The final hours.
11.21.09 As we raced toward the beach, we received the radio call we had been dreading, the race truck had lost all forward gears and only had reverse. Gavin was able to gain some momentum under very low throttle applications going forward, but as soon as a hill presented itself, he had to spin round and tackle the hill going backwards. We called to them that we would attempt to meet them up on the course; fortunately for us, we caught them not too far off the main road, since we were traveling the race course in the wrong direction! It was a sorry sight, seeing the truck having to reverse up the race track to meet us….
After an initial investigation, and discussions with John and Gary, we concluded that the main driver clutch in the automatic transmission had failed. And at RM565, 779 retired from the 2009 Baja 1000.
A sad procession followed, with Chase 4 towing the race truck off the course and back toward the main road, then on toward Santo Tomas and eventually Ensenada.
En route back to Ensenada, the call came over the radio to stop, as food and extra layers of clothing were needed. Note that the race truck has no protective glass, so the outside air just blasts straight in on the occupants. This would be Taco Stop #4 and yet again, they were wonderful; perhaps being helped by the fact that this time, they were accompanied by a beer! Everyone was tired and dirty, but in reasonable spirits, despite the disappointment of not finishing the race. We managed once again to get Honda Racing/HPD stickers in pride of place, adorning yet another Mexican establishment!
But the fun wasn’t over yet… We were 25 kms from home when we saw blue lights flashing from behind. Yes, we were being pulled over by the local police. Apparently, you are not permitted to tow cars in Mexico; they have to be on a trailer. Hmmm, you know, I had noticed all the locals moving their broken-down cars around on trailers and wondered why….NOT!
The police officer was not the most friendly person ever encountered and seemed quite deflated when we said, "OK, we will get one."
"Where is it then?"
"Ensenada," we replied, as we radioed for it!
With that, he stormed off and got in his car and drove up the road (no doubt, to wait a couple of miles further away, assuming we would just carry on, regardless).
And that was Baja 1000, 2009. The spirit of Baja embraces many people and the number of them on or in Honda-powered vehicles is something to grab hold of. I counted at least 55 entries that carried the "H" mark. It was an amazing experience, and I, for one, am converted and will be back next year. I’ve heard that the next running will be a ‘straight’ run down to La Paz.
That will be amazing, I am sure.
to be continued. . .next year.