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Chilly’s Blog – A Full Week of Moto
7 Days Wide Open
It is Monday and time to catch my breath. I have just had one of the best weeks of riding that I can imagine. While it may not have been as memorable as a week at the Six Days, it sure was a lot more fun and relaxing.
It all started a couple of months ago when I scheduled a trip to guide a group from Bullet Proof Designs in Baja. I got a call from Nate Scott talking about some ideas he had for a ride he was putting together with a group of friends. As we talked about some of the obscure trails and locations he wanted to visit, I convinced him that he would need me along to properly lead the way.
Once Baja tour plans were underway, I realized that the upcoming BORCS race in Tecate started the same weekend. But it turned out that the race would be on Saturday and the group would be arriving in San Diego on the same day. I figured I could still attend the race and meet up with the group in Tecate afterwards. The group might even be able to drop in on the race if they arrived early enough.
Having committed to lead the group on a 6 day Baja excursion, I decided that it might not be prudent to actually race the day before the ride was to start. I prepped my 525exc for the ride. As we were headed to some remote locations, I decided it best to put the 6 gallon Acerbis tank on. Even if I did not need all that fuel, I might have to play supertanker for some of the other bikes.
Neena and I drove to Tecate to meet up with the race promoters on Friday, as well as visit Jorge Hernandez for a dental check up. Just to make sure I was not tempted to race, I did not even bring another bike with me. I just had the 525 with Giant Loop saddle bags and everything for a week of unsupported riding.
The Hare Scrambles track looked like it was going to be great. A couple of fast riders showed up to contest the pro class; Jason Morgan, Noah Kepple and the Baja legend himself, Larry Roeseler. The BORCS races are a great low key event with a wide mix of riders from both sides of the border.
As I was watching everyone get ready, I thought why not? I mean, I could just slip the saddle bags off, run up the street to the Pemex and get a little fuel, then I can just ride around in the race and enjoy the track. Everyone else is getting to ride, why should I be left out? Neena made me promise not to “race”, just ride around. So I lined up with the expert class and left the line in last place following everyone around.
Justin Morgan, LR, Chilly
BORCS Hare Scrambles
Cahuilla Creek mx
I have lots of miles on the KTM 525 in the current configuration, but I have never raced it. With the big tank and soft suspension, it was a real handful for the first lap. But after that I got the hang of it and felt comfortable. But the third lap I was getting in the grove and starting to ride at a decent pace. It was a warm day and before long some of the riders began to fade a little. I started making a few passes and having a great time. With all the fuel, I didn’t have to pit either. Wouldn’t you know, by the end of the race I had finished second in the expert class!
A few hours later I hooked up with the group of riders that I was to spend the week with. We spent the first night at Santa Veronica and had a great ride to Ensenada the next day. We spent the next two days riding near the coast to stay out of the heat. The third night we were in Catavina having done some hard riding to get there.
From there we hit the infamous Rock Trail. I don’t know why, but I always seem to forget just how tiring that trail is. The last few times over the route, I have done it during the winter in cooler temps and firm sand. This trip was hot and sandy. Even I was boiling my bike in the big sand wash leading to the actual rock section. We kept a stiff pace all the way over to the Sea of Cortez side. But we were in San Felipe for a late lunch of fish tacos.
With plenty of daylight, I talked the crew into heading up to Mike’s Skyranch for the night. It made for a long day, but the temps cooled down nicely and it was beautiful night in the mountains at Mike’s. The last day we took a nice route back to Tecate to wind up 5 days of riding, one short of the original plan. But we don’t put much stock in ‘plans” when it comes to backpacking around Baja.
I left the rest of the group just across the border as they prepared to load up and drive homeward. I was on my own with the 525, Neena had driven the van back home after the race. So I took a nice dual sport ride home over Mount Laguna and through Julian. It was just over 1200 miles for 6 days of riding, including the race day. If there was ever a more versatile bike than the 525, I have never encountered it.
Back home I spent a day resting up and then headed out to Cahuilla Creek to race the CalVMX vintage motocross on the 1992 KTM 250exc. I had a great day of racing. I don’t know the results yet, but I did well riding in the post vintage 250 expert class. Here is some race footage.