something happened to the basic plan. Triumph Motorcycle Distributor, Johnson Motors, would not allow their key, and most famous, dealer, Bud, to participate. So younger brother Dave, (who had been racing prototype 250cc Honda Scramblers), set out to find another partner. Then McCormack suggested asking Bill Robertson and Bill Jr., owners of Honda of Hollywood, a major retail operation in the heart of movie town. Bill Robertson, Senior, had spent many hours flying Baja on fishing trips and seemed a fit aboard Fulton’s chase plane as guide/navigator, co-pilot. Bill Jr., an accomplished desert racer at age 24, would ride the other Honda.

Honda management decided they needed editorial proof of accomplishment so they invited Cycle World magazine publisher Joe Parkhurst. Then Joe asked WW2 aviator and friend John McLaughlin to do the flying. John said, ”Great, you pay for the gas”. The year was 1962; groundwork for the Auto Club maps had begun in 1933. The team used 30-year-old maps of mostly dirt roads that would detour anytime a vehicle got stuck or disabled. As it turned out the whole event was a lot of guesswork and luck, both good and bad. There would be two motorcycles on the ground and one airplane flying cover with a second bearing witness; and an additional free-lance photojournalist. Then to add to the adventure no private airplane is allowed to fly after dark in Mexico. And all this would be done without radios, GPS, or any other modern navigational aid for the bike riders. The actual ride started at midnight then finished a day and a night and another day later, 39 hours and 56 minutes. Dave and Bill would go without sleep for nearly sixty hours.

Proof of these types of cross-country adventures began with Cannonball Baker’s famous pre-WW1 ride across the U.S., following railroad tracks and using available telegraph stations to confirm progress. Baker’s ride was done with an Indian motorcycle. For the ’62 Baja attempt telegrams would be sent at the start and finish. Those 1962 telegrams do exist as does the story and photographs published by Joe Parkhurst in the June ’62 issue of Cycle World magazine. This is not a fairy tale.

Logistics for this attempt were a nightmare. Going south, the last gas station is a Pemex all-nighter in Ensenada sixty-five miles into the ride. The next real gas station was on the outskirts of La Paz, nearly 1,000 miles away. Range of the motorcycles, as in all internal combustion contraptions, depends upon per-mile consumption and fuel tank size. These CL72s could empty their 2.4-gallon gas tanks in less than fifty miles if held wide open, but could cover eighty or ninety miles when running under half throttle. An additional one-gallon plastic gas can was placed inside a cargo bag mounted on the fuel tank, if needed.

In February of 1962 Fulton flew the team down the Baja Peninsula in order to see where they had to go. Unlike modern Baja Race pre-runs, this one was done in an airplane. Walt also needed to land on sections of the course at about eighty-mile increments to facilitate fuel stops. As it turned out there always seemed to be a rancho with a suitable dirt strip and a few 55-gallon fuel drums near these important sites. Fuel would be siphoned from these drums with an old garden hose filling what seemed to be one-gallon glass wine bottles. Splashing a couple of gallons into a waiting bike wasn’t a problem. But climbing the wing of a Cessna and filtering forty gallons though a chamois, one gallon at a time, did take a while. Airplanes need gas, too. Another reason for the pre-run flight was to determine which route would be better; the Gulf side with its more traveled road, or the Pacific side that seemed to be shorter and offered fewer rocks. Mistake #1; they chose the less traveled Pacific route.


Cessna Pit Stop


The decision was made to start this attempt at midnight, (Mistake #2 because both riders had worked a full day before driving three hours to San Diego.) on the 3rd Saturday of March 1962. Getting lost in the dark shouldn’t be a problem riding that twisting highway from Tijuana to Ensenada.


The Border


From there to the A.M. meeting in San Quintin is also well traveled. Both bikes had been refueled a second time at the end of the pavement in Santo Thomas. A raised corrugated dirt road from there to Fulton’s waiting plane was very straight and fast. The CLs were just skimming high spots as daylight broke to the left of the riders. Gas, a bite to eat, and they were on their way. The road became two deep ruts, as it turns inland towards a tiny village called El Rosario. A sharp left turn directly into the sun blinded both riders at the same instant a wire stretched across a driveway snatched Bill and Dave off their bikes. Luckily it was a slow-speed crash and only the bikes suffered damage, (Lucky incident #1. There could have been broken bones.) with Bill’s CL72 getting the worst of it.

Then the two rode another forty miles towards the Santa Inez airstrip. The team was on target for the predetermined 32-hour schedule as they slid up next to the Cessna. At this juncture Bill, Sr., noticed Bill, Jr’s, rear fender support had broken. Both bikes had lost their taillight lenses. The decision was made to remove the entire rear fender and run without, (Even though they had enough spare parts in the plane to put a new fender on.) Bill, Jr., then had to look forward to riding over 700 miles without a fender and the protection it offered. (Mistake #3).


