Armin Schwarz newsletter 2007-11-05

All German Motorsports - Jacob Lake on Baja 1000 Jacob is one of our most experienced automotive technicians. He has been with our team for six years, and apart from being an excellent technician he's an excellent race driver. Lately I had...

All German Motorsports - Jacob Lake on Baja 1000

Jacob is one of our most experienced automotive technicians. He has been with our team for six years, and apart from being an excellent technician he's an excellent race driver. Lately I had big, big problems to match his blistering speed when we raced karts. Well done Jacob! I think I have to practice a little more ...

Baja 1000: hard, hot and high speed for 1300 miles

How can I describe 1300 miles of purest adventure? I guess at the start on 13 November in Ensenada. Surrounded by thousands of fans we drive the first miles on a six carriage highway, then down into a dry river bed. Up on the banks stand masses of fans, and in the river bed we have artificial jumps. It goes without saying that we do our best to give fans a great show.

We then leave the outskirts of the city behind us, and the route is very fast with mighty jumps - and with booby traps. These are tree trunks across the route covered with sand. It's no problem when you see them early enough. But if you don't they can kick up the rear axle nastily, and your Baja could end after just 40 or 50 miles with a hefty roll.

Behind Ojos Negros it's all flat out through the bushes, salt beds and rocky passages. Here we can overtake, and everybody drives like crazy for about 80 miles.

Up to race mile 220 the route is very fast. Long stretches go flat out but I'll have to be careful because every now and then there's a step of massive rock. And if I hit it at 120 mph this is the end regardless of the qu ality of your rims. At Valle Trinidad there's the Goat Trail, something totally different: for three miles it's so narrow that just one car can get through, and we need a lot of skill and patience.

From here the next 20 miles are over highway, and then we turn right into the really tough stuff on our way to Mike's Ranch. On the last bit it gets very narrow again, and close to the Ranch there's a water crossing which can be really deep. And now it's another 60 miles of very bad stuff with only one thing to look forward to: Coco's Corner with its pub. Here thousands of fans and bikers wait for the Baja. It is just like the Col de Turini in the good old days of rallying.

Alright, that was good for the soul! Now I'm ready for the next 80 miles through the desert with giant cactuses and many high speed passages - and with the Car Wash waiting: a three mile long, narrow and deep valley with maybe 15 water crossings, some of the really deep. Very, very tricky. When I reach this point the sun is already very low, possibly even dark. From here on it's pitch black for another 200 miles to Es Arco, where Martin is going to take over the car.

From El Arco Martin will have to drive about 500 miles through the night - I can only take my hat off for this incredible achievement. To San Ignacio it's fast on sand and rocks, then down to the Pacific and 100 miles along the ocean. Between Scorpion's Bay and San Juanico it was really wet last year. After this passage Martin turns east, then down south again to hand the car over to Matthias at Ciudad Constitucion or Santa Rita.

Matthias has the tricky task to bring the battered car home in one piece over an initial fast section which turns into a real nasty, very twisty and slow section. We think that we have an advantage here over the very big Trophy Trucks thanks to better handling. Once Matthias has made it through the windy stuff he can put in his final sprint down to Cabo San Lucas.

We all feel like race horses in the starting boxes right now. Please keep your fingers crossed for us. I'll be back here on 15 November with the story of one of the last big motorsport adventures in the world.

Talk to you then,
best wishes,
Armin

-credit: Armin Schwarz

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