We are in Ensenada getting ready for tomorrow’s big race. I spent yesterday out riding around looking at some of the unique portions of this year’s event. I put about 180 miles on the 525 as I rode from here to San Matias and then picked up the course as it headed south towards Mikes Sky Ranch. From there the course works past El Coyote and west to the coast at Colonet.
Most of this is area that we trail ride in, so I am already familiar with a lot of it. It looks like it will be a great area to race though. It is the first time much of this has been used in a number of years. There are some silt areas already starting to develop. I imagine they will only get worse on race day.
Towards the coast there is some fun sand roads that I have not been on before. The sand is deep but the traction is good as the roads wind through the brush.
I stopped into the KTM shop yesterday to look at the team bikes; the 2x of Kurt Caselli and Ivan Ramirez and the 14x of Kendall Norman and Ryan Abbatoye. You might notice that Kendall is riding the new fuel injected 450xc-f, while Kurt is still on the old 450sx-f design. Kendall will be the first rider to use the new design here in Baja.
Kurt is still trying to find a set up for the new bike. It is not as stable as his current bike. Even though the chassis measures nearly identical in geometry and wheelbase, the new bike feels completely different. You can notice of the pictures of the 14x, that they are using the old, smaller rear axle. This is both for feel and because they already have the quick change set up for that style.
It was strange just how few people were out on the course yesterday. I spent nearly four hours riding the route and only saw one other vehicle and no motorcycles at all. It seemed oddly deserted. Or, in other words, I had it all to myself. Other than getting stung by a bee, it was an uneventful day. The weather was perfect and I had a great time. Here are some photos.
Today is the big party day in Ensenada for the locals. Teams will take their bikes through tech inspection and the press conference and riders meetings will happen later. Stay tuned for the race on Saturday. We will bring you race status and results as soon as possible.