The Baja 1000 is considered by many to be the most grueling, challenging and craziest offroad race the world has to offer. The threats of dust storms, remote desert terrain, equipment failure and even death are just a few of the hazards challengers face each year.
Racers in all sorts of vehicles aim to conquer the desert non-stop as they descend down the Baja peninsula of Mexico in pursuit of being the first one to finish. Often times, the desert conquers the racer.
This year’s Baja 1000 marks the 50th anniversary of the famed rally. Pre-race festivities get underway on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and the race officially starts on Nov. 16, wrapping up on Nov. 18. It is undoubtedly one of the craziest races in the world, and here are five reasons why.
1. Many vehicles, only one course
Two wheels, three wheels, four wheels, it really doesn’t matter what you want to ride in the Baja 1000, as there is probably a class it fits in to. From buggies to motorcycles to trophy trucks and more, there are a plethora of classes within each motorcycle, ATV and car/trucks divisions. But the key is that everyone is on the same course, adding to the race’s already chaotic nature.
2. The treacherous terrain of the course
The Baja desert that the course winds through is some of the most remote, rocky, treacherous terrain of any offroad race on the planet. The infamous dust storm the race creates is one of the many dangers to drivers along the way.
The course itself is set up one of two ways: either in a loop or point-to-point. This year, it is a point-to-point course that starts in Ensenada and finishes in La Paz.
3. There are actual booby traps
As if the remoteness and natural dangers of the Baja 1000 weren’t enough, each year crazed spectators build actual booby traps for their “entertainment.” The hazards have ranged from pits to barbed wire, and it is a very dangerous thing that some spectators don’t seem to care about. As a driver, one must keep their wits about them at all times.
4. Even the famous partake
The likes of Hollywood’s “motor head” enthusiasts have always been enchanted with the Baja 1000. Guys like Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, James Garner, Patrick Dempsey and others have all raced at one time. But even famous racers from outside the offroad world like Mario Andretti, Robbie Gordon and others have all been lured by the desert.
5. The public roads don’t close
When the course makes its way to public, paved roads, the roads do not get closed to the public. As Baja legend Sal Fish has said, “The roads aren’t closed, you get locals racing right next to you … this is not for wusses.”
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