Dust to Glory (2005) Movie Script

Weatherman to all checkpoints.
I'm looking for status on 99 Alpha, please,
between Valle de Trinidad and Milling.
They race the clock
in a land that defies time,
Sharing an adventure in a place
where reality is on holiday.
It's the most beautiful place in the world.
It's the most scary place in the world.
And it's the most
desolate, quiet place.
You love it, you hate it, you love it,
you hate it, you love it, you hate it.
You don't wanna be there,
you wanna be there.
It's like a girl that breaks your heart.
"I hate you, I never
wanna see you again.
I'm sorry.
Can I come over?"
You look up at the stars
and there's no smog.
You smell the ocean breeze,
you hear the birds.
You hear the whales,
you hear the seals.
I think Baja gives you
that opportunity to feel that,
to get closer to something
that's more instinctual.
It's difficult to put into words
because it's an emotion.
That's what Baja is,
something you feel.
What do you call a race where
anybody with any vehicle can enter,
a race where 200,000 spectators
come but no one pays admission,
A race that takes 32 hours
for 1,200 people
to battle 1,000 merciless miles
for a million different reasons?
Call it the Tecate Score Baja 1000.
Someone asked Parnelli Jones,
and he said it's like being
in a 24-hour plane crash.
'Cause the 1000,
so much can go on.
Think about what happens,
you know, in the Daytona 500.
And they're going
around a smooth track,
and the pit's
in the same spot every time.
You know, we got
buses and cows and horses and...
Mountains and beaches and deserts.
You're in dust, you're in rocks.
It's gullies, it's washouts,
it's 100 miles an hour, 20 miles an hour.
So many roads out there,
and little ranches here and there.
Every one of these jumps,
every one of these turns
is different than the last one.
Tell you what,
you don't fall asleep here.
I lived it, I ate it, I slept it,
and I can totally understand
when other people
get caught up in the mystique of it,
trying to beat time itself
and get to the finish line.
It's an unreal feeling.
It's only about 100 miles
south of San Diego,
but Ensenada is a whole nother world.
and the closer you get to it,
The more confusing it becomes.
Mouse had the inspiration
and Fish gave his approval,
But it was my good buddy Scott Waugh
who convinced me to make this movie
about the longest nonstop
point-to-point race in the world.
My name is Dana Brown.
And when I thought I knew,
I hadn't a clue.
We got Dana Brown.
Dana just came out of Step Into Liquid.
They are doing a feature
called Dust to Glory
on the Tecate Score Baja 1000.
That's Sal Fish. He's in charge.
An honest promoter.
Why not? This whole thing started
with a stuntman nicknamed after a rodent.
- There's the odds.
- Hey, we're three-to-one.
Look at this.
I'm two-to-one favorite.
This is Mouse. A real force of nature.
Somehow you always end up doing
whatever he's doing.
Take his posse... one legend
and two childhood friends.
Also getting sucked into Mouse's orbit
were the Griders, Andy and Neil.
Andy won the 1000 last year.
- Can you bet this?
- Yeah, at Caliente.
Hey, Billy, you can bet this
at Caliente.
Let's put some odds on ourselves.
Let's go bet on ourselves.
I think in Mexico you can do that.
It's not like...
Who's that guy... Pete Rose?
Seems like everybody
enters the 1000.
They've raced everything here
from Rolls-Royces to Winnebagos.
The Bago didn't make it very far.
These racers are
from all walks of life.
Including the prodigal son,
The Hawaiian surfer,
The father, son, and grandson,
King of the Beetles,
Team Estrogen,
The perennial champs,
The greatest ever,
and those Indy dudes.
They don't close
the race course off for anybody.
You're out there with Joe Public,
or in this case, Jose Public.
For the people of Baja. This is
one of the biggest days of the year.
We can really relate to racing,
off-road racing.
And you meet people,
you just start talking.
Start talking about
the last race, the next race.
"You remember this
and you remember that."
You end up with four
or five guys around you,
and that's called picking up dust
here in this town.
As the party atmosphere fades,
all the contradictions and metaphors
begin to make sense to me.
This isn't about a race.
It's about the race. The human race.
Which I figure is exactly
how Sal Fish intended it.
The roads aren't closed.
Locals driving backwards on the course.
You've got locals racing
right next to you.
You've got chase vehicles, and they're
on the course where they shouldn't be.
You know, I mean, this is
not for wusses. Let's face it.
Without question.
Sal Fish is the Baja 1000.
He marks a different course each year.
He deals with the concerns
of the ranchers, of the police.
as well as demands
of contestants and spectators.
I haven't met anyone that has
the stupidity, I guess, that I have
that would do it the way I do.
And I never stop thinking about this.
It's a 24-hour deal and I love it.
Get families together
and guys with the $10,000 vehicle
and guys with the $2 million vehicle.
I could never imagine
having Sal Fish's job.
Having 300 people
like Robby Gordon showing up there
wanting to go racing,
and everybody has their own agenda.
Everybody plays by the same rules.
They all pay the same entry fee.
I wanna make sure
our hardcore grassroot guys
are always at Score
and there's a place for them to race.
Sal's values are reflected
in a race that's open to everyone,
from the little guy to the big guy.
The famous and anonymous...
all equal, all simply racers.
Air temperature, 45 degrees.
Motorcycles and quads
will start three hours ahead of the field.
A flurry of flashbulbs
announces Johnny Campbell's arrival.
A win today would be
a record-breaking seven in a row.
Trying to keep loose
was 62-year-old J.N. Roberts,
a true legend in off-road racing.
Always gotta keep moving.
Harder target to hit.
Mouse arrived.
He's very quiet. Unusually subdued.
Mouse doesn't know this but when
I was a little kid, he was my hero.
He'd go out smokin' everybody.
"Wow, who's this Mouse McCoy?"
Then all of a sudden, disappeared.
I started racing
when I was four years old.
And by 17 I was just flat burned out.
Nothing you could do about it.
You don't have any context
of what you're doing as a kid.
All you know is you hate it,
you're done, you're sick of it.
Actually that's the best thing
that's ever happened to me
'cause now I love
riding motorcycles more than ever.
And maybe I wouldn't have loved it
so much had I kept going.
For every bike there's usually
three, four, or five riders.
Johnny Campbell would be riding
the first 205 miles
before handing it over
to Steve Hengeveld.
We'll see ya at the finish line.
J.N. Would ride 110
before giving it to his son Jimmy.
Mouse McCoy wouldn't
run 100, 200, or even 500 miles.
Mouse had a different plan.
He was gonna race
the entire Baja 1000 solo.
One man's name is synonymous
for racing the Baja solo...
the Ironman, Ivan Stewart.
Well, to do a 1,000-mile race
in a car is tough,
but at least you can sit down
and get a drink of water
and you're protected a lot more.
And to do it on a motorcycle,
I mean, I can't fathom it. That's tough.
Anybody can trail ride the thing
for the thousand miles.
But to be competitive and do it
was a whole different deal.
And I knew I looked up to him,
and now, wow, I'm really gonna
look up to him if he finishes this thing.
This is gonna be amazing.
People say, "Don't you
worry about your son?"
No, I don't worry about him
because he's gifted.
And he usually gets there.
I think Mouse is one of the best
when it comes to preparing.
He pre-ran down here
more than anybody I've ever seen.
Supercross legend Ricky Johnson.
Who's like Mouse's big brother,
had some reservations.
Not because he's a bad rider.
He's a great rider.
Not because he was out of shape.
He was in great shape.
But for those exact things.
He knew how good a shape he was in
and he knew how fast he was.
And I knew if he got into a competition
with other riders that are
fresher, fresher, fresher, fresher,
I was afraid he was gonna die.
Survival. That's all it is.
You survive, you'll win it.
Soft and smooth, brother.
Soft and smooth.
At 6:30 the race began.
They'll leave 30 seconds apart.
At 6:31 and 30 seconds,
Johnny Campbell takes off.
Chris Blaze of the Honda B leaves the line at 6:33.
J.N. Roberts, 6:37:30.
If a car pulls out in front
of a speeding car,
results are dented metal
and possible injury.
If a car pulls out
in front of a speeding motorcycle,
results are probable death,
which was exactly the fate of former
Baja champion Danny Hamel in 1995,
only a few miles
outside of Ensenada.
Mouse McCoy. 6:37.
And the rhythm
of the race begins.
At 6:46:30. the quads
began to join the fray.
Mile 38. there
is no flagman. No flagman.
By the 50-mile mark. Johnny Campbell
had settled into his usual lead.
In second was Chris Blaze
of the Honda B Team.
Mouse. in an effort
to show his newfound maturity,
had gone from sixteenth
to fourth in the first hour.
For a motorcyclist to compete
at the front of the pack
he has to fully commit.
He has to hurl himself into the void.
Mouse was on fire.
And just as amazing was J.N. Roberts
passing riders a third of his age
until our camera helicopter got
a little close and J.N. went down.
We missed the shot.
And 30 miles away,
Jimmy Roberts had
a sudden premonition
that he'd miss his ride.
If J.N. couldn't get back
on the bike, their day was over.
