Project Baja: The story

I have been working hard on my current project, Project Baja. If I haven’t mentioned it too much on here it is because I spend most of my time writing about it on the Project Baja site. I started thinking about this project though: why do you do this stuff? That was the question that crossed my mind. Why? Well. These are the interesting things in life. The adventures that many look at and few do.

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One day, many moons ago I watched the movie “Dust to Glory.” When the movie finished I thought to myself “I could do that.” I have watched that movie repeatedly since then and I always think the same thing. “I could do that.” The real question is why though. Why spend all the time, the money and the effort on something like this? For me I think it comes down to one word: Experience.

In 2008 while sitting around with some friends we decided to make a soapbox car for the RedBull soapbox race. Cars for these events are often cardboard, taped together. Some of them are more complicated but none are taken to the level that we wanted to go. The purpose was not entirely winning. The reason for that is experience. If my team or I choose to do something we do it so we get something awesome of of it and what is more awesome than education? We learned a lot from that car. Little lessons like: “Wow, fiberglass sucks to sand!” or “Body work sure does live up to the ‘WORK’ part.” When we went to the race we had an amazing time, we met a ton of people we answered questions and we basically had an amazing experience.

In 2009 we did it all over again. The Mach five wasn’t just another fiberglass car, it was a completely different molding technique. We decided we needed to learn how to do make a female mold on this one. It was a completely new experience and we were able to learn how and be successful making the project all in a very short period of time. When we took that car across country we had so many experiences along the way. Meeting new people, showing our vehicle and well, creating the story of the trip. We have friends that I am glad to say that we would not have developed otherwise.

So when we circled around to the Baja Car I thought to myself. Imagine the places you will go, the people you will meet and not only that but the stories you will have from this project! We jumped in and yes! As usual we flailed a bit but we are going strong.

Already I have met some amazing people. I traveled to California to go to Lisas Wedding and I was able to meet the Desert Dingos. Specifically I met Jim Graham. They showed me around the car as well. Jim has been an amazing resource and has quickly become a friend. It was a great experience walking through their outdoor shop nestled in the redwoods. It was fun to check out their car and learn as much as we could. I only wish I was able to go back! Now that we have made the progress that we have it would be great to see it all again. In addition we have met Yves Braun. Yves is in the desert racing community and just happens to have a shop that is just up the street from us. He has been one of the most generous people and has provided us with a tow when we need it and a free donor car too!

Desert Dingos racing

Built by Bones - Cage take 2

The more we learn about all of this the more the experiences are becoming apparent. I met Paul Massey through all of this as well and his friends at the Fire Guys Racing Team. Paul has told stories, showed pictures and just added fuel to the fire. The other night as we chatted he was telling me how excited he is to go to Mexico for 2012’s race and he also said “there is always a big part of me that is excited and a small part that is pretty nervous.” I think that about sums it up. Everyone that goes to this event knows that there are a lot of question marks. When you are in the middle of the desert with nobody around and you are relying on this vehicle to save the day… Well. It is plenty to make you nervous. Add to that the possibilities that simply exist in Mexico. Unpredictable law enforcement, unpredictable fans, the challenge of getting everything you need into Mexico and the additional challenge of getting everything you own out of Mexico. There is a lot to worry about! But every piece of that is just another chapter in the story that is the Baja 1000!

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With all of these potential experiences laid out just imagine the stories that are going to come out of it. Now consider that we aren’t even there yet. We are working like crazy to find sponsors, money to join our team and help make this happen. We can figure out a lot of stuff, but we can’t just create money. So now we spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how we can get money. You know what? Well it turns out that we have been developing relationships, we have been able to be very creative with some marketing ideas, we have just learned a ton about dealing with potential sponsors and it just adds to our experiences. Our marketing plan is always evolving but our webisodes are something that we love to make and people love to see. It has been a lot of fun and a big learning experience figuring out all of this!

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If you have a chance follow along on our build. Sign up for Rally. It will provide you email updates and if you choose to you can help support the build as well. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter or you can head on over to our Project Baja Website.

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A quick trip to California

It has been a while since I have spent time on a beach. It seems strange however that each time I visit the beach it is cold and rainy. However this time I didn’t mind, it was just so nice to get some sand between my toes!

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I headed to California for a friends wedding this time. I will put another post up in the next few days about the wedding however. The trip was just perfect, though a bit short. I arrived in California on Saturday. When I got in I drove straight to Felton California and met with some friends from Desert Dingo Racing. They have been a very great resource for our Class 11 Baja 1000 build. When I arrived Jim took me on out to their shop space. All outdoor and very nice. Crusty, their head mechanic was already working on the car. They showed me around and gave me all their secrets… I didn’t even have to get tough with them! Their vehicle is very tested and we are really excited to be able to apply some of the info toward our build.

