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Race report: 2019 BajaXL in a 2004 Cayenne S

 
Old 02-09-2019, 09:49 PM
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cameron110
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Default Race report: 2019 BajaXL in a 2004 Cayenne S

Not your typical track report but I hope you all will find this entertaining.

Last year we decided we wanted race the 2019 BajaXL it is a 10 day rally from LA to Cabo and back to LA. We wanted something fun and just enough of a bad idea to keep it interesting, potentially still competitive and cheap enough that when split 4 ways we'd be willing to walk away from it in the Baja desert. We settled on a Cayenne. There is a thread on prepping the truck over in the Cayenne forum here: https://rennlist.com/forums/cayenne-...-xl-rally.html

The race ended about a week ago and I'm just now working my way far enough though a mountain of photos and video to get this report started. The goal will be a picture and video heavy account of the event best consumed with a cold beer (Tecate recommended). With ten 12 to 16 hour race days to report on this may take me a bit to get through so have a bit of patience and check back in every few days. I'll try to keep up with posting at least daily.

The truck at scrutineering:






The route:



We had support of two great local companies here in Sacramento; Underdog Decals who helped us out with our livery and Specialized German who set us up with some spare parts to take along which definitely kept us in the hunt (more on that later).
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:34 PM
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There were about 140 vehicles entered with in 4 classes:

Race. Tracked and scored in points via GPS data logger which is how we entered. Points were scored for a variety of things: crossing way-points, some in sets in a particular orders, finding and recording information at a point, A to B at an average speed, A to B within a time limit, A to B in the shortest distance and arriving at the finish with an allotted time for the day. I'm sure i'm forgetting a few but I'll post some race sheets later for you all to see. The days race sheets were provided each morning so there was very limited time to pre-prep the route.
There is a sub class of racing for motorcycles and side by sides

Team Race: This is to allow people to swap between race and tour vehicles, mostly set up so a motorcycle can be raced with more than one rider

4x4 touring: More or less what it sounds like. No GPS data logger, no points to be scored and a different route so the race course isn't clogged with touring vehicles.

Spirit Category: Free entry for extremely cheap or particularly inappropriate vehicles. They shared the 4x4 touring route although a few of the entrants wanted to try to complete the race route and got the info each morning from racers to do so.

Here are some of the other entrants during scrutineering.























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Old 02-10-2019, 12:31 AM
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In addition to the interesting rigs we bothered to take photos of there were half a dozen or so Ford Raptors with varying levels of modifications a bunch of 4 runners from 2nd gen on up to three brand new rentals and a flock of jeeps representing the full spectrum of Hertz JK on up to heavily modified and a range of vintages. There were also a pair of Vespa's...
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:01 AM
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Paul Solk
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Too cool!!! Great pics, look forward to more
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:08 AM
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Default Day 1

The race start was set for 6 am, it was a long route so clearing LA before traffic got too bad was critical. The road book which was provided a few weeks prior to the start had some information about each day including the location of the finish each day, some points of interest and a few random and or useful bits of information about the day. Included in the information about day one was that the first point of the rally was for "costumes at the start line, every team member must get our of the truck for not more than 30 seconds". We decided rather than costume ourselves we would use our livery. To save you having to scroll back up to a previous post here is what it looked like at scrutineering and rolling up to the start line:



At start line we grabbed the microphone from the announcer when he came to the drivers window: "Wait, this is all wrong! Why does the truck say Martini on it !?!? This isn't Budapest, this is Baja!!" we all jumped out and grabbed to tear offs to reveal our actual livery.


The organizers loved that we referenced their other event the Budapest - Bamako rally
If you look closely at the before picture you can see the tear off tabs.

Each morning at the day's race briefing, and in this case right at the start line, the day's race sheets were handed out and a wifi hotspot was turned on so we could download a .gpx file with the day's waypoints.





The organizers, who we can't praise enough for a phenomenal event, put a huge amount of work into the race course. Out of respect for all that effort I've blacked out the coordinates of the waypoints.

There were no more points to be earned (although some to be lost...) in the USA so everyone hauled *** for Tecate where the route really began.

Pavement quickly gave way to dirt.



We aired down, although later we would learn we should have dropped a good bit more.



The on-board air line for inflating the spare worked great and would air the tires back up faster than we could air down. We spent enough time on this as the route surfaces changed that we had to account for it in planning the timeline for our day.