A Pensive Dave Ekins


They had an unscheduled meeting of bikes and plane at Chapala Dry Lake when John McLaughlin and his Cessna 195 met up with the Honda team. The press was aboard and it became “picture taking” time. Needless to say, the schedule was out the window, from now on it was “please the photographer”. A couple of hours later Dave and Bill were chasing chickens around a small adobe house in the five-casa village of Rosarito. Everybody had fun except the chickens as precious daylight began slipping away. (Mistake #4)


Dave (L) and Bill – Laguna Chapala


The next stop was El Arco near the 28th Parallel; it also marks the separation between Pacific Time and Mountain Time. El Arco is absolutely the worst place to spend any time in Baja. Even the water well is planted downstream from the village’s only outhouse. Walt and Bill, Sr., waited as long as they could with no sign of the two Hondas. They were scheduled to meet the bikes in the middle of night at La Purisima, another two stops down the road; and they had to be there. Meanwhile Bill and Dave broke the crest of a hill on the road leading into El Arco just in time to see the Cessna 180 lift off the runway as the sun hurried towards the evening horizon. Incredibly, a Federal Soldier was there to check the rider’s papers, then led them to a five-gallon gas container and cheese sandwiches left by Fulton and Robertson.


Cessna and Crew


El Arco to San Ignacio is about the most miserable seventy miles there is to wrestle a bike. Long ago volcanoes spewed a bunch of nasty square rocks down there, and then the rocks got covered with sand blown in from the coast. The message here is rocks aren’t too bad as long as you can see them; invisible rocks are a different story. It took Bill and Dave the better part of four hours and many get-offs before they made it to the San Ignacio airport, where another “care” package was waiting.


On The Pegs


From there the road is just two tracks on the Pacific side mostly of sand with a few rounded stones. They headed southwest then picked up the coast and turned due south. After dark the warm desert air pulls a blanket of fog in from the ocean and obliterates the moon and stars. Celestial navigation? Forget it. A little later Dave noticed tire tracks in his headlight beam. He stopped, took a look, and decided the tracks were their own. (Not even a good guess, who else would be down there on a motorcycle?) Lucky incident #2. The two adventurers had been riding in a circle. So without a compass or any other guidance the wiser move was to stop and wait for the sun to appear. The other choice would be to run out of gas. They were lost.

Meanwhile Walt and Bill, Sr., had spent the night tending a campfire and waiting for the two boys to make a showing. It didn’t happen; the two lost and exhausted riders had built a campfire then waited for daylight to appear. Then it would just be a matter of riding with one’s left shoulder being warmed by that welcome ball o’ fire, the morning sun.

When daylight broke Bill, Sr., encouraged Walt to take the plane and fly north to find Bill, Jr., and Dave. Fog was still hanging around so visibility was questionable; they over flew the two Honda riders in the morning mist. About a half-hour into the search and without any positive sighting, Walt decided to set the Cessna down and have a look at the road for motorcycle tracks. The chosen landing spot was far too soft for the Cessna and Fulton immediately reacted to mud trying to pull his plane into a quagmire. (Lucky incident #3, the plane should have crashed.) The 180 broke loose and, relishing their good fortune, the two flew directly back to the La Purisima meeting pace.


Cardóns


Meanwhile the pair of CL riders found San Juanico, a three-casa fishing village complete with barking dogs and curious children. They purchased two gallon bottles of green/grey gas and two warm Cokes. Then, after a few minutes, were on their way south running on stale fuel that didn’t agree with the high performance OHC twins.


San Juanico


Walt Fulton landed his mud splattered Cessna 180 just a half hour ahead of the Hondas at Purisima’s dirt air strip, the easy part lay ahead. It would be another eighty miles of solid road to Constitucion; gas, food, then the last 130 miles of Mexican pavement. Which offers no guarantee because that thin Baja Sur tarmac has a reputation for nasty hard-to-see potholes.

Bill and Dave spotted the airfield and Cessna as the dirt road abruptly ended. Relieved that the worst part was over, and with the plane in sight, they opened the Hondas up for the first time. As they reached about 70 mph one exhaust pipe started spewing black smoke when Bill’s CL lost a cylinder. Dave, without hesitation, planted a boot over the dead pipe and pushed Bill into the airstrip. Dave wanted to push Bill the last 130 miles; after all, they had ridden together for nearly two days solid. Bill, Sr., was for it but Walt nixed the idea. His reasoning was he didn’t want to destroy the other CL and blow the whole attempt. Walt was right because no one there knew at that time the removal of the rear fender led to a perforated paper air filter which caused the holed piston 700 miles later.


