Friday, May 16, 2008

Albanez won't be running in the Baja 500 this year

Albanez Motorsports decides to skip the Mexico races this year

The number 516 Class-5 Unlimited buggy, owned by the Albanez Motorsports Team of San Carlos has experience many hardships, tragedies, heartbreaks, and most of all, victories. With the help of sponsors, such as the "Who's Your Daddy Energy Drink company, and BFGoodrich tires, and with a second place victory at last years "Tecate SCORE Baja 1000,"Albanez and crew finished first overall in their class, and took home the coveted Score-International Championship trophy.
At the end of this year, it was down to the wire for the championship trophy. SCORE events run on a point system, and Albanez, along with his co-driver Lulivan Voelker, were points behind the leader going into the final race, the Baja 1000. Although the championship was in range, a series of unlikely events would need to take place for the 516 car to run away with first place. As many predicted, said events never occurred. After this devastating defeat, and during the off-season, adjustments were made for last years, 2007 season. Sponsor after sponsor rolled in for the crew and the Albanez-Voelker team was an early favorite going into the new season.
The team did well at last years Mexico races. The Baja 250 took place in Ensenada, where the team came in first place, boosting them up a few points, making the gap between the team and first place smaller than before. The next race was the Baja 500, which also took place in Ensenada. During the break between these two races, the 516 car picked up the one thing that helped their victory the most. Their first major sponsorship, Who's Your Daddy Energy Drink. This sponsorship gave the 516 car a whole new look, brand new equipment, and most of all, something to remember.
Contingency in Ensenada is the chance for all drivers to, "strut their stuff." Albanez did just that. Not only were the local children and adults surprised by the new look, but competitors and executives were in awe. Albanez and Voelker had a whole new look, name, and game. Plus, the team got full coverage on the Cactus Films DVD for the race, which would definitely bring the name Albanez to action.
This game had begun when the SCORE Baja 500 began. Albanez and Voelker sent out a message to all competitors in their way. Move or be moved. The team finished first around midnight, an hour and a half before any one else in their class. This not only gave the team substantial momentum, but also a piece of the points back. Through some miracle, the impossible became possible, as the team moved to second place in overall standings, forcing the championship to be determined by the final race, at last years 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
Talk about a déjà vu. The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 was approximately 1,269 miles. The year before, the 1000 was about 700 miles, and Albanez and Voelker finished in second place as they had in 2005 as well. It seemed inevitable for the crew to be able to finish almost double the amount they could not put to rest. However, if the team wanted revenge/victory, they needed to finish the race, and have the leader, once again, break down and be forced to abandon the race. Albanez said before the race, "Consistency is the key. We need to take the race one piece at a time. All we have to do is finish the race, and leave the rest up to fate." Albanez and the other drivers did exactly this.
About half way through the race, the team got news that the leader in points had broken down, and that they need to take their time finishing the race. Shortly after, the car broke down with the same axle problem they had during the Laughlin Desert Challenge earlier in the year. Luck was not on their side, as the unthinkable and unpredictable usually happened. The crew and mechanics took five hours to replace the axle, but after this mishap, it was clear skies and good luck for a change. They had done it. Not only had they finished, but they finished in second place, after being stranded for five hours.
The championship was theirs, as well as the publicity they had always wanted. Not only did finishing second place in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 earn them the 2007 Championship series, it gave them a name in off-road racing. Albanez Motorsports is dissappointed in not making the Baja Mexico race series this year.
Baja Racing

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Baja race crowd accidents and their consequences

When will the next bad accident happen?
Baja Racing

Robby Gordon at the start of the Baja 1000. This could be described as incidental contact. The off road fans, crowds, spectators are all over the course. On the course, their friends are shoving them into the course of oncoming 100 mph, 3-6,000 pound battering rams, the racing trucks. Some fans even reach out to touch the racing trucks as they speed by.

This video is of Francisco Monroy at last years Baja 1000. The very first reports of problems at the race came from Ensenada, from this accident. Before the helicopter crash, before the rancher stopping race cars extorting them for 'ranch passage charges', (we'll talk more about the ranch charges later). As you can see, the racer slid into the crowd, seriously injuring two people. The police arrested Francisco. He and his race car were held for days as the authorities decided how much money he and his team were going to pay. It took a long time, the Baja Sudocalifornianos (Southern Baja people) complained about the treatment Francisco received from the Baja Nortenos (North Baja people), there are major differences. Bad enough he was not allowed to finish the race! Damn! He paid thousands and was held too long. Even as a Mexican National, he was mistreated.

This video is of the worst case scenario. An American racer, out of control and barrelling into the crowd, after failing to stay on his wheels. Several people were injured and killed. Without the intervention of SCORE, a racer in this situation would still be in Mexico. This is the topic no-one wants to talk about. Not the sanctioning body, not the racers and certainly not the Mexican insurance company that usually shells out for all the damages of the race. Dead cows, broken fences and injuries to people.

Experts in desert racing know these accidents are due to happen. It's only a matter of time and a matter of degree, what will happen at the next Baja race in Mexico.