Not long after we started the offroad we noticed the truck was weeping tears of mud. Hard to say if it was joy at no longer being on soccer and shopping mall duty or fear for what was to come. Probably both.



We took photos of the waypoints as we passed them in case we missed some detail about the questions and as proof we were there in case we had a GPS logger failure.

Here's a few from the day and you can check the race sheet above to get a feel for what we were looking for.









The keen eyed among you might have noticed that not all the points are in order. Task 110 had to be completed during task 103, task 103 was a max time from A to B challenge and you needed to moving pretty briskly to complete it. Also there was no location for 110 so you had to watch carefully for 30 min while moving at about an 8/10ths pace.


The sun was setting as we headed back out to tarmac briefly to connect segments and grab some fuel.





We then had another half hour or so of route to get up to Mike's Sky Ranch which was the location for the first nights bivouac. When you arrive at the finish for the day you have to head strait to the race control truck to hand in your day's race sheet and park close enough for 2 to 5 min so that the GPS data logger could connect via wifi to race control to upload your data from the day. We didn't make it in the 10 hour time window for the day so we didn't get the 5 finishing points.

With that done we found a place to camp down by the creek and settled in for the night.



The road book said that day two would start with a difficult off-road section and admonished people with out 4 wheel drive, with limited ground clearance or with limited skill/experience off road to take an alternate route.











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Old 02-11-2019, 10:43 AM
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This is beyond awesome!! thanks for sharing
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:56 AM
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Default Day 2 part 1

On day one the full race route had been 442 miles but about 150 miles of that was in the US and another 50 or so on tarmac in Mexico. It had been a long day despite the off-road sections being fairly good condition and relatively fast. Day two was briefed as much more difficult offload terrain which would be much slower and too much to try to get all the points in one day even with the 14 hour time control to get the finishing points. The briefing also included the statement that the race route out from Mikes sky ranch was difficult offroad driving and any teams that found the first few km's challenging should turn back while they still had the option to as the route would become narrow and mountainous with limited opportunities to turn back This would be first day where strategy really started to come into play, everyone had to constantly evaluate the points available with what ever information you could find to decide on the ideal route for the day maximizing points and taking into consideration that it was only day one. I'm not going to claim we got this just right however some teams got this very wrong...

Here is the day's race sheet:





You can see we did some math and found that we were averaging just over 6 mph for some sections of trail.

Here is what the first bit of mountain track looked like in the early morning light coming out of Mike's



About 45 min out from camp we came to a bit of a traffic jam where the trail made a big switchback and got steep with some rocky stair steps to climb, We found a place to let some of the faster heavily modified rigs go past as we scouted the lines.





Then one of the crown vics caught up to us, these guys were awesome.



The cayenne worked its way through smoothly with the help of the low range and center differential lock. The crown vic followed us up violently with throttle, a welded rear dif and a complete lack of mechanical sympathy which was super fun to watch.

The trail stayed intermittently pretty rocky and rough as we crossed over the mountians.



I've gotta be in the OR early tomorrow morning so we'll have to pick up with more of day two tomorrow.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:47 AM
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Very Cool! Sent the link to a few of my friends.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:57 PM
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Veryyyy cool
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:51 PM
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Looks like a blast! Unless you are on a Vespa.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:53 PM
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Sounds like a bucket list trip!
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:12 PM
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Thanks for posting;looks awesome'
Any video footage?
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:50 PM
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Super cool. Subscribed....
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:31 AM
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Sorry about the gap yesterday, things got busy at work. In the mean time I found some more photos and videos on my phone that I had forgotten to upload and it reminded me that the infamous "Goat Trail" in Baja was on day one not day two.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:47 AM
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Default Day 1 rewind to the "goat trail"

If you go back up to the post on day one you'll see two waypoint series, one for the "easy route" and one for the "difficult route" we knew our chances of finishing in the 10 hour time control for the finishing points were done so we decided we would do an out and back to score the "easy route" points then go down and get the "difficult route" ones too. We didn't know it when we started down the top of the difficult route but it would take us down the "Goat trail" which is frequently a part of the Baja 1000 and the Baja 500.

Here is some footage from the 2017 Baja 500


The trophy trucks make it looks pretty tame but put it in context by keeping in mind that those are 500 to 700 hp trophy trucks with 39 inch tires, 24 inches of front wheel travel and 36 inches in the back.

Here is us passing the same point coming down hill and almost losing the rear quarter panel and back window.


Last edited by cameron110; 02-16-2019 at 12:32 AM.
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