Saturday, December 08, 2007

CABO 500 LIVE La Paz Contingency



Rumors are flying around La Paz today that say, one of the local promoters may pull the rug on the racers and require them to finish one more race in the series. Welcome to Baja Sur Racing!
One of the Jeffries Team members told Baja Racing, "that's why we race with Pro Baja Group, we were tired of the bad promoters".
Norman Cesena, has been quoted in these rumors, as wanting one more race to bring the Association racers into one more race, on December 15 to a track race in San Jose del Cabo, that would force the U-Pro or Association racers into an additional series race, to goin their rightful winnings for the year. Of course, the racers arer steaming over these rumors.
Early this morning, the rumor was denied by his website mouthpiece, but the racers are worried. Many have been seriously manipulated for years by promoter Cesena.

Ruffo Racing Ready To Win

For more than 14 years, Ruffo Racing has been winning at motorsports in southern Baja. Andres Ruffo is a proven desert racer with many wins under his belt and his finely tuned racing team is ready to win on Sunday.

With a new Porter desert racers Class 1, Ruffo Team can take Sundays race, we will follow their progress closely. See more about the Baja Champion Ruffo Team at

Gary Newsome

Baja Racing



The off-road parties have begun throughout town. The last, State Championship race, known locally this year as the Baja Sur 300, the CABO 500 2007 has changed dates and race routes enough to confuse even the best Baja South offroad fans. Today, contingency on the La Paz Bay and the race runs from La Paz to Cabo on Sunday, just like last years race, Finish Line on the beach in Cabo!

Baja Racing



Teams rapidly prepare for contingency today. Pictured here are Cervantes Motorsports of La Paz, one of the best Mexican Trophy Trucks and a competitior for the State Championship, racing Sunday.

Baja Racing



More Race Details at CABO

LIVE COVERAGE BEGINS SATURDAY DECEMBER 8, 7 AM Pacific Time Pre-Race Interviews, Predictions and LIVE Race Coverage all weekend!

7 AM Report
Good Morning Baja from La Paz!
Today is contingency in La Paz, all the racing teams are due today and Baja Racing will have interviews and insight into this years CABO 500.

Contingency will be carried out in the on the Malecon on La Paz Bay, where regularly this previous celebration, the CABO 500 last years, was carried out for the sport of off road, between the streets of Allende and Márquez of Leon, a very important signalling for the racers, since they will not be allowed to leave the outriggers in the area of the Malecon, inclusively, the transit agents will have the order of not letting to the racers park the race cars, for which they are asked for to them take his precautions... The Judge of race will be Professor Cabrera. The closing of inscriptions will be precise to the 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and any racer who registers after that hour, will have to go away at the end of the list of enrolled until the closing, and so on. Like endorsement in the security of the race, organizers will be flying over the course in one of the small planes of Aerocalafia, to be able to quickly report easy and any incident that could be reported in the course of the race. The technical-mechanical inspectors will be Navarrese Carlos and Enrique Perez.

All the racers who are looking to win today in the State Championship, and who have numbers which they duplicate themselves with those of the racers of Championship two organizations, will receive in the table of inscriptions a transfer, which they will have to put next to the number of his vehicle. The racers meeting will be finishing the official closing of inscriptions, which will be to 9 pm at night, because that is the hour of the racers meeting. Which is required. This will be a great race that without a doubt will have an excellent competition! Welcome to the LIVE! coverage on Baja Racing, here is the CABO 500 Race Webcast Schedule:

Today, Saturday: La Paz
7 AM First Report on Contingency
1 PM Second Report on Contingency
7 PM Intervews with CABO 500 racers
9 PM Wrap from Malecon Seafood Restaurant

Raceday, Sunday: CABO 500 Second Annual
7 AM First Raceday Report Start Line in La Paz
1 PM Second Race Report from Todos Santos-Hotel California
7 PM Interviews with race teams from Cabo San Lucas on the beach
9 PM Wrap from Cabo San Lucas Finish Line
Baja Racing

Friday, December 07, 2007

Baja 1000 Wrap Report

The Baja 1000 celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007.

Only a few motorsport events besides Formula 1 enjoy as much media coverage as the longest non-stop desert race of the world. Desert Series as the governing body and organiser estimated that a good 300,000 fans lined up along the 1,300 mile track to watch the action with more than 400 starters in 34 classes for automobiles, trucks, motorbike, ATVs - more or less everything that has wheels. For the 33rd time the city of Ensenada south of the border between the U.S. and Mexico was the starting point. And the competitors had to reach Cabo San Lucas at the very southern end of the Baja California, where the finish was located for the second time in history.

Once again, the Baja had everything that drivers, teams and fans dread and love at the same time: There was rain in the beginning, mud holes. In the night there was fog, and with almost no viz everybody had to stagger around guessing what was waiting behind that white wall - very risky.

US veterans Mark Post/Rob MacCachren/Carl Renezeder saw the chequered flag first after 25 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds. With their Trophy Truck they had achieved the incredible record average of 51.13 mph! What a great achievement! Post was crowned the 2007 SCORE champion with his third win out of six races this year. Many other met a very different fate: Of the 424 starters only 30 had arrived at Cabo San Lucas after 30 hours! Maximum allowed time was 53 hours, maybe just to make sure no one got seriously lost in the desert ...

