Paul and Ryan of CBCFS Racing have released their 2013 SCORE Baja 1000, and their experiences while racing the Class 11 car “The Ghost,” #1116. Congratulations to all participants! This race was no easy feat.
By Ryan Crook
Baja 1000. Doesn’t get much better than that.
To start the story to this baja adventure we spent 17 days with an average of 12 hr work days with the extremely helpful team, Two Larry’s Racing. Without the help from Gary and Megan we would have never made it to baja!
Fast forwarding to the day before the race, we had the opportunity to pre-run the first 35 miles of the course with our friend Nate Tennis. We made 17 pages of rally notes for the first 35 miles where most of the booby traps occur. Paul drove and I co-drove for the first 35 miles, reading out course notes while bouncing around in a “german ice box”. Car ran awesome and had no issues at all!
The idea was for me to get out and sleep until 10pm, where i would get back in the car to drive at San Felipe, rm230. Sleeping hyped up on adrenaline did not happen.
At rm 230 i got in the car at 10pm with Orion Johnson after Paul Nauleau had driven all day. From there I drove through the rocky and soft Woops of San Felipe where I found 2 bad booby traps and got a flat tire as a result of one being a barbed wire fence thrown across the course. 45 miles of woops. From there I had a nice section of highway an grated roads leading to Calamajue. Calamajue is known to have water and from pre running down there 2 years ago it had water but not as much as I found nor as much mud. The water was on average 2-3ft deep and mud on either sides. These were like little creeks that were surrounded by tall weeds 6-8ft tall not allowing you to look down to see if anyone is stuck. Of course your pinned coming a slippery and deep water road, finding a line of cars including trophy trucks and buggies from all sorts of classes buried up to motors, axles, you name it stuck in deep mud with water just sucks! With out the help of the cops 1101 chase team being there to have just pulled out there car, they amazingly pulled us out to keep us in the race! Being 3 am by this point i reach about rm 380 and got out.
As the race went on i slept, while the car went through silt beds and all sorts of junk, but thats paul’s story to tell.
From there i got back in the car as a co driver at rm660 with Nate Tennis at about 6pm sat, where the car had a blown passenger shock and broken shock tower. I was expecting the road to Mike’s sky ranch to be some what decent. This was hands down some of the worst roads in baja. Deep sand where cars just sink no matter where you go. There was water 4ft deep the filled the floor pans up to the top of the center tunnel. We got water up into the distributor and thankfully had a new cap and rotor. Up hill hair pins in 2ft deep silt where we would pull everything out of the car including tools, spare tires and everything just to make it up hills. I probably walked 2 miles over all walking after the car. We got to a point at about rm 731 at 1am where we were nearly completely asleep and got stuck due to a near vertical up hill with no traction and boulders to clear the size of a bug. We camped out there with emergency blankets and made a huge fire with a handy emergency sparker and some electrical cleaner we carried with us for preparation of water getting in the distributor. With temps i would guess were down to high 30’s cause us to sleep in the car with our helmets on and visors closed, waking up to ice on our visors.
We decided to continue on a goat trail and met up with some guys to help us up a steep silt hill we barely made up with 7-8 guys pushing. We were stuck again and waited for the rescue from the Frenchies in the taco. I just have to say winches are life savers! And those who know me i was happy to eat some homestyle burritos while we winched the bug up the hill!
All in all we made it to rm 760 out of time, but for a first attempt you cant get much better!
Class 11 car 1116 “The Ghost” after the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000. CBCFS Racing. Photo provided by Paul Nauleau.
By Paul Nauleau
2013 Baja 1000 race report (my version at least)
The 2013 baja 1000 did not start on november 15th for me, but many months before and actually 11 years before. After i watched for the first time the documentary Dust To Glory, my dream hit me. I wanted to race in this race!
This year, a few months ago, the preperations began. Finding people for the team like Nate Tennis and Alejandro Cosue Arballo Rosas to come help Ryan Crook and I was a start. The car had to be ready like never before so Megan Carlson and their whole family were kind enough to offer tremendous amounts of hours, labor and materials to help us.
