Dave Norona Trades Snow for Sand in Baja 500

    Ski-Doo Backcountry Expert Dave Norona takes on the SCORE Baja 500

    With another epic Ski-Doo snowmobile season melting away, I was on the hunt for a new summer adventure. Trading the snow dust of British Columbia for sand dunes of Mexico’s Pacific coast was a no-brainer for me.

    I had a couple of buddies associated with the Red Truck Beer Pro Truck race team who needed some assistance transporting vehicles and equipment down to Ensenada, Mexico, for the SCORE Baja 500 off-road race in early June. I’m an outdoor enthusiast year-round and a powersports junkie, so this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

    Just making the voyage from Squamish, B.C., to Ensenada was an adventure all its own requiring a plane ride, and a massive RV loaded with gear, and a Can-Am Defender in tow. Once there, the rest of the journey included scouting the gnarly, 500-mile Baja race course with the team by whatever means necessary – mainly, dirt bikes and a Can-Am Maverick X3!

    Like most adventures, this one had lessons to be learned. Those learning moments came early on as we discovered our 60-foot RV with trailer in tow was apparently NOT considered a commercial vehicle by the good people manning the customs booth at the U.S.-Canada border. (Sorry customs guys and gals!) A valuable lesson which we’d put to good use later in our journey!

    It also did not take long for us to discover that maneuvering a rig the size of ours around a gas station would take a little more creativity than I was accustomed to. It made refueling with a snowmobile trailer or sled deck look like child’s play!

    After 2500KM of big rigging it down the West Coast, we finally met up with the rest of the Red Truck Beer team in Ensenada. I also got my first glimpse of the bright red Ford Pro Truck Larry Nash would be piloting built by Baja racing legend Ivan Stewart.

    The 442cc small block Ford pumps 600-plus ponies of giddy up to rear axle, and tops out around 120 mph. As Larry put it, “It’ll make you change your diapers!”

    The week was spent riding dirt bikes and Can-Am X3s along sections of the entire course, and let me tell you this epic 500-mile course is grueling on the body and vehicles. We were pumped to finish up the pre-running with no damage to ourselves or gear!

    Friday was spent getting everything dialed and getting all the safety checks done. This race could not happen anywhere else except Mexico, but the organizers are top notch and take no chances with safety for competitors and the awesome spectators that line the entire course!

    Saturday was race day and you just can’t write the words to describe the course, the racers and just the general awesomeness of this race! Just like riding deep powder, you have to experience it to know what it is all about. Despite being held up on course for an hour due to a flipped trophy truck blocking the route and another 45 minutes getting stuck in the deep silty sand, our Red Truck Beer Team finished first in the Pro Truck division in just over 17 hours.

    The party continued into the night, and we are already dreaming of coming back with Can-Am X3 Mavericks next season. The epic grin on my face did not leave my face for the entire drive back home! Have a great summer and remember, “Life is the adventure!” - Dave Norona

    To keep up with all of Dave Norona's winter and summer adventures, follow:
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