Second came father and son Vildosola, who had been in a very close race with the eventual winners at the 1,200 mile mark but then lost time with two flat tyres. Third amongst the Trophy trucks was racing legend Robby Gordon. Rob by had a story to tell: His crew somehow calculated his driving time to the next pit stop a little too optimistically and sent him off into dusk without his big headlamps. So Robby had to find his way for quite some time with just a torch! And I can tell you, that's a challenge with 800 hp to handle!

Baja legend and multiple motorbike winner, Larry Roeseler won Class 1 for a record fourth time in succession and finished third overall co-driven by Troy Herbst.

But the fastest of all sat on a motorbike; Robby Bell, Johnny Campbell, Steve Hengeveld and Kendall Norman reached the finishes after 24:15.50 hours and averaged 53.43 mph - a new record. With this performance the quartet picked up a theme from the earliest history of the Baja 1000:

Back in 1962 the first crazy guys took up the challenge of the peninsula. Dave Ekin took his 250 cc Honda from Tijuana down to La Paz in 39 hours and 54 minutes. His buddy Bill Robertson, jnr took just an hour longer, they covered some 953 miles , averaging around 24mph. In order to prove their record they had a time sheet stamped at the Tijuana post office, and the saying is that they were in a real hurry to find the post office down in La Paz. It was in April 1967 when Bruce Meyers fired up his buggy called "Old Red" to break Ekin's record by five hours.

But the real big stuff started on 31 October, 1967. Ed Pearlman, the founder of the National Off Road Racing Association NORRA had the fantastic idea to send 68 madmen with the stripped down VW bugs and motor bikes on an 849 mile trip from Tijuana to La Paz. Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels took 27 hours and 38 minutes in their Meyers Manx Buggy, averaging around 31mph. This entire event was called the "Mexican 1000". In 1968 the race started in Ensenada, where since then by far the most starts took place.

Soon the Baja wrote its heroic stories. Parnelli Jones and Walker Evens made the first real big headlines in 1972 during the pre run ning, when a downpour almost washed them into the sea.

1972 was the last Baja organised by NORRA, for ‘73 an organisation dubbed BSC took the rudder briefly, ‘74 was cancelled because of the world wide "oil crisis". From 1975 SCORE International, founded by Mickey Thompson and soon directed by Sal Fish was the organising body to run the SCORE Baja, which was a giant loop with start and finish in Ensenada. Since 1979 the Baja is a point-to-point race.

Dust, racing fuel, serious horse power, fascinating machines and the big challenge of the desert attracted famous racers and lots of celebrities. Clark Gable and Steve McQueen tried their fortune. Mark Thatcher, the son of Britain's iron lady Maggy came. Rick and Roger Mears, Danny Ongais, Robby Gordon, Roberto Guerrero, Brendan Gaughan, or rally aces like Erik Carlsson and Shekhar Mehta are only a few of the names that grace the entry lists year after year.

Baja Racing


Sean Hoernke Finishes the 2007 Baja 1000

At this years Baja 1000 Sean finished 6th in his class





If you asked 10 people to describe the Baja 1000 in one word I think you would get 10 different answers. Words like Challenging, Scary, Crazy, Fast, Dusty, Exciting, Beautiful I’ve heard used to describe the race. I think the one word for me is Unbelievable. It really kind of is when you look at it. All the logistics, technology, and determination that is put into this race by each and every team is simply unbelievable to someone who has never witnessed it in person.
Racing the Baja 1000 has been around our family since I was eight years old. My father raced the Baja multiple times in the 1980’s & 1990’s so it was only natural that it was in my blood also. Last year when I read that this year’s 1000 was going to be the second longest race in the history of the event I had to do it.

Our team consisted of five great guys. Morgan Spradling from Gunnison, Colorado, Jeff Davis from Gunnison, Colorado, Kane Cook from Hesperia, California, Frank Prince from Chicago, Illinois, and myself. These guys rode their hearts out and did everything so well on and off the bike during and before the race to make this thing a success. Morgan owns Highland Cycles in Montrose, Colorado. He was in charge of building the bike and he did an awesome job of building a rocket ship. The bike was a dream during the race.

We arrived in Ensenada on November 2 to pre- run portions of my section of the course. My responsibility was the Start to mile 205 near the Santo Domingo wash. My second section would be mile 368 to 487. That would be a night section through Coco’s Corner into Bay of LA. Pre-run went well and I was really looking forward to the race. The day before the race is tech inspection where you roll your bike through and they give it the once over and stamp the frame and motor to ensure that those are the pieces that make it over the finish line several days later. Then they look at the bike guys and snicker and say good luck? Tech is crazy with people everywhere coming to see all the bikes, trucks, and buggies. It is a madhouse.

Race day comes and it’s up early like a bass tournament day. The first bike rolls off the line at 6:30 am so you have to get up early. It’s kind of crazy because the city is like a ghost town the morning of the race until you get to the starting line then you realize where everybody in town went. There were people everywhere. We were 13th off the line in the Open Sportsman class so at 7:13:30 am our race had begun. The race starts in downtown Ensenada and winds through the streets into the famous Ensenada Wash that leads you out of town. There were people everywhere. Yelling, screaming, running across the track in front you. It is crazy. For the first hour you are so concerned about the people on the side of the course and what they are doing you really don’t focus on what is in front of you. After a little while you finally just blur it out and focus on what is coming and just hope no one does anything crazy. The best way I can describe it is it looks like one of those crazy mountain stages in the Tour De France where Lance Armstrong is going up the mountain and it just looks totally crazy with beveraged up people that have been sitting on a mountainside for 3 days waiting for the race to show up.