The logistics were getting made and school was only making things harder…
The race came closer and closer and we loaded up to head south, were we encountered our first issues. Getting the car out of the garage and out of the tight san francisco driveway. Stupidly that was quite a challenge, but we made our way south and the pre race preps began. We thought we wouldn’t have much to do but we ended up having lots more than we thought. On top of breaking a brake pedal the day before the race and having to switch it out with the Desert Dingo’s spare. (Thanks Jim Graham). We went all around ensenada looking for a spare alternator and transmission, and were lucky enough to get those too. We then decided with the little time we had to try to pre run the first 40 miles of the course and make rally style course notes. For those who don’t know, rally notes are detailed turn by turn notes with numbers indicating severity of the turns. We finished that and even had time to test a bit and practice tire changes with the whole team.
Skip forward many hours and many tacos, we loaded up and headed ro contingency where we met the funniest and randomest people. We had our moment of fame up on the starting podium and waited hours for a superficial tech inspection.
The next morning was race day. We headed over to the starting line and hurried up into the car and headed to the start line where we waited seconds to go. Away i went with ryan on my side at 10:40am. He read me the notes pretty well. A couple miles out of town we are going crusing in 3rd gear and the next turn was a left 6 over crest ( fast left turn with minimal loss of speed over a bling hill) and going over the crest I realised it was more of a left 4 tightens over crest so i slammed on the brakes and cranked it to the left as the two rear wheels slid off the edge of the cliff, but just enough to not fall off the edge completly. Thatw as a bit scary. W pressed on and got to Ojos negros earlier than expected. Dave hoped in and off we went over the fast straits and jumps of ojos negros. There were a few dips and as i went into one, a UTV flew by me and scared me so i moved a bit and the dip launched me sideways towards a pole, but i was able to save it and I started getting upset with dave because he was not letting me know about the cars behind us. He didn’t know we had added a center mirror!
After getting passed by Dennis Hollenbeck Chairez and Desert Dingos we knew we had the right pace, and we knew this because a few miles later, we pass the dingos who were stopped with issues and a few miles later again we pass Dennis who was unfortunate to have transmission issues.
The race continued and the course had not yet gotten very difficult, but I knew the summit and silt and whoops were still to come. Alex hoped in with me and we pressed on into the summit where we got passed for the first time by a green mexican UTV team ( we stayed with these guys the whole race). Over the rocky summit we pressed on, and i got out real quick on a wider spot to go pee, and get back in just as a trophy truck comes by and side swips us witht he front and the back of the car…
We made it to the bottom of the summit and only got stuck once, we pulled into the pit and they managed to fix the tracking which had not been turned on by SCORE in the hurry of the starting line. Got 5 gallons of fuel and saw the 1101 fly by the pit. I was then on a mission to catch up again.
Night fell and the fast salt flats were a relief after the rocky summit. Also a relief was passing 1101 who had pitted, but little did we know the fast would end and the silt and sand began!
We got stuck in some deep sand and Mag 7 pits was right there. They come by and tell me that I don’t have enough Horsepower, so I answer “No Shit” and he says your screwed cause it gets worse ahead. I kindly ask him to tow us, and he refuses and leaves. Alex was strong and pushed the car out. We continued to find the horrible silt beds where we got stuck again, but a group of mexican guys come over and Alex and them have a 2 mins super fast spanish conversation and he tells me go and they will follow incase we get stuck to pull us out. We managed to only get stuck once, but wr had to drop the tire pressure and bush wacking through the trees to avaid the silty course was our only option. After clearing the silt we were so happy, but then came miles of sharp rocks where we knew we were going to get a flat and thats just what happened. Switched it in 5 mins thanks to our training and we pull into the next pit and first checkpoint at race mile 192. This is where we saw 1101 stopped on the side with no lights and no one around. (They had passed us when we got stuck).
Next came 50 miles of 2-3 foot whoops… They were super uneven and it s brutal, but we hit a nice strait away withhuge whoops that were so big we could just roll throughthem at 40 and the car would just hop from one to the next.
