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're climbing up into the hills now, through rough quarries, rough slums, stray dogs, chanting crowds. Some try to point us the wrong way, others gesture correctly, but you never know who's who, and Justin's semaphore waving is proving decidedly erratic. BANG. Love-tap number one. Didn't even see him coming, what with the dust and all. I leap for the verge with flea-like speed, and let the bouncy Beetle by. By way of thanks, it sprinkles us with coarse grey gravel. This combines with the rain that started falling a few minutes earlier. I wipe my visor, wondering how long it will be before doing so will only make matters worse.
About 20 minutes is the answer. We rattle and bang down a steep gully into a silt bed. It's not a big one, maybe 200 metres across, but in between I can see three stuck trucks, two fountaining silt dust into the air, the other motionless bar some frantic shovelling. Momentum is everything. Low gear. Nail it. It's like driving into a rich brown snowdrift, as fine dust explodes up and hangs there, motionless. We seem to be paddling, not touching the bottom and lost in a dry brown pea-souper. I have an idea where we came in, and by some miracle we pop out in the right place, only at 90 degrees to my intended direction of travel. I don't lift, just turn sharp right, nerf a bank, scatter spectators and make my escape.