It didn't seem fair.
J.N.'s a living legend,
winner of the first
Baja 1000 back in 1967.
That was a era
when as many as 3,000 riders
would start a California desert race,
and J.N. Roberts
would win 27 in a row.
When I was growing up, of course
he was the man in the desert.
And any time we'd be out
riding motorcycles
and I'd do something that
my dad thought was pretty good,
he'd say, "Oh, all right, J.N.
Good job, J.N."
So J.N. Was this
mythical figure in my mind.
So when I had the chance
to actually race with him
it was a pretty awesome
experience for me.
I wanna make sure it works for J.N.
First time back in 30 years
to Baja for him.
It's kind of exciting
to go riding with him.
He can't seem to get the bike
started, though.
- New technology.
- Get it to the top of the stroke.
J.N. won two
of the first three Baja 1000s.
He'd come back to team with Jimmy.
Who was racing in his first.
He just recently won
the Vet World Championships.
And now here he is
two weeks later racing Baja.
And then in January
he signs up for Social Security.
So he's had quite a year.
Don't rub it in.
Hey, Social Insecurity.
J.N. didn't get a lot of time
to reminisce about his past victories
because Jimmy, Mouse, and Greg Tracy
had him on a rigorous pre-run schedule.
Pre-running is when you get to practice
your section of the course.
Now, in Mouse's case.
all the sections were his section,
so J.N. got to do a lot of pre-running.
I'll tell you what, the ol' butt
in the last few days is taking a lickin'.
- Taking a lickin'.
- No pun intended.
We still live in different states,
so we don't see each other all the time.
But when we do see each other,
it's usually around
a motorcycle-based environment.
And he's so, like,
compulsive disorder kind of...
Really goes over things
over and over and over.
And I can see myself when I'm
by myself becoming that a little bit myself.
I love you to death, but some
of your habits drive me crazy.
But the roles reverse. It's just funny.
It's just the way it is. It's life.
Look at the McCoys.
We've seen that yesterday with them.
Yeah, they have
the same relationship, kind of.
They're kind of bagging
on each other all the time.
Like a couple ol' hens
most of the time.
What can you do about it?
It's your blood. They can't fire ya.
Jimmy and J.N. are less father and son,
they're more like clones.
Well, I know I'm
a lot more cautious than he is.
Let's try and be nice.
He's just, you know,
"Yeah, pin it, Dad."
Well, I don't know
what's over that hill.
So I back off and roll it off a little bit
because I'm gonna go home
and cut wood this winter.
I got things I gotta do.
Where he's just got a little more...
You gotta have a little faith,
trust yourself.
I do trust myself,
but that's still who I am.
I don't have it that way, but I think
that comes with doing a lot and age.
J.N. may talk about getting old,
But how many 62-year-olds can
pick up a 300-pound motorcycle?
No matter his age,
J.N.'s a father,
and he's not about
to let down his son.
By any standard, J.N. Roberts
is a true motorcycle legend.
50% of a legend is better
than 100% of someone like me.
When Jimmy finally got his turn
he took full advantage of it,
getting all the way up
to eighth place overall
and not being passed
for 300 miles.
J.N.'s shoulder was possibly separated,
putting in jeopardy
the plan for him to ride the last 50 miles
to the finish later that night.
In the meantime
there was nothing to do
but sit back and reminisce
about the good ol' days.
A few of the old-time boys
used to come down here and...
But long before it was a race.
Just to see if they could get
from Tijuana down to La Paz.
And just to find
your way was a chore.
You telegraph the time you leave
and you pick up the telegraph
and check in your time
when you get to La Paz.
That's the only way
you could document it.
There wasn't anybody down here with
helicopters flying in those days to follow us.
When promoter Ed Perlman announced
plans for the inaugural Mexican 1000,
race legend Malcolm Smith
immediately thought of two things...
get J.N. Roberts for his partner
and buy a map.
I tried to get him to read
the guidebook so he'd know his way.
He said, "I don't need any guidebook.
I can always find my way."
On the day of the race.
The press was told
the first vehicle would arrive
at San Ignacio, the halfway point,
at around 5 a.m.
Malcolm arrived at 5 p.m.,
a full 12 hours earlier.
and eight hours ahead
of the next vehicle.
As evening settled in,
J.N. began his journey
guided by a weak front headlight
and a unique sense of direction.
I seen this light and I thought
I was going the right direction,
and it was a star,
and I just kept following it.
I said, "There's a checkpoint.
It's gotta be a checkpoint."
Kept going on. I totally went
to the other side of the coast,
which I shouldn't have went to.
Out of gas, J.N. managed to refuel
at a local fishing village.
He then crossed the entire peninsula
one more time,
where he ran out of gas again.
He had traveled hundreds of miles and
hadn't made an inch towards the finish line.
We found him sleeping under a cactus.
He says, "I don't have a clue
where I am. Can I follow you in?"
I think it took him, I don't know,
14 hours or something.
But he slept six of 'em anyway.
I'll tell you what.
I don't remember half of it.
It was the '60s and '70s, wasn't it?
Yeah, the '60s and '70s
were real good to me.
Despite the nocturnal adventure,
J.N. and Malcolm
would be crowned
the inaugural motorcycle champions.
You know, as you go through life,
if you knew you were making history,
you would've paid more attention to it.
If one man legitimized the Baja 1000,
it was Parnelli Jones.
Winner of the 1963 Indy 500,
his presence,
along with fellow competitors
Steve McQueen and James Garner.
gave birth to the Baja mystique.
And over the years, everyone
seems to have raced the Baja.
But there's one notable exception
who's never managed to make it until now...
the greatest race car driver ever,
Mario Andretti.
Great opportunity,
and so happy that I did it
because I got some taste of it.
Sal Fish invited Mario to be
this year's grand marshal.
His mere presence can make
grown men act like schoolchildren.
Mario Andretti could've been
anywhere in the world,
and he was in Ensenada
at the Score Baja 1000.
That, to me, I'll never forget that.
It was a highlight of my career.
Say the name Andretti, and that's speed,
that's auto racing. That's it.
And it's global.
It's a universal word.
He's the best.
I love that guy.
I gotta get the car heated up and my seat
buffed 'cause Mario's coming.
He's gonna sit right there.
For Todd. This culminated
years of hero worship,
a chance to bond with his idol.
Mario's, I think, taken the bait.
He's thinking,
"You know, I can do this."
I want you to drive it slowly,
and I'm gonna sit there...
Yeah, sure.
He took the wheel before
Todd could cry for help.
There's a very good reason the name
Andretti is synonymous with speed...
Because it's synonymous with speed.
Feeling the pre-run truck here,
I could see how you could
all of a sudden find yourself in a ditch
upside down really easy.
All of a sudden he's
pushing the thing pretty hard,
we're on the right-hand side,
stuff's going right by me.
So I said, "Hey, Mario, you gotta slow down.
I think there's some horses coming up."
There weren't horses coming up,
but anything to get this thing slowed down.
What did you think of that?
What did you think of that?
I loved it.
Todd's hyperventilating had stopped.
Unfortunately, so did his truck,
20 miles from civilization.
It's died.
We've got no battery.
Didn't go fast enough.
You didn't go fast enough
to charge the battery.
Eventually a ride pulled up.
The lady in the truck
obviously didn't follow racing,
But she knew a good head
for hats when she saw one.
I'm sorry to do this to you, but...
The husband, on the other hand,
knew instantly
that the man carrying his
dirty laundry was a living legend.
- Chris and Sam, you're my saviors.
- Mario Andretti, it's a pleasure to meet you.
I've heard of you
for years and years.
The couple happily drove
20 miles out of their way,
compensated with a mere autograph.
Pure Baja magic.
Everything goes wrong
and then works out perfectly.
See, you turned out to be
the highlight of our day.
Well, you're the highlight of ours, too.
Mario couldn't get over the potential
in off-road racing.
It's incredible, you know,
what has been developed.
But I keep saying, I mean,
the imagination is the only limit.
These are for the rock stars
of the Baja, the unlimited classes,
the big-money race teams that use
choppers for chase vehicles.
It's the most dynamic thing you can do.
You have everything you want.
You have 800 horsepower,
you've got three feet of suspension,
you got a chromoly cage,
you got a breathing apparatus,
you got a co-rider telling you
you need to do these different things.
If you could look under "macho"
in the dictionary, there'd be a trophy truck.
The racer most identified
with the Baja 1000
is NASCAR driver
Robby Gordon.
I mean, this is his world.
It isn't in NASCAR.
This is where he's the king.
And you can see everybody
defer to him here.
Robby was just a kid
when I took him for a ride
out in Saddleback
in one of the blazers,
and I can remember seeing
his helmet up here.
You know, he just loved it.
Robby became
Baja's boy wonder.
He's gone on to make millions racing
from Daytona to Indy,
but he never forgets his roots.
I left home on Sunday night,
we flew out in a helicopter,
got on a commercial airline,
and flew to L.A.
Left at 5 a.m. To come down here.
We pre-ran Monday and Tuesday.
Did the whole course in two days.
He was a little cocky and, you know,
it probably hurt him in a lot of ways.
