SCORE

Baja 250: Race Day

With the exception of one flat tire, the COPS Trophy Truck ran a flawless day, starting physically in the 24th position, and finishing 14th. The Class 10 car DNF’d 200 miles into the race with a blown tranny.

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Spectators and pits near RM65.5, south of Laguna Salada. The dust shows a Trophy Truck going past, right to left.
The COPS Trophy Truck rips along a pipeline near RM96.2.
The COPS Trophy Truck rips along a pipeline near RM96.2.

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The COPS Class 10 near RM65. Morgan Langley drove the first half of the race sharing duties with John Langley. Mike Howell co-drove the entire race.
The COPS Class 10 near RM65. Morgan Langley drove the first half of the race sharing duties with John Langley. Mike Howell co-drove the entire race.

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The COPS Class 10 running strong at RM96.
The COPS Class 10 running strong at RM96.
The BFG Baja TAs gathered some debris (and was still holding air). The larger stick is around 3x the thickness of a pencil.
The BFG Baja TAs gathered some debris and was still holding air.  The larger stick is around 3x the thickness of a pencil.
After the race, Red Lobster personnel pose for photos next to the COPS Trophy Truck.
After the race, Red Lobster personnel pose for photos next to the COPS Trophy Truck.

Baja 250: COPS Trophy Truck and Contingency

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While in San Felipe, COPS Racing pretty much dominated the Red Lobster Hotel.

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The COPS Trophy Truck runs with Rigid Industries LED lights.
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A peek inside the Trophy Truck’s front left wheel well.

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Zak Langley, COPS Racing’s Trophy Truck driver at Contingency.
There was a record turn-out at Contingency along the Malecón in San Felipe, including an over-served local, singing the Bad Boys Theme in Spanish.
There was a record turn-out at Contingency along the Malecón in San Felipe, including an over-served local, singing the Bad Boys Theme in Spanish.

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Video: COPS Racing TT#50 Fuel Stop

The COPS Racing Trophy Truck receives fuel at the BFGoodrich pits near Race Mile 747 (La Purisima) in the 2012 Baja 1000. Fifty miles down course from this pit, #50 would lose two engine cylinders (listen to the engine sound at the pits). Driver: Dan Martin.

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.

San Felipe Baja 250

This race was originally slated to be run in Primm, NV, but at the last minute it was moved to San Felipe – the reason so few racers showed up. Also, it was hot – San Felipe is a good place to avoid in September (or July or August).

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Where we were chasing the prerun inland, it was 122˚. Along the coast it was only 108˚, but extremely humid. So it was either hot and humid, or really hot, but with no humidity.
Where we were chasing the prerun inland, it was 122˚. Along the coast it was only 108˚, but extremely humid. So it was either hot and humid, or really hot, but with no humidity.
Ron manages to stay cool in a kiddie pool the team purchased - the hotel where we were staying didn't have its own pool. A beer helps too.
Ron manages to stay cool in a kiddie pool the team purchased – the hotel where we were staying didn’t have its own pool, so we had to improvise. A beer helps too.

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Street art near the San Felipe Marina.
Street art near the San Felipe Marina.
A couple of local COPS fans were following the team on Facebook and decided to come by the hotel to say hello.
A couple of local COPS fans were following the team on Facebook and decided to come by the hotel to say hello.
Manny, George, Ron and I wait for the prerunners to arrive under the only shade in the area.
Manny, George, Ron and I wait for the prerunners to arrive under the only shade in the area.
John and Bill are in the first prerunner to arrive. We'll gas them up, then they'll finish the course.
John and Bill are in the first prerunner to arrive. We’ll gas them up, then they’ll finish the course.
Bill and John in the four-seater prerunner.
Bill and John in the four-seater prerunner.

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Ripping down the old Puertocitos Road, Zak arrives in the other prerunner.
Ripping down the old Puertocitos Road, Zak arrives in the other prerunner.

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A Baja road marker.
A Baja road marker.
Baja residents waiting to become road markers (or carne asada).
Baja residents waiting to become road markers (or carne asada).
Electricity went out in San Felipe, along with extreme Southern California and parts of Arizona. Hotel people came around and put candles in everyone's rooms.
Electricity went out in San Felipe, along with extreme Southern California and parts of Arizona. Hotel people came around and put candles in everyone’s rooms.
Zak brought the Class 12 home for a clean finish. Or as clean as you can get in a desert race.
Zak brought the Class 12 home for a clean finish. Or as clean as you can get in a desert race.
Endo helps the bartenders serve cool drinks after the race - the Class 10 and 12 both finished uneventful races.
Endo helps the bartenders serve cool drinks after the race – the Class 10 and 12 both finished uneventful races.

