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Discussion Starter #1
Just saw a screener of this film - I highly recommend it to everyone. In terms of spirit and soul, the Baja1000 guys seem a lot like us, from Trophy Truck teams to Class 11 grassroots in Beetles.

Which being me to: how do I get into doing desert endurance truck racing. I want to do it. Can someone hook me up?

ACP
www.musketeerracing.com
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 

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Don't have any personal contacts, but a lot of the desert racing folk hang out on http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/

The endurance aspect of desert racing really appeals to me. I'd prefer to do more driving / racing and for longer periods of time vs. standing around waiting like is sometimes the case with rallying.

Be warned though, many of the front runner desert racers spend an order of magnitude more money than many of the front runner rallyists in this country - what with mega-expensive race vehicles, multiple chase vehicles, chase helicopter per team etc. - h3ll, some of their chase trucks are more expensive than the top spec rally cars in the U.S. OTOH, there does seem to be a lot more sponsorship in desert racing - so it's possible that the end cost to the driver may in fact be less if one can secure healthy sponsorship and can produce the results to retain it, but I think many of them are primarily self-funded and independently wealthy.

The class that appeals most to me is 2-seater Class 1/2-1600. The 2-seaters have the team aspect that makes rally great, and is a real driver's class, with some of the largest number of class entries and very competitive racing. Also, since the spec of the vehicles is somewhat limited, the costs seem more manageable.

Also, the above website has a for sale classifieds section at http://www.race-dezert.com/cgi-bin/trader/atl.cgi?ct=2&md. It's mostly off road folks selling pre-runners and off road parts, but there are normally a couple of race vehicles for sale as well. Apart from stadium stle course racing a la Crandon etc., most of the desert racing happens down in the SoPac area, and just over the border in the Baja and Mexicali areas.

And haven't seen Dust to Glory yet, but am looking forward to it hitting the big screens soon.

HTH.


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Web site : www.SoCalRally.com
Sponsors : www.VwSpecialties.com www.Parts4VWs.com

Rally - I don't need no stinkin' epi pen to get my adrenalin rush !!
 

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Check out both SCORE and "Best in the Desert" sites as well as get a copy of Dusty Times which is filled with lots of off-road race reports, adds, and even some space for WRC and US Rally. As a member of the California Rally Series we get issues mailed to us.

My pervious job I worked for Rod Hall as his parts and service manager in his HUMMER shop. Being the factory Team HUMMER I have had the chance to run the pit trailer at several BITD events and have also done the pre-run & chase for the Baja 1000. I still get involved when possible with some of Rod's off-road classes and will become involved again this year with some races. There is a H3 being built as we speak.

Check out the classes as what money is up for grabs in BITD, Ford payes out a lot in seveal classes. At Baja for example BFG will even do service for you if you're signed up with them, all you have to do is use their tires and provide your gas cans and some spare parts.

www.bitd.com
www.score-international.com

David Hackett
Reno, NV - home of the Off-road Racing Hall of Fame
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Excellent data, guys! Keep it coming.

Tell me this: is prerunning akin to our recce? Do they make notes as detailed as ours? Or is it just to stay on route? Could we get a competitive advantage by using pacenotes?

And the prerun vehicles I"m seeing look a lot like race trucks. Are they not?

And is Class 11 just a really, really stupid idea? Now THAT seems like a challenge...

ACP
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 

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This page has a pretty good summary of the classes :
http://www.off-road.com/vw/racevec.html

Haven't done any desert racing, but investigated it and may still get into sometime in the future. Class 11 (beetle-based) and Class 9 (tube-chassis-based) are the entry classes and certainly a possible entry route for the ultra-low budget racer. However, these classes are highly restricted and put a lot of strain on your body and the car on a long race. When I looked at race finishing percentages, these classes seemed to have a lower than average finishing percentage - I think partly because of the limited spec of the vehicles, and partly because they are low budget classes, most likely the vehicles are self-build garage efforts and aren't prepared to the same level of detail as someone who has a higher budget.

Also, I looked at average speeds for the races, and having driven an open class rally car, decided I wanted something that was a little faster and more capable. This is why I am interested in 2-seat Class 1/2 -1600 :
- it's a step up in terms of speed and capability
- but still limited spec, so spending doesn't get way out of hand
- 2 seat for team experience
- highly competitive
- deepest class fields
- panel-based which I figure would be cheaper to fix in the event of a roll vs. a shell-based car

Pre-run vehicles are a lot like the race vehicles (which is an advantage to be able to simulate the race vehicle), but often less well spec'd / cheaper, and allow the competitors to do extensive pre-running without putting all the wear and tear on, or risk damaging their race vehicles. I believe their pre-running is not done at recce speeds e.g. 30 mph, but closer to 70% of race pace.

It would likely be possible, but not practical to make pace notes. Remember the shortest desert races are typcially 250 miles. As it is, many of these guys spend the whole week prior to the race pre-running the course, and even up to a whole month pre-running for the Baja 1000. Mostly these guys just make detailed GPS plots of the course, with cautions/hazards marked on their GPSs. Though there is a guy name "PCI Scott" that makes detailed GPS plots of the course with cautions etc. which are then available for sale to download into your GPS units. Kind of analogous to our P-Sport Stage Notes setup.

So, not sure the cost-benefit is there i.t.o. advantage over GPS plots, and many of the top guys have been doing these races for 10 plus years, so any possible advantage there would be even smaller.

And just for fun, it is interesting to note that the idea of a great day for some of the locals down in MX involves setting up camp with a truckload of beer, and then building a three foot deep booby trap in the course and then waiting to watch all the rolls and near-rolls. The races in MX are fanatstic and have a great unique flavour to them, but also sometimes present their own challenges e.g. the above, and hassles with customs getting race parts, fuel wtc. across the border without it getting confiscated / outrageously taxed etc.

