Here are a few more pics from today. I just got out from attending the THR Kawasaki team meeting. It was very interesting to listen to the team talk about the upcoming race day.
As you might expect, part of the meeting was simply to review everyone’s locations and responsibilities. They also talked about contingency plans in case any problems arise. With a four rider team, they have a back up rider at just about every pit location along the course, something that may play into their favor tomorrow.
But most of the time in the meeting revolved around the most current interpretation of the rules regarding the width of the course. It amazes me to see that teams have even less of an idea where they can go than they did at the previous race.
Okay, quick refresher for those who don’t follow the intricate dance of Baja. Historically Baja racing was sort a test of who could get from point A to point B the fastest and hit all the checkpoints. As electronic transponders came along, those rules evolved. With the course being more defined, racing became focused on electronic “virtual check points” (VCP’s).
In a broad sense, racing for the last few years was from VCP to VCP, as long as you made it to each, anything else was fine for choice of route. The actual marked route was more of a guideline as riders would search out the shortest and smoothest lines. In most places they would stay right on the course, but in others they would search out lines far away from the markers, usually looking to get out of the deep whoops.
With the new ownership for 2013, a 500′ rule was instituted for the San Felipe 250. It was sprung on the teams right before the race and caught some off guard as they had already completed much of their pre run activities. But, at least they had the comfort of having a new rule that everyone could live by and be held to.
Sounds like everyone is getting on the same page correct? No, the 500′ rule has somehow been deleted from the current race instructions and it is back to a verbal “no shortcuts” rule. That is, no shortcuts except for from the east side of the summit to Borrego and around major silt beds and…….
Don’t try to find any of this in writing, it is strictly verbal. That means you have to specifically go to the race organizers and ask what the instructions are. Even at that, it is all still very grey and there are no hard and fast rules to take hold off. To make matters worse, apparently the organizers are under the belief that these vague instructions are more than sufficient to go by. Don’t cut the course, what else is there to know?
At least with a hard number, any number, teams would at least have a reference to use. As it is, they are still guessing on how the electronic data from the trackers will be interpreted.
As for THR, they seem confident that their four rider race plan gives them an advantage over the other teams. They have lots of faith in their riders and are looking for the repeat win tomorrow.