I know where everybody's at.
I'm gonna watch every car
go by the wayside.
The car's good enough
that at 75%W, it's as fast
as everybody else.
You know, a lot
of good race drivers are cocky.
Numbers are drawn for starting position.
Robby got the last spot.
While starting at the very front of
the line was Hawaiian Alan Pflueger
in his very first race in a trophy truck.
You can't really describe it.
You've gotta experience it.
And it's awesome.
It's a controlled explosion.
It's like trying to hold a piece of dynamite,
keep the explosion in your hand.
It's driving that fine line where
you get off that line, it gets hairy.
It gets really hairy.
But it's fun.
It's fun on that line.
You need binoculars to drive
'cause you don't look at the bumps.
You just look at, you know,
like an aurora
that you might come off this side
and hit the other side.
You've got the ability to go so fast.
But the challenge is to be smart enough
to go slow enough to finish the race.
'Cause any dummy can go out there
and put their foot down and go fast.
But you gotta know when to lift
and put that brake on.
The highways are open
to all traffic during the race.
Matter of fact, all the roads are.
They have things like speed limits,
but since it's a race
and boys will be boys,
most ignore 'em.
After all, who's gonna catch 'em?
I wasn't speeding.
Well, the authorities were slightly miffed.
But Pflueger immediately
saw the error of his ways
and turned state evidence
and was deputized.
When we were listening on the radio
to where the cars were,
I hear there's a bunch of cops have
pulled over all the heroes in the sport
and they're on the side of the road
having a doughnut convention.
And just like that,
two of Baja's finest
stopped 70 people
and $50 million of race equipment.
Meanwhile behind them, the open-wheeled
brother to the trophy truck,
the Class 1 buggies,
surged off the line.
These vehicles are unlimited,
meaning the engine size is unlimited
and so is the budget.
Ranging between $300,000
and $1 million,
these are expensive cars.
If you win, four grand maybe.
Behind the big money
of the Class 1 buggies is a lot of heart,
a quality best exemplified
by an off-road racing dynasty,
the McMillin family.
My dad and brother decided they were
gonna race one race in 1976
for the Baja 1000, just race it once,
and then sell the car.
Just to say they did it, you know?
And when I was in that Class 9
with eight inches of wheel travel,
a 50-horsepower motor, I really
thought I was gonna win overall.
I mean, I thought,
"I got a chance here."
At 74, Corky McMillin is still
chasing his dream.
You know, people ask me today,
with my age and everything... -
I said, "Well, the only person
I really have to please is myself."
And if I feel like I'm competing
and doing good and hanging in there,
I'm happy, I'm satisfied.
The McMillins are a successful family
in more ways than one.
And I see Corky still line up to get
a shower in the morning before the race
in a line at a campground behind
all the guys that work in his company.
And you can't tell which one's Corky
and which one's driving nails the next day.
It makes us all have something
in common to kind of get together with,
and it's not the bosses
and the employees.
I mean, we're all just a bunch of people
trying to have fun and enjoy life,
and we're doing it.
He's had to miss a couple because
of health reasons, but you know what?
Take one race at a time,
and the next race he was back.
My body thinks
my brain's gone crazy.
The McMillin with
the most championships is Mark.
He's also one of the most successful
drivers in the history of the Baja 1000,
but it's been 14 years
since his last victory.
There's ups and there's downs.
But something that I've always taken from
my dad and I'm trying to give to my boys
is you never, never, never give up.
Whether it's at work,
whether it's racing,
or something you're trying to accomplish
at home with your family,
we just never, ever, ever give up.
Mark McMillin got off to a fantastic start,
roaring through the first 80 miles.
But once again, Bad luck struck.
At Ojos Negros he'd have to change
his entire transmission.
Way too early. Way too early.
It'll be a long day. We'll get a finish
out of it, that's for sure.
And off the line in Scott McMillin's
buggy was a rookie driver,
his 16-year-old son Andy.
Ever since like I was two or three years old,
I used to go pre-running with my dad.
I started driving a clutch when I was
probably six or seven years old.
I had a lot of trust in him as we, you know,
developed our relationship driving
and just taught him
what I learned from my dad.
At first Andy had
a little problem staying on course.
Watch it. Remember, there's
a hole here. Remember? Stop.
Here, go this way. Stop!
I think about it,
and I think when I have a kid,
I'm never gonna have like
the trust that he has in me.
Now take your time.
Take your time doing it.
But he settled down.
Go. You're running
with the big dogs, boy.
The trust that Scott had in his son
was well deserved.
After a couple of wild rides early.
Andy had gotten it together
and was in first place in his class
when he turned it over to his father.
Probably hit him a little too hard, bud.
You got it, you got it.
Make some dust. Good man.
While the McMillins have fun
on the cutting edge of technology,
there are those who enjoy something
slightly more antiquated.
This is Class 11, which gives a whole
new definition to the word "underdog."
You really get the satisfaction of talking
to someone that races a trophy truck,
a Class 1 motorcycle,
looking at you and saying,
"Oh, you race Class 11.
Guy, you must be crazy."
Hey, those guys are
the toughest guys out there.
You know, they've got
little support, you know,
vehicles that are extremely challenged,
and they go for it.
That's the hardcore
Baja racer right there.
These are unmodified
Volkswagen Beetles.
Not the New Beetle,
but the old Beetle, pre-1982.
No modification of the suspension
or engine is allowed.
We are losing our dashboard.
What they lack in speed
they more than make up for in passion.
It's a feeling inside of this one.
We born know Bajas,
and we die knowing Bajas, too.
I think they're real men.
I mean, there's some stuff
that I have no idea
how they get through.
Racing Class 11, it's very,
very important to finish the race.
Sometimes there are no signs left.
Our time limit is sometimes
very, very narrow for us.
So it's very significant to go through
whatever you have to
go through in getting there,
just getting there.
Stand by. He's on his way.
Air clear.
Looks like we're going right.
By noon everyone
had left the starting line
and racers began
to settle into their groove,
which isn't always a good thing.
Well, that's the end of our race.
Isn't that a shame?
Yeah, that sucks, man.
That rock is what got me.
Just the average person
who has a 9-to-5 job
has 10,000 close calls
over the course of a life.
It's the light
that you run through.
Go through an intersection
and that split second later
somebody runs a red light and goes
behind you, you never even saw it.
Down here you're doing like
all 10,000 in one day.
I think when you get back home,
after you do something like that,
it's like slo-mo, life is slo-mo.
Everything else, that's no big deal.
You got a job interview
or you're showing up for something big,
well, what's the worst thing
that could happen?
Somebody says no,
you know, to a sales job?
Well, I just almost got killed 40 times.
So not really that big of a deal.
It's key to deal with adversity.
Al Hogan uprighted his truck
and was back in the race.
We know it was gonna roll over.
It don't seem to phase this one.
This truck likes it, I guess.
Rides better now than it did before.
Getting them shocks broke in
from rolling it over.
What was that all about?
I don't know. Good thing
there wasn't a rock there, though.
Mike, I'm telling you, the back end
is just softer. It's just too soft.
The good Baja racer
is prepared for anything.
Like number 560, who did a complete
roll just outside of Ensenada.
Unphased, he straightened
the windshield wipers out
and his daughter, who knew a thing or two
about twist ties, Got the door shut.
And believe it or not, He finished
the race 835 miles later,
twist tie in place.
Then you have the example
of Team Hibachi,
who opted for an impromptu
pit stop to demonstrate
two very distinct methods
of firefighting...
the hyperkinetic smother method
which got the flames 60% contained,
and the much more laid-back
low-altitude water drop.
But there are those
who are just not prepared,
like this fella,
who lost his gas cap.
And the fire, it was about this wide
when I looked back.
You got a gas cap?
We got something we could
probably set up for ya.
Look at that fit.
That'll work.
You got some tools
that are salvageable in here.
You don't see help like this every day.
You need a flashlight?
Jason, I think you're
gonna be okay, my friend.
We're pretty sure he made it,
despite some evidence to the contrary.
There are things that are
impossible to prepare for,
like your engine falling off,
sitting there, mocking you.
Near the ostrich ranch,
15-year-old Kevin Denault was prepared,
his video camera at the ready to shoot
his Uncle Bob as he raced past.
The ostriches were in shock.
Even cars fly better than they do.
It turned out that young Denault
had the only footage of his uncle's wreck,
which had taken place
right in front of him
at the only place their paths
would cross for a thousand miles.
What are the odds?
Probably about the same
as being eaten by an ostrich.
The buggy wasn't prepared to stop
in the middle of the road.
And the Volkswagen wasn't prepared
for such little room.
Neither were prepared that the buggy
would start from the bumpers touching
and that the Volkswagen wouldn't start.
Then a good Samaritan came along,
waved along the truck,
which got its fender ripped off...
...thus starting the Volkswagen.
A pattern had begun to develop.
There's one element that is more
feared and loathed than any other...
Silt is bottomless talcum powder.
When you get home,
the silt still comes out
of your eyes and your nostrils
for two and three days later.
You can't fathom
what Baja is until you've experienced it.
