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Baja 1000 4X4 Pit Crew - Locos Mocos Takes On The 1000

Posted in Features on July 1, 2005
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Contributors: Troy Robinson
Photographers: Tapio RemoMark NaugleK. Orlowski

Off-roading is not just an adventure. It's a lifestyle. The thrills and risks associated with the sport are what keep us coming back for more. The Locos Mocos race-support program was born at the 1997 Baja 1000, after Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's race truck expired before Ivan reached the pit that was being manned by the soon-to-be Locos Mocos originators. With tools and equipment already on hand, the crew members decided that since they couldn't assist the Ironman, they'd pack their gear and head down the course to set up a "mercy" pit. This mercy pit offered services to any vehicle that required it, all free of charge.

Since that first year, we've offered our pit services at various races in various locations. Our motto, "We fix stuff for free," guides us, and our pit service helps racers get down the course as far as possible, and, hopefully, on to the finish line. We pitted once at the Baja 500 and at the Baja 1000 in several spots. We pitted twice in the pine forest during 1998 and 1999, twice in the silt beds at El Cuarenta in 2000 and 2002, once on a really silty hill by San Telmo Road in 2001, and in the silt at the beach at Punta Canoas in 2003. We regularly act as one link in a chain of full-service pits offered by pit clubs; first for Mag 7, and then for Baja Pits. Of the 38 vehicles we worked on in the 15-hour period our pit was open, seven proceeded to finish on the podium and 22 went on to complete every mile of the 2004 Baja 1000. We're glad to have played a small role in their success.

We get asked all the time about our membership. We don't have membership. Locos Mocos is an organism, not an organization. Without getting all Zen about it, we just flow. With the exception of rotating the pack-mule duties between a couple of guys, we just show up and throw together one of the best pit operations Baja racing has ever known. Since we're an informal group, we know each other better by our nicknames than the ones on our driver's licenses.

Although we're in Baja to help others, we're on the lookout for adventure of our own. One of the best things that happened during the Baja 1000 adventure took place when we arrived at Scorpion Bay. We stopped at the Scorpion Bay Cantina to wash down the dust from our trucks. Last year's pit captain Gadget and his lovely wife Gidget had been waiting for the rest of us to catch up for a day or so. We caused such a stir in the cantina that we were adopted by a local resident and invited to spend the night at Casa Juan Y Juan. The casa is a multimillion-dollar private compound situated on the breathtaking cliffs of San Juancino, overlooking the Pacific. The hacienda at Casa Juan Y Juan is a regular stop for world-class surfers and Hollywood types. Guests usually arrive by private plane, not prerunner. We felt like gypsies in the palace.

The Locos crew is just a bunch of off-duty racers and chasers. We have typical day jobs, but share a passion for Baja races and what Baja's hidden paradise possesses for our personal explorations. We live to go off-roading and see it as the ultimate extreme adventure. 'Til next time.

All Night Long
Our pit for 2004 was at Race Mile 440, 60 miles south of Bahia de Los Angeles, in a fast hard-packed section of cactus forest. We were scheduled to dump 14 drums of race gas into 40 different vehicles. We also carried spare tires for 63 different racing teams. The pit rocked from sun down to sun up. Larry Ragland's Trophy Truck was the first vehicle to expire in our pit, and throughout the night, the Mocos crew turned wrenches on 38 different race vehicles. These are a few notable entries from our pit log:

5:34 p.m.Class 1 racer John Marking took 15 gallons of gas.

6:12 p.m.Trophy Truck 12's Larry Ragland pulled in with a blown drivetrain. Ragland stayed for dinner and breakfast.

6:38 p.m.Number 266X, Dror Kiat, stopped to thank us for saving his life last year.

7:03 p.m.Matt Scaroni took 22 gallons of fuel.

7:22 p.m.Class 1's Chuck Hovey honked as he passed the pit.

7:43 p.m.Legendary Corky McMillin stopped to relieve himself.

8:21 p.m.Luis Wallace took 17 gallons of fuel and had an axleshaft changed on his Class 10 buggy.

9:09 p.m.Number 1612, Hiram Duram, took 5 gallons of fuel and had a makeshift CV boot (made from a shop towel) installed.

1:29 a.m.Number 1645, Jamie Campbell, took 9 gallons of fuel.

1:29 a.m.Number 1548, Jason LaFortune, had a front track bar repaired.

1:49 a.m.Number 807, Nick Vanderway, had welding done to repair four-link suspension damaged in a rollover.

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