The engines of off-road vehicles and the hearts of South Californians get revved up when it comes to the Baja 1000. This exciting sport that was born in 1967 among the cholla cacti of the South California desert.
What started as the Mexico 1000 became the longest rally race in the world and a single-stage challenge for drivers who choose to battle the elements. The race is a fight between man and the challenging, imposing yet extraordinary splendor of the peninsula.
Norman Ceseña, Off Road driver and promoter, metaphorically defines the peninsula as a woman to conquer, a courtship that becomes a lifestyle and passion that you can’t stop thinking about.
“The Baja only changes her dress and like a woman, she dresses for every occasion. Men fall in love with Baja and hate it at the same time, because their victories are short lived. The Baja is just like a woman and racers rarely conquer her twice.”
To travel the austerity of the scorching desert you need discipline and a team of 24 people. There is your competition vehicle, another for parts, transportation and the famous pits that are responsible for solving the mechanical problems that come up during the 1000 miles of punishment.
The Off Road is a different race from the conventional, because each mile traveled is different, no matter how many times you travel the same road. Desert sand, stones, dry swamps and beach dunes make up the route navigated by the pilot and accompanied by the co-pilot.
In addition to developing a passion for speed and danger, Norman has found the true charisma of the sport in his 30 years of experience. Off Road is a family tradition and has become part of the South Californian culture. In turn, that provides support and entertainment to the rural areas of the peninsula.
“In the Off-Road, we all understand that riding in the desert is dangerous, so we always try to help others. I have had to stop to help drivers with their vehicles. So, we don’t talk much about beating other drivers, but about beating La Baja and helping others do the same.”
In addition to the Baja 1000 held in November, there is the Dos Mares race that normally takes place in May. You shouldn’t miss these experiences. Over the years, they have made a difference in the South Californian lifestyle.