Generally people have a lot of questions about Baja, about racing, about traveling etc.
Here are a couple of questions that we normally hear, however don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more!
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT I BRING?
– Bring your passport!!!
You will not be allowed into Mexico without a valid passport, so make sure that all your papers are in order and that you have them with you on your trip.
– Bring your insurance documents
We all hope that this trip will go as smoothly as possible, without any snags or mishaps; however it is very important that you come to terms with the fact that you will be traveling across Baja, and especially some very remote areas of Baja. Medical attention may be far away, and in an emergency you may well wish to be evacuated to the USA. Please make sure that you have all the necessary insurance documents for the local authorities or medical centers to deal with you as swiftly as possible.
– If you have prescription medication, allergies etc…
Make sure that you bring plenty of medicines that you require for your entire trip. If you are allergic, to bee stings or anything similar, make sure that you bring a COUPLE of EpiPens. Do not only bring one, as the effect only lasts generally for up to an hour, and you may need further medical attention than that.
_ Bring some cashola!
As you get further into Baja, it becomes harder and harder to find places that will accept credit cards, and although most places will accept US Dollars (with some very questionable exchange rates in some places) you are far better off having some Peso Cash with you. If you are heading off-road, always carry the equivalent of a couple of hundreds of dollars in pesos with you (the Dollar is at approximately $16.50 pesos) as you never know when it can come in handy… Pay a local rancher with a tractor to tow you out of 5 foot deep silt that you are stuck in or you may be broken down and want a tow or buy some food etc…
– Bring a Camelback!
Definitely bring a Camelback so that you can strap to the roll cage behind your seat. Preferably, Bring one that is big enough to carry your essentials. Again, this is Baja, and you have to expect anything. Perhaps there is a problem with the chase car carrying your luggage, perhaps you need to attend to an emergency.. what ever… things do happen. I always suggest that you carry anything that you would need should you need to get back to the US immediately with you. Travel documents, credit cards etc. Preferably put all in a Ziplock bag to ensure that it stays dry.
WILL I HAVE CELL PHONE COVERAGE?
– Cell phone coverage
You will be surprised that Baja cellphone coverage has grown extensively, and you will have cellphone coverage in most places where your tours arrive each night.
You can add international talk and data to your cell phone at a very reasonable rate. If you have something super urgent going on and you don’t have international coverage when you go into Mexico you may receive an extremely rude foreign roaming charge from your service provider. You can also buy a cheap local cell phone in Mexico with prepaid cards to make calls which is usually cheaper, unless you arrange something prior to your trip with your service provider.
– Satellite Phones
If you have a satellite phone or access to one it is a great idea to bring it with you. Remember to check the phone number list for our chase crew and know how to dial a Mexico number in case of an emergency or break down.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
Baja is pretty informal, so you can concentrate on being comfortable. It will get pretty warm, especially as we get further south, however early mornings and evenings can be surprisingly cold, especially when on the Pacific side. I strongly recommend layered clothes, so that you can get undressed / dressed as temperature changes.
If you are racing with us, you will be in a race suit almost all the day, every day, but always pack a jacket that you can store in the truck in case you get cold. Definitely wear closed shoes, like tennis shoes, light hiking boots or racing shoes. You may want something with a little sole on it, in case you get caught out in the desert, or have to push out a truck in the silts… Bring plenty of sun screen and a hat or cap to keep in the truck with you in case you get to spend more time in the desert than you would like.
– Camera / Electronics
Definitely bring a camera with you, and I would suggest something small and rugged so that you can keep it in the car. I would also strongly suggest that you bring an in-cam camera, like a GoPro or a JVC Addixion. Bring some mounts and you can get some different shots over the race. Bring plenty of SD cards, or something that you can download each days experience on. You may also bring an iPod, as some of the trucks’ intercom system will allow you to listen to some tunes whilst you are doing the transit sections…
– Your bag
If you are doing any kind of excursions, where you will be staying in different places different nights, please avoid cumbersome suitcases; you are much better off bringing soft duffel style bags. Please make sure that your bag has a readable luggage tag so that we can identify it, and take it to your appropriate hotel each evening.
IF YOU ARE RACING, OR DOING A DRIVING TRUCK OR MOTORCYCLE TOUR.
CAN I DRINK?
– Avoid the Tecate overload!!!
Ok, so Mexico is the land of Tecate’s and Tequila, and you will find that the majority of the people in Baja are a very happy crowd!!! You will most probably be offered a beer here or there, or even a great margarita. However, please be careful how much alcohol you consume at the end of the day, especially when you have had a great day, and feel that some serious celebration is in order! Sitting in a warm race suit in a bumpy truck in the desert with a killer hangover is a great way to ruin a spectacular opportunity to see some of the best views Baja has to offer. More importantly, KEEP HYDRATED!!! You will get dehydrated faster than you expect, so try to drink water or Gatorade whenever you have the opportunity. When you are not wearing your helmet, try to keep it out of the sun, so that it doesn’t turn into an oven when you have to put it on.
