Off Road Racing & Adventures
Off Road Racing in La Paz or better yet, Baja Sur is one of its most popular activities. Way beyond the famous Baja 1000 or Dos Mares races which draw thousands from the states, weekend local events are held year round drawing thousands of locals and tourist alike. Many of the races have upwards of 150 vehicles, both 2 and 4 wheel entries and its common place to see entries from the big boys up in the states who are often taught just how rough it can really get not to mention the top-notch competitors that compete.
The locals use this diversion as a way to bring family and friends together. Most events cover two days with the first being race revision which is usually held at night right downtown on the Malecon which is blocked off to traffic and always features live music and entertainment. For the race, be it short track or a desert race you can always find people camped out hoping to get the best spots not to mention the Bar-B-Q's that light up the night or the cold beer that washs the weeks worries away.
Off Road Racing is by far Baja Sur's largest spectator sport and it's easy to understand why once you've experienced racing Baja style.
July 1st 2007, 8th annual Coyote 300.
The racing was so hot it melted my shoes!
This past weekend La Paz hosted the eight annual Coyote 300 which happens to be one of La Paz's favorite races. The race weekend started Saturday night with revision being held on the Malecon. I made my way there with family in toe to take pictures for Andrea Tomba and AT Racing. The atmosphere was festive and the air was filled with music and the sound of roaring engines as each one approached the inspection ramp.
Just as it was time for Andrea's turn to move into line he asked if he could take my 7 year old son along for the ride. Of course I said yes and I didn't need to ask Rogelio twice as he always gets excited when riding with Andrea and Jose. Andrea has a knack for getting young future fans and drivers interested in the sport.
"It is our responsibility as custodian's of the sport to assure not only present day growth but that it (the sport) lives on even after we are no longer racing. The best way I know to do that is thru our ever growing young fan base. As a driver it is very rewarding to see the excitement of our young boys and girls at these events."
Now I'm not really sure of all the technical reasons but this year there are actually three different series (maybe four) having races for their own particular championships. This has created lots of confusion with the fans about what driver is racing in which series and what class. The confusion gets even more sticky because many of the drivers are racing in more then one series and changing class from sires to sires. For this race there was no confusion as all the class sixes stepped up to class eight which made for a no holds barred race, winner takes all glory.
What makes this one of La Paz's favorite races is that the finish line is at playa El Tecolote, a great opportunity for a family outing.
My first stop on race day was at Km 17 on the road to Todo Santos where Andrea would pass and pit. Their were having some sort of difficulty with the front end which required co-pilot Jose (Tani) to exit the truck for inspection. A quick inspection reviled no obvious problems so they would have to proceed as is. I believe they were running 4th at the time.
My second stop was just east of La Paz where once again they would pit. Somewhere between the two stops they lost radio communication which we later found to be a missing antenna. This made for a mad dash that was almost comical as Andrea was yelling that he needed transmission fluid and there was a problem under the truck. Needless to say it was an extended pit and to be honest I'm not sure what place he was in at that time. All I knew is that I had been standing in the same un-shaded spot for almost two hours and I was hot.
The last stop for me was the finish line but to get there before Andrea I had to haul ass. Luckily I was on my motorcycle so I was able to move by all the traffic without much problem. I was however having trouble with breaking and shifting the gears. It was really strange and at the time I thought maybe I had a small case of sun stroke, it just wasn't normal.
Just as soon as I got there I heard over the PA system that he was approaching. I grabbed my camera from the side bag, turned to run and fell flat on my face. I look down and the damn glue that holds the soles of my work boots on had MELTED. I looked like bozo the clown with what looked like two large cow tongues attached to my feet.
Off I went flapping thru the sand. By the time I got there Andrea was already out of the truck and the celebration was on as Andrea and Toni had somehow weathered the storm to bring home a first place finish in what was clearly the biggest class eight event of the year regardless of series.
"I'm really happy for the team to be able to pull this off. These guys work so hard and with all the problems we had in the first half of the season its just nice for them."
"This was also our first full race out with our new sponsor, Toyo tires and I have to say man what a difference. It seemed like no matter what kind of terrain we were in they grab and keep moving forward. The bit is incredible."
What's in store for the reminder of the year for At Racing?
"Well getting off to such a rough start this year it really leaves our options wide open. Because we are not racing for the championship we can pretty much pick and choose what races and series we run. Right now we are looking forward to racing the Circuito Bronco and the September race, both with Pro Baja. The September race has great schedule starting in Loreto and ending in Cabo with an overnight stop in La Paz. Should be really exciting for all the fans. Beyond that we're also looking at the Loreto 400. We'll see."
It's apparent that no matter which races At Racing chooses to run this year the competition will know they're there.
Congratulations to the entire AT Racing team and special thanks to Banda Race Preparations.
Click on the company logo to view listing
bring your ass to La Paz