COPS Racing at the Baja 1000

COPS Racing entered three cars in the Baja 1000: Class 1, Class 4 (aka 10), and Class 12. These pics were taken at two BFG pits – one near RM690 (La Purisima, night time) and one near RM850 (Cuidad Insurgentes, daylight). John Langley brought the Class 4 to a first-in-class finish in La Paz. Hours later, Dan Martin finished in the Class 1, but not without mechanical problems. The Class 12 ran strong until it blew its motor near RM800 and was out of the race.

Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises from the left.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises the stop from the left.

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Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25' at times.
Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25′ at times.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1's front suspension.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1’s front suspension.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to John Langley.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to team owner, John Langley. John would ultimately bring the car to a first-in-class finish in La Paz.
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma's air filter (thanks!).
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma’s air filter (thanks!).

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SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300

COPS Racing entered four cars in the 300 mile SCORE race: two Class 1s, the Class 4 (aka Class 10), and the Class 12. The Class 4 and 12 would start the race at 7 a.m, while the Class 1s would start in the afternoon with the other faster classes. The course consisted of three, 100-mile loops in the desert. The COPS main pit was at the start/finish, plus four, smaller, out-lying pits.

Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief, sees the Class 12 car off the starting line.
Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief, sees the Class 12 car off the starting line.
The COPS Class 4 staging at the start of the race. The car was driven by team owner, John Langley, with co-driver Bill Young.
The COPS Class 4 staging at the start of the race. The car was driven by team owner, John Langley, with co-driver Bill Young.
The COPS heli-video crew.
The COPS heli-video crew.

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The Class 1 cars are given last-minute prep at the main pits.
The Class 1 cars are given last-minute prep at the main pits.
Dan Martin pilots the new Racer Engineering Class 1 car. Brian Martin is his co-driver.
Dan Martin pilots the new Racer Engineering Class 1 car. Brian Martin is his co-driver.
John Langley brought the COPS Class 4 car to a flawless class win.
John Langley brought the COPS Class 4 car to a flawless class win.
On-course pit area speed zones.
On-course pit area speed zones.
Bean Smith rolls past in the Penhill-built Class 1.
Bean Smith rolls past in the Penhill-built Class 1.

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Smith is interviewed at the finish by the media after a well-run race.
Smith is interviewed at the finish by the media after a well-run race.

40 Years to Glory

These photos are from the static display at SCORE International’s “40 Years to Glory” — a wing-ding at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center commemorating the 40th running of the Baja 1000. Parnelli Jones was not part of the static display.

Bruce Meyers stands next to the revolutionary Meyers Manx. It was produced by his Fountain Valley, California company from 1964 to 1971, in the form of car kits applied to shortened chassis of Volkswagen Beetles.
Bruce Meyers stands next to the revolutionary Meyers Manx. It was produced by his Fountain Valley, California company from 1964 to 1971, in the form of car kits applied to shortened chassis of Volkswagen Beetles.

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Malcom Smith's Husky.
Malcom Smith’s Husky.

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Parnelli Jones climbs out of Big Oly.
Parnelli Jones climbs out of Big Oly.
Ivan Stewart's Trophy Truck.
Ivan Stewart’s Trophy Truck.

Spectating the Mil at Coco’s/Checkpoint 3

The plan: Steve and I would ride dirt bikes along the beach from San Felipe to Puertocitos, while being chased by Carol, Michael T., and Matt in trucks. Once in Puertocitos, we’d load up the bikes and all drive to Coco’s Corner to spectate the Baja 1000 — about 100 miles of dirt road.