Explaining silt to someone,
that you hit it and you can't see anything
and you have
to keep your foot down.
I thought I had it all figured out.
The first time I hit silt,
I was going, "Oh, my..."
Don't let off the gas.
Whatever you do, do not let off the gas.
In Baja, everyone agrees
about two things...
silt sucks, and you should
never question authority.
The civility displayed by the racers
during the trophy truck debacle
had convinced the police
to let them off with a stern warning
and an escort off the highway.
Now. For some reason,
Mark Post decided
starting second
wasn't asking too much.
Mark Miller, already in second,
wasn't buying it.
So Post decided to settle
for starting third.
Third place Herbst was indignant.
A feud had begun.
Ironically, the roadblock
and police escort
had erased the 30-second gaps
used at the start of the race.
Which meant a concern
for safety would spawn
a 20,000-horsepower free-for-all.
Nice, very nice.
Alan Pflueger, who had already
been crowned the season champ
in the protruck class,
was making his debut in a trophy truck
and shocking everyone.
He was running away with it.
Go, go, go, Pflueger, go!
Running second through Valle de Trinidad
was Mark Miller and Ryan Arceiro.
Mark Post had been knocked back
to sixth place by vengeful Herbst,
but not for long.
He was roaring back,
hellbent on getting even.
Bouncing past Dan Smith,
terrible Herbst lies ahead.
They hit Valle de Trinidad like something
out of the Book of Revelations,
Through the center of town
side by side at over 100 miles an hour.
Amazingly, no one was hurt.
Just some metal got bent...
the racer's calling card.
The only way people know in
off-road racing that a car's behind you,
you come up and give 'em
a little bump in the back
and they kind of move over 'cause they
know a faster vehicle's behind 'em.
If they don't move out of the way,
take 'em for a ride.
You don't know fear until you look
in the rearview and see Robby Gordon.
Got Ken on your tail.
He's catching up to you pretty quick here.
Everything that could've
gone wrong went wrong.
It's not a pit stop.
Got one crazy mad driver right there.
Robby had gotten a flat
but his pit crew was unprepared,
Putting Robby in full tilt.
He blazed through 30 miles on a flat tire
to nearly be in first place
before finally getting a change.
While the trophy trucks
and Class 1 buggies
represent the power and glamour
of the Baja 1000.
The true symbol of victory
is the motorcycle,
specifically a motorcycle ridden by
Johnny Campbell and Steve Hengeveld.
With six straight overall titles,
Johnny and Steve stand atop a mountain
with seemingly
nowhere to go but down.
The pressure of winning is always there.
And when you win
several times in a row,
not only do you wanna
do it again for yourself,
but, you know, when you got a corporate
company like Honda, let's say,
for Johnny and Steve, they want
them to win, and they know that.
You don't see it the way you used
to see it when you used to look up.
You know you've conquered it,
you've won it,
and you just wanna win another one.
You expect it. You just expect it.
Anything less is unacceptable.
To beat the elements,
to have the equipment stay together,
there's really a lot
of things against ya.
I mean, I've bounced off
of front ends of cars,
I've bounced off of fences,
I've bounced off of cattle.
You know, it's a little bit
like Russian roulette.
After he won his tenth
Baja 1000,
Larry Roeseler decided to stop competing
for the overall title on a motorcycle.
He felt his time was due.
The next year, Danny Hamel,
starting in Roeseler's traditional spot,
would have his fatal accident.
There is certain risks you take.
You can't live in a box,
or you're just gonna run from everything.
"How do you let him do what he does?"
And I said, "One, we make our living at it.
Number two is,
"the day I tell him that he can't,
he's gonna die in a car accident
going up the 405
to Torrance, you know?"
I mean, when it's your day,
it's your day.
He's expecting Honda 1-X.
Like everything else in Baja,
Communication is difficult.
It can take a while to hear bad news.
We need a new front axle
and a new front wheel. Do you copy?
I copy, a new front axle
and a new front wheel.
That's affirmative. He had a problem
early on and clipped a big boulder
and had to change a front wheel
once already but the axle's tweaked
and this wheel's wobbly, so he'll need to,
just like you say, make it right.
Johnny had dislocated his thumb,
And all he wanted to do was turn the bike
over to Steve and assess the damage.
Only two minutes behind came
Chris Blaze of the Honda B Team.
For the first time in years,
Johnny's lead was tenuous.
He'd tape his hand
and be ready for the next leg.
Unfortunately there are accidents
that require more than gauze and tape.
That's when it's time for the Weatherman.
From a repeater station
atop Mount Diablo.
Bob Steinberger is the eyes
and ears of the race.
Score Ops, copy Weatherman.
I have an emergency.
Advise the hospital
that we need immediate...
For over three decades.
Steinberger's been head of communications
for the 1000, a job he does for free.
In the early '70s
he was doing relays,
and he was putting up
an antenna with weather balloons
and someone called him
the Weatherman, and it stuck.
You know, my dad's 65 years old.
He climbs to the top of this 50-foot tower
on top of an 11,000-foot peak
and puts this antenna up,
and right over it's like
a 5,000-foot drop down a sheer mountain.
It's crazy. I mean, he's a great guy
and he loves this sport.
We have an injured driver
at race mile 55.
Weatherman, Score helicopter.
Okay, we have
two injuries, two back injuries.
We are transporting
the first one right now to Ensenada.
Weatherman. Could you contact
operations, advise the hospital?
We have a spectator hit
by motorcycle, no pulse.
So we need immediate transfer.
I heard somebody saying they
had a spectator with no pulse.
I have no comeback on that yet.
Weatherman, that's affirmative.
26.9, spectator hit
by motorcycle, no pulse.
Okay, this is an emergency.
Stand by, everybody.
Spectator hit by a motorcycle
at 26.9, no pulse.
Rescue One, Rescue One.
do you copy?
Helicopter 0-830.
ETA approximately
17 minutes, 1-7 minutes.
Score helicopter, copy Weatherman.
We copy, Weatherman
We'll be on our way there.
It's gonna be...
Boy. It's gonna be an ETA
of probably about 20 minutes or so.
I don't know what to do at this time.
The spectator that died
wasn't hit by anyone in the race
or any vehicle in the race,
but by another spectator
on a motorcycle going
the wrong way on the course.
My biggest fear
is not me tearing up the truck,
me getting hurt,
it's me killing some kid,
me swapping out
and going into the group of people
or some guy pulling a truck out
and I bounce off of him
and kill these people
that weren't doing anything.
But why quit what you love
for a situation?
You don't quit driving on the road because
somebody gets in a car accident and dies.
I mean, I'm not gonna stop flying
because of 9/11.
Do I feel anguish for it? Yeah.
I don't ever want that,
or want that for anybody.
But I can't stop my life because of it.
They don't understand.
I don't understand.
I just do it. I just do it.
The Weatherman knows death
is neither fair nor just,
and there's nothing to do
but to go back to work.
I was concerned
that he had checked out,
to make sure he's all right
or are there other problems.
Everything will be fine.
Great. Brian passes along
a thank-you to you.
Fortunately there would be
no more fatalities.
Jetboat, Greg Tracy, Mace,
and his son Chad were on a mission.
They wanted to get
to Race Mile 205 and set up pits
in plenty of time for Mouse,
who was now in third place.
- Do I hear a bike?
- I hear a bike.
No, I hear a tractor.
Ricky Johnson, slated to race
that night in a protruck,
stopped on by
to see if he could help.
- He's a mile and a half out.
- Coming up on five...
Coming up on five minutes.
So we got two more minutes to sweat.
Senior McCoy seemed nervous,
Although he denied it at every turn.
That's a good look, Greg.
He's trying to go for that whole retro,
"I'm chillin', I'm not nervous" look.
And the E.M.
Erin's man.
But they know nothing other than
a married man would ever wear that.
Could mean every chick's man.
Don't put that in the film.
- That's him.
- That's it, that's it.
Ricky Johnson decided to pitch in
and give Jetboat a hand.
As I'm doing the tire change,
he's in my ear going,
"Slower's faster, slower's faster."
And that just gave me chills.
A seven-time national champion,
a hero, a god to a lot of people,
is helping me do a tire change.
- They didn't?
- No, you're 13 miles up to the Honda pit.
I feel good, bro.
I'm having fun.
"Relax. You got
a thousand miles to go ride.
You need to just relax and chill."
"No, I'm good, I'm good."
"Don't try to win this."
"I'm not. I'm not."
See you guys at 319.
You know, he's giving me
the answer that I wanna hear.
I watched him take off.
You know, I say a prayer.
You know, we go down to Mexico
as a band of brothers.
The Baja is a family affair passed down
from one generation to another.
My dad always talked about
Baja 1000, Baja this, Baja that.
"Wow, that'd be neat, you know?"
You know, I had a real tight family
and we rode motorcycles, we surfed.
My father suddenly passed
when I was 16,
at a point in time where a boy
kind of needs
some direction and stuff.
And my mom was there
and she saw that
we wanted to race,
and so she supported us.
Before, it was Honda, factory.
And so we used to
run it up and down,
do all the pits ourselves.
So it was fun.
In Mexico,
Johnny Campbell is the hero.
