Top Gear at the legendary Baja 1000
Another epic TG mag adventure from the past 20 years: 1000 miles of Mexican madness...
Posted: 14 Oct 2013
We do 10 miles of squeeze, suck, bang, blow. My insides feel distinctly odd. But we've barely begun. The Whoops last for 80 miles. At the end, it feels like a vicious imp is pulling some pipes off my heart. My forearms barely function, my legs are numb and, for the last hour, I've heard little from Justin apart from some distressing cries of pain. This, apparently, is motor racing. But the car is the only thing that's actually broken at the 250-mile pit stop. We'd started to hear a flapping noise, which turns out to be the rear CV joint gaiters. The rear driveshafts need to be replaced. This will take an hour. We're last in our class, but all I feel is relief.
The rest does us good. Well, I fall asleep on a road section, but apart from that and the time Justin calls a right early and I end up doing laps of someone's campfire, we're all good. In the groove. Battered, grimy and knackered like proper veterans, we curse the support trucks that cheekily use the race course as a short cut, blasting through their dust without lifting, tooting our siren, flashing our massive light packs. All is well until we strike, well, I'm not sure what, but the impact is considerable. There's a scream and then silence. That's it. I've broken Justin. I'm going to have to stop in this dark, hostile desert and call for help.