A Beat Bill


Running out of gas in Baja is not an option, and getting lost is easy. The last 130 mile leg is a little beyond the range of those CLs even when cruising at half-throttle. Dave did switch to reserve near the outskirts of La Paz then saved the day by using that last gallon stored inside the tank bag. There was additional panic when Dave lost a few more minutes finding the telegraph office. Still, he made it to the La Paz telegraph office in four minutes less than 40 hours. Bill Junior finished on one cylinder an hour and a half later closely followed by his Dad giving chase in a La Paz-based taxi.


Dave in La Paz


Did the ride pay off for American Honda Motor Company? You bet. From ’62 through ’68 AHM sold more than 89,000 CL-type motorcycles. Two major races have been held in Baja each year since 1967, thanks to an ex-Marine named Eddie Pearlman and automotive journalist Don Francisco. These two put the first half-dozen races on under the guise of National Off Road Racing Association. Then the Mexican Government disallowed NORRA future race sanctions and tried pulling the race off themselves. That did not work. Mickey Thompson and Sal Fish came in with SCORE and three well-organized races have been run in Baja each year thereafter. Subsequently Baja’s economy and development has been growing by leaps and bounds, much of it because of the Mexican 1000 race, which began in 1967, forty years ago!


(Note: They rode the same bikes back two days later ... with a new engine in Bill’s, but that's another story.)


PART IV
NEXT PART
The Modern Era
LOADING NOW...

Bud Ekins passes into Off Road History


Bud Ekins, 1930-2007
By Paul Carruthers

Bud Ekins, one America’s pioneering off-road motorcyclists, died on October 6. He was 77 years old.

Ekins’ racing career spanned from the days of desert and mountain endurance runs to the modern era of scrambles and motocross and he was one of the first Americans to take part in the World Motocross Championship in Europe in the 1950s. He also earned gold medals in the International Six Day Trial. Following his racing career, Ekins went on to become one of Hollywood’s leading stuntmen and his most famous stunt was the motorcycle jump scene in the 1963 movie, "The Great Escape," starring another famous motorcyclist, Steve McQueen. Ekins also went on to be one of the country’s leading collectors of vintage and rare motorcycles. At one time, his collection numbered over 150 motorcycles and was considered to be the most valuable in the country.

In 1955, Ekins won the Catalina Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious races in the country, taking almost 10 minutes off the race record time while riding a Johnson Motors Triumph. He also won the Big Bear Run three times during the 1950s, including the 1959 victory in which he completed the 153-mile course over half an hour ahead of the second-place rider - despite suffering a flat tire and breaking a wheel. For a period during the late-‘50s and early-‘60s, Ekins was easily the most dominant racer in desert events. He was also a founder of the famous Baja 1000, making record runs down the Mexican peninsula in the early-1960s.

Ekins’ greatest accomplishments came in the International Six Day Trials. In 1964, Ekins, his brother Dave, and Steve McQueen raced in the ISDT in Germany and the team led the international competition before McQueen was involved in a crash and Ekins later broke his leg. In all, Ekins won four gold medals and a silver medal during his seven years of competing in the ISDT during the 1960s.

: By the mid-1960s, Ekins owned a Triumph dealership and had become something of a hero to Hollywood’s young movie actors, who would often hangout at his shop. One of those actors was McQueen. Ekins helped McQueen learn off-road racing and the actor became an accomplish racer.

Through his association with McQueen, Ekins began his career as a movie stuntman. In 1962, McQueen asked Ekins to come to Germany to do some stunt riding for the filming of "The Great Escape." Ekins was in Germany for more than four months working on the film and it was at the end of shooting that McQueen and Ekins came up with the now-famous jump scene.

Ekins continued doing stunt work until he was in his mid-60s, his stunt career spanning some 30 years.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

SCORE Gambles on its future


Gary Newsome
Exclusive

On the verge of celebrating the 40th Baja 1000 from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, a historic event in off road racing, SCORE has positioned itself with obvious exposures to the safety of its racers.

The Top Five To Watch for the 2007 Baja 1000 and 2008 season.

1. No rules on the use of Head & Neck Restraints

2. The Weatherman Channel Issues

3. More Ejido Problems, now in Baja Sur

4. PCI Radios vs. RLH Communications

5. Racers have no trust in Rally Loggers

Tony Tellier reportedly is sending this letter:

""To: SCORE International
From: Tony Tellier

Subject: 2007 “Baja 1000”: Possible Highway Issues

As we look forward to November’s “Baja 1000” from Ensenada, Baja CA to Cabo San Lucas, Baja CA Sur, there is an increasing concern regarding the large amount of highway running necessary to join the course sections. We agree that these cannot be avoided but what we wish to avoid is the possibility, or even the hint, of competitors exceeding the reasonably-mandated 60 miles-per-hour pavement top speed rule.