A couple of other sanctioning bodies / race series are :
- http://www.snoreracing.net/
- http://www.corracing.com/

And BTW, if I won the lottery, I'd compete in desert racing down here for a couple of years for experience, and then go and run the Dakar !!! It's been a dream of mine for the last 10 years plus since watching the Dakar finish in Cape Town in the '92 Paris-Le Cap edition, and following the race whenever I could get coverage info ever since.

HTH.


=============================================================================

Web site : www.SoCalRally.com
Sponsors : www.VwSpecialties.com www.Parts4VWs.com

Rally - I don't need no stinkin' epi pen to get my adrenalin rush !!
 

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I know from personal experiance that the BFG teams are allowed to go on line and down load GPS points from BFG. When we do the pre-run certain hazards and notes of interest are added in the GPS unit which has a large display. Drivers differ on what they expect from the Co-drivers in off-road racing, some of the old timers only expect very little direction wise and more on having a riding mechanic. I've often wondered how much better it would be and faster if you had more tulip type instructions. Things such as the man made hazards directing traffic over cliffs instead of around the bend could be avoided. The true nature of the sport and how staying on the main path while passing etc. isn't required allong with the constant changing if the shape of things makes full blown stage notes a little much to follow.

Pre-run days are set in most cases even weeks in advance, at the Baja we are allowed to do it again the day or two before the start. By the way, the 500 and the 1000 are figured these days in KM not miles. I've had the fortune of doing chase and pre-run in a slightly modified HUMMER which does help, of course knowing how to work on one in the field helps as well. In a lot of cases pre-runners are 2WD pickups with extra wheel travel, larger tires, gas cans, and lights. There is a company that builds a trophy truck style pre-runner with 3 seats in the cab.

Getting back and forth from Mexico requires a little BS, hero cards and stickers do go a long way. It cost me a few cans of soda, Red Bull, and a couple of sandwiches to park within a block from the finish line of the 1000 with a couple of local police watching quard of the truck the whole time.

Picking a class to race in is all a matter of what lights your fire, for example if I decided to convert my Ranger 4X4 into a racer I would have at least 4 classes to choose from depending how much I was willing to spend and how fast I wanted to go. On the Ranger pickups, Ford pays out 1st thru 3rd in all classes and how much depends on the year of sheet metal and if it has IFS or I-beams.

Hope this helps some

David
Reno, NV
 

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Pre-running has changed a lot from my days in Baja. Now they use GPS units to pin point landmarks. To pace note an off road race would look like a Manhatten phone book for the simplest lap races, nevermind the Baja 500 and 1000. However, in I believe it was 1982 (?) Jim Conner invited Shekar Mehta to run about a third of the course as a relief driver for his factory Datsun team. The 300 plus miles he did he pacenoted with his usual co-driver. That alone looked like a Manhatten phone book, and every racer there laughed and said there was no way it would help. Shekar did pretty good until he hit the silt beds near Punta Prieta and got stuck for two or three hours, but then again so did everyone else.

Remember Guy Light running his P class Oldsmobile in the 1982 Frontier 500? He got further than anyone thought he ever could. I also remember Doug Shepard riding with Walker Evans in the Frontier 250 in 1984 (?). Lots of cross over between the sports.

John Elkin
"Don't go where the road don't go."- Ringo Starr
 

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Andrew, I was talking to Steve Scott Thu evening as he was welding on my tow hooks (eye bolts). He's a SoCal ex rally fiend who is building his own truck for the desert, with an engine built by Frank Paredes in Vegas. Basically, the co-driver is just ballast and watches all the gauges, operates the horn, lights, wipers etc as all the controls are on his side of the vehicle. He will be using a gps very soon. You can contact him at 818 266 4932 and I'm sure he'll be willing to talk about costs etc.

Can't see me in your mirrors?
I must be in front of you!
 

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Andrew,
I have been racing off-road with SCORE, BitD, MDR, and all the rest for the last 5-6 years. There is much more to it than what can be easily written in this forum. Much of what has been stated about pre-running, GPS, and various costs is true. One thing to remember is that the approach to the sport is vastly different than that of most rallyists.

The place to start is your budget. How much do you want to spend? That will, to a large extent, determine which class you would be in.

I have fabricated and driven class champion vehicles. If you'd like to know more, contact me via email: tim @ timthedriver.com

Happy Motoring


(EDIT: Typo'd my email addy)
 

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Life is a Race.Hi.My Name is Dennis Sletten and i have been around Off Road racing all my life.I have raced Class 11 short course and desert,5-1600,JeepSpeed know we are trying 1600 this weekend.Like Tim said there is alot to desert racing.Longer time in the car.alot of differrent terrains.The reason i am on this site is to turn about rally racing.I am going to check out the Desert Storm Rally.I am planning to race the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.Last year was pretty cool .Went to 2 great races Pikes Peak and the Baja 1000.Can you use a GPS in rally racing.Thanks Dennis Sletten,11 Brothers Motorsports
 

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No GPS for rallies. Routebook or organizer supplied notes only. Unless you are doing a recce event, in which case you drive the route and make your own written notes.


PPIHC in superstock truck or rally car? Sounds like you should look up the CHCA too.

www.chcaracing.com sounds like it might be right up your alley.

PM me for more information or people that run these events to talk to. Lots of PPIHC regulars have or do run these events!
 

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Life is a Race. I have a Jeep Cherokee 4x4 5sp .I am trying the rally class this year. Hope to try Super Truck next year.If you go to Race-Dezert.com they have some clips from the movie.Thanks Dennis, 11 Brothers Motorsports
 
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