I finally settle down and start riding my pace and picking some guys off one by one. At around the 30 mile marker I was second physically in our class and ended up having a shifter problem. I rode about 20 miles in first gear till I made it to the next pit where we were able to get it fixed and back to racing. We dropped several positions during the shifter ordeal so I had a ways to make up, we lost about 15 minutes time. Everything went well after that with no major problems or crashes. Luckily it had rained the night before and the dust was not bad so it made passing a lot quicker and easier since you could see. I made it into the first rider exchange at Santo Domingo at about 11:45 am. When I turned the bike over we were in second place about 3 minutes down on first. So we were happy to be in good position after the first part of the race.
Jeff Davis took over the next section, he did a great job of getting the bike down the line. He took a bad spill when he came around the corner and the road had washed out from the previous day’s rain and he took a bad trip over the bars. The bad news was when it became dark our main beam light did not come on so he had to ride a good ways with minimal light and that is no fun. He turned the bike back over to me in 7th place. We worked on the light for a little while in the pit but our planning mistake was not expecting a light issue that early in the race so our closest spare was at the end of my section at the next rider exchange. So I rode the 120 mile section with the broken light also. It was a slow go but I would ride along someone else’s light as long as I could then fade back and catch another ride with someone else. I finally made it through that section and turned the bike over in 5th place so we made up some ground on a few guys but we lost a good chunk of time on the leaders in our class.

We did a complete light exchange and rewiring at the pit. We had a set of spare Fuego HID’s that we put on for the remainder of the race. We should have had another set of spares at the previous pit but we never expected a light issue right at dark so we didn’t plan for it and that was our fault and it cost us. We should have known better. Morgan took over at the Bay of LA highway crossing and he was a mad man on a tear. He made up some good time during his section to La Purisma and turned over the bike at around 3a.m. in 2nd place.

Kane jumped on the bike and things were looking good at around 7 am the next morning. We were an hour plus down from first and about 45 minutes ahead of third. So things were looking good for second. With about 160 miles left in the race his riding jacket fell out of his backpack and wrapped up in the rear sprocket that eventually ended up turning him into superman and flying over a fence and into the cactus. He had a pit guy put the jacket in the backpack for him and I guess it didn’t get zipped all the way up before he took off from the pit. After a long ordeal of cutting the jacket out of the rear wheel he was back on his way. The bike took a good lick and it ended up damaging the radiator and throttle assembly. We lost about an hour and a half in the pits replacing throttle cables and repairing the radiator. He had to ride the bike with a pair of needle nose pliers attached to the throttle cable to give it gas. I’m sure that wasn’t fun in the sand.

Frank took over the bike with 150 miles to go in sixth place. He had a great ride and kept it on two wheels till the finish. After 1300 miles and 33 hours 57 minutes and 39 seconds of racing a little after dark Frank pulled into the finish line 6th in class and it was all over. Since I was 8 years old I dreamed of one day competing in the Baja 1000 and making it to the finish, we did it! It really was one of those days that I never will forget.

Baja Racing

Mark Growe takes series sportmans truck class

Mark Growe and team put together a consistent race program for 2007 and were rewarded with winning the overall championship in desert series sportsman truck class. Mark is no stranger to the class as he won the championship in both 2004 and 2005. He was also the MDR 1450 Champion in 2001.

Coming off his win at Primm, Nevada, Mark knew he had to do well at the Baja 1000 to keep his points lead. He was able to accomplish that and ended the year with over 120 points between him and the 2nd place team. It just goes to show what focus and determination will get you in a competitive class.The Airborne Ford Ranger uses off the shelf Race Series 4.5 custom i-beams, heim joint radius arms and rear 3-link kit. Time and time again these products are race proven and championship winning with Mark behind the wheel.

It’s always great to see such a well respected racer finish off the year on a high note.

Baja Racing

Dodge-Mopar KORE Baja 1000 Report

DODGE-MOPAR represented by KORE in Baja 1000 Report

KORE's focus of effort was the newest truck in the stable ; the Stock Full Class vehicle powered by a 5.7 liter Hemi motor. Its first race garnered a 2nd place finish in the 2007 Baja 500. Then electronic engine management issues ultimately caused a full engine seizure at her next race, BITD's Vegas to Reno. Between Vegas to Reno and the Baja 1000, brush fires ravaged San DiegoCounty, home of the KORE race shop and all personnel. Mandatory evacuations forced the shop to close for almost two weeks, throwing the race program off schedule at a critical time."Despite the time constraints, we replaced the original motor with an XVMotorsports built 5.7 Hemi that uses all-forged internals, a trick XV aluminum manifold and Holley carburetor, so fuel injection couldn't mess us up again," said Kent Kroeker, owner of KORE. 'Now we've got a bulletproof power plant that does what we tell it? With only four days of testing, KORE was confident they had a winningcombination under the hood. The team relocated to Baja. All was in place for a solid race. Then while prerunning near Santo Domingo in the famous KORE Beast, Kroeker hit a rock that snapped every steering component in the blink of an eye. This sent the uncontrollable truck containing Kroeker, KORE Engineer Keg Parker and Toyo Tire rep Jeff Bootz up an embankment and into a full barrel roll with The Beast landing on its roof.Nobody was injured in the rollover, but the extraction process was arduous and time consuming, bringing an exhausted crew back to Ensenada just a day before the race."