Even more than
the charismatic Robby Gordon,
it's Campbell's posters that can be found
from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.
He takes this responsibility
seriously as he's very aware
of the impact his heroes had
on him as a kid.
You are his idol.
You know, sometimes you just gotta
step out of the element for a little bit,
think about what's really going on.
So, you know, I thought the best thing
I could do is just give the kid a jersey.
It's not a replica or something
that can be bought in a store.
It's the real thing,
a Johnny Campbell race jersey.
Johnny Campbell's a good man.
His father would be proud.
His mother is.
Women in general have
had a big impact in Baja,
including this year, with the BC-10,
an all-woman team
comprised of the wives
and daughters of other racers.
We were kind of
on the sidelines last year,
and all the guys
were out there racing.
And we kind of all looked
at each other and we're like,
"Why are we standing here?
Why aren't we out there racing?"
My sister raced,
my mother raced.
They had enough girls at that time
where they raced a class
that was called powder puff.
And they would race
after the guys raced
in whatever cars were left over,
and go out and race each other.
By the time I came along,
they just didn't have that anymore,
and I was determined
I was gonna race.
And here I am, still racing.
All of us know that we have to get
the car to the next one.
And, you know, to finish first,
you have to first finish.
I think also women have this image
of not being good drivers.
But we always
tell people on the tours
that the women tend to do
better than the men
because we don't have
quite that ego behind us,
- like something to prove.
- Exactly.
Women will ask for directions.
A lot of times you're
taken as a joke
until you go out and show
that you're not a joke.
You know, you're taken very lightly.
Call BCA
and tell them we're on their ass.
- I'll hit 'em when I have to.
- Okay.
The horn was my job. As soon
as we were getting close to someone,
that was my job, to hit the horn,
warn 'em,
and Bekki sure rammed 'em.
- I think they must know I'm here.
- Oh, yeah.
We all have someone that we're
competing against that we're related to.
And I think that's pretty uncommon,
that a family can come together
and support each other
even though they're competing
against one another.
We started off bonding when they
were just that high by skiing together.
But what it really does
is that it makes you friends.
And if you're friends you have respect,
and that makes for a great family.
I've always had that competitive edge
to hopefully beat my husband
out there, so that'd be nice.
Actually having my wife compete
in the event this year
meant more than I ever thought it would.
She's happier, healthier,
she's more just full of herself.
Bob Sutton
putting together the girls' team
happens to be
one of the biggest moves
that I've had
in my little career down here.
Families compete as well as friends.
When the Honda helicopter
informed Steve Hengeveld
that his lead had been cut in half.
Steve didn't even ask why.
He knew his friend Andy Grider
had gotten on the bike.
Andy, Steve, and Johnny
had been teammates the previous year
on the Honda A Team.
He was one of
the defending champs.
It's probably the highest notch
on my wall right now,
besides being a father, you know.
It's right under being a father.
A corporate decision
bumped Andy from the A just two weeks before the race.
He and his father Neil
were headed home
when Chris Blaze asked if he wanted
to race on the Honda B Team.
It's not about the race.
It's about being down here,
having fun, being with your family.
When I say family, I mean
the whole community of off-road racing.
And once I figured it out,
everything started clicking
and the race just went
smooth from there.
It doesn't matter
if you're racing off-road
or playing the piano,
you try, you give your best to life.
And when you have a son that does
that, it brings me to tears sometimes.
I mean, I was so proud of him.
Andy and Neil had a plan...
prove the folly of leaving Andy
off the A Team.
They wanted to lead the race,
not just on time,
but physically, so they
would be making first dust.
Through checkpoint four,
Andy had been reeling Steve in.
The once four-minute lead
had shrank to 30 seconds.
It took me probably 50, 60 miles
for my arms to loosen up.
But in that time I was catching Steve.
I could see the helicopter
getting closer and closer
and then all of a sudden
I was in his dust.
"Okay, just take it easy.
Let the pit strategy get you in the lead
and see what happens after that."
If the rear tire holds,
the impossible can be achieved
and Andy will be at the front
of the entire Baja 1000 field.
It's 22 on the highway.
There's about a 30-second split
between 1-X and 11-X.
Knowing that Andy
had started behind him,
Steve has
no choice except to pin it.
And that's gonna tear his tire up,
which is okay with him
because he knows he's getting
a new tire at this pit.
What he didn't know was that we were
running a different tire compound.
- Front wheel okay, Steve?
- Yeah.
Gas only! Gas only!
Gas only! Gas only!
11-X, 1:05:55.
30 seconds apart.
1-X is right behind him.
Andy didn't only wanna take the lead,
he wanted to keep it.
The first place he led
was the last place he wanted to...
the silt beds, where a motorcycle
can be swallowed whole.
He took a center line,
held it wide open, and prayed.
While Andy headed for the coast
as fast as he could go,
Johnny took the perfect line.
He knew where every nook was
and every cranny.
As luck would have it,
one of the few witnesses of this race
was the man who cut Andy
from the Honda A Team.
He's riding in that helicopter.
While the course is marked,
there is sometimes certain creativity,
although you do run the risk
of missing a checkpoint
because the checkpoints
are kept secret.
A lot of racing down here
is doing your homework.
Part of Baja
is a lot of free running.
I had some alternate ways
and lines and stuff,
and if I had to use them I would.
At the top of the screen
is Andy's dust cloud.
For Johnny,
it's like a red cape to a bull.
He's flat out
at 110 miles an hour.
One kelp pocket or tide washout,
and his day ends in a heartbeat.
Andy holds his lead.
Miles later, Johnny tries it again.
Coming up on the left-hand
side of the screen,
Andy Grider neck-and-neck
with Johnny Campbell.
Andy holds the lead
and will all the way to the highway.
Today is his day.
By this point in the race,
Andy had battled the 1-X bike
for over 200 miles.
It seemed beyond comprehension.
Neil had set up Andy's pit
12 miles down the road
from the Honda A Team.
For Johnny,
This was the end of the race.
Steve would ride
the next 350 miles to the finish.
Get Mark with the oil.
Tell Mark we need oil. Oil.
Andy was finished as well.
Chuck Dempsey would take over the bike.
We're probably gonna need
to patch it at both ends.
Hey, my radio ain't working.
I can't hear Bruce for some reason.
Steve was off.
He had 12 miles of pavement
before he hit new dust.
- Go!
- Let's go, let's go!
- Go!
- Good job, good job.
Make some dust!
Make some dust, buddy!
Make some dust, Chuck!
Clear it out, clear it out.
Go, go, go!
Steve Hengeveld, the best night racer
in the world, was flat out.
Trying valiantly.
Chuck Dempsey could not close the gap.
But it didn't matter.
Because for an afternoon,
Andy Grider had accomplished
the impossible.
I've had what I would consider
a few moments that I felt greatness
when I raced.
A lot of people, if you ask them...
if you say, "Okay, break it down.
What was your best race?"
And it might not be they won,
but they had a moment
that you're so present
in everything that's happening...
flawless and effortlessly.
And outside is utter chaos,
but that chaos is around 'em,
and they're sitting
in the middle of the tornado,
the eye of the storm.
You make a correction
before a reaction starts.
They're not scared, they're not afraid.
They don't think they can be hurt.
You don't have time to be afraid.
Afraid's afterward.
You know, it's like...
"Man, I just avoided death once again."
A father and his son.
An icon and his legacy.
A epic race witnessed
mostly by cactus.
No TV, no adoring crowds,
just the clarity of the moment.
A clarity that can give a racer a greater
appreciation of place and of people.
A awareness of the give and take,
The golden rule.
For six-time champion
Malcolm Smith,
giving back is more important
than any victory.
One of Malcolm's favorite things to do
is to visit a little community
just outside of Trinidad.
He and his son Alex
bring their bikes and buggies
and give the local kids a thrill.
How can I give back to Baja
some of the enjoyment I've had?
We started donating time
and effort and money
about eight years ago here.
They only had a little bit of one house done
when we first started here.
No, it's really fun.
We come down here every year
and I've been seeing kids here
for eight years now.
And it's kind of nice to come down here
and see 'em over and over again.
Two days after we filmed this,
Malcolm, Alex,
and a dozen of Alex's classmates
poured the foundation for a library
to be built right there on turn four.
The kids truly appreciate the time
and attention the Smiths give them.
Being orphans,
They know it's not always available.
They are all from Mexicali,
Tijuana, Ensenada.
And we have a few
from the local town, Valle de Trinidad.
It brings tears to my eyes
thinking of these kids being abandoned
on the streets of Mexico,
and now to think what they have here
and what opportunities they have here.
To me that's the most important thing
about Malcolm.
He wants to be here.
He wants to feel
what it's to be with our kids
and, you know, spend some times
and, you know, give them some joy,
not only the bunk beds they receive,
not only the water pump they receive,
or all the things they have
because of Malcolm Smith.
I learned lessons from 'em,
like you can never quit down here
'cause if you do,
it's a major problem for you.
You can never quit on any race,
'cause then, I mean, somebody else
might have the same problem you do
and they might quit.
But if you don't quit, you might win.
