Prerunning the Baja 1000

Some say prerunning is one of the most-fun aspects of desert racing – I have to agree. It’s much more relaxed than the race environment, and there’s always time to stop for a taco and admire the view. COPS Racing divided its chase/prerun crews into two groups: one working the top half of Baja, and one working the lower portion of Baja. We got to work the southern section, between Loreto and the finish line in La Paz.

The spring-fed rio at San Ignacio - one of the first things you see driving into town.

The spring-fed rio at San Ignacio – one of the first things you see driving into town.

Sunset west of San Ignacio.

Sunset west of San Ignacio.

Dinner: carne asada tacos from a taco stand in San Ignacio. ¡Muy bueno!

Dinner: carne asada tacos from a taco stand in San Ignacio. ¡Muy bueno!

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The San Ignacio town square is quiet, and looks like something out of a Hollywood movie set.

The San Ignacio town square is quiet, and looks like something out of a Hollywood movie set.

Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at the site of the modern town of San Ignacio.  The site proved to be highly-productive, agriculturally, and served as the base for later Jesuit expansion in central Baja.

Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at the site of the modern town of San Ignacio. The site proved to be highly-productive, agriculturally, and served as the base for later Jesuit expansion in central Baja.

The mission is still a working church, and please, no hats or flash photography, Steve.

The mission is still a working church, and please, no hats or flash photography, Steve.

A restauranteur is a fan of COPS Racing and steekers.

A restauranteur is a fan of COPS Racing and steekers.

Our chase crew had a morning to kill, so we decided to drive down to the San Ignacio Lagoon, the winter-time sanctuary of the Pacific Gray Whale.

Our chase crew had a morning to kill, so we decided to drive down to the San Ignacio Lagoon, the winter-time sanctuary of the Pacific Gray Whale.

Prerunning between San Ignacio and Loreto.

Prerunning between San Ignacio and Loreto. See the video.

Gassing up the two prerunners, Oprah and Beetlejuice, at El Medano, five miles west of Santa Rita, on Highway 1. The prerunners run on Pemex.

Gassing up the two prerunners, Oprah and Beetlejuice, at El Medano, five miles west of Santa Rita, on Highway 1. The prerunners run on Pemex.

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Josh and Dan in a prerunner, headed to La Paz.

Josh and Dan in a prerunner, headed to La Paz.

George talks to Dan in a prerunner near Punta Conejo.

George talks to Dan in a prerunner near Punta Conejo.

LEDs provide light for the prerunners during night practice. North of Loreto.

LEDs provide light for the prerunners during night practice. North of Loreto.

About three weeks prior to our arrival in Loreto, the area got hit hard by hurricane Paul. The surrounding desert was Kauai-like green, and there was flood debris along the beach.

About three weeks prior to our arrival in Loreto, the area got hit hard by hurricane Paul. The surrounding desert was Kauai-like green, and there was flood debris along the beach.

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