It was unbelievable what we did to get that truck out. It was destined for Dakar next year, so we had spare parts, tools, a winch and air compressor on board. With the help of some Mexican locals, we used every trick in the book to right the truck, turn it around and get it safely to town. The steering knuckle was snapped in half. We used about 30 hose clamps to hold the lower ball joint in place then we drove it out! It was amazing," said Toyo's Jeff Bootz.Recent rain made for perfect conditions on race day. Team Desert Assault wasplaced strategically down the peninsula. With Kroeker in the right seat, legendary off roader Malcolm Smith drove a flawless 200 mile start to KORE Pit One at Santo Domingo.Arriving in good position, he handed a perfect truck to Rodolfo Iribe and Keg Parker. Rodolfo "Rudy" Iribe proceeded to pass everyone in the class, bringing the KORE Hemi to San Ignacio in the lead 13 hours later.Now, with the most technical sections behind them and room to let the truckbreathe, John Zambie and "Happy" Jack Ruddy quickly put 30 miles on the Stock Full arch rivals and eventual class winners, GM's Team Hummer.Then, in the lead at race mile 870, disaster struck.

The transmission that hadbeen working perfectly during the entire race showed a rapid and irreversible temperature spike from 140 degrees to 250 degrees and gave up the ghost immediately. Since the spare transmission was not readily available at KORE's Loreto North pit, the team pulled a transmission from one of the chase vehicles and installed it in the race truck.Several hours later with the tranny swap complete, Darren Skilton and GlenPlake were back on the gas, racing south still looking at a podium finish. But within ten miles the replacement transmission failed. For the next six hours the team worked frantically to find the cause of the problem, eventually coming to the conclusion that the interface between the computer and fully-electronic transmission had failed, causing both transmissions to commit suicide. At 5 AM, after 15 hours of work, all resources exhausted, dead in the water and unable to make the next check closure, Kroeker called the race. Near Loreto, the Canadian team of HRT replaced a blown turbo, a recurringcurse that thwarted their 2006 Baja 1000 effort. Previously running strong in Second Place with few problems besides a quick lower control arm replacement at El Crucero, Kevin Ostlund, owner of HRT was anticipating a strong finish.

Then out of nowhere the truck's turbo imploded. Troubleshooting revealed that the co-driver had lost track of a loose rag that inadvertently clogged the in-cab air filter. Fortunately the Canadians had prepared for the worst and had a spare turbo charger on board. After only a couple of hours of down time, they were back on the trail at 100% power, bringing the truck across the finish line for Fourth Place in Stock Full.Team Tennessee remained undaunted after rolling one of their trucks duringprerunning. Detailed preparation and solid logistics placed their two trucks in good position as they thundered down the peninsula. RPM's first truck piloted by Clyde Stacey charged southward at a steady pace finally getting across the finish line for Fifth Place in Stock Full. Fuel troubles early on slowed the pace of RPM Off Road's Justin Matney, but the team continued, running the entire race with only 2 psi. of fuel pressure! RPM's second truck eventually rolled across the finish line, but not before the clock ran out.Three hundred miles south of Loreto, the KORE/Greer Class 8 truck was stuck indeep silt. Precise driving by Thom Greer had brought the 740 horsepower Mopar monster to Chapalla in a solid second place. Fresh tires and a new alternator were all the truck needed.

Glen Greer then proceeded to close the gap until only an hour separated him from the lead position. Now just hours from the finish, mired axle deep in silt, all seemed to be lost. Nearby chase personnel soon came to the rescue and the 540 cubic inch monster was back underway. Soon the KORE/Greer Class 8 rolled into Los Cabos for a First Place finish.This was the first Mopar-powered Baja 1000 victory in over a decade."It was an amazing race for everyone," said Kent Kroeker. "This is the mostdifficult point to point race in the world and our teams performed admirably. In retrospect we could have done a few things differently, but all the money and preparation in the world probably wouldn't have flushed out the gremlin that bit us. The motor and suspension set up were perfect, the team was dialed and we could have won. But like my Dad used to say, -If you had a whole bunch of should-have, would-have and could-have in one hand and 25 cents in the other, you could buy a doughnut.-"

Baja Racing

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Baja 1000 Blowback SCORE Shops Sonora Mexico

Gary Newsome Reports
Sonora Tourism is buzzing over the prospects of off-road racing

Sal Fish of SCORE International has been confirmed shopping for Mexico races in the state of Sonora in Mexico. Several sources say with all the widespread crime problems in Baja Norte and the vice-lock the Municipality of Ensenada has over peninsula access for SCORE Mexico races.

