Monday, January 13, 2014

The Other Side of the Peninsula, Baja Blog 5

After getting off the bike for the last time and handing it to Kelly, I noticed it was burning more and more oil.  I was concerned about the oil consumption and wanted to make sure that the other riders were checking it at every stop.  Kelly, now on his second leg, inherited a bike that was not only using lots of oil, but had a broken light bar! After fifty miles of highway with one hand on the throttle and one hand on the light bar, he finally came across a pit stop and was able to employ some Baja engineering to keep the light bar in place--lots and lots of zip ties. 

Back on the trail he was soon met by rain, vehicles going the wrong way on one-way roads, rock-throwing locals and multiple booby traps.  Unfortunately, booby traps are made by the locals so that they can create their own excitement by watching riders fail. 

Kelly eventually passed the bike to the Desert Yoda who rode like the seasoned veteran he is. Through rain and silt, he saw the first trophy trucks coming up behind him.  The trophy truck is an obstacle in itself because most of the time it is going faster than you on the bike and it wouldn’t feel very good if an 800 horsepower monster ran you over. 

Next up on the bike was Matt, who was our only rider that had not been able to pre-run his section.  For never seeing the course, he did a great job racing with trophy trucks all night, avoiding booby traps, and clearing some cactus plants along the way with his arm.  Matt completed his exhausting section and then quickly passed out on the tailgate of the chase truck. Next up was Dave; an experienced rider with multiple Baja’s under his belt.

 On the other side of the peninsula, Clint (my brother), our chase crew, and I waited around mile 800 throughout the night.  We were expecting Dave to arrive early that morning and to pass the bike to Clint for the last leg of the rest.  As dawn drew close, Clint began the process of gearing up for his ride, and since both of our tracking systems were now working only sporadically, if at all, we did not have an exact location of Dave or a good estimation of his ETA. 

Hours began to slip by with no sign of Dave and the bike.  By 8:30am a sense of dread began to set in.  We had been scanning the horizon for more than two hours. Something had had to go wrong.  At 9:15am that morning a voice came over the radio and our fears were confirmed.  

Bike 337X was out of the race. 

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