We stopped along the beach somewhere south of Laguna Percebu while Steve performs maintenance for the first of many times on his Husky.
We stopped along the beach somewhere south of Laguna Percebu while Steve performs maintenance for the first of many times on his Husky.
While Steve worked on his bike, I wandered the beach which was littered by hundreds of sun-dried midshipmen fish - this one doubled as a hood ornament on my bike. The name "midshipman" comes from the fact they possess light-emitting organs called photophores along their bodies for attracting prey; the photophores resemble the buttons on a naval officer's uniform. They can live in deep water where generating your own light comes in handy.
While Steve worked on his bike, I wandered the beach which was littered by hundreds of sun-dried midshipmen fish — this one doubled as a hood ornament on my bike. The name “midshipman” comes from the fact they possess light-emitting organs called photophores along their bodies for attracting prey; the photophores resemble the buttons on a naval officer’s uniform. They can live in deep water where generating their own light comes in handy.
Somewhere south of Bahia Santa Maria, we bumped into the Mary V - a weathered sailboat from California.
Somewhere south of Bahia Santa Maria, we bumped into the Mary V — a weathered sailboat from California.
Första förband, 1964, från segelbåten Mary V.
Första förband, 1964, från segelbåten Mary V.
The road climbing Cuesta de Araiza along the Sea of Cortez - Volcan Prieto in the background.
The road climbing Cuesta de Araiza along the Sea of Cortez — Volcan Prieto in the background.
Steve, Carol , Matt, and Mike pausing and refreshing at the top of the grade.
Steve, Carol , Matt, and Mike pausing and refreshing at the top of the grade.
OK, one of the coolest things we've ever done. We took a projector and laptop and watched Dust To Glory on the big screen at Coco's Corner with Coco, who appeared the movie. He was a gracious host providing chairs and beers for everyone watching the movie. About 20 other race people joined us watching the movie. As soon as Coco's part was over, he stood up and announced, "my part is over, I'm going to bed."
OK, one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. We took a projector and laptop and watched “Dust To Glory” on the big screen at Coco’s Corner with Coco (he played a prominent part in the movie). He was a gracious host providing chairs and beers for everyone watching the movie. About 20 other race people joined us. This was Coco’s second time viewing the movie. As soon as his part was over, he stood up and announced, “my part is over, I’m going to bed.”
To no one's surprise, the 1x of Steve Hengeveld was leading the race through Checkpoint 3 -- many minutes in front of the numbe-two position.
To no one’s surprise, the 1x of Steve Hengeveld was leading the race through Checkpoint 3 — many minutes in front of the number-two position.
As all good spectators, we ate. Steve handled the chicken-and-tortilla-grilling duties.
As all good spectators, we ate. Steve handled the chicken-and-tortilla-grilling duties.
Super-good chicken and fresh tortillas covered with a fine layer of race dust - it doesn't get any better.
Super-good chicken and fresh tortillas covered with a fine layer of race dust — it doesn’t get any better.
Carol sneaks another tortilla.
Carol sneaks another tortilla.
Rick L. Johnson passing through Checkpoint 3.
Rick L. Johnson passing through Checkpoint 3.
All things at Coco's are decorated with empty beer cans, including the checkpoint-approach.
All things at Coco’s are decorated with empty beer cans, including the checkpoint-approach.
Note to self: on dirt roads at high speed, do not follow close to a truck in front of you.
Note to self: on dirt roads at high speed, do not follow close to a truck in front of you.
Hanging out at Playa Grande at Gonzaga Bay - Sue and Tito join our group. Tito really likes cerveza Victoria, a medium-bodied Vienna-style lager, with a rich amber color and toasted malt character, which is perfectly balanced with a smooth, crisp finish and low to mild hop aroma. Victoria should not be served with a lime.
Hanging out at Playa Grande at Gonzaga Bay – Sue and Tito join our group. Tito really likes cerveza Victoria, a medium-bodied Vienna-style lager, with a rich amber color and toasted malt character, which is perfectly balanced with a smooth, crisp finish and low to mild hop aroma. Victoria should not be served with a lime.
Tito works to get the Husky running. Sue and Mikee supervise.
Tito works to get the Husky running. Sue and Mikee supervise.
Mike's take-away from this trip: white shorts are not a good idea when camping in Baja. On our last night at Coco's, his trou got ceremoniously burned in our campfire.
Mike’s take-away from this trip: white shorts are not a good idea when camping in Baja. On our last night at Coco’s, his trou got ceremoniously burned in our campfire.
On the way home, we decided to take a side trip to the National Astronomical Observatory, located around 9200' in the Sierra de San Pedro Martir. The 2.12 m (83 in) telescope was built between 1974 and 1979 and is tied as Mexico's largest optical telescope.
On the way home, we decided to take a side trip to the National Astronomical Observatory, located around 9200′ in the Sierra de San Pedro Martir. This 2.12 m (83 in) telescope was built between 1974 and 1979 and is tied as Mexico’s largest optical telescope.
The Sierra de San Pedro Martir at sunset, looking north.
The Sierra de San Pedro Martir at sunset, looking north.
After visiting the observatory, we decided to overnight at Meling Ranch.
After visiting the observatory, we decided to overnight at Meling Ranch.
Breakfast comes with the room at Meling Ranch - everything on our table was grown locally.
Breakfast comes with the room at Meling Ranch — everything on our table was grown locally.