Sonora is pulling out all the stops to have off-road racing in its state. Baja California racing is seriously on the ropes with racers bailing on the SCORE series and ever increasing public reports of organized crime stories from Baja, Mexico.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Porter Race Cars Wins Desert Series Championship

The CATTRAC Porter Race Cars team clinches Desert Series Championship Baja 1000

The CATTRAC Porter Race Cars team, piloted by the team of Billy and Dave Gasper, has clinched the 2007 Class 1 overall Desert Series points championship. Finishing the famed Baja 1000 with a strong 10th overall and 5th in class, the team has battled through a field near 40 cars during the six races that comprise the SCORE series. Billy and Dave Gasper have won points championships twice prior, and have both won the Baja 1000 twice. Crew chief and Porter Race Cars founder, Danny Porter has won points championships and won the Baja 1000 twice as a driver and twice as crew chief for Rod Muller.This means a lot to us both as racers and as fabricators. We race what we build. This has been a tough win for us, we had a lot of great competition throughout the year at every race. This is our first year for my brother and I racing in Class 1 and we love it! stated the elated Billy Gasper.When asked about the race Billy replied, It was no walk in the park. We rolled just outside of the Bay of LA and it took Scott a while to get the car righted with no help. We had a few flat tires, and lighting became a big factor between the roll and all the mud. I know at one point we were back in 9th, but the car ran great, we could have done another 1300 miles! We didn't know where we stood until after we crossed the line. I drove as fast as I could the last part of the race. We won by one pointCrew chief Danny Porter commented; I knew we could do it. We had the right team, equipment, and drivers. I especially want thank CATTRAC and all of our sponsors, we couldn't have done it without them.Check out team CATTRAC Porter Race Car's website for race results, photos and video of the Baja 1000 at

The CATTRAC / Porter Race Cars team are sponsored by:CATTRAC Construction, Good Year Tires, Porter Race Cars, Kartek, Sol Tek Light Systems, Kroyer Racing Engines, King Shocks, Pro Am Racing Products, Sunset Sign Design, Beard Seats, The Converter Shop, Dirt Bagz

Baja Racing

Monday, December 03, 2007

CORE Baja 1000 Report

Blazing through Baja

Ben Mills walked out of the cinema, grabbed his cell phone and dialed up his big brother back in Grass Valley. Adrenaline rushing through his body having just watched Dana Brown's epic documentary "Dust to Glory," chronicling the blood, sweat and tears of the famed Baja 1000 race, Ben could hardly contain his excitement when his big bro picked up the phone."Scott, it's Ben ... We've got to do this. "Two years later, the Mills brothers - and apparently one of the largest motorcycle racing teams ever assembled - did just that." Growing up riding motorcycles," Ben said, "especially in California, it's your dream to ride in the Baja 1000."But the brothers, who both teach at Lyman Gilmore School in Grass Valley, didn't just ride the Baja 1000 in their rookie run. They raced the 40th annual event in impressive fashion. Team C.O.R.E. (Christian Offroad Racing Enthusiasts) was the 32nd team - among 450 trucks, buggies, quads and bikes - and just the sixth motorcycle to cross the finish line in the premiere dirt bike division, after speeding 1,300 miles through the desolation of Baja California, from the Ensenada start to the Cabo San Lucas finish.

And they did it in 29 hours and 51 seconds. Plotting a course. Before they'd make their maiden voyage in the Baja 1,000, Ben, 26, and Scott, 36, teamed up with two other riders to participate in the Baja 500 event in 2006, which apparently only made them more intent on returning to ride the Baja 1,000 last month. Though they would be flying solo across the sands of Baja, the Mills brothers weren't about to cover the 1,300 miles - with an additional 300 added for the 40th anniversary of the event -by themselves. They joined up with four other area riders - 35-year-old Jason Edie, 26-year-old Garrett Norton, 36-year-old Scott Englund and 37-year-old Joe Cochran - to form a relay team of experienced dirt bike riders who would get them to the finish in fine form. One of those team members, though, wasn't sure what would happened if they didn't make it Cabo San Lucas.After all, the bike was the only part of Team C.O.R.E. that would actually traverse the entire trek, being handed off like a baton between team members after each leg of the race.Having put up several thousands of dollars and having put in months of preparation, each rider has to hope his teammate is able to successfully complete their respective leg of the race.

"When you enter an event like this, with so much preparation and so much hard work that has gone into it," said John Mills, the boys' uncle who spearheaded the team's support crew, "the pressure to get the bike to the next guy is huge."Led by John Mills, who began plotting strategies for the ride ever since the 500 mile event the year before, Team C.O.R.E. was in the hands of some seriously meticulous crew members.From the GPS device mounted on the handlebars, helping the riders find their way through blinding dust and darkness of the night, to the helicopter and pilot watching over the riders during the day, it seemed as though Team C.O.R.E. had thought of everything."This guy," Ben said, pointing to his Uncle John, "pretty much did all the research. He was the backbone, for sure, of the team. He just went crazy with the planning."John, a retired agriculture biologist, has also been around motor bikes for most his life. He got to know his nephews very well through all the family trips he took with his brother, Jim Mills and the boys, whether to ski or ride motorcycles.An admitted "adventure junkie," John was up for this one as soon as he was called to duty by his nephews."I just love things that can't be put in a box or can't be planned out to perfection," John said. "Though we tried to plan for everything."No Sunday driveWatching the Baja 1000 from the side of the road - as some 200,000 to 300,000 people do each year - gives spectators a good glimpse of the speed at which the competitors fly through the desert.

