July 25, 2013 – Our tour of Baja would not be complete without a stop at Ciudad Constitucion and Palapa 206, operated by Mike & Bertha. Always a great place to get caught up on local happenings and in the event you need repairs, believe me you need to end up here. As an industrial farming community and a hub of Baja racing activities you can get anything repaired here, we have. Palapa 206 has amazing mechanical contacts and always willing to help, often sending Nigel along as your interpreter.
Speaking of Nigel, he is becoming a very accomplished race car driver on the very rugged tracks of Baja. Nigel has been driving for many years, I believe he started when he was 5 years old. In Mexico you are never to young to learn valuable skill sets and Mike was keen to have Nigel help around the RV Park & Motel. Nigel starting racing, first with a VW Baja Bug a couple of years ago and and moved up to “Dune Buggy” Class 10 type vehicle. Nigel is very competitive and routinely finishes in the top 5 of the races he enters. Not bad considering he is racing against adults and will turn 13 years old in October of this year. This young man is simply a remarkable driver, mature and focused well beyond his age (at 12) and a 4 grade point average at school to boot.
A really hi-point of our visit to Palapa 206 on our way south to to take a spin with Nigel out back on his personal track (When the car is working of course). Everyone remembers their ride with Nigel, thrilling to say the least. Lisa`s Mom, Sylvia at 80, won`t soon forget her ride in 2011! One can only imagine what Paclo (Nigel’s younger brother) will be like as he gets older as he is simply fearless! !
Did you know?
The Baja 1000 which ran November 14th – 17th, 2012, is an off-road race that takes place on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the fall. The event includes various types of vehicle classes such as small and large bore motorcycles, stock VW, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, and custom fabricated race vehicles. The course has remained relatively the same over the years with the majority of events being either a point to point race from Ensenada to La Paz (1600 KM), or a loop race starting and finishing in Ensenada (1340 KM). The name of the event is misleading as the mileage varies.
The first official race started in Tijuana, Baja California, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. The course length that year was 849 miles (1,366 km) and ended in La Paz, Baja California Sur, with the overall winning time of 27 hours 38 minutes (27:38) set by Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels while driving a Meyers Manx buggy. From 1967 to 1972, the race was organized by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA). In 1973, the Baja California governor turned over the event to a non-profit Mexican corporation called Baja Sports Committee (BSC). BSC renamed the event to Baja Mil (Baja 1000) and scheduled the race to run on the original dates chosen by NORRA.
Unaware of the challenges, BSC found promoting Baja races more difficult than anticipated. Instead of giving up the race, the Mexican government requested help from Short Course Off-Road Enterprises (SCORE) in hosting and promoting future Baja races. Through negotiations with Mickey Thompson and his SCORE organization, the Government agreed to give exclusive rights to SCORE to hold Baja races and also reluctantly allowed SCORE to cancel the event for 1974. SCORE hired Sal Fish as president and took control of the Baja 1000 from that year on with the Baja 1000 race resuming under new control in 1975.
Although motorcyclists participate and are often the overall winners, many competitors drive modified or stock 4-wheel vehicles such as cars, trucks, ATVs and dune buggies. Race teams consist of factory supported groups that build custom fabricated vehicles and provide chase vehicles via helicopter, to the much smaller and less glamorized sportsman teams competing in an all-stock vehicle with no chase vehicle support at all. Stock Volkswagen Type One Beetles are modified for use in off road terrain, known as Baja Bugs, have been a common sight throughout the event duration, but the factory-supported all-spaceframe Trophy Truck entries are the most visible.