Among the original Baja racers,
giving back is an unspoken tradition.
Baja has a magic to me.
I can be kind of sick
and have a backache and come down here
and ride my motorcycle and be free,
and I feel better right away.
I mean, the farther you get away
from the civilization
on these really back roads,
the more the magic is.
The back roads of Baja are endless.
And a beauty can be found
in the most unusual places.
Take Coco's Corner,
a kingdom built
from what's been left behind...
old beer cans
and bent motorcycle frames,
The unexplainable,
the bizarre, and the long-forgotten.
This is a place where a man's dream
only needs one leg to kick reality's rear.
Of course.
Coco wouldn't tell you anything like that.
Because for him. This is just his place.
and everybody is invited.
Okay, you can go inside
and camping, please.
Yes, this is free.
I no charge nobody.
Fifteen years ago,
Coco was a valet in Ensenada
when a car accident took his leg.
Soon after, bound to a wheelchair,
his supposed friends took his self-worth.
I wanna stay in Ensenada.
And everybody, he close.
He said, "You too old, you sick."
So that's why I come here.
That's why I open this place
13 years, seven...
So. Coco's Corner is
a ticked-off plan B.
Buy a little campground
just outside of nowhere
where the 1000 races past
every now and then,
and in time,
the pre-runners and pit crews stop by,
and Coco has 'em sign this book.
Write or draw,
as long as you make your mark.
Coco has created an off-road oasis,
a kingdom where nothing is disposable,
and the only thing that outnumber
the beer cans are his friends.
- How are you, my friend?
- Good to see you.
Thank you coming back again.
While he's never competed in the race,
Coco embodies the spirit
of the Baja 1000.
Good luck, everybody.
Baja has a wonderful way
of just grabbing ahold of you.
And you're just
lookin' around going, "Wow.
Where's all this coming from?"
You know?
Actually, we have stopped
just to look around.
They battle a peninsula,
A place between the old west
and the twilight zone.
They challenge it
not for money or fame,
but for simple bragging rights.
During the Second World War,
President Roosevelt turned
to the Mexican government
and said, "We want to put guns
along the coastline
"to protect ourselves from the Japanese.
Could we not put a little paved road
down the length of Baja?"
Well, Mexico is neutral,
so they said no.
So that was the end of that.
Just imagine if they'd put
in a paved road the length...
if they had said yes.
Maybe we wouldn't be sitting here.
There wouldn't be any off-road racing.
A little water for ya.
I ain't getting my truck all dirty
and scratched up.
What the hell's wrong
with these people?
They're getting all hot now.
They're getting splashed
all with water on their face.
It's a long, tough day.
Race for an afternoon in the Baja,
and you'll have
a year's worth of stories.
At least, that's the case
for Mike and Robby Groff
and Indy Car champion
Jimmy Vasser.
Vasser has a relationship
with the Groffs
a lot like Larry Fine had
with Moe and Curly Howard.
Twenty-five minutes,
and he said,
"For sure I knew
it was Robby Gordon, you know?"
And when he finally caught
and passed,
it was like a truck full of Mexicans
going, "Go! Go! Go!"
My earliest memory
of the Groff brothers
was in Columbus, Ohio,
at the Grand Nationals in 1974.
At eight years old,
he was already a stud,
and he has this leather racing jacket,
and he has this patch with Wile E. Coyote
holding the Roadrunner by his neck,
and it said "Beep-beep my ass."
And I said, "I gotta know this guy."
And here we are.
Last year's 1000
was their debut as a team.
A series of problems led to Vasser
getting in the car at sunset
while the light bar was
still a hundred miles away.
And I jumped in the car with no lights,
and the sun was going down,
no moon or nothing.
You know, like a Toyota pickup...
looked like they were inebriated...
were honking their horn at me
trying to go around.
That's how slow I was going.
And I'm in the race, right?
And eventually, we found a stop,
and I borrowed two lights
off of the paraplegic Israeli team,
I swear to you.
But he said, "I'll give you that one
and that one."
So I got 'em
and I rigged 'em on the front.
I had two lights
to go like a hundred miles,
and with no front brakes, I might add.
I had to have a Lear jet pick me up.
I had to abandon the race.
I had a Lear jet pick me up
in the bay of L.A. On a dirt strip
'cause I had to get back
to this cart banquet.
They wouldn't let me get out of it.
Otherwise, they wasn't gonna
give me the prize money for the season.
It was a nightmare.
I slept in the runway
and in, you know, the desert.
I started reminiscing.
I started looking back,
thinking about it
and started telling stories
to my friends, what happened.
I thought, "I had a great time."
You know?
I finally realized.
Took a couple months
for me to figure it out... I had a great time.
Unfortunately, this 1000 would give
the Groffs and Vasser many more stories.
Electrical problems ended their day
before the sun set.
Others had problems, too,
like Mouse McCoy who got a flat tire
and had to ride on it
for 40 miles to get a spare.
Still, he forged ahead, mile after mile.
Eleven hours straight
at that kind of pace...
physically, yeah, it's tough,
but more so mentally.
'Cause you don't wanna make a mistake,
especially at night, you know.
They might find you the next day.
So it just... really,
mentally just wears you down.
- Is that...
- That's him, that's him!
Reaching the halfway point of the race,
Mouse is greeted by Jetboat and crew,
plus Andy and Neil Grider
who waited to see how he was doing.
Hey, you're okay.
You're fine.
I got a flat coming off the beach.
I had to ride for 40-something miles
till I got up to Catavena,
and then I scrounged a wheel
off some dudes.
I'm having a little bit of problems
with my hands, Greg.
They're really like this.
They're locked up, man.
Fresh gloves and goggles
if you want 'em.
Yeah, I need a fresh...
You're not far back.
Eight came through here not long ago.
Eight, and 449 just passed
a minute ago.
- They did?
- Yeah. A minute ago.
I'll get 'em back.
Hey, I lost like 45 minutes.
I was third overall, back...
gonna pass the guy.
Started what, 16th?
Or something like that.
And I was gonna pass the four...
or third overall.
- I was...
- You'll get 'em in the woods.
- You'll get 'em in the woods.
- I'll get 'em in the woods.
But I'm feelin' it.
You're doing
a huge accomplishment.
Take... keep yourself hydrated
and take it easy.
You're doing great.
I was in third, Neil, almost.
I know. That's okay.
You're doing fine.
- Then that flat, dude.
- You'll get it back.
He's right up there.
Don't worry.
- It's only half over.
- I know.
Mouse remembers
something important to tell Andy.
I had to ride for 40-something miles
till I got up to Catavena,
and then I scrounged a wheel
off some dudes.
I'll get 'em back.
Hey, I lost like 45 minutes.
I was third overall, back...
gonna pass the guy.
He's telling you a story.
He was a click out of delirious.
Bike's running, he's telling you a story.
It was great.
"Wait, I got four more seconds.
I have a great story.
You're gonna love this one."
The pit crews are the backbone
of the Baja 1000...
guys like Jetboat.
I was on Indy Car teams
for years... Arceiro's.
At Indy, changing a tire close to the wall
with a car coming in at 120,
your adrenaline's pumping
for about 15 seconds,
and then it leaves, you're done.
This race,
just all the planning and preparation
and wondering where Mouse is at,
your adrenaline's pumping
for about 24 hours.
And it's just the most amazing high
that you can ever be on in your life.
While Jetboat chases Mouse,
others wait for their racers.
These are the pit crews
of the big-money unlimited classes.
Their surroundings are
like a gearhead Xanadu,
and they live like firemen,
ready whenever for whatever.
We may drive by and just wave
and say, "Hey, thanks for being here."
But if we need something, they're there.
You could not be a mechanic
workin' full-time in the racing business
if you didn't love it.
And they just... you know,
it's almost an addiction.
You're coming down here, the truck's
only gonna be here for like 40 seconds.
- Done, and we're done.
- No, we're packing up.
You gotta find something to do.
Drove all this way,
you gotta do something.
Idle hands
can be the devil's playthings.
Oh, my God!
The pit crews are forced
to amuse themselves for hours on end.
As night falls, a full 25%
of the field has dropped out,
and many pit crews' jobs
are just beginning.
But for Jimmy Roberts,
his day is over.
He's gotten his team back
into the top ten.
Get off.
Your work is done.
Good job, bro.
Greg, my dad crashed.
Greg Tracy would take over the bike,
and take it the next 300 miles
into the night.
It's only half over.
And Greg's a hell of a night rider.
If my dad's there,
I'm sure he'll take it in at the end,
but if he's not,
he's gonna have to ride it in.
- Good job, man.
- Yeah.
- Good job, brother.
- Thanks, man.
Give me your helmet.
Jetboat and crew are headed
back to Ensenada with one obstacle.
The first 15 miles of their trek back
was on a live course.
They were going 50 miles a hour
headed north,
While coming at them were trophy trucks
at 140 miles a hour.
And their lights are so bright,
you can't see.
And those roads are so tight that
you literally have to just close your eyes.
And it's like a spaceship passing
on the road.
Around dusk, the first automobile
in the race, Alan Pflueger,
pulled into the pits.
