Racing cars in Mexico is fun, it’s exciting, it’s hard work, and sometimes it burns so badly it’ll leave you sobbing in a bathroom begging for death. And I’m not talking about the Montezuma’s Revenge—or at least not just that.
Last weekend I jumped into the Baja 500 with car 722’s team, slapped a big “JALOPNIK” sticker on the bedside and taunted industry Goliaths we were going up against in the desert race.
I was worried about the section I’d be navigating, which included almost 100 miles of technical rock-crawling and would probably take place at night.
Well, apparently my concern was unfounded because as anyone who followed the race will already know, we got forked. Our race car broke, and so did a lot of hearts. And wallets.
And no, it’s no consolation whatsoever that some of Baja’s heroes, including Red Bull driver Bryce Menzies and Monster Energy driver BJ Baldwin couldn’t make it through the race, either. Even the Toyota factory team we were competing against got a DNF and Honda’s Ridgeline got mud-bogged, lost an alternator, and ended up third-in-class.
Subaru’s “CrossTrek,” the company’s first factory-backed Baja racer, also dropped out of the race after killing a clutch trying to get unstuck somewhere north of Race Mile 80. I watched that sweet-looking thing get dragged off the course by some fans in a stock Wrangler and man, I was bummed.
There’s a bigger story behind every DNF, and you’re going to get every painful ounce of ours when El Rey Network’s coverage of the 2017 Baja 500 goes live in a few weeks.
After that, our quest becomes one of redemption at the Baja 1000 in November. Uh, I mean, at least that’s what I sure fucking hope.