But to get the best view of trail being blazed across Baja, one needs to see what the riders see from behind those handlebars or steering wheel.With all the dirt roads and Mexican highways remaining open to the public throughout the race along with the thousands of fans standing just a few feet from the course - and with several crossing the road right in front of machines racing in excess of 100 miles per hour - the drivers are forced to keep their focus for fear of killing someone in a collision.It's happened, even to the best.That's how former Baja 1000 champion Danny Hamel met his end in 1995, when a motorist entered the race course and collided with Hamel head on.And riding at night, with the world around them limited to the 30 to 50 feet illuminated by their headlights, only makes focus even more of a priority. "That was one of our biggest fears," said Ben, who joined his brother in taking care of the night-time legs of the race. "You don't know if something is going to come jumping out from behind a bush or you hit something you didn't see at 90 miles per hour."And then there were the "booby traps."

Apparently, some of those thousands of fans lining the course aren't just offering their applause to the racers blazing by. According the Mills brothers, some folks actually set up small ramps meant to get the riders to "catch air" as they race through that section of the course. They had heard of such traps prior to racing."And the riders go cartwheeling," said Ben, noting that very thing happened to their teammate, Garrett Norton, who suffered a rough case of "road rash" and some deep bruising."He was pretty beat up," Ben said. "It took him five minutes just to find the bike. And then he had another 100 miles to go - with 40 miles of sand whoops ahead."Knowing the potential pitfalls ahead, Scott said he has never felt focused as he did in the dark of the desert that November night.Total teamworkThe Mills brothers estimated many as 32 people actually served as crew members of Team C.O.R.E., whether on site, stretched across the Baja or even back in Northern California tracking each rider on computer screens."And I don't think we could have done it with one less," said Scott. It was a team effort from front to back. Every one of those people had a significant role."With helicopter grounded at night, the support crew had no bird's eye view as to where in the desert their rider was. Instead, they relied on folks back home, hovering over a computer, to keep them up to date."People in Grass Valley knew more about where the bike was than people on the ground," Scott said.At one point of the race, when Scott had made up substantial time while riding at night, a team member watching his progress from San Francisco called up the crew on their satellite phone to let them know that they'd better make an early pit stop.

At another stretch, the computer screen noted the blinking dot marking the bike hadn't moved in a substantial amount of time, causing concern for his safety. But after another quick call, they learned that one of the riders hadn't placed the tracking device in the next rider's backpack.In addition to the folks on the ground, in the air and on the computer, Team C.O.R.E. also had support in the form of a 35-person prayer vigil taking place back home during the race.Throughout the 1,300 miles there were many highs and lows, causes for concern and celebration. But overall, things went surprisingly smooth for the first-time team."And," John added, "we felt this blessing from the Lord."No doubt each members of the team were physically fatigued by the time their turn on the bike was through. But you'd never known it by asking them, especially as they stepped off the bike."It was an endorphin rush from beyond, the polar opposite of tired," said Scott. "I felt like I was a gladiator who just conquered every single foe."I was so jacked up I could have raced another 500 miles. I just didn't want to get off the bike."

Baja Racing

Bud Ekins Celebration at Warner Bros. EXCLUSIVE

Baja Racing EXCLUSIVE!

Baja Racing was at the Bud Ekins Celebration at Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood on Sunday, December 2. The amazing event celebrated the incredible life of off-road and motorcycle legend, Bud Ekins.

Buds eternal line, "Ghost Riders In The Sky", is an insight into the great life of Adventure of America's greatest Off Road Hero, Bud Ekins.

Bud Ekins, a Pioneering Champion off-road motorcyclist and a veteran stuntman who doubled for Steve McQueen on the famous motorcycle jump in "The Great Escape," was celebrated on December 2, at Warner Brothers Studios in Hollywood. Bud lived a full, adventurous life to 77. Bud passed October 6th, of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. A 2006 inductee of the Trailblazers Hall of Fame and winner of the Hammer Award, the "American Motorcyclist" pinnacle. He was also an inductee of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, in 1999.

Ekins was one of the first Americans to compete in the World Championship Motocross Grand Prix circuit in Europe during the 1950s. And by the mid-'50s, he was the top scrambles and desert rider in Southern California and had been district champion seven times. Ekins doubled for Steve McQueen in the 1963 film "The Great Escape" to perform this now-infamous jump over a wood-and-barbed-wire fence on a Triumph motorcycle; using that bike was no mistake, because Ekins owned a Triumph shop in So Cal's San Fernando Valley, the unofficial hang-out for all of Hollywood when it came to motorcycles).His friendship with fellow motorcyclist McQueen, whom he helped teach off-road racing, launched Ekins' career as a movie stuntman.
Over the years, he amassed numerous stunt credits including the TV series "ChiPs" and films such as "Diamonds Are Forever," "Earthquake," "The Towering Inferno," "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers."But Ekins' most famous stunt work was on his first job: doubling for McQueen in the climactic motorcycle jump over a high, barbed-wire fence in the 1963 World War II prisoner-of-war movie "The Great Escape.""Steve could have done it himself," said Bob Hoy, a stuntman friend of Ekins. "He did the lead-up to it and rode the bike wherever he was running in that escape, but Bud did the jump. It was a tough jump. You only can do that kind of thing once; you either make it or you don't make it."Susan Ekins, the stuntman's daughter and an executive film producer, said her father was "very proud" of the spectacular jump, which was shot on location in Germany.She said her father and McQueen dug out a ramp in the dirt and practiced jumping the motorcycle over a rope to see if it would be able to clear the fence."Steve was a very capable rider, but my dad did the jump because they wouldn't let a star do a jump of that nature because they couldn't afford to have him hurt," she said.

