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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

San Felipe Prerunning with Baja Racing News.com


Story Courtesy: Sr. Lou Peralta
Others: Various
Photos Courtesy: Various

“I'm back at the hotel here in San Felipe after a harrowing pre-running experience. We started early this morning, thinking we could be done by 2 p.m. or so. No way, Jose.

We left the San Felipe arches on the whooped out power line road. There was a grader there grading all the whoops. I could not believe it! It's like a freeway. So we stopped at the Zoo road went back to the Arches and did it again just to make sure we were on the course. We were.

It took us 4.5 minutes to go 12 miles. What happened to the nasty stuff, anybody can do that. They have put fences on both sides of the power line road to keep spectators at least 100 feet from the race course. That's good...I think. I saw Sal there painting all the towers with bright fluorescent orange paint so they can be seen from a distance. He was covered with paint. I saw him this evening here at the hotel and he was glowing like the strippers at the strip joint. The guy works hard.

After the Zoo cross-over we started to "hammer it" then suddenly it started raining hard on us. We had seen a black cloud in the horizon but suddenly it moved in fast and we were being pelted. Our four-seat pre-runner was moving right along but then it died. Water, somehow got into the carbs. So we stopped and tried to fix it. We used one of our jackets to cover the carburetors while we were taking them off. When we did, we sat inside and blowed all the water out of them. We used some WD4 to get rid most of the water. It was still raining hard but it was OK under the roof of the pre-runner.

However, by the time we were ready to put them back on, Mickey got out of the car and as he stepped towards the back he was overtaken by a wall of mud. We thought we'd lost him but he wound up hanging onto one of the bright orange towers. We could not get out of the car, so we sat there while Mickey yelled for help. Eventually the mud picked up the car and floated us towards Mickey. Luckily it sent the car right where he was hanging on and we were able to latch on to him while moving. The mud kept us moving and a few miles later we saw mile marker 12 where we were supposed to turn right, but we were riding a wave of mud so we had no control. It eventually dropped us in front of the Mini-Summit. We picked up Mickey who had been hanging all along to the side of the car. He was beat. We put him inside the car and strapped him in and cleaned about 50 pounds of mud off of him. Then we decided instead of going back to mile 12 to the turn-off, we would go up the Mini-Summit. It took us an hour to get to the top. At one time, all four of us had to pick up the pre-runner and lift it over the rocks. But we made it to the top. We thought we were home free as we could see from the top of the Mini-Summit the Highway from Ensenada to San Felipe, near Borego.

Little did we know that the worst was yet to come. So we're coming down the hill and everything seems to be back in order. Mickey finally recomposed himself and is talking. For the next forty or so miles everything is OK. We rejoined the course and now we're cook'n, through San Matias Pass, stopped at Morelia and headed south towards Matomi Wash. Made a quick stop to say hallo to a rancher I had met years ago, who showed me what was eventually to become Azufre Wash. We got going again and were at about RM 136 coasting down the switch-back entrance to Matomi Wash, when we saw a whole bunch of wild horses running towards us on the course. “What the hell?”

There must have been 20, 25 of them coming at us. We slammed on the binders and stopped. Those suckers were heading right at us, so all four of us jumped out of the car and hid behind these huge boulders. The stampede went by us, some trampling right over the hood and roof of the pre-runner, while other wild horses were slamming into the tires, falling right over in front of us. "Wild" frick'n action is an understatement. We waited to see if there were more coming. A few minutes later, we got in the car and started it. We started to go through a really tight, rock section when we heard a rumble behind us. At first, we thought it was someone on a TT pre-running. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw this wall of mud coming towards us. I looked back as did Steve and we both said, "let's get the F#@k out of here!"

We must have hit every hidden rock and bolder on the course but we weren't stopping. No way, Jose. We stayed on the gas for what seemed an eternity, occasionally looking back and seeing the wall of mud no more than 50-70 feet behind us. Heaven help us if I missed a shift or hit something. We would be engulfed, buried, dead!