After the whoops we pulled into the pits and Alex and I got out! I tripped getting out of the car because of how little i had moved for the past 12h. It was now about 10:30pm. Ryan and Orion got in and I switched the filter and sprayed out the alternator. They left and would be in the car for the whole night! I got a few hours of sleep and then we met up with the rest of the team at RM 385 as they had gone down the pacific side on the Hwy with the trailer. Had some soup and prepped the tools for an oil change. The car came in, ryan and orion got out, the oil change was done, nate got in with dave as a co-driver. They now had a 50 mile paved section. I jumped in the chase car and headed ip the hwy to meet them at the next pit. The only issue was finding the next pit. We went on the course for a bit looking BOOM! The roof rack breaks. We stop just off the course and 2 mins later 1116 pulls up. It wasn’t the pit but i hoped in with Vinh-Thach anyways. It just so happens it was 15 miles from the pit and that those 15 miles were all deep deep silt. We pushed through and 600 feet from the pit (without knowing it) we hit a root of a tree in the silt and got launched off the course in a blinding cloud of silt. I look around and to my right was a tree and to my left was the hillside. I jumped out and the car was at the bottom of a 15 foot hole. My co-driver got out and i ran to what looked likea bpit we had just passed to ask if anyone could pull us out. No one wanted to help! Some guy came and said the silt was to soft and left. I started to dig away the hillside to make a less steep way out and got on the radio with the chase crews to maybe come pull us out. I gave them the wrong coordinates and they screwed up and took 10 miles of the silty race course to watch me get pulled out by some nice mexicans. We walked to the pit and the motor was seized! My heart dropped! We tried pulling the plugs and starting it and it broke free! The started got stuck ont he flywheel and was blocking the motor. We switched started thanks to Jeff Lee for the spare and put the motor back in. Off i went back onto the course with hours of delay! I had no idea whatw as on this section and it was fairly rough for the beginning. It smoothed out and i pulled into pit 13 where we had planned for 5 gallons of gas. They told me I had 2h to do 100 miles. I told myself I can do it if the roads stayed as they had been. The roads after the pit began the samea and I was having a blast! Until i hear a loud rattle and the front passenger shock got loose. I go check it out and the upper shock mount ont he beam had ripped out, so I cut the shock out and we continued justas the course got really rough. It would stay really rough for the next 70 miles! Vinh-Thach was starting to really feel it and I knew if I didn’t get him out quick he would not do well so I started to take control of the temperature watch, radio, navigation, and driving as he sat and didn’t talk anymore. Every 10 mins i would ask him if he was okay and he would say :”yea” and thats it. We made it to the next pit and this was race mile 660. Man was i tired, so i went strait to bed and Nate took over with ryan at his side into the hills of Mikes Sky ranch. I was abruptlu woken up at 2am by my dad who said we have to go retrieve them from a hole in the hills. It just so happens that they were in the middle of the hills and it was some really rough stuff to get to them. We were unable to get to them and at 4am we made the decision to stop and sleep and get them the next morning. After a warm breakfast we unloaded the chase car and headed into the desert to go get nate and ryan who had camped out. We winched the car up a hill section where they burnt up the clutch, and i was able to drive it out the last 30 miles until race mile 760 where we loaded it up and headed back to ensenada.
That was quite an adventure!
We only got 2 flat tires, broke a flywheel, starter, shoch, beam, and fenders.
Planning begins for next year! And we learnt a lot about what needs to be done to get acrosst he finish line, but most importantly, in time!
Thank you to everyone who helped! I wish I could name you all, but there are so many people, and without all those people I would never have been able to right this right now and share this story.
2013 SCORE Baja 1000 Class 11 results (the placements are messed up, obviously 1101 did not get second!) Placements determine by amount of miles completed.
Here are some after shots of the remaining five Class 11’s that competed this year!
1101 Chichi Escuderia. Class winner in 35 hours 14 minutes. Photo provided by team page.
1107 Desert Dingo Racing. DNF third place standing due to mileage completed. Photo provided by team page.
1121 Team H12:One Racing. DNF fourth place standing due to mileage completed. Photo provided by team page.
1108 Fire Guys Racing. DNF fifth place standing due to mileage completed. Photo provided by team page.
1115 GFP Motorsports. DNF sixth place standing due to mileage completed. Photo provided by team page.