Pro Baja Off-Road Race

Sunday, May 8, 2011
Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur (BCS), Mexico

024-27.240 N
110-41.838 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the dusty crew of the BlueJacket!

This log is a bit out of order, but I just haven't found time to write a report in Isla Esperitu Santo, where we just spent a week. Sufice it to say that it's an absolutely beautiful (stunning) place and I want to take the time to do a proper write-up.

Viewing TentsWhat I will write up was our trip to the desert to watch the Pro Baja 500 off-road race. We had heard about it when we were in La Paz and decided that it would be cool to watch it. So, after a week at Espritu Santo we headed back to Marina Palmeri and we rented a car so that we could drive out into the desert and view the race.

This race is one of the biggest Baja races around and is clearly a major event in La Paz, where the town hold celebrations and closes down parts of the Malecon (boardwalk) to traffic for part of the weekend and all kinds of events are held. On the Friday night before the race there's a parade where all of the cars are checked in and people just swarm the cars. What's kind of funny is that these cars have big engines with tight clutches and tend to lurch when put in gear, yet there are people walking in front of the cars that are trying to get to the raised platform where they get registered. No safety issues here!

There's another parade on Saturday morning in La Paz, but the real race starts in San Evaristo, which is about 50 miles from La Paz. We took our trusty rental car and joined the parade of Mexican's, almost all with pickup trucks, and headed into the desert. We drove for about 40 miles along paved roads and then headed onto a dirt road which wound through a mining facility. All along the way people would pull off and set up camp at what they thought would be the best viewing spot. Eventually we picked a spot and waited for the race to start. And believe me, it was hot...about 105F in the shade. But it was a dry heat...yeah, sure.

RacingAt 3 PM the race started and every 30 seconds they would release a car. In the distance we could see a cloud of dust appear and a minute or so later the vehicle would come roaring by. The image of these cars against the backdrop of the desert was pretty amazing. There's about 180 vehicles in the race, so it took about 90 minutes for all of them to pass. I spent most of that time photographing, but Sue managed to get picked up by a group of Mexican's who let her stand under their tent, fed her food and beer. I will admit that they did the same for me when I eventually got back to her. Obviously they were very nice and friendly and they were quite amazed that us Gringos had come to watch this event, as I can assure you that we were the only non-locals there.

Anyhow, we had a great time and would do it again. I've even picked out a better spot which would provide an even better background...

-- Geoff & Sue

Log ID: 1444

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Baja 500 Off Road Race 

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