Yes, we were rookies. Rhonda and I had spent our childhoods on dirt bikes and I had spent a large chunk of my early years in Baja but we’d never raced off road before. And I picked one of the longest off road races as our first attempt.
|clean and fresh at the start of the race.|
The one consistent bit of advice we’d receive was “save your car.” Don’t run too hard, too early. The race is 1100 miles over 8 off road stages. There will be plenty of chances for mechanical failure without the drivers help. So, take it easy (relatively).
While we waited in line to start we debated on using four wheel drive. On one hand, my dad would run the races in four high. On the other hand NORRA had a rally car class, the roads couldn’t be that bad. Finally, we asked the Bronco next to us. They were going with two wheel drive. So, that was good enough for us.
Two rookie things we didn’t consider. A) the 1964 Landcruiser is a brick not a light race car B) we’d both forgotten to let air out of the tires (something that would come back to haunt us).
Then we started the 73.5 mile first stage.
and dove right into the things Rhonda and I hate the most. Deep sand and whoop dee doos. Horrible whoop dee doos, loose seat belts and inept driving meant 10 miles of bouncing our helmets off the roof.
It was miserable and both of us were wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into. Within four miles we were stuck. Rhonda hopped out of the car and locked the hubs. I put it in four wheel drive, we tightened our belts, were passed by a couple cars and were on our way. The course would have us zig zag back in forth a bit before we dropped into Laguna Salada.
Here's a quick one minute of whoop dee doos
a video recap of stage one and our adventure continues here