His front end was coming off.
They tried welding everything to it...
wrenches, golf clubs,
whatever it would take.
Forty-five long minutes later,
after being passed by five different cars,
Pflueger's day had turned for the worst.
But the Hawaiian kept an even keel
and remained positive.
Down the road,
Robby Gordon pulled into his pits
like a tornado
pulling into a trailer park.
His crew looked ready
to run screaming into the night,
but Robby's not the kind of guy
to stand back and whine at people.
He jumps right in there,
busting his knuckles
and shouting at the top of his lungs.
It's the kind of insane intensity
you can't help but admire.
Off went Robby raging into the night,
playing the beast
to the beauty of the all-woman team.
They'd been in first place in their class
until their transmission failed,
leaving them stranded in the pits,
looking far too clean, too cute,
and too composed.
When do you guys think
you'll be pulling back into Ensenada?
As the night progresses,
things just get weirder.
The crowds don't dwindle but increase.
They come in droves.
The later it gets,
the more people show up.
It's 4:30 in the morning.
We're off in the middle...
We're nowhere near any road,
and people are out there, you know,
with their coolers, their little barbecue,
a little fire going,
cheering you on all night long.
Since elementary school,
our families took us there.
So it's very, very important for us
that people still are waiting for us.
We have a lot of good reactions,
like the Jeep... they make like bets.
Is it gonna make it?
Is it not gonna make it?
And once we get there,
they start like celebrating and stuff,
and they really pump you up,
you keep going.
The Volkswagen is painfully far behind,
Which for them is right on schedule.
at the other end of the race,
Mouse, amazingly,
was still going strong.
Scott Dunlavey was now
in charge of his pits,
and he brought with him racing legend
Eddie Mulder to surprise Mouse.
Just trying to keep him focused,
you know.
He was very tired at that point.
Got some food in him,
and got some liquids in him.
And, you know,
he's complaining about his hands.
We were third overall,
and I got a flat out on the beach.
I've been trying to gather those guys
back up for a while, man.
I was pretty bummed out,
'cause first of all, 40 miles on a rear flat.
Push it to third overall, man.
You're rockin', dude.
You're rockin'. I know.
I feel strong, but my wrists go numb.
They just lock up.
That's my issue right now.
If I could shake that flat off...
You know, it works your brain over...
I had to slow down.
Hey I lost like 45 minutes.
I was third overall, back...
gonna pass the guy.
Go get 'em, Mouse.
Dunlavey and Mulder will chase Mouse
on his journey to the finish line.
- He's a little wrung out, huh?
- Yeah, he's a little... he's pinging.
On Mount Diablo,
the temperature dropped to freezing
and the wind was blowing
50 miles an hour.
All hell was breaking loose.
The nearby observatory
started to complain
about the light that was leaking
from the Weatherman's tent,
threatening to ruin experiments
that had been going on
for a quarter century.
So the Weatherman put his assistant
on the 30-gallon trash bag duty.
Meanwhile, Robby Gordon's day
continued to unravel.
Why is Robby stopping here?
Because he ran out of gas
like half a mile back.
We've got one pissed-off driver.
And we're hoping that he stops.
And if he doesn't, we're gonna
have to chase him to the next pit.
It hasn't been a good day.
- Rob, how many you want?
- Tell 'em it's pump gas only.
Tim, it's pump gas only.
No! Get it out.
Don't put that stuff into my car.
- Get out of the way!
- Ready to go.
You got 30 miles left.
Again, Robby disappeared
into the darkness,
joining a long list of things
to be feared in the Baja night.
When you're a little kid,
and the coat rack turns into the monster,
you know there's something
under your bed.
Well, when you're in Baja
and on a motorcycle by yourself,
there is, you know.
You're driving at night
when you see a forest of cactus.
I mean, they're absolutely
just flying by you,
and these things look like they're alive.
They look like
they're talking to you, you know?
I went to go the bathroom,
so I left the car running,
and then my ears
were starting to hurt.
And then I saw like a light.
And I told this kid, "Check out this light.
It's like a flying saucer or something."
"You're full of it."
But it was a real one, you know?
Very close... like a block,
you know, from here.
But he was very, very, very scared.
And I was, too, yeah.
Strange lights can be disconcerting.
No lights can be downright depressing.
That's what happened to Andy McMillin,
with his lead so great,
that when engine problems
slowed him,
he checked the rearview
and didn't see a flicker.
And then they got disoriented out there
and thought maybe that they were lost.
And we got on the radio with him
and said,
"Andy, just put trust into your GPS."
Good job.
Got a left here.
Kind of funky on this side.
All right!
Weatherman, 6-7,
You are breaking up.
Okay. You're the most important
guy on the course right now.
The storm atop Mount Diablo
seemed to engulf the whole peninsula,
the epicenter now located
at the aptly named Zoo Road.
Clear the road!
Get out of the way!
Weatherman, copy.
Just confirmed San Felipe.
We have a fire that started.
Nobody knows how...
He's onto the right course.
Some people have changed
the course markers, leading people astray.
Score, copy, Weatherman.
We are in the helicopter
with a doctor onboard.
I need somebody to respond to me.
When Mouse hit pit 11,
he didn't talk about the usual 40 miles
he'd spent getting another tire
or how he'd been in third place overall.
Instead he had a very specific question.
How far ahead
was the bike in front of him?
That was third place.
I'm gonna get back to my goal,
which was being on the podium.
I really wanted
to get on the podium solo.
He had about 30 miles
up in the mountains,
came back down,
picked up like three spots.
Hauling ass.
I mean, here's a guy
that's blowing bubbles,
and he just picked off two guys
who were fresh.
Through checkpoint 12,
Mouse was only 60 miles away
from the finish line in Ensenada.
He was about to
make the impossible possible.
Broken ribs, slight shoulder separation,
broken finger.
In danger of being run over,
Mouse crawled to the shoulder.
Baja has a way of educating you.
Push that edge that far down there,
and you're done.
It was around 5:00 in the morning
when Robby Gordon,
Who'd stayed in the race on sheer fury,
finally had to admit defeat.
If we were to continue down
to the big bumps we were at in San Felipe,
we'd basically break
the back half of the truck off
with it slamming as hard
as it was slamming.
We made a unanimous decision
to load the thing on the trailer,
and that was probably
one of the hardest things to do,
especially all the hard work
that the whole team put
into getting to the Baja 1000.
If you can't win,
you at least wanna finish.
And this year's 1000 we didn't finish.
A driver will often work up to eight hours
to get back in the race.
When he sees the trailer, it's a feeling
of embarrassment and emptiness.
Why do they do it?
It's not 'cause you're crazy
or you got a death wish.
It's competition.
Fighters don't fight to hurt people,
they fight to win.
Racers don't race
because they wanna die.
They wanna go fast.
That's my high.
That's the way I manipulate my life,
is through mechanics
of a machine.
Off-road racing is chasing rainbows.
It's not like Indianapolis
where if you did something,
you'd get something for it.
All you're doing down here is just
endangering yourself for the glory.
When you first start racing, the first thing
you wanna do is to win a race.
Then you wanna win a championship.
Then you wanna win the Baja 1000.
You want all these things.
And then there's gonna be some day when
you're probably gonna win your last race.
Probably five or six miles
from the end I kept thinking,
"Gosh, I wish it would go on."
You know, 'cause I don't want it
to come to an end.
Gimme another mile.
Gimme another half mile.
I want this feeling
just a little bit longer, you know.
By race's end,
27 vehicles will have placed first
in their individual classes.
But only one will be fastest overall.
This is the domain of legends
like Stewart, Roeseler, Smith, and Evans.
And this year's winner belonged
to that company.
Approaching the baseball stadium,
his name being announced
for the seventh year in a row,
with a time of 15 hours,
39 minutes, and 52 seconds...
I wanna introduce to you
the motorcycle champion
for the Baja 1000...
Steve Hengeveld
and Johnny Campbell. Steve.
Until you experience it,
you can't really explain it
'cause it's just so great.
It has so much mystery
and experiences
and the stories we get out of it,
and it's a lifetime of experience,
each and every one.
The second fastest motorcycle
was the Honda B that included Andy Grider.
John Gregory
was fastest on the quad.
The fastest on four wheels
was the Class 1 buggy of Doug Fortin,
while Ryan Arceiro crossed the line
with the quickest trophy truck.
But the most impressive story
on four wheels
was that of 16-year-old Andy McMillin,
a high school junior who'd just gotten
his license three months earlier.
Andy finished second in class
and sixth overall...
the most impressive debut
since Robby Gordon 18 years earlier.
I'm proud of ya.
You did a great job.
Great job.
Thanks for everything, you guys.
What a great family.
Honor to have you guys with us, it really is.
I had a friend tell me today that in Baja,
if you're dumb, you better be tough.
Having survived 300 miles
with a faulty headlight,
Greg Tracy's arrival
meant J.N. was back on the bike.
Well, if we get third, we'll be good.
Well, whatever we get.
Dude, we had no friggin' lights.
Jimmy didn't need to worry
because his dad had been
within two blocks of the stadium
for quite a while.
