The 45th annual Tecate Baja 1000 wrapped up last week. In the months before the race, factory teams loaded million dollar semis with race prepped machines and secured the final details for the trek to the peninsula. Meanwhile, team BS Racing was carrying on their rendition of the same thing.
It wasn’t until recently that I made the trek north to meet the Santa Cruz Mountain crew. Winding our way through the Redwoods to the gates of the Swanpound, I knew I was about to find out.
The graffitied sign read, “2012 Swanpound Beer-F**king-Nationals” with 36 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns underneath. To the left - a fully lit pit bike track with 3 prepped XR70’s waiting for their first 3 pack, 3 lap challengers. To the right, Swanpound HQ with a stack of solo cups out front. 30 bucks would earn you unlimited keg beer, jungle juice, and a spot in the Beer Nationals bracket. Dressed as Ron Lechein on a bender, I spectated as Garth (Wayne’s World), Spicoli (Fast Times), Bear-F*cker (Origin Unkown), and the rest pounded moto after moto until the sun came up.
It was as if I had died and gone to pitbike heaven.
Best of all, it was for a good cause. Every dollar of the night was put towards sending the B/S Racing Crew south of the border to race the Baja 1000. Aboard a borrowed Husqvarna in 2011, team founders Arik Swan and Bobby Bartholomew found themselves nearly stranded, beat up, and hungry for more. This year, they assembled a team of their own in hopes of taking home the Class 22 championship.
Ok...scratch that. Everyone hopes of taking home the title but these guys were running a lean ship. I’m talking no GPS, a borrowed satellite phone, a few cases of cervezas and one guest driver by the name of Mickey Krause. We sent them off from our HQ in Lake Elsinore with some fresh gear (compliments of Alpinestars) and a promise to take care of business on the homefront should anything go awry.
The 7X Crew: Erik, Bobby B, Trevor, Zach "Organic Mechanic" Petterson, Pancho Villa, Arik Swan
From this point forward, we’ll let the team tell the rest of the story.
Chapter 1: This Ain’t No Mickey Mouse Shit
Arik Swan: “So we get to Krause’s house, get our satellite phones and after following Bobby in circles while he was on the phone, we crossed the border. So first thing when we got into Baja Krause said ‘I know the spot!’ so we pull off for some tacos and cervezas at the first spot we see in Rosarito. They hooked us up with some bomb tacos, and homeboy comes over and whips out some bracelets. So Bob tells him ‘7x, give me 8 of them,’ and the dude and his old lady make them while we sat there drinking some beers. Next thing we know this guy walks up to sell us this crazy looking mask, so we named him (the mask) Ernesto and strapped him to the front of the van. The same guy was trying to sell us some abalone bracelet and held a lighter up to it saying ‘This ain’t no Micky Mouse shit”...that’s how Krause got the nickname Micky Krause. After a day off, we went and started our prerunning. In the the first 2 seconds of pulling away
from the van, I dumped the bike and bent my clutch lever. I’m like ‘You gotta be f**king kidding me, did that really just happen’? into the first 5 minutes of pre-running, there were these three ribbons in a tree. So I slowed down and it was this big washout, but you could double it, so I blipped the gas and doubled it...then I looked back and it was all dust. Uh oh, Bob isn’t gonna see this. He went right into it at about 50-miles an hour and came up on it so quick the only thing he could do was try to pop over it. The sand was so deep on the other side that he hit, stuck, and wrecked all in the first three miles of riding.
So Bob eats it, Mickey Krause gears up and we start wooding it into the sand whoops towards San Felipe. We started coming up on a Federale checkpoint and were like ‘We can’t ride through there!’ So we ditched off into the bushes, rode around the checkpoint and then popped back up onto the street. We rode pavement back to meet up with the chase guys and get some gas to finish the pre-run. We’re about 50-miles about from San Felipe and it felt like we were wheeling those whoops for days. It started getting rough, like real rough. Sure enough, my shock blew out; the thing was like a pogo stick. But we made it to our friend’s Bill and Shawny's outside of San Felipe and headed out for some tequila. It got wild...I don't really remember the details. Apparently I got up on the bar and fell off and landed directly on trophy truck driver, Pistol Pete and his crew. I covered them in beer but the amigo from the bar had our back, so these guys figured we had to get out of there and call it a night. Like I said...nobody has more fun at this race than we do.
The part of Ensenada they don't remember...
I woke up to a Tech 8 as a pillow with a giant thorn directly in front of my face. We rallied for some pool volleyball at our friends
place in San Felipe with these old timers that took it serious. It was no joke, legit volleyball. Everything I did was wrong,
even if I made a point, it was wrong. The next day Bobby and his crew headed South to check out their points and I rode all the way out to Coco’s Corner. I start following this group of guys that took a hard left off the trail, so I figured they knew something I didn’t. When they stopped I talked to them, it turns out one of the guys had a Santa Cruz shirt on and when I asked him if he was from there he said, ‘Yeah, I’m Nick Owens, Jim Owen’s brother.’ Jim Owens is the who I came down here with last year, I mean what are the odds of that, right? So he and his homie Jack Hulse got me fixed up and dialed in. I took off ahead of them and got a front flat so these homies stopped and hooked me up with a tube and tools! I told them when they got up the trail to look for the 7X van and look for Bob and Mickey Krause, they’ll take care of you for anything you need.
The Swanpound leaves their mark on CoCo's Corner
We had 50-miles of pavement and 50-miles of dirt road to get into Coco’s Corner. We made it on the bikes first and Mickey Krause had to get the van across all these gnarly roads. I walk in and there was Coco, I was like ‘You’re a movie star bro, I wanna shake our hand, how about some cervezas and shots of tequila”? So he hooked us up with some Pacifico’s in a can but said “No, no tequila”, then breaks out some Canadian Whiskey and sets it down on the table. Me, Coco and these 2 dudes are sitting there and then we got up to go and he said “My friend, you cannot leave. You’ve had too much to drink, you need to sleep in the trailer, I will not let you ride”. I can appreciate that, and since I had no way to get a hold of the guys, we had another drink and Coco broke out a can of Tuna for us. We dug in and finally the amigos came rolling up in the 7x van. All was good except one thing - Trevor was another 50 miles down the dirt road waiting for us...by himself. It was getting dark, he had no lights, so we told him to hunker down because it was going to be a while. We picked a mile marker on the highway and Trev put the hammer down before it got completely dark. He waited there for another 2 hours in the cold and dark until we got there. We hammered the gnarliest dirt roads to get there and were f**king rattled by the time we got there. After a 4 hour hike we made it back to Ensenada for some rest and much-needed bike work before wrapping up prerunning and getting into the race."
...To Be Continued.