The required Rally Track “Rally Logger” stores an immense amount of on-track information: position, time, speed, etc., however that data is not available to competitors, only to each individual team ... this is made all the more unsettling due to reports, unproven, regarding teams seen covering the “Logger” box in remote areas then stripping said “blocker” when approaching race activity sites, at the San Ignacio army check, for a good example.

This occurs after nightfall – say the Bay of LA highway area -- and HID lighting temporarily blinds observers, so seeing such covering is problematical … even if one were specifically looking for a line-of-sight-of-the-sky shield.

It would seem that periods of “No Signal” or “No Record” would be obvious to a simple interrogation code … this would be “very interesting” especially if these “blanks” contain Highway 1 stretches!

We think that all vehicles who are in the position of class winner, trophies, pay-back money, Toyota’s Milestone and True Grit awards, and class points challengers should have their “Logger” logs made public, at least the “60 mph” sections.

(The “No Pass” zones are under the jurisdiction of the Mexican Highway Police and, as such, we feel that that issue is best left to them: if someone wishes to pass in a dangerous area, far be it for me to complain, so long as it does not jeopardize our race, and then that would become a Competition Review Board issue.)

After all, the data exists, the concern exists; the solution is apparent.""

The reason why Rally Loggers are used in SCORE competitions is not because they are the best safety equipment/program for the racers. Baja Racing News sees the status quo benefits the racing organization, in its control and manipulation of the racers.

Off-Road Expo LIVE! Baja Racing News Reports

Gary Newsome reported LIVE from Pomona all weekend.
EXCLUSIVE Reports!


Peaks Empire and Pit Bull Tires team up to Peak Baja!

"We've never driven in the desert before", said one of the team members in an interview Sunday at the Off Road Expo in Pomona. Never in the desert, never in the Baja and never in Mexico. That explains the Pit bull Tires! They've called rte. 1, "interstate 1".

Lets talk about those tires. They are running bias ply, rock crawlers that are far heavier than the BFG's, Toyo's, Goodyears and the rest that are run in the JeepSpeed class. "We are cutting them to reduce weight", said one of the team members. Last year, when Pit Bull was approached to run in the Baja races, one team told Baja Racing News, Pit Bull Tires did not feel they were ready to take on the competition. This year, with all the publicity, they feel they are ready. For the publicity. They are the same tires.

"Baja Will be Peaked". Its a mountain top term, when you've been to the top of a mountain you've 'peaked it'. This team claims it will win its class, beating far more experienced teams. Equipped with Baja Champion tires. No prior experience, bias ply tires and more time spent online than any other team in their class, Tony Tellier may be right. They don't have a chance to finish. Good Luck Boys.

Check out the pics HERE



Veggie Monsters Run in Baja 1000
Baja Racing News.com EXCLUSIVE

A group of diesel engineers, celebrities and two power diesel companies have fielded a 100% biodiesel team to run the Baja 1000 in November. Bosch and Gale Banks representatives were interviewed this weekend at the Off Road Expo for the story.

Three stock truggies, the half truck-half dune buggie Baja type vehicles, will be used as platforms for the effort. Biodiesel proponent and driver of a veggie El Camino Daryl Hannah and Hayden Christensen are in the program as drivers. TMZ.com is also reporting one of the veggie race-truggies is signed up for the CABO 500 in December.


Baja 1000 Map thing at the Off Road Expo

Very anti-climax announcement now at the Pomona Fairgrounds. The map has been known very weeks, a very good rendering was found here at Baja Racing News.com, for months. The only real change is the one from the posted SCORE maps on its website for a couple weeks had the San Quintin section completely wrong SEE THE MAPS HERE:















Baja 1000 Limited Edition Icon

The Baja 1000 off-road burn down that westernmost peninsula is in its 40th year. In honor, Van Nuys-based TLC has rolled out the Baja 1000 Limited Edition Icon. That's the company's repro Toyota Land Cruiser. The company's retro off-roaders start at $84,000, and the Baja edition will cost $145,000 as a turnkey Cruiser. It's powered by a hand-built LS6 V8 producing 450 horsepower, and sports a hand-brushed aluminum body with "black crocodile" trim, TLC coil suspension, five-point harnesses and Racepack instruments. All of that sits on 17-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, though hardcore off-roaders can get non-street-legal 35-inch Baja meats. And there's more than just an arbitrary connection with the big race; a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser won its first Baja in 1973. Unveiled Exclusively here on Baja Racing News.com here at the 2007 Off-Road Expo!