We finally saw a way to get out of the canyon; I dropped it into first gear and tried climbing out. It was a dead end but we were high enough that the wall of mud just rolled passed us about five feet below our perch. It was around 1 p.m. and we decided that we could not get back into the wash, as it was filled with mud. So, we picked our way on the side of the hills, crawling over rocks and boulders. We finally hit “Chollas to the Max” and rejoined the course at about race mile 152. We were finally on the course and moving fast once again. At Rm 160, we were boogie’n when suddenly the right front wheel flew off. The right side dug in and we were engulfed with dirt. We had busted a spindle. It was about 2:30 p.m. We were at least 8 to 10 miles from the mouth of Azufre Wash. We could have waited around for our chase vehicle to eventually find us, but it started snowing. At first, it was a light flurries. We looked up and this huge black cloud was working itself across the San Felipe Mountain Range and heading towards us. No time to waist. No warm clothing for us. We had to get out of there.

We decided to strap the front A-arm as high as possible, took off the two front right-wheel shocks and I got behind the wheel while the three other guys plus the broken wheel and tire were all loaded on the left-rear side of the car. Mickey, Steve and Anthony were all hanging outside of the car, putting as much weight as possible, while we drove out. It took us over an hour to go about 8 miles and by the time we got to Azufre Wash, we were all covered with snow and ice and freezing our butts. It was five hours later before we reached the General's Taco stand in San Felipe and tried to thaw out. Our pre-run was over. I thought.


I get up to answer the door. There, standing with their rifles in hand are three Federales. They want to see me. They claim I killed two horses. I argued that we never killed anything but that all we saw was a stampede of horses. Some of them ran into our truck as they went by.

They argue that the two dead horses had nurf-bar indentations on their belly and rump, and one of them had PIAA lettering on its side. I tried to argue with them but to no avail. They pulled me out of my room, I just had my shorts on, black socks and black tennis shoes (Converse). They put me in the back of the Policia pick-up along with two other Federals and drove me to where the dead horses were. I froze my A S S for almost three hours, while being bounced around on our way to the mouth of Matomi Wash.

We finally got there and indeed, there were two dead horses lying there colder than week-old pizza. They were already hardening and bloating. The stench was awful but I had nothing to cover my face with unless I took off my shorts. But, I was not about to do that in front of five Federales with guns. The first things that flashed into my mind was the scene in Deliverance. No way, Jose.

So they begun to yell at me as to how I had killed the two horses. The rancher that I had seen earlier was there as well, lamenting about his two fine, "muy caros" (expensive) horses that he'd been training for years. As far as I was concerned those horses looked like rejects from the glue factory, but I could not argue with them.

Needless to say, I had no money on me, just my modesty, so I offered a solution. I told them that we should go back to San Felipe, and I would see my buddy who owns the Tecate Distributorship and buy about 20 cold cases and give it to the rancher in-kind for his horses. Without a blink, the old man agreed. The head Federales stepped in and said "consiguete 30, 10 son para nosotros por todo este pinche viaje," The Federales wanted 10 cases of their own for all their troubles of getting out there. I agreed.

Everyone was shaking hands when we all heard a rumble behind us. Lo and behold! those f&%#g horses were stampeding again, this time the opposite direction. The Federals and the old man scattered, running down hill, while I remember the rock I had hidden before so I dove into it as the horses just barely missed me. I waited a couple of minutes, got up and looked for the others. No inklings of anyone. The “Policia” truck was still there, still idling, I looked around and saw no one. I yelled out (in a soft voice), hey, where are you? "Donde estan?" I waited about 10 seconds, figured they were either run-over by those crazy horses, or they were way down the wash scrambling for their lives. No matter. I got in the truck, blasted the heater as my shriveled-up member was now an inner, put it in reverse and backed up about a half a mile until I could turn the truck around.

Then I made a beeline back to San Felipe with the red lights flashing. I got to the hotel, finished posting, and got the hell out of there. I crossed the border at San Luis Rio Colorado to cover my tracks just in case.

If anyone runs across any of these guys and/or the old man while pre-running, I suggest you don't stop. There's going to be some really pi s sed-off SOBs walking back to San Felipe.

Another Report

The San Felipe 250 first weekend of prerunning went well. Saturday saw blustery temps in the upper 80's while Sunday was much cooler and quite windy. The northern loop hasn't changed at all: whoops, whoops, and more whoops. 18 miles of hardpacked WFO graded road south of Morelia Jct is well, almost boring. The fun starts again at RM 109, a new section that leaves the graded road. Much of this is tight and seemingly overgrown, but will widen once several of the big trucks mow it down. The Matomi, Azufre, and Huatamote (formerly known as Chanate) sandwashes were pristine on Saturday: beds of wild grass and wildflowers. That started to change by Sunday afternoon as the first wave of prerunners buried all vegetation and berms were just starting to form.