He couldn't find the entrance.
When he did make it,
victory towel
wrapped around his neck,
just like the old days,
well, it was 1967 all over again.
But that's what happened the first time,
so that's only fitting.
Some things are timeless.
There he is standing there,
you know, 30 years later.
He had that smile,
and you could feel the excitement
of there he was, you know,
at the finish line of the 1000.
And gosh, again,
he could be anyplace in the world
and doing anything he wants to do.
And there he is.
You can get
your social security check now.
A little past 5:00 in the morning,
The number 227
of Matt and Steve Scaroni
collected the win in the protruck class.
After a dozen tries,
the father and son team had finally done it.
They give a lot of the credit
to the third driver, Ricky Johnson.
You fall back to the little kid
in the underwear and the six-guns
and the cowboy hat.
You're a cowboy.
At sunrise, two-thirds of those cowboys
were still out in the course,
some as far back as the halfway point,
like number 806 of Todd Wyllie
and Mark Julius,
who'd had a rotten night.
They'd lost a transmission,
lost a front end, simply got lost,
but could not lose
Jethro the know-it-all.
You never finished a 100-mile race,
you never finished a 500-mile race.
Come down here, how's he gonna finish
a 1,000-mile race?
Mark Julius, in an attempt
to lose his publicist Jethro,
was off and running.
And then a funny thing happened.
A race broke out for 195th place.
The buggy's race strategy
was hard to figure.
After closing a half-mile gap
in a matter of minutes,
he simply locked onto the rear bumper
and stayed there as if hypnotized.
And the one chance he had
to make a pass,
he saw open air,
and it scared the hell out of him.
He went right back
to his happy place.
After hitting the straightaway,
the buggy couldn't keep pace
with Julius and the truck.
And where it had taken 20 hours
to finish the first half of the race,
it only took him a mere eight hours
to come into the finish.
Julius and Wyllie had done it.
Where's my key?
We made it. We made it.
A thousand miles.
Good job, Mark.
Best adventure of my life.
Thank you, sir.
I couldn't begin to tell ya.
The dreams will come true, man.
Where do we go from here?
Rewarded with a pin,
Finishers celebrate all day long,
hour after hour as the clock ticks down
to the 32-hour time limit.
In spite of being denied
a record-breaking 10th overall Baja 1000,
Mark McMillin crossed the finish line
with a big grin on his face.
Told ya I'd make it back for ya.
You did.
You stayed true to your word.
No, we don't give up.
We don't give up.
Proving that even rich
handsome guys don't give up,
Alan Pflueger crossed the line
with a big aloha smile.
It was up front.
It was up front.
See that.
Then the front broke off.
- Hawaiians never quit.
- That's true.
Same hula gal,
or did you replace the hula gal?
No, same hula girl.
Gotta get her a new grass skirt,
but that's all right.
Yeah, I like this one.
Kind of had to do
some testing on this thing.
The ukulele ones last.
The other ones lose their arms,
so it's all good.
Although there are many examples
of Baja's never-say-die spirit,
few have as good a time
as the off-road version
of the Terminator... Al Hogan.
You'll be able to find pieces of his truck
all the way back to the starting line.
Nothing left but his pride
and his sense of the obvious.
Tired, man.
What can you say?
That's Baja.
Sometimes the course wins.
We only got 364 more days
till the next one, right?
One after the other,
they would cross the line,
dusty and tired,
But overjoyed they finished.
As the day wore on,
There were still many on the course.
Amy Thomas searched for the BC-10,
which was still a hundred miles out,
headed for home
in a race against the clock.
And only seconds
behind the women's team
came Eric Solorzano's Volkswagen
bouncing up the goat trail
outside of Trinidad,
hoping to finish,
just to finish.
While the Volkswagen wouldn't make it,
the women's team would,
with ten minutes to spare.
It was Mouse's drive to finish
that had us worried the night before.
We decided to send helmet cameraman
Louis Franco out to find him,
hoping he'd bring him back.
Mouse was up,
but not in the best condition.
Lucky for him,
Jeff Kaplan happened by.
I just saw him
out of my peripheral vision.
He told me that the next place
I could see somebody,
tell 'em that he was stuck there.
And I just told him to follow me in.
But we ended up going fast.
Really fast.
Surprisingly fast for one light.
At speeds
near a hundred miles an hour,
Kaplan paced Mouse for over 20 miles
until finding Scott Dunlavey.
The motorcycle's junk.
I beat the thing into submission
so it was at least halfway rideable.
He's goofy,
he doesn't even know if it's left or right.
He'd hit the wall,
he'd pushed through the wall
and kept going and going
and going and got bit.
And now it was a matter to get back
to some sort of semblance of focus
to get to bring it all the way home.
Mouse McCoy...
18 hours, 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
The sixth motorcycle to finish,
The twelfth overall vehicle.
Not too bad.
There were 246 vehicles behind him.
There's a connection
between people who make a commitment,
a passion shared.
You let me ride side by side
all the way to Ojos, man.
I'll never forget you.
You got me there.
This wasn't just a solo effort.
It might've been a solo effort
as far as me being in the saddle,
but the collective effort
was about my friends and family
carrying me through it,
and that's why it means so much to me,
that we all did it together.
- Congratulations.
- Yeah, congratulations.
Thank you, guys, for letting us
in your country to race here.
Hey, anybody know
where a good taco stand is?
A cold beer?
A cold beer and a taco is what I need.
I haven't eaten much today.
It's a hell of a race.
A race against the clock
in a country that defies time,
in a competition
which forges lifelong friendships.
Maybe only one drives,
But they search for glory as a team.
They look for it in the win,
in the finish, and in the attempt,
because the journey
can justify the destination.
In one word,
the Baja 1000 for me is... love.
It's romantic.
It's awesome.
A challenge.
A lot of patience.
It's beautiful.
For me, it's just adventure.
I mean, it's such an adventure.
Well, I got a different word,
now that I'm thinking about it.
It's more mystical.
It is mystical.
It has a sense and a spirit of its own.
I think it's just life.
In one day, you kind of get
to experience everything.
You get great things happen
and terrible things happen,
and it's how you deal with 'em
at the end of the night.
It's like life.
A thousand miles and 32 hours
can be a lifetime in a blink.
Do they find glory?
I couldn't say,
because the race never ends.
But if they do, it's in the dust,
and it won't wash away.
What it is, it's like a flying couch.
You know?
That is probably the best way
to explain it.
It's like sitting in your living room.
Yeah, it is a living room
and a flying couch
and just stay out of the big ditches.
My buddy,
here's my buddy Steve Matzinger.
Yeah, baby.
Oh, yeah. Baja!
- He really wants to make the cut.
- I wanna be in the movie!
- He's not gonna be on the movie.
- I wanna be in the big pictures.
And as soon as we turned off
the little light on the generator,
we saw the...
thought the floor was moving.
We turned it on,
and it was solid cockroaches.
I was, like, "Oh, my God."
So I ran out to my pack
and got a gallon of gas
and ran a moat around my pack.
And me and Bob, we had to sleep
in the same bed.
I said, "We're probably
gonna get asphyxiated,
but at least we're not gonna get eaten."
And in the morning there was
a bunch of melted cockroaches.
I'm Don.
I'm one of the sound mixers.
Right now we're making up cables,
custom cables for each camera.
We've got one of Don's...
What kind of mike is that?
Active... a 48-volt mike,
which is a supercardioid pattern.
Check, check, check.
Check, check, check one, two.
Check on this side, right,
check on left side.
Check. Check.
When those motorcycles turn on,
it's loud. Loud!
We're yelling right now
because we've got a bunch
of loud motorcycles back here.
So we're just checking the levels,
and see how they're doing.
How's that?
These cameras have a lot of switches
that need to be in the right places,
we discovered.
What would Scorsese do?
Talk real fast. We know that.
You know, Joe Pesci, he hit
all these guys in the head with a shovel.
Not bad.
Not bad. But where we gonna
get Joe Pesci, let alone a shovel?
Editor... Dana Brown.
He's trying to cover up Matzinger,
which I got it.
I still got...
I can still make out Matzinger.
Do you mind?
With the constant...
the constant paparazzi trip.
Like a candid camera.
You know what you do?
You can fix your hair in this thing.
Hey, there's a camera
behind that big piece of glass.
Dana's crazy. This is the biggest,
craziest movie ever made.
Sorry man, I'm just going, "Whoa,
I'm gonna knock that guy on his butt."
Yeah, well, you only missed him
by about 12 inches.
What were you shooting,
Herr producer?
We were shooting a little place
called Valle de Trinidad.
- See all that spit fly like that?
- Yeah. Yeah.
That's the effect that I have.
Who said there wasn't special effects
on this movie?
Yeah, is that...
Is that you speaking Spanish,
spitting all over?
That is. It's...
This is the first time
we're going off-roading.
- So, driver...
- We're attempting the off-road race.
Here we go.
- And we're off!
- Here we go, Matzinger in the front.
- Good!
- Matzinger! Matzinger!
Here we go!
Safe at last.
I think we're definitely
trophy truck material now.
Yeah. Robby Gordon,
we got your number.