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Do you want to see more pictures of the Desert Dingo’s car? Check out posts on Project Baja in the next week.

After spending some time with the Dingos I headed off to the beach. Ahhh… When I grew up every year we headed to Ocean City, NJ. Every year we also went to Cape May, NJ and each year I spent other days at the beach too. It is the one thing that Colorado is missing. Imagine this state with a beach! The first moment that I made it out to the beach was to Twin Lakes state park, bright and early on Sunday morning. It was cool out and the beach was active. A boat race left from the cape, people were fishing, running and more. It was a great place to spend a bit of time and look around.

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The wedding was in Santa Cruz at a local Vineyard. It was a beautiful setting, the weather was perfect as well! After the wedding I decided I was going to head up the coast along the PCH to make my way back to San Fran for my flight out.

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The beach was beautiful, cliffs dropping into the water linked with smaller more isolated areas. It was a great place to spend some time and check out the views.

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After an hour or so I headed further up the coast and got to a small town where I picked up some lunch and headed out to another beach to eat. It was brisk outside and I began heading up to San Francisco to get to my flight. I talked to a friend from Ice Racing who works up there and decided to meet up with him as well. First I headed to the icon of San Francisco. When was the last time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge? Probably around 1997! So it was time.

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Even though it was raining and crappy there is just something about that bridge! I walked across it I stood out a the first pillar and looked out toward alcatraz and I just enjoyed the marvels that are the Golden Gate Bridge for a while. Then I headed back to the Airport.

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When I got to the airport I met Bill the proud owner of Molly. Now before you say anything, Molly is a Bronco. Driven by Bill, Linda and Cheri… Well and pretty much anyone else that wants to drive it too! Bill is just an awesome guy and he gave me a thorough tour of the inner workings of the airport. Bill has previously been an airline pilot and now works in a complete maintenance of airport opperations. With all the maintenance opperations that are at the airport there area lot of gaps and grey areas so he works in a small elite group that is able to fill all the gaps and eliminate the grey areas. He is incredibly knowledgable about the airport and wow, it was awesome! Now I have to go back! He’s promised to make the next tour even bigger and even better!

It’s always great to get out of town and this was no exception. I’m looking forward t the next trip that is coming up soon!

Project Baja: tearing it down

We were hard at work on wednesday night! Tearing apart a bug to get prepared to make our Class 11 race car out of it. This thing is actually remarkably clean. It has had impacts on the front, the back, the sides… you know, the normal stuff. There is about 7 gallons of Bondo on it, but overall it is pretty remarkable how little this car has been molested!

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We’ve removed nearly everything but we still have a few more things to tear down. The car now resides on a custom made bug stand that wheels around the shop very easily. Seriously convenient!

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Check out PROJECTBAJA.COM for more on the tear down!

Project Baja: Bringing home a race car

If you have ever dreamt of racing then you have probably dreamt of some of the epic races in this world. Isle of Man for those of you in the street bike world, Pikes peak for the epic competition against mother nature and probably the SCORE international Baja 1000 for the most incredible race that you can imagine. We have had that dream too and we are excited to announce that we will be racing the Baja 1000.

We have built cars, usually not knowing what we are getting into or what we are doing. but we have a lot of skill, a lot of people to fall back on and well, not really any cash. We’ll figure it out, but there is a lot to do in the mean time. In the past we have competed in the Red Bull Soapbox races, building from scratch vehicles that have blown the minds of competitors, friends and people all over the world who have followed our builds online. These cars come from our desire to race, to build and to simply make an awesome vehicle. We have built rally cars, worked on our own cars and built many other things from furniture to custom car parts.

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Our team consists of Car guys, designers, machinists, welders, photographers, videographers, marketing professionals, mechanics and more. Our crew of jack of all trades guys have proven themselves time and time again in their ability to create amazing solutions to complicated problems.

There are a lot of people who come up with these types of plans but one of our biggest strengths is our ability to plan these things and follow through with them. Our guys are ready to go, we have been shopping for a car and we have waded through a lot of rusty cars, lots of junk really. We did come across something that we felt was worth while. So we went down, we checked the car over completely and we fired it up! This is a crazy step in and of itself! All of the vehicles we had looked at before did not run, move or even look like they had hope of moving. So we bought it… Yes we own a car that will become our Baja 1000 Race car.

Bringing it home

Bringing it home

Bringing it home

This is going to be a Class 11 car built to remain mostly stock with full fenders. We will have a lot of updates to come soon, but for now check out our “bringing it home” video

Oh and follow along with us on Facebook or on our website www.projectbaja.com