Twelve months after conquering the Baja 1000 is in his Aussie built Element Prodigy, Chris Western is returning to Mexico for another crack at the iconic race. This time round he will be piloting the #145 Wicked Creations LS7 powered Class One, alongside Yuichi Takahashi & Wicked Creations owner Mike Boon. The invitation to drive came through Paul at Mag7, whose crew provided the pit and refuelling service for Western in 2014.
“They had a couple of people in mind , but they decided on getting me after doing the solo run last year and what we have done. They asked if I needed any time to think about it, and I said ‘No, I’m coming!'” said Chris
The 48th annual Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 desert race is the season finale of the five-race 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship. This year’s competition will be a loop race, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, 65 miles south of the U.S. Border at San Diego. With pre-running in its final days on the 821.38-mile race course, nearly 250 entries, from 30 U.S. States and 20 countries competing in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads are expected to take the green flag. While the fastest vehicles in the elapsed-time race are expected to finish in around 17 1/2 hours, all vehicles will have a 33 hour time limit from the time each started to become an official finisher in the epic event.
Starting and finishing in the heart of Ensenada in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, the course travels in a counter-clockwise direction. It includes the approximate 35 mile stretch to Ojos Negros which is used in both directions. Outgoing, the course heads Southwest from Ojos through Santo Tomas and then runs South along the picturesque Pacific Ocean for over 100 miles.
Featuring seven checkpoints, the nearly 830-mile course covers both sides of the peninsula parallels Highway 1 for nearly half of the race, looping south back to the Pacific and then crossing over to the other side of the peninsula below Puertocitos. The course then heads back North along the tranquil Sea of Cortez, past San Felipe paralleling Highway 5 and up to the junction with Highway 3. The rugged course then parallels Highway 3 traveling west then northwest back into Ojos Negros and to the finish line in Ensenada.
In what will be a very different experience to last year, Chris will take the reigns of the #145 Class One from the startline in Ensenada through to Check point 2 at the 205 mile marker. A drop in the ocean compared to last years solo 1275 mile Peninsula run. Chris is expecting the first section out of Ensenada through to Ojos Negros to be through familiar territory, as will the last 80 miles into Checkpoint 2 which he did at night with Aaron Haby last year. In the navigators seat will be the Gold Coast’s Kris Booth who was part of the chase team last year, while Adelaide’s Luke Erceg will be taking charge of the chase truck duties this time round.
“After last year it has been weird not prepping the car or logistics and just packing my helmet bag and that’s it.”
“I’ll never be able to top what we did last year. But it will nice to go back and be a little more relaxed. Once you know how it rolls and what can go wrong it takes the anticipation out of it and makes it a more relaxing experience. We’re going to have a lot of fun. Being able to run up and down this course for 3 days and put all the points in the GPS will take the scariness out of it.”
“Because I am not doing the full race distance I can have a bit of a go this time.Especially pre running I can have a look at the track and know what is around those blind corners, so that will be cool too. We can up the pace a bit. Its going to be fun and Boothy is pumped!”
The Wicked Creations Class one is fresh off the dyno and Chris called into the workshop prior to leaving for Mexico to check out the beast. “Having a 454 under your foot, how cool will that be. With a torque converter in it and 37’s she should go bloody good.” said Chris
Looking ahead, tomorrow is contingency in downtown Ensenada, then Western and Booth get down to business early Saturday morning, launching from the Ensenada startline at approximately 5am AEST. Keep tuned to the Dirtcomp and Offroad Rush Mickey Thompson Race Team Facebook pages for updates.
Photos by Randall Kilner/Dirtcomp and Offroad Rush Mickey Thompson Race Team