In the 1968 crime drama "Bullitt," Ekins also did stunt work for McQueen when his detective character drives his green Mustang in a high-speed chase with the bad guys in a black Charger over the hills of San Francisco. His leathers read: "Bud Ekins Triumph - Tarzana", in reference to his motorcycle shop in So Cal's San Fernando Valley. Note the "#1" plate; The city of Tarzana borrowed its name from the title of a book written by a local resident, "Tarzan of the Apes", by Edgar Rice Burroughs). But that wasn't all Ekins did on the hit film."One of the great things Bud did in the picture, he laid a motorcycle down on the blacktop during [the chase]. It was a hell of a shot," Hoy recalled.

"Anything mechanical -- cars, motorcycles -- Bud was a perfectionist doing stunts. He could blueprint an accident and make it look real."But, Hoy added, "Bud was an all-around stunt man. He could do fistfights and hold his own, he could say a couple of lines as a heavy and do a fall and what have you."All in all, he was a good friend and a wonderful man."Ekins was born into a working-class family in Hollywood on May 11, 1930. As a teenager, according to a biography on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum website, he spent nearly two years in reform school after he and some friends were caught joy-riding in a stolen car.

Hooked on motorcycles after riding his cousin's 1934 Harley-Davidson, Ekins bought a used 1940 Triumph and began spending his spare time riding all over the Hollywood Hills.After entering the Big Bear Endurance Run in 1949, he bought a 1950 Matchless and, according to the biography, immediately began winning races. In 1955, Ekins won the Catalina Grand Prix, one of America's most prestigious off-road motorcycle races. During the same decade, he won the Big Bear Endurance Run three times.His most prestigious accomplishments on the international level came in the 1960s when he won four gold medals and one silver medal during seven years of competing in the International Six Day Trial (now called the International Six Day Enduro). (In 1964, Ekins, his brother, David, and McQueen were part of the U.S. team.)

Ekins, who owned two motorcycle shops in the San Fernando Valley over the years, also was a founder of the Baja 1000, and in the early '60s he made record runs down the Baja California peninsula. He later became one of the country's leading collectors of vintage and rare motorcycles; at one time his collection included more than 150 motorcycles. Recalling her father's motorcycle shop, Susan Ekins said, "It was a hangout. My dad taught Warren Beatty how to ride; he taught everybody how to ride motorcycles."Producer Jerry Weintraub, who knew Ekins for 30 years and described him as "a man's man," agreed."He taught most of the movie stars in this town how to ride motorcycles," Weintraub said. "If somebody wanted to buy a great motorcycle . . . they'd go to Bud Ekins. He was an icon."

In addition to his daughter Susan and his brother, Ekins is survived by another daughter, Donna Ekins Kapner; his sister, Vivian Gorrindo; and two granddaughters.
The Day Of Celebration

The day of celebration started in Pasadena in the shadow of the annual New Years Day Parade of Roses at 36 Colorado Boulevard at Johnson Motors, a hall of on-road and off-road memories and dreams of wheeled adventure. A large group of passionate moto-folks mingled and then rode to the Warner Brothers Studio event.

The day was perfect, after all the rain from the end of the week, So-Cal was crispy clean and cool. The ride was in intense sunshine, much like that of the desert sun Bud Ekins sought out. At the Studios, an incredible display of the Bullitt Mustangs and the Ekins famous Warner Brothers bikes.

Although everyone knew that the Memorial Service for the late, great Bud Ekins was going to be special, it turned out to be much better than that. Held through the good auspices of Warner Brothers at their Burbank Studios, some 400 to 500 people were expected. In the event the large cinema that was supposed to show a short film of his life had to be emptied and refilled so everyone could see it on a second running.

Over a thousand friends, fellow racers, admirers, and all of his family enjoyed a perfect blue sky afternoon. One of the Warner bros. Main Street, USA sets was so bulged with motorcyles, they went around another 2 blocks. Hundreds of them. Modern American machines, of course, but also some delicious antique stuff that were Bud’s favourites.

Triumphs (he was their most successful dealer in California) all over the place, Matchless, Vincent, Velocette, BSA, Norton, in abundance. Flying Merkel, Henderson, Excelsior, and even a 1915 Harley-Davidson with a chair to represent the very first antique machine that Bud ever bought. This was a man who had won Gold Medals representing the USA in the ISDT. A man who won the exhausting Big Bear marathon 3 times. Not to mention dozens of other races including the Catalina GP. A man who was the father of Motorcross in the USA. A man who became one of Hollywood’s most able stunt men. Whether he was leaping barbed wire in The Great Escape or drifting and yumping a Mustang around San Francisco in Bullit, Bud just turned in a professional performance to help his directors do a better job.

The good and the great were out in force for Bud’s goodbye too. Neile Adams, Steve McQueen’s first wife, gave an emotional address as did Bud’s daughter’s Susie and Donna. His like will never be seen again. He was a very tough man. And so were some of the others present. We’d better all enjoy them whilst they’re still here.

Stars like Jay Leno attended.In the theatre, a great video presentation of Bud's screen life started the event. Speakers made emotional and moving points, telling how Bud Ekins truly is the living King of So-Cal Adventure. From begining to end, the event was tasteful, exciting and a stirring motivational call of the wild, to more road and off-road adventures.

