Chris Western takes on the 2015 Baja 1000 Desert Race
6 weeks ago Mickey Thompson Driver Chris Western got a phone call - It went like this: ‘Buddy, we need you back here in BAJA”
It was Paul Schaefer, the Manager of Mag 7 Pits, one of the Logistics Companies that manage the Pits for the Score International Baja 1000.
“When Paul asked me are you interested in driving a Class 1 Car in this year's Baja 1000 and said he would give me time to think about it, I was pretty much booking my flight before he got off the phone. It was just nuts.” said Chris. "But you can never say no to an opportunity like that."
Western has just come back from Mexico, successfully completing his leg of 200 miles in this year's 48th Score International Baja 1000. Driving for an American Team this time, Chris along with Aussie navigator Kris Booth were given the start leg of the 875 mile loop race, from Ensenada to San Quintin.
"To be back on the start line in Ensenada, just 12 months since I completed my first Baja was awesome, something that I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do again so soon. The race was held up by a couple of hours due to the sheer number of people in the drain section at the start, they reckon over 100,000 people!! It is just crazy when you are on the rev limiter sliding around a corner and Mexicans are reaching out trying to touch your car as you drive past them!"
"This year we had the luxury of pre running my section. This gave me the opportunity to have a good look at the track, and mark any dangers into the GPS so we would be ready for it come Race Day. Luke Erceg from Erceg Motorsport joined me in the 4 Seater V8 Powered Prerunner, driving up Highway 1 and pulling in for fresh burritos for lunch is just awesome. This is why everyone loves prerunning in Baja."
"The first section was quite technical getting out of Ensenada, and it was a different route to what I had done last year. It didn’t take me long to settle into driving a different buggy, with different tyres, suspension and a bigger engine. Racing with a 454 Chev in the back
was pretty cool, to have so much power on tap. Once we got out of the mountain section and headed south towards the beach, this was great fun sitting in top gear, passing trophy trucks on the waters edge."
At road mile 202, with Chris and Kris just 9 minutes off the Class 1 Leader and sitting 5th in Class, they handed the buggy over to Yuichi Takahashi for him to take on the next leg. Unfortunately 50 miles into this leg the dreaded silt beds of Baja claimed the #145 buggy
with mechanical issues. But like Western has learnt ’thats just Baja’.
“It was a shame we couldn’t bring the car home but Baja 2015 has given me an incentive to come back yet again and beat the Baja Desert, like we did the year before in 2014, I can’t wait for the next adventure"