Baja Racing

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Famed Baja Racer Jim Garner suffers stroke

Hollywood California-

It was announced this morning that veteran Baja Racer Jim Garner suffered a minor stroke overnight, was undergoing surgery and would be released in a couple days.

Garner is a member of the Off-Road Hall of Fame. " He acted in the movie “The Great Escape” in 1963 with fellow Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees actor Steve McQueen and stuntman Bud Ekins. In 1966 he appeared in the automobile racing movie Grand Prix.Beyond the screen in “real life” Garner also actively participated in auto racing both on-road and off-road. He has driven the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions in 1975, 1977 and 1985. He owned the American International Racing team from 1967 through 1969. The team members partook in Daytona and Sebring. Garner participated in many off-road races as a driver, his presence often brought a touch publicity to the sport while still being treated as an “everyman” by his fellow racers. He attended the first Stardust 7-11 in Las Vegas. He co-drove with Scooter Patrick in a Porsche powered Manx owned by John Crean. The men did not finish the race. His presence at the 1968 NORRA Mexican 1000 helped to generate publicity for the event and coverage on ABC’s show the Wide World of Sports. In 1972 Garner raced the Banshee a vehicle built for him by fellow Hall of Fame Inductee Vic Hickey. Garner won the Riverside Grand Prix in the vehicle despite the fact that he crashed the car towards the end of the event. He placed the car in the top five at a number of races. Hickey said of Garner “The thing about Garner was that, while he wasn’t the world’s most fearless driver, he had the best retention of any man who drove for me. On a pre-run, if he hit a bump, he come back five days later and tell you where it was with in ten feet.”

One of the first sponsored, sanctioned Baja racers, Ray Brock and James Garner went off-road, bigtime. James Garner, Steve McQueen's adopted 'big brother', loved the racing-and the headaches his hobby caused studio insurance people. They weren't limited to Le Mans or airborne stints on the streets of San Francisco. In June 1968, McQueen and his pal Bud Ekins drove George Hurst's (of shifter fame) Baja Boot in NORRA's ultra-rugged Stardust 7/11 off-road race. The Boot didn't finish, notching a DNF for its famous pilots. Jim Garner said during those years, "After Grand Prix [1966] I formed a racing team," he says. "I didn't drive for the team except in off-road races because of insurance purposes. I could drive in off-road races because they had checkpoints. The insurance companies thought if you had checkpoints you couldn't go fast. I think they learned better after a while because we lost a couple of guys when they crashed or flipped. But I had a ball."


Monday, May 12, 2008

Racing Southbound to Baja? Prepare to be Inspected

Baja Racing EXCLUSIVE!

Southbound vehicle inspections at San Ysidro are not new. But, any southbound racers should be prepared to be boarded and inspected. The lines going INTO Mexico are getting longer every day. Don't even drive south on a Friday afternoon, the surface streets and the freeway are always locked up with traffic.

The federal government recently allocated more federal attorneys to prosecute more border related crimes. Including gun running, drugs and any other illegal activites. In fact, for years, its been on the drawing board to have permanent southbound vehicle inspections facilities. They will be built, it's just a matter of time. They are also inspecting for stolen cars attempting to go into Mexico.


"To all participants at the 40th.TECATE SCORE BAJA 500 happening on May 30, 31 and June 1, 2008, in Ensenada, Mexico please be advised of the following important information. If you are a participant racer, a race team or pit crew and have a vehicle longer than 18’ (overall length not counting towing vehicle), such an enclosed trailer, step van, truck or semi trailer, you should obtain a Temporary Importation Pediment. In order to get one you should observe and follow closely the steps listed below:

· Prepare a detailed inventory list of what you are bringing (Tools, parts,
Have a broker prepare the necessary paperwork for you to cross the border into Mexico, as well as the return documents that you should present when leaving the country, to prove that everything that came into Mexico is returning to the United States, otherwise it will be considered as a Definitive Importation resulting in having to pay taxes and fines.
· The Temporary Importation Status allows you to bring your equipment to participate in a motorsports event, without having to pay any tax or duty,the only charge you will pay is the Broker’s processing and administrative fees.
· Please direct any questions to your Customs Broker, such as where to
cross, crossing times, estimated waiting time, cost, etc.
· If you are going further south of San Quintin or staying in Mexico for more than 72 hours, it is required by Mexican Immigration Authorities that you obtain a Tourist Visa called DNI, it is a visa that allows you to travel (not good to work) legally thru the country as a Tourist/Visitor, it is good for a period of 180 days, and allows you to have multiple entries. The cost to obtain it is $21.00 USD approximately payable at a Bank near the Immigration office at the Port of Entry in Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, and you must show a valid and current Passport or original Birth Certificate.Drivers Licenses are not accepted for Immigration purposes since they are not proof of citizenship.
· Please remember that during your stay in Mexico you should always carry a current and valid Drivers License and a Mexican Insurance Policy while operating any motor vehicle.
· Drugs, firearms, weapons and explosives are forbidden in Mexico. Do not operate any type of vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Regarding the inspections southbound, if the authorities 'happen' to find recreational drugs, during the process of automatic inspections, you are going to jail. Happy face placed here.