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY EQUIPMENT?
– Your equipment
Be careful with your equipment, especially at the end of the day, when your first instinct is to get out of the car and forget about the stinky, wet helmet that you have been wearing for G-d knows how long! Put it somewhere safe, preferably store it in our support vehicle if possible, or in your room, but don’t just leave it hanging around. Before going to bed, I always suggest cleaning your helmet, and leaving it upside down to dry out a little. The head sock you can rinse and hang to dry. Hang your suit up so it doesn’t get moldy after a couple of days… As mentioned earlier, it is your responsibility to give our chase guy your bags that you want in your next hotel when you arrive. Have it ready in the morning for breakfast and personally give it to him. Don’t just leave it on the porch and telepathically send a message for it to be picked up and placed in van.
– Your Truck
It is very important to remember that NO race truck is indestructible! Not even the Million dollar Trophy Trucks can withstand all the abuse drivers throw at them. In your case, you are driving a VINTAGE race truck. It is over 20 years old!!! Some of the suspension set up is the same as it was when the early guys fought it out in Baja, in the original NORRA. Remember part of the NORRA slogan… “Honoring the Past”. This is part of why you are here. You are here to relive some of the conditions that the earlier racers had to face when they made Baja history… You have the advantage of radios, GPS, intercoms etc. However, it is Baja and always expect the unexpected. Things break, go wrong… whatever. It is Baja! These things happen and there is no Summit racing store around the corner. Make the best of your situation, and always keep smiling. And remember that these trucks are limited, and although they are a lot of fun, you only get one, and you have to make it OVER 1,300 miles. That’s a lot. So drive sensible, smooth and keep it smart. Look around don’t miss the beauty of Baja because you are too concentrated on not having the truck fall apart on you.
– Your meals
We aim to keep you as well fed as possible, and Ensenada and especially the area surrounding Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe is growing as a world renowned culinary center and hosts some great vineyards. Due to our short stay in Ensenada, our non-racing visits will be limited, and NORRA supplies dinner for competitors and crew on all evenings once the race starts, however, we will generally let you know of our back up plan if someone prefers something different. During race days, the support vehicles will carry snacks and drinks so please let the crew know if you would like anything special.
Each day, we will have breakfast together, as a gathering point, and place to hand off luggage etc. At the end of each day, DO NOT DISAPPEAR to bed, or wherever without having checked with us as to where breakfast will be the next day and what time, as we have still not received a schedule by NORRA yet.
Please make sure that you let us know if you have any allergies or particular dislikes.
Alcohol is not included, and each person is responsible for his /her drink tab. Just as a note, there are some very good wines in Ensenada that are well worth trying.
CAN I GET INTO TROUBLE?
– For Real!!?
Yeap, you are REALLY getting the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an off road race car, and drive it in a REAL Off ROAD BAJA RACE. It is going to be your hands grabbing the steering wheel (which you should hold lightly, use your fingertips… you will find that it helps get rid of a lot of stress…) it is your foot on the accelerator and the brake pedal. YOU make the decisions, and the truth is: There is no magic off switch, no magic restart button!! The “ Oh Yeah!” scream of joy as you and your co-driver punch the air because things are going absolutely great and you ARE REALLY BAJA racers is only a split second, a split decision away from the other cry, the dreaded “Oh shit!”, as the cactus starts imbedding itself into your co-drivers flesh, or you find out how quickly things fly past as your roll down a ravine… It is all real, and you make the decisions. At the end of the day, it is you that make the decisions, not your co-driver, not the race car, not us. If there is a problem with the car, drive accordingly. If your co-driver is pushing you on, or is not doing his job as a navigator, drive accordingly. It will be up to you whether your truck spends four days, 1,300 miles on the race trails, or on top of a trailer. You are not only responsible for the damage made to the car, but you have to keep in mind that you have your co-driver’s well-being that he is putting into your trust and worst of all, please be conscious and never forget that an accident can have consequence to by-standers or other competitors. So don’t take this lightly. You are an adult; you have made a conscious decision to be part of a great adventure, and with this great opportunity come also a great responsibility!
SHOULD I TIP?
In general, in Baja, most people who works in the service industry relies upon a fair chunck of their income being made from tips. Customary is about 15% of what you spend.
If you are going on one of our excursions, the crew, we think, are pretty spectacular, and are always willing to help and do their utmost. There is a lot of other work that goes on behind the scenes, so when you are resting after a hard day’s drive, the guys will be out working on your vehicles, cleaning, servicing to try to get you the best of your stead for the next day. The excel in what they do because of their passion for off road racing, and for the pride in the race team, however a tip is greatly appreciated by them and will make their smiles even bigger. It is not mandatory, but recommended. You may find it easiest to give the gratuity to your guide or crew chief, and he will distribute amongst the team accordingly.