The last 48 hours have been exceedingly busy for Bill and the crew of volunteers he’s assembled.  It’s just the beginning of what will be a multi-day chasm of sleep-depraved, noisy, cold and possibly frustrating hours.  What if he actually finishes…?  Wouldn’t that be something.

I had just a few minutes over the last two days to catch up with Bill, as they finished preparations on this side of the border and made their way down to Ensenada…where it turns out work, along with the occasional adult be-vie, is ongoing.  Time, however is running out.  Tech comes at 5:30 tomorrow morning, with the race getting underway just a few short hours later.

ML@S: Hows the buggy look?
Bill: Engine mount was torn upon further inspection.  Using a spare Vorshlag engine mount for an S14 and made bracket to attach to where the air conditioning used to be.  So we have two right side mounts.  Cam and Brenten went to REI to buy flashlights and sleeping pads, so the sand doesn’t suck the temp out of you.  Oh, and some good rations.  I wanted a burner hit press for coffee but they were out.  But we have those condom catheter things this year which were sold old last year.  Good thing they had XL left in stock!

ML@S: That’s funny.  So is your plan still to iron man this thing, or will you share driving duties?
Bill: Iron man.  But if I’m tired Cam Adams and Brianne Corn will be there.  But Cam’s saying I know the car so well he’ll only go out if I’m in it.  Co-driving I guess, or Brianne and someone can take it.  We are basically going camping in Baja during the middle of this big race.  Hopefully we make the finish, but if we don’t we’re better prepared this time.

The conversation continued this evening:

ML@S: Where are you?
Bill: Just got to Ensenada.  Having beers with Brianne and Eric.  Tech and registration in the morning.  530am or something.

ML@S: Did you get everything done on the buggy?
No.  Adding power steering in the parking lot of the next bar.

ML@S: How many bars are you planning to hit tonight?
Not sure.  Santos steakhouse is next.  Then downtown to meet friends from last year.

ML@S: Are you pulling an all nighter the night before the race!?
Bill: Nah.  Going to get our drink on with friends, though.  I’m not getting paid to do this and my sponsors understand my approach.  I’m here to have fun with my friends.  Old school.  Build – Race – Party!!!!!

ML@S : Of course!  What’s the name of the place you are now?
Casa Natalie.  I was told its one of the nicer places in town.

ML@S: How was the drive down?  Any fun stuff happen at the border?
Nope. “These are not the droids you are looking for…”.  All good.  The drive down is nice.  90 minutes along the ocean.  Beautiful.

ML@S: Where are you guys staying?  In the truck?
Bill: No Casa Natalie.  Pimp.  Nicest place in town.

ML@S: Sounds spendy?
Yeah!  But how many times in your life do you run the Baja 1000 with two of your friends?  So we’re doing it right and having the time of our lives.  If I ever get sponsored I can stay in cheap hotels.  That’s what happens when you go pro.  I’ve seen Tanner’s updates.  And I’ve never stayed in a worse room in Vegas than when I sponsored by Miller Welders last year.  We’re heading to Hussongs.

ML@S: How do you feel about what’s coming up?
Bill: You know.  I don’t like doing things twice.  I already know what’s coming and it sucks.  It’s going to be cold.   I’m way too tired.  The car hasn’t been driven since last year.

ML@S: Alright, then why do it?
I’m excited but I know whats coming.  This isn’t like a race, its like climbing a mountain. You should be prepared…mentally amped.  Ready.  Because its there is the answer.  What else would I do, Play Xbox?  I can do that when I’m retired.  But until then I’m looking for the best races and parties on the planet.  This is the last of the real races.  Where guys can build their own cars and go race them.  The last of the major open road races.  I look at it like the Targa Florio or Mille Miglia or Pikes Peak or the original Carrera Panamerica.  Flat out across terrain.  More like “you against the race” vs “you against other drivers”.  Try to name some races that are hard to finish.  There just aren’t many.  Pikes Peak, LeMans, Dakar…Baja.  These are real.


More with Bill at Baja, coming soon.

[doptg id=”142″]