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2005 Baja 1000 MCUSA Race Part I Photo Gallery

After finishing up our pre-run scouting, it was time to get down to business and get on with the racing. If we only knew what we were about to get into... Check out the full story in Racing Baja To Hell and Back Part I and Racing Baja To Hell and Back Part II.

Slideshow
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This guy was the third bike through Honda Pit 4 and was the eventual winner in our 30+ class.
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Chris Blais wound up fourth in the Pro class, and he rode the whole thing solo!
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We witnessed Jimmy Lewis' BMW-mounted team come tearing through Honda Pit 4 as we waited for our rider to show up. There were some reports that the new HP2 Beemer had shock troubles throughout the race, but the damn thing podiumed the premier Class-22.
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This pretty much sums up the entire race season for Honda's two squads. The youngsters may have the physical lead, but age and treachery always prevail on the timesheets.
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Wherever there was a road crossing, things got busy in a hurry. Hell, even in the remotest portions of the course there was bound to be some loco Mexicans rootin' for the home team.
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It takes some serious speed to get an XR650R on top of the sand. Lucky for us, we had the same bike as this one here.
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The infamous Jesse James.
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There were a few BMW's out and about in Baja. This one was Jimmy Lewis' HP2 that would ultimately snag a third-place finish in his class. Not bad considering he was facing off against both factory Honda teams.
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Mayhem. Everyone should go to Baja just to see the massive crowds.
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Trying to get registered and find our team was a challenge, but just taking in everything that was going on was overwhelming enough.
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Everyone has their own version of a good luck charm. So much for that nasty old rabbit's foot, eh?
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Watson's hands-off approach earned him a much warmer welcome.
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For a fleeting moment Ken thought he had a chance, but as the blonde ripped off her jacket and promptly set it on fire, all hopes were dashed.
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Robby Bell chomps at the bit in Ensenada.
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Throughout his career, Travis Pastrana has been known to be easily sidetracked by various dangerous activities. Knowing that Baja was fraught with danger, his teammates wouldn't let him on the bike with anything less than blinders.
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Ken gets some final instructions on the starting line, but everyone's advice was pretty much the same. 'Don't kill yourself.'
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Hurry up and wait. The butterflies are in full effect as Ken waits on the staring line.
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Since Ken was our rider of record, he had to either start or finish the race. He elected to start the race only to have his pickup lines become the butt of the SCORE girls' nasty jokes. Girls can be so mean.
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Necessity is the mother of all invention, and in Baja we needed a battery charger for our camera. Hey, whatever works, right?
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The SCORE girl wasn't satisfied with simply igniting her Hutch-contaminated jacket, so she sped the process with a 55-gallon drum of diesel.
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Go Baby, Go!! T-Dub thrills the fans as he makes his way past Ojos Negros.
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Scrotee Watson was our first rider to actually log some miles. His level head prevailed in the chaos of the start and we were several positions ahead by the time he would dismount.
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The dust would get much worse than this later in the race. This wimpy dose was child's play for Watson.
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Ever the glory hound, T. Watson lifts the front wheel for the camera.
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Scrotee in action.
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Honda's B Team of Robby Bell, Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody set a blistering pace early on. But as night closed in, the A Team's elder statesmen picked up all the time they needed to steal victory once again.
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All eyes were on Johnny Campbell. Everywhere he went people were wondering if he would keep his winning streak alive. He did, and the Baja legend has ruled the event for nearly a decade now.
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Thousands of spectators lined the course, especially at the start in Ensenada. Half crazed and half drunk, it's a miracle there aren't tons of fans mowed down by the trucks and buggies.
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For the amazement of his hordes of adoring fans, Wilky put life and limb on the line with one final jump just before his last pit. According to him it was huge and he almost wound up mangled. I don't know if this was it, but if so then we need to have a little chat with our boy Wilky and discuss jus
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Steve finally came bombing into Pit 4 and performed a text-book rider exchange with our next rider Greg Gipe. It turned out to be the best pit stop of the entire race.
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There were all kinds of bizarre plants in Baja. Wilky and the rest of us did our bests to avoid the often dangerous vegetation.
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Wilky struggled early thanks to a massive oversight, or should we say under-sight, on his part. He made up for it though when the going got rough.
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The course was notoriously rough and technical, which meant that a big bike could be a handful at times. Tim Morton and his guys took that into account and elected to ride a Honda CRF250X. They finished first in Class-21 and 22nd overall.
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There's never a lack of star power in Baja. The race seems to draw big names like Travis Pastrana who's ripping through this wash. The 'Dream Team' of TP, Rick Johnson, Greg Godfrey and Andy Grider wound up DQed courtesy of a transponder issue, but at least they had lights.
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We all had to cross the creeks during the pre-run, but it was way worse at night when you couldn't see the slippery rocks. Ken plowed through like a champ only dabbing his stubby legs once in the freezing water.
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The buzz overhead had died down long before we made it in, but some of those guys who had helicopters didn't even fare as well as we did. Next year we'll take a chopper along with us just to run one of those high-powered spotlights.
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With no hope of rigging up a stock light unit, we resorted to desperate measures. The video camera light lasted about an hour, that's four less than we needed it to.
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How's this for wicked? Our American Honda/Precision Concepts race bike was a thing of beauty before the race. Afterwards would be a different story altogether.
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We slept better at night knowing that we had the might of American Honda behind us.
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There's a couple other bikes out there that have these same stickers, but that's about where the similarities end between them and us.
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Gotta represent.
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This is the amount of dust that a single vehicle kicks up on those nasty, silt hillclimbs. Just imagine what Ken had to deal with after being forced to wait for five or six to scrap their way up immediately in front of him.
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Team MCUSA was just a bunch of regular guys. Except for Ken, he's too damn cool to take off his shades.
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JC: Ah-Ha! So that's why they call you Scrotee!
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Rarin' Darin scraps our Pepe on the Ensenada beach.
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Hecker was on the gas for his 139 miles along the Western side of the peninsula. He reeled in the closing Honda Pits and brought us home under the 30-hour time limit, despite the locals' best boobytrap efforts.
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Sandblasted. Precision Concepts knows what they are doing when it comes to racing XR650s in the sand.
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The angle here is well within reason compared to what we would experience later. We found ourselves ass-over-teakettle plenty of times.
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Even before it was fully dark, the glare from the sun was a killer. Our guys made like an ostrich and buried their heads in the sand on many occasions.
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This is about as close as we'll ever get to being factory riders. It was sure fun while it lasted.
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A San Felipe sunset is stunning when you're sipping margaritas on the beach, but deep in the Matomi wash, it was like someone closing our casket lid.
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The 903 Guys with their signature number: Gary and Gordie McCarty with Greg Gipe and fiance Deb.
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Greg and Gordie were in high spirits before the race, but just after this photo was snapped, out came the rubber gloves and a full-blown drug search commenced. The whole light fiasco just added insult to injury. Wait, I guess it was the other way around.