Bike-urious does the Baja 1000 – Part 9

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

A week after LA-Barstow-Vegas, we headed to Mexico!

Based out of San Diego, Los Ancianos Motorcycle Club is probably best known for the annual race they host in Tecate, just across the Mexican border. The format has varied in previous years between Hare Scrambles and Enduros, but this time around they decided to try something new: a Sprint Enduro modeled after the ISDE Special Test format, something that is starting to pick up in popularity in the United States. The plan for this event was three loops at a private ranch: Grass, Enduro, and a Mountain loop. This sounded very cool to us, so we had to try it out!

During the week in between rides we decided to take a close look at our bikes and make sure everything was in good shape. Nathan installed an ignition kit as some of his switchgear had stopped working and the new replacement utilized a different wiring harness which had provisions for an ignition. When checking the valves on my bike, we realized that they were a.) out of spec and b.) at the end of the adjustment.
Abhi's KTM - Valve Check

We weren’t 100% sure of our diagnosis (and I wasn’t feeling up to doing a top end on my bike anyway), so we schlepped the 450 XC down to 3Bros to confirm if my bike would need a new top end. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to take care of it until next week, so I’d be sitting out of this race.
Abhi's KTM - Left at 3Bros

We figured there was no way we’d be able to get from LA to Tecate in the morning before the race, so we decided to stay in a hotel in San Diego the night before, then cross the border first thing the next morning. Gassing up in Mexico – unlike in California, the gas here doesn’t have ethanol!

The dirt road into the ranch:

After what felt like quite a while (no thanks to the fact that we got lost once) on the dirt road, we finally hit paydirt:

Took us a little while to find parking, because there were plenty of other crazy people there for the day! Everyone was friendly and it really was a great community:

Remember how Nathan had just installed an ignition on his bike? Unfortunately, he wasn’t yet used to needing a key for his KTM, and he forgot to bring it for this trip. So before he could race, he had to hotwire his own bike!

The “Sprint Enduro” concept is more popular in Europe, but the simple idea is that you tackle a variety of short courses instead of one long race. Today’s event had three courses, and each racer got two chances at them all. To help Nathan keep track of when he had to start each loop, we slapped this extra-professional time code list on his fuel tank:

Stickered up and ready to race:

3Bros KTM was there – here’s Kelly Barbosa, the first person who helped us on our path of dirt biking and probably the reason we both have KTMs at the moment:

Course 1 – the grass track:

Nathan finishes Course 1:

Nathan starts on Course 2:

End of Course 2:

Nathan starts on Course 3:

This video is pretty much the essence of Nathan:

The 3Bros truck was a popular stop in between races and at the end of the day. An impressive number of the racers are 3Bros customers, so they’d come by to shoot the shit and talk about what bike they wanted to buy next!

My favorite photo of the day – Nathan drags a bit of caution tape that he met earlier:

A few random photos of other riders having a blast:

Aggressive Downhill:

The results of aggressively going downhill:

This downhill section was tricky for a lot of riders:

Here’s another rider getting stuck and taking a few moments to free himself:

Ricardo from 3Bros:

Los Ancianos put on a great race:

A quick overview of Nathan’s day:

Well, in an event where Ivan Ramirez came in first, Nathan came in last. But he finished, and not everyone who started that day could say the same. Kudos to him for earning a finisher’s pin after just 4 months of riding in the dirt! I was excited for him but jealous that I couldn’t give it a shot myself.

For the race and for this animal…that’s all, folks! Even though I couldn’t ride this time I could tell the event was a lot of fun. I’m definitely putting this on my calendar for next year (assuming they keep the Sprint Enduro format), and I hope you’re able to join me!

Next up – I have to get my bike back!

On to Part 10 – Nathan and I try out some 450s from Husky, Yamaha, and Honda for a story with RideApart.
Missed Part 8? Read about the 2nd Half of LA-Barstow-Vegas.