The Cabo 250 2018
On the 21st of July, almost two hundred off-road teams gathered in Plaza Cabo San Lucas for Contingency, from 4.00pm to past midnight, in true party atmosphere, divided in several classes of trucks, buggies, motorcycles and ATVs, in order to fight for a place on the podium. This is the 5th race in the 2018 Campeonato Off Road Baja Sur, and teams and drivers were already starting to stack championship points, and tactics and logistics were being shrewdly put together as the season enters its second half of the Championship.
This is the story of Truck 812, of 307 Baja Racing / Tanom Racing.
It is 8.30 am in the center of Cabo San Lucas, and it is already boiling hot!
Tony Wille and Steve Spears, driver and co-driver for the 307 Baja Racing Class 8 Open truck, are already dressed in their Pyrotect Race suits, and chatting with the other competitors and rivals, after having done their medical checkup and getting the all-clear, and they are taking it all in in this last hour before the first truck starts in the race, and mayhem lets loose.
Well, that is not necessarily true. Or perhaps not completely true. Mayhem started WELL before this very moment for this team, for this race, this time…
For Steve Spears and wife Angie, mayhem started well before race day… As Tony had to go up to the US to get some last-minute parts for the Class 8 truck, Steve, wanting not only to start carrying out his co-driver duties and marking the race course, but also wanting to share the experience with Angie, they decided to go prerunning together in the team’s F150 pre-runner. It is such a luxury to be able to share the beauty and excitement that we encounter pre-running, the great people, the breathtaking landscapes… It is truly a lot to take in. Baja is a lot to take in, feeding a lot of our different senseswith its multitudes of scenes, beauties, beaches, nature etc.
However, sometimes Baja is bigger than even that. Sometimes, Baja also acts as a guru, as a mentor, as a prophet, and, just sometimes… Baja decides to stretch its boundaries a little… or perhaps stretch our boundaries a little! And so it was for Steve and Angie, as all was going wonderfully well in this 38oC afternoon as they were running through the race course by Pescadero, when they come across a big arroyo. A big & deep arroyo. A huge arroyo that stops the F150 in its tracks and won’t let the couple or the truck out of its hungry, drooling, gargantuan grasp. It is already late, so no more people are out pre-running, there is no cell service, they cannot get the truck out after what seems like a million attempts, and so… they are left have to share the Baja out there… together… in the middle of nowhere… until the next day when the other pre-runners come across them and finally help them to get out.
They show up the next day, ready for Steve and Tony now to go prerunning again, full of smiles and adventure stories… for sure… what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… ( P.S.: If you have a woman who will stay in a truck with you overnight, in the desert, with limited food & drinks, whilst the coyotes are howling and brushes and bushes are creaking… yeap, that is a keeper, gentlemen.)
On Saturday morning, the team decide to pre-run once again just to really reinforce the very tricky and technical race course, especially across the mountains at Los Naranjos, and the section from San Jose to Cabo San Lucas. Just as they start climbing the tricky, tight, rocky, inaccessible section, the pre-runner’s driveshaft breaks, and the truck stops. It is done for the day. Again, it is close to 40oC. It will take the team’s rescue crew about 4 hours to get there. A lot of other racers whom are pre-running stop, check up on them, give them more drinks, and call the race team to let them know that the truck is broke and where, which is always a testament to the camaraderie in the off-road world.
Help arrives, and it is long and slow tow out of there back to Cabo.
So, on Sunday morning, at 8.30am, getting ready for the mayhem, Tony and Steve are calm. Really calm. They weren’t able to pre-run the sections that they would have liked to as many times as they would have liked to, so they have decided to drive what they can see, and, honestly, if they get stuck, if they break-down…? Been there, done that. Time to enjoy the race and do what they came here to do.
And do, they did. Tony quickly fell in love with the truck’s new suspension set up, and crew Chief’s Pio and Kawa’s preparation. The truck feels tight and controllable. Really controllable. And fun. So THIS is that feeling, that orgasmic, dream-state reality that keeps us hooked, mainlined into the addiction of off road racing. This feeling that captures you, drives you, envelops you, blocking everything else out of your mind and your system, and forces you to focus at a steering wheel in your hands and a piece of dirt in front of you… and a childish grin on your face that is tattooing itself in your whole being, as this is as good as it gets. Some of us actually are fortunate enough to have relationships, to fall in love with some incredible, beautiful, unique person, with whom we will have a relationship that always stands out in our lives and usually leads to marriage and babies… that comes somewhat close to this feeling of pure, unadulterated, uncensored, bliss!
Amidst the excitement and the feeling that nothing can go wrong… something goes somewhat wrong and Tony overshoots a corner and hits a tree. A big tree. A fucking big tree! The tree takes out part of the front of the cab, but also shoots into the inside of the cab and nails Tony in the shoulder. It hurts. This is racing, not soccer. It is a short way left to the finish, and Tony and Steve continue to take the checkered flag, and a well-deserved victory, and a well-deserved celebration with their wives Dusti and Angie, all the Tanom Racing crew, and the hundreds of fans that accumulated at the finish.
When is the next one? Tony asks, as he slaps the inside of the fore-arm…
As always, the TANOM RACING / 307 Baja Racing Team thank the whole team, their fans and their great sponsors without whom they couldn’t produce the results that they produce: TANOM MOTORS, QUAKER STATE, VISION-X LIGHTS, OPTIMA BATTERIES, K&N RACE FILTERS, ARNIAN LOGISTICS.
See you in the dirt soon!