Off-Road Hall Of Fame
Bud Ekins
Year Inducted: 1980

Bud Ekins is a pioneer of of-road motorcycling. He has raced from the deserts of California and Baja to the muddy motocross tracks of Europe. He used his expertise he developed through racing to become a great Hollywood stuntman. While considered a motorcycle specialist he also raced four wheeled off road vehicles with great skill and enjoyment.
On May 11, 1930, James Bud Ekins was born in Hollywood, California, the eldest of five children. Most of his family worked in the movie business, his mother as an extra and his uncles training animals. His father owned a welding shop. Ekins purchased his first motorcycle as a teenager after riding his cousin’s Harley-Davidson and getting the speedometer stuck at 65 miles per hour on his first ever ride. He purchased a used 1940 Triumph and riding it as much as possible, he learned the back roads and trails of the Hollywood Hills. As he rode he met other riders, and they raced for fun doing hound and hare runs.
In 1949 he participated in his first official race, the Moose Run and won it, a trend which would continue throughout his career. Once he started racing he kept at it for nearly the next two decades.He raced scrambles and desert races every weekend around Southern California throughout the 1950s. He earned the state title seven times. Having proved his skills in the states, Matchless Motorcycles offered him a spot on their factory team to race motocross in Europe in 1952. He would continue to race in Europe for the next ten years. He took part in the International Six Day Trails (ISDT) and weekly motocross races.
He won the ISDT four times and place second there once in the seven year period he took part in the race. He would spend months at a time living in Europe, renting apartments in cities such as London and Paris. The Europeans paid their athletes for their efforts and while there he made a good living racing.He took the success from his European experiences and applied it hid life in the States. He monetarily applied it and opened a motorcycle shop in Hollywood in 1955. By then he had switched his sponsorship to Triumph Motorcycles and as result became a Triumph dealer. Triumphs at the time happened to be the motorcycle that the movie stars of the day desired and he was in the perfect location to sell them the bikes. His customers and friends included Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood.
Ekins ran the shop for 18 years when he focused his energies on performing movie stunt work.The Hollywood connections made through his shop along with the incredible respect he had earned as a skilled rider landed him in the stunt business. He preformed motorcycle stunts and also took on the occasional stunt out of his area of expertise. He is best know for the work he did as McQueen’s stuntman in “The Great Escape,” landing the now famous 65 foot jump in one try. In the movie “Bullit” he laid his bike over in front of a speeding truck.
He worked with John Bellucci in the “Blues Brothers” crashing over 100 police cars. He also did stunt driving and even took on the rare team of horses.Ekins adventures continued outside of the studios. Prior to the organized Mexican 1000 a number of men took on timed runs for speed records across Baja. Dave Ekins, Bud’s brother did one such run in 1962 for Honda Motorcycles shattering all previous records. Bud sat the run out because of his sponsorship agreement with Triumph. In 1964 he joined his brother for an attempt to break Dave’s earlier record. They did break it, however they only broke it by eight minutes, crossing the Baja in 39 hours and 48 minutes, the whole time filled various mechanical difficulties. Their speed record proved an inspiration and challengers followed in buggies and trucks. A challenge on their time by Ed Pearlman lead to Pearlman’s epiphany that an organized race needed to take place there and the Mexican 1000 was born.
Ekins would go on to race Pearlman’s Mexican 1000. In addition to racing motorcycles Ekins raced four wheeled off-road vehicles. From racing the motorcycle he understood how to read the terrain and the transition to vehicles was not difficult. He worked with fellow Hall of Fame Inductee, Vic Hickey to build the Baja Boot. He raced with Hickey for five years. He drove three races for Steve McQueen. Drino Miller, a Hall of Fame Inductee and he co-drove “The Thing” in numerous desert races. During the 1980s and 1990s Ekins owned a second motorcycle shop in Hollywood that had one of the most extensive collections of working vintage motorcycles in the world.
Interview with Bud Ekins, July 2006
Baja Racing News .com EXCLUSIVE!

Bud Ekins Memorial December 2nd, 2007 Warner Brothers Studios

""Honors and competition success

Ekins Won 4 Gold Medals and a Silver at the International Six Day Trials during the 1960s.

He rode a 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy as did Steve McQueen in the USA International Six Day Trials team for 1964 held in East Germany. The team also including his brother Dave Ekins who rode a 500cc Triumph T100 Tiger.

He received a gold medal at the 1962 International Six Days Trials, and was part of the US ISDT team of 1964 with John Steen, Cliff Coleman, Dave Ekins, and Steve McQueen. In 1965, McQueen was replaced by Ed Kretz, Jr.

Other race success includes winning the Big Bear Endurance Run three times, the Catalina Grand Prix, and winning the Southern California's District Number One Plate seven times.

In 1962, Ekins, aboard a Honda Scrambler, was the first known person to ride the entire Baja Peninsula on motorcycle. Ekins took 39 hours and 56 minutes to race from Tjuana to La Paz. This ride caused a minor sensation among Southwestern off-road enthusiasts and this epic ride provided the inspiration for the founding of Baja 1000 Rally.

In addition to motorcycle racing, Ekins was active in Off-Road truck racing. He participated in most of the early off-road racing events including the Mint 400 and Stardust 7-11 in Las Vegas. He notably raced Vic Hickey's prototype "Baja Bug" in the first Baja 500 in 1973.""

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