The infamous Baja 1000 isn’t your everyday race. It’s the most extreme off-road race in North America. Some say it’s only for the crazies, but we say it’s for those with a deep calling to adventure. It’s one of the most grueling and revealing tests to both your endurance, the expertise of your team, and the durability of your vehicle. What does it mean if you don’t finish the race?
How long is the Baja 1000?
The name seems self-explanatory. But it’s best to not take anything at face value when it comes to the Baja. According to SCORE International Off-Road Racing, which is the organization that runs the Baja, the course map for 2015 showed a course of roughly 840 miles. Last year’s course was around 800 miles. However, there are many routes you can take.
On the other hand, Man Tripping explains that the course is different every year. While one year an 800 mile course might be mapped, another year could see an 1,100 mile course. There have been routes pushing 1,700 miles. Imagine if you are one of the unlucky racers that gets a bit lost in the desert. Going around in circles for an entire lap will add some major mileage to your personal course map.
Do you win any money for taking a title?
According to this 2019 Contingency Sponsorship Awards list posted by SCORE, there is a long list of sponsors. Each one offers money or a certain value in products for winners of the various titles. For example, the BF Goodrich payout for the overall winner of the Baja 1000 was posted at $40,000.
However, that’s not the only title up for grabs in the annual Baja 1000 off-road race. BF Goodrich also gives $25,000 to the Baja 500 winner and $10,000 to the San Felipe 250 winner. Additionally, the Lucerna 400 winner receives $5,000. For the UTV class winners, BF Goodrich gave them tires and a smaller cash payout. But that is just one sponsor’s offerings. In short, the winners are all but showers with products and cash.
But no one ever entered the Baja 1000 to win cash and prizes. All that is just icing on the cake. Winning means you are one of the toughest riders or drivers on Earth. That is enough for most Baja racers. A deadly scramble through the desert to prove you’ve got more grit than most other human beings is more than enough. Finishing, for many, is nearly equivalent to winning. Many don’t even make it to the finish line.
What does it mean if you don’t finish the Baja?
To be real it basically means nothing. Members of the Race Desert forum discuss the matter in detail. If you have an experience chase team, and you make solid preparations for the Baja, your odds of finishing get better. But nothing is certain.
The odds of finishing on your first try are extremely low. But no matter what, you will have a 100% chance of an amazing adventure. You will learn buckets form the experience, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a taste for the Baja and return––even if you don’t complete the entire course within the time limit.
The Baja off-road race is so grueling and so extreme, not finishing doesn’t really say much about you as a driver or rider. It also doesn’t mean much about your vehicle. Even the best, most well-funded teams have to call it quits. Just like Alexander Rossi and the team behind the Honda Ridgeline Baja truck after their rollover.