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pass him. So Massant’s 1-2 beat my 3-1. That was the Bel‑ gian patriotism on display. I got a nice trophy for 2nd, in fact one of the nicest ones I ever received. Massant got a Dia‑ mond encrusted Belt Buckle. What commandment is that? The 11th I believe… Though shalt not covet thy European neighbor’s trophy for the next 35 years. 1000. After retiring from MX full time in early ‘84 and start‑ ing a Cabinet and Millwork Con‑ tracting business, I was also competing in various forms of Professional Motorcycle racing. Over the course of 1985, I raced Speedway, did a 500 MX Nat and two 500 GPs on an ATK, the Ascott TT AMA Camel Pro race, and now I was going to Baja. Not to finish, to win. It scares the crap out of me right now to write about it. All the Canadian, Euro and US riders had some friendly and culturally informative chats at the Molson Beer sponsor tent after the race. This was a time when not a lot of “Average Joe’s” got to meet and compete against people from the other side of the world. There was a lot of curiosity and gamesman‑ ship in the conversations. But one thing stood out at that sim‑ ple gathering of riders, sponsors, officials and mechanics, petit’ Gaston could command a room. Fast Forward... Fast forward 8 years. I’m getting ready for my first Baja The folks Dave Holeman as‑ sembled had a vast experience with long distance pit-stop type desert races, including many Baja 1000s. I had just been a fast MXer, who’d grown up riding in the desert. I needed guidance. Dave Holeman introduced me to Tom Kelly, my Baja co- rider, and his wife Meg. Tom and I started talking about the event and what struck me again, as it had with the other motorcycle racers, was that a racer’s personality and intensity is no different, no matter what the discipline. DIRT ILLustrated \\\\\\ Vol. 1 + Issue 4 + Page 52 Tom explained the unique‑ ness and cautions of Baja rac‑ ing, compared to the US. Most notably but in no particular order: 1) Baja is NOT a closed course. You are racing on their travel and service roads through their towns and ranch‑ es. They or their cows and dogs don’t expect you. If they do expect you they have been known to booby trap the course to watch you crash! 2) You will be going really fast, much faster than MX. This bike will be the fastest bike in the race, possibly the fastest vehicle of any kind in the event, including the cars. It will do about 130 mph. 3) It is long. The winner is the team that loses the least amount of time. The rider’s speed is but one factor in the higher classes. 4) The top motorcycle teams beat the top car/truck race teams, at least most of the time. 5) Baja is not like mainland Mexico. It was, at the time, a primitive third world country. 6) Most important of all, there isn’t any Emergency or Medical assistance like we have