Baja Off-Road Racing for the Average Joe

Jul. 27, 2015 By Art Eugenio, Photos by Art Eugenio/
CODE Off Road racing offers competitive racing south of the border at a reasonable cost.

When people think of off-road racing, many think of races held in Mexico like the Baja 1000 or Baja 500 with trucks racing across open deserts. Or maybe if you’re a little more familiar with the scene and you know the Mint 400 and Vegas to Reno held here in the States.

Even though the sportsman racer can enter into any one of these awesome races, for the most part these venues are a little more geared toward high-dollar, big-horsepower race teams who dominate the coverage and bask in the limelight.

Sportsman racers are drawn to CODE races since the entry costs are reasonable.

There are other race series that offer great outlets for the sportsman racer but these venues are strictly U.S based, and nowadays with the ever-present, overly watchful eye of the BLM, which quite frankly takes most of the fun out of it.

Baja racing still offers that true sense of freedom with its wide-open courses that aren't under the watchful eye of hte BLM.

Off-Road racing in Mexico has been described in one word as “freedom” when compared to U.S.-based races. The familiar and friendly style of racing many of us grew up with of pre-running, racing and open spectating (which is now gone in the U.S.) lives on in Baja. For many racers the big ticket price that comes with racing the premier series is too much for the pocket book, but there is an option in Baja that for some just might be a perfect fit if you’re willing to give it a shot.

CODE Off Road draws both Mexican and U.S.-based racers to its events.

CODE Off-Road has been a solid source of competitive, grassroots off-road racing in Baja for the last 16 years, and not only for the car and truck classes but for the bike and quad racers as well. As much as everyone loves to see Trophy Trucks most competitors race in the more budget-friendly classes that thrive there. Class 7 mini trucks, VW-based classes and garage-built masterpieces gather to compete in a five-race series that have proved to be some of the best courses run in Baja.

Racers and fans gather after the competition ends to swap stories and tales of the day.

With low entry fees, a racer can compete in an entire season in CODE compared to the cost of one race in any of the premier series out there, and with nearly 200 combine entries at any of their events the competition in CODE is anything but lacking.

Many of the “big time” guys still race CODE with guys like trophy truck racer Apdaly Lopez, who started his career in CODE, and Steven Eugenio, current SCORE Champion, still retuning to run the small series.

All types of racecars enter CODE's five-race series.

“We love coming back to CODE”, Eugenio said. “I got my very first overall win here in a Class 12 car, and we love coming here and seeing friends, race and have a good time. Now we use these races to test our equipment and work out any bugs we might have. Lots of the CODE courses are the same as what we run anyway for SCORE, so it’s perfect for that. Alfonso and Joaquin put on some really good races and we love to come and hang out with all our friends we have here.”

Recently we attended one of the CODE events put on in the foothills just East of Tecate, Mexico, near the community of Agua Hechicera. The cooler temperatures were perfect for a mid-summer race, and it offered the perfect conditions for camping. Racers came from all over Baja for the event and there were a few entries from the States all looking for a run in Baja.

CODE recently held a race just outside of Tecate near Agua Hechicera.

“We try to provide a great venue for our racers,” said Alfonso LaCarrera of CODE. “In the last 16 years we try to do something different each time out to keep it interesting and fun for our people. We invite anyone who wants to come out and have fun and race. We’re all a big family here and we’d love to have you out.”

For more information about the CODE Off Road Series, visit Newsletter
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