I hung out at RM 193, just next to Checkpoint 3 on Saturday and Sunday. We gassed several teams (prearranged) and tried to give out as much worthless advice as possible.

The town of San Felipe is truly excited about the race returning. Our only "incident" occurred when Cameron and Ivan "failed to put their foot down" at a stop sign, which constituted "running the stop sign." That cop and his wife ate well Saturday night.

Matomi is know for those rocks, choice of driving lines is critical. I like an amp amber/red tint lense for matomi and partly cloudy conditions during race day. A sunny day may also require a different lense. I tried a dual layer light sensitive this weekend and I can tell you it was not good for matomi. all people are different and the choice of lense is a personal one. give it a try with different tints and you will see what I mean.

Another Report

The first 24 miles just sucks more and more every year! LOL it is the same old hell but geez I remember the 1600 car and the fun!

I was able to do 275 miles on my Nicoll/FMF Honda 650 on Sat and then another 100 today! Sick, she eats these whoops up! Rode with Jon Johnson some who I met on the trail from Class 40 and rode today with the Chaplins buddy who is in Mex racing for his first time and he is going solo, what a wake up call this will be!

Many people running out of fuel for how few people it seems are doing their homework. BIG props to Baja Pits for their hospitality pit, there was like 25 people taking a break from pre running there on Sat late afternoon, mostly bikes. I don't understand the bike guys pre running with no spare tubes, hello this is San Felipe. This course has so many lines that we are seeing people looking for their groups all over the place! I think some of these groups should have a better plan before they take off into the washes.

The course, Zoo road crossing is graded for about 300 yards into the jump and about the same out of it. The jump is sort of changed too so I think there will be a ton of carnage here as the tractor kinked the lip. No fence up yet but I'm sure it will be. Big holes just after the turn off from Morellia road like mile 110, big demolishing rollers with a wide open run in!

Oh man Matomi and the other washes are pretty smooth and aboout 85% of the option lines have not even been touched, hopefully the idiots will leave the good lines for those than can remember them on race day. I hate when a good line gets burned in before the race...duh.

The cut through the fence going into Huatomote is a no no so be warned that I think there will be some DQs because it looks way better than the end of the fence line. On Saturday morning it looked like we were the first pre runners of the month but it is already getting beat in. Off to pre run Rice and Beans soon! Whats everyone else think of the course? Oh yeah Nimrod has been working the 4 seater and is getting the hang of it pretty solid, I can even do all the GPS while he is driving without panic!

Another Report

Another, it was Saturday evening at dust just south of the airport turnoff, the crew knows who they are. Its just senseless to drive at those speeds especially during prerun weekend, didn't we loose enough people from our community last year on the chase roads! We were being watch after for sure, it wasn't Big Daddy's first day behind the wheel of a big chase truck and he was able to bring her back on the road without a yard sale.

The point is this: We got to police ourselves! That means drivers/team owners put the word out that if your crew(s) are caught driving carelessly you want to know and will do something about it internally. Also, take the pressure off your crews and let them know that you don't care WHEN they show up to their assignment just THAT they show up.

I know if anyone complains to team owners about a crew driving dangerously he will make sure they are disciplined. Maybe we all need bumper stickers that read "how is my driving? Call my team owner."

The past two trips to Mexico I've been completely runoff the road by other teams. As much as I pray for you guys I have people praying for my safety too and its been proven to me so many times that Christ's hand is on my life keeping me safe.

Many people out of fuel for how few people it seems are doing their homework BIG props to the pits guys for their hospitality pit, there was like 25 people taking a break from pre running there on Saturday late afternoon, mostly bikes. I don’t understand the bike guys pre running with no spare tubes, hello, this is San Felipe. This course has so many lines that we are seeing people looking for their groups all over the place! I think some of these groups should have a better plan before they take off into the washes.


