After nine hours plus in the car we finally are getting close to our drivers swap. We enter "Borego" and are having a difficult time finding our BFGoodrich Pits. BFGoodrich offers a free pit service to any team that buys and runs BFGoodrich tires. We spent about 2k on two sets of tires and had a few spares that also came with the car. There are other independent pit services that, for a fee, will fuel you and fix you in remote, predetermined areas or you have the option to do all this yourself with a crew of folks you enlist but our experience with BFGoodrich was amazing. The people that work the pits are most likely there on a volunteer basis and they are the first faces you see when pulling into the pits. As they go to work spilling a predetermined amount of race gas into your tank a team goes over your car checking it for any weakness or much needed correction.
Having pre run this section we expected to pop out onto highway 3 and have an unmistakable BFG pit area awaiting us but what has happened since we last past through here is a Mad Max'esque shanty town has sprung up with thousands of people awaiting their own cars to come pit. Fires burn everywhere and hundreds of people line the narrow race line. It's like approaching Las Vegas at night. Hours of darkness then suddenly the Thunderdome. Amped to see so many people and with a navigator that was confused what mile marker our pit was at we ended up blasting straight past it. Suddenly our radios came to life as we heard out crew screaming "you pasted us"! Bullocks.
In any other form of racing the last thing you would do at this point is turn around and head into on coming race traffic but this is the Baja where I've come to realize that madness is celebrated. So we whipped the buggy around and hugged the side of the course on high alert for incoming lights. As we pulled into the pits the car was swarmed by focused mechanics. Our own chase team had dropped fuel with them in a "dump can" that would fit our cars fuel nozzle.
Note: Make sure when you supply your pit people with a "dump can" or quick release refueling container that you make sure the hose on the can fits the mouth on the car perfectly otherwise fuel will spill everywhere and this is seriously frowned upon. Also The BFg pit system usually expects all teams to deliver all fuel, tires and parts to a pre determined location in Ensenada two days before the race in order for it to be transported to its designated Pit. If you, like Team GGTR, fail to make this drop off your chase crews can bring your fuel and required parts to the pitstop before you arrive.
Having had a flat tire, the rear wheel was also replaced as we hopped out and our 2nd driver/ co-driver team made themselves comfortable in the car.
Note: Race etiquette dictates you help your counterpart into the car. This means loosening the harness belts, getting them situated, locking the harness mechanism and then plugging in their helmets fresh air pump and the intercom wire that allows driver and navigator to speak. What is frowned upon (but understandable) is rushing straight towards awaiting cameras to start downloading the adventure that had just taken place.
Once the car departed with the 2nd team we were left in a slight state of shock. I must admit the sight of my girlfriend and my dog was slightly emotional. To see a woman normally used to a very civilized existence in big cities here in the middle of the Mexican night covered in dust warmed my heart. I guess there are pros and cons to bringing your significant other to any race. Often people don't want to be confronted by the threat of racing but I would encourage it. Its good to be reminded to keep the car on the road by seeing whats waiting for you to come home.