Every year offroad enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Ensenada, Baja, California for one of the ultimate tests of man and machine, known as the Baja 1000. We’re talking about a race that travels over 845 miles through some of the harshest terrain you can imagine often in extreme temparatures. And even though some of the vehicles are capable of topspeeds in excess of 140mph, it takes anywhere from 15-20 hours depending on how good you are and how much luck you have in regards to your vehicle finishing without incident.
This year more than 250 competitors showed up in vehicles ranging from heavily modified UTV’s to multi-million dollar Trophy Trucks driven by big name drivers like BJ Baldwin and Bryce Menzies. Even finishing the race is considered a major achievement so you can only imagine how it must feel to win the race overall.
B.J. Baldwin was quoted saying “this is the one race everyone is looking at and everyone wants to win” as he lined up on the starting line outside the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada. He would definitely know from firsthand experience considering he’s a two-time winner with back to back wins in ’12 and ’13. But that was when he was still driving his Chevy Silverado Trophy Truck and now he’s switched over to team Toyota and sits behind the wheel of probably the baddest “Tundra” on the planet.
Even with that badass state of the art truck, and multiple years experience with the race and terrain, it was Baja that came out victorious this year. B.J. ended up smashing into a boulder “the size of a car” in the middle of the night at over 75 mph immediately taking him out of the race. Luckily he survived, thanks to a well engineered, well built truck with the latest in safety equipment and technology. In the end, it was Rob MacCachren and his co-driver Jason Voss that got the overall 2016 win with a time of 17 hours 12 minutes and 58 seconds.
As we mentioned before, the course stretches just over 845 miles and has roughly 122 checkpoints along the way that each competitor must go through before crossing the finish line back in Ensenada over 15 hours later. A veteran of the sport, Cameron Steele, who drives a Trophy Truck for the Monster Energy team commented on how the last 100 miles are so brutal he felt as if he was going to die. He says it takes so much concentration to make it that last leg without injuring yourself or the equipment.
I’m not sure how many of you have taken road trips where you’ve driven more than 800 miles in a single day, but I have and let me be the first to tell you, it’s not something that you’d want to do on a regular basis. But that’s driving on paved highways with air conditioning and your favorite tunes playing. These guys are getting blasted in the face with rocks, sand, silt, sticks and god knows what else as they essentially ride a bucking bronco for 15+ hours all while sitting in a fireproof race suit soaked in your own urine and sweat. That is unless you opted to go with a catheter to prevent any “accidents”.
Tackling the Baja might sound like an extreme and ridiculous adventure to some, but to us, and many other gearheads out there, this is something that would battle for the top spot on our bucket list. Driving a Trophy Truck, in general, has been a dream for us here at Moto Networks for some time now and taking it to Baja would be a best case scenario, to say the least. Monster Energy put together an in-depth video regarding the most recent running of the Baja 1000 from start to finish. Watch as some of the biggest names in offroad racing strive to conquer the mighty Baja.