About the guy on the KTM with the flat and no spare tube at Baja Pits on Saturday afternoon (I'm guessing that's who you're thinking of), I gave him some slime, he got some air, seemed to work, then I saw him riding through town about an hour and a half later. Us bike guys may not always be too bright and sometimes ill-prepared, but we watch out for each other and get it done, even a few of us in the Sportsman classes.

And the Mexican guy with the broken arm and the "Mexican Splint" (duct tape and branches) - we saw his truck coming to pick him up and an ambulance waiting at Morelia junction. The dude sat at Baja pits for like 3 hours with a bone almost popping out of his arm, had only 4 Advil and I didn't see anything but a smile on his face. Gotta love Baja!

Another Report

Another, it was Saturday evening at dust just south of the airport turnoff, the crew knows who they are. Its just senseless to drive at those speeds especially during prerun weekend, didn't we loose enough people from our community last year on the chase roads! We were being watch after for sure, it wasn't Big Daddy's first day behind the wheel of a big chase truck and he was able to bring her back on the road without a yard sale.

The point is this: We got to police ourselves! That means drivers/team owners put the word out that if your crew(s) are caught driving carelessly you want to know and will do something about it internally. Also, take the pressure off your crews and let them know that you don't care WHEN they show up to their assignment just THAT they show up.

I know if anyone complains to team owners about a crew driving dangerously he will make sure they are disciplined. Maybe we all need bumper stickers that read "how is my driving? Call my team owner."

The past two trips to Mexico I've been completely runoff the road by other teams. As much as I pray for you guys I have people praying for my safety too and its been proven to me so many times that Christ's hand is on my life keeping me safe.

Many people out of fuel for how few people it seems are doing their homework BIG props to the pits guys for their hospitality pit, there was like 25 people taking a break from pre running there on Saturday late afternoon, mostly bikes. I don’t understand the bike guys pre running with no spare tubes, hello, this is San Felipe. This course has so many lines that we are seeing people looking for their groups all over the place! I think some of these groups should have a better plan before they take off into the washes.

Another Report



Teams are beginning to fill the streets of San Felipe for the return of the SCORE Tecate San Felipe 250. Teams rolled into town late Saturday night to prerunners galor. With only one week until raceday many drivers and co-drivers are prepared to see the course numerous times.

Riviera Racing arrived to San Felipe, Baja, California over the weekend preparing for the upcoming 22nd Annual SCORE San Felipe 250. No time was wasted as the jet black FORD F-150 prerunner piloted by Mark Post, who was accompanied by his son, Max Post, and longtime navigator, Kelly Courie.

The reigning Baja 1000 Overall Champion and his crew started prerunning at the Arches and never had a problem on the course. In fact, the Riviera Racing prerunner had the new motor installed only hours prior to the crew leaving Southern California for San Felipe. Mark Post commented, “Once again the prerunner has been perfectly prepped and we’re going to need it as we prepare all week long for this race. San Felipe is one of my favorite races of all time and I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s race.”

Rob MacCachren was delayed for one day after receiving the DIRTsports Magazine – Driver of the Year Award, which was presented to him at the Off Road Impact Show in Anaheim, California. MacCachren arrived late Saturday night and has been well underway dissecting the desert sand washes that make up this difficult race. For over 20 years, San Felipe has hosted desert racing events and Riviera Racing is always well-received in San Felipe.

Riviera Racing’s entire crew is here in San Felipe supporting all the prerunning activities for Mark Post, Rob MacCachren and Mark’s son, Max Post. The Baja Fools are slated to provide their pit support services to both Riviera Racing race trucks on race day. The younger Post will race the #233 Riviera Racing Pro-Truck on Saturday morning in the first race as “driver of record.” Max has extensive time behind the wheel of the jet black Pro Truck over the past year while prerunning with his dad at the SCORE Baja 1000.

Prerunning was concluded on the beach resort at Laguna Percebu where Riviera Racing discovered two race team fans had just become engaged on the beach as the team pulled up to the beach front resort. The happy couple was smiling and announced they had met at the 2006 SCORE San Felipe because they were both Riviera Racing fans watching the #3 SCORE Trophy Truck. Greeted by Mark Post on the beach, the couple smiled all afternoon as she showed off her engagement ring. Riviera Racing continues their march towards the finish line at the 2008 SCORE San Felipe 250.