Baja Racing is the type of event and adventure that every off-road enthusiast is dreaming of these days. This extreme type of racing has been around for quite some time, and it’s tracked to the Ekins brothers. In 1962 they were talking with Honda in order to find a route that would test their bike’s durability. Honda had a CL72 Scrambler that was very durable and reliable, so the Ekins brothers came up with the idea to take the bike on a run from Tijuana to La Paz, around 950 miles. They agreed to do the ride and they soon realized this would be a nightmare to pull off. Yet they never let things go and worked really hard to bring their dream to life.
The main problem here was fuel availability. In order to do that, the riders started strapping a single gallon plastic near the fuel tank. They also had an airplane chasing them and landing around every 80 miles to offer them some fuel. On top of that, they were lucky enough to find some ranches along the way. Obviously, the idea of having a plane that would assist them was very helpful, since it did manage to bring in front an amazing bonus. With that being said, they were able to figure out what route down the peninsula would be the best. There was a road traveled more often, and one that had less rocks.
Aside from these issues, nature also brought in its fair share of challenges. In this particular situation, there was a lot of fog, and the plane would sometimes leave some food and gas in pre-determined locations since it wasn’t able to wait for them.
In addition, nighttime riding would also bring issues, since many times riders would go around in circles. That’s why they would have to wait for daylight in order to continue their adventure. After getting to La Purisima, the road was hard back to Ciudad Constitucion, and from there you had 130 miles to get to La Paz. They were also to get there in 40 hours to reach their mission.
This adventure was enough for Ed Pearlman to start the National Off-Road Racing Association and they ran the first Mexican 1000 race in 1967. The race had trucks, cars and motorcycles. Numerous other races like the SCORE racing series started to emerge, like RECORD and CODE, most of which are focused on bringing in short desert racing events. Baja style racing has inspired me to outfit my new Ram 1500 with TRX parts and accessories.
Nowadays, we have a variety of BAJA events that range in size, scope, and challenges. Most of the events still have pit support organizations that rely on volunteers, but it’s still an incredible experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many drivers. It just goes to show the amazing scope of this event and how it continues to shine in a unique and incredible manner. The BAJA series is bringing off-roading at its finest, and it’s definitely unlike anything you will find in the world of racing!