What an amazing, amazing week. I’ve wanted to see the Baja 1000 desert race up close ever since I saw the movie Dust To Glory about ten years ago – a raw, beautifully shot doco about one of the world’s lat great adventures…. and I wasn’t disappointed.
Over 1900km from Ensenada to La Paz, 420 racers from all walks of life tackle the almost impossible. The course is indescribable- hot, rocky, dusty, blindingly fast, agonisingly slow and every extreme in between.
The country, too, is one of startling contrasts. Million-dollar race trucks cruise streets where mothers seek change from strangers, children by her side, while real danger lies in the back blocks beyond the well lit city streets.
But Mexicans are warm, friendly and helpful on the whole – even though the young bloke waving a machete at us excitedly maybe didn’t think things all the way through…
We traipsed from Ensenada to La Paz to catch the finishers – and we caught a bit of drama, too!
It was an 0430 start after a 0200 finish, but it was worth every minute of lost kip.
I’ll tap out more soon – on our way to Coffs Harbour to drive the new Camry.
Yeah, yeah, sure… it’s been a while. But I’ve been busy, okay?
The crew at MOTOR run Performance Car of the Year every… well, year, and it has always been one of the most fun things I ever did mit pants on. A guernsey to return to the fold for another crack? Yes please, where do I sign and so on.
In short, a hilarious week of smashing about in other people’s hot rods was had. The guys at MOTOR have chronicled it all here, and there’s lots of vids of me and the other judges talking complete wibble about fast cars.
I dragged the cameras down and got some footage from onboard some hot rigs, too…
I promise I will keep things more up to date here from now on. Pinky swears. Here are some more more cool pics to say soz.
And no, it’s not what you think… recently, ABC News 24 put out the call for an automotive expert for a quick chat on the 12pm news bulletin. That day. It was already 1030 and I was still in Wollongong…
One change of clothes that Superman would be proud of later, and I fire into ABC’s sprawling Ultimo studios for a live (ulp) interview with the lovely Ros Charles.
Apols for the sketchy quality of this vid – I’ll pop a better one up later.
Manic – that’s a way to describe the last few weeks. Jobs for a host of clients, including Outdoor, GoAuto, Top Gear, Motor, Evo and others in places as varied as Goulburn, Tasmania, Spain and Thredbo kept me absolutely on the limiter right up to the beginning of this week.
Corralling two awesome cars and one Stig for a Top Gear vid at Goulburn proved awesome fun; a huge thanks to my good friend John Boston at trackschool.com.au for his help with that one!
Next was a quick dash to Tassie to drive a range of Renault Sports. Mmm, Sports… You’ll see that story in the next issue of Evo Australia magazine.
Finally, a mad-cap dash to Valencia, Spain, to drive Volkswagen’s new Polo GTI for a variety of Aussie auto outlets, including Top Gear and GoAuto. We were on the ground in Spain for exactly 25 hours…
Then home, a quick day at the V8 Supercar races with Volvo, a dash to Melbourne to drive a Ford Kuga, and finally I’m looking down the barrel of my last official gig for 2014 – a drive of Mitsubishi’s Safari Rally Outlander PHEV.
It’s been crazy, it’s been tough in spots, but it’s been rewarding and exciting. Ain’t no one else in charge of 032Media’s destiny, and I’m genuinely thrilled at the outcomes we’re achieving. There’s loads more to come, though – this game is all about the hustle!
I’m pleased to say I can slow down for at least two days this month. Maybe. With the Great Cycle Challenge happening all through October, things were getting pretty dern crazy there for a while. All for a bloody good cause, though! As I write this, the charity has raised more than $1 million for kid’s cancer research, and pretty much all of it goes to where it needs to. Love your work, team!
Getting used to freelance life is interesting – today, for example, has been a 17-hour epic, but next week is looking decidedly light-on. A good chance to rip everything out of the garage and redesign it with a video-ready mechanic’s area, a spot for a photo backdrop and a new way of stashing the bike collection, maybe?
More to come soon, with new clients on the go and more new to reveal!
My favourite kind of packing… race boots and cameras! The Michelin Experience trip is go, and I’m off late Sunday night. Colour me excited… any day you can spend at a race track is a good one, and even more so if it’s a pukka F1 track.
I’ve actually driven on the track before – ironically on a Pirelli day back in 2000. I’ve still got stories from that day, too. The best one involves a car-load of wayward Chinese journos in a Camry dropping it right in front of me (and my terrified passenger) on the fastest corner on the track. Having survived that scare, the lads proceeded to bin it properly on the very next lap…
Another big week here at 032Media, signing up a (super secret!) client for a run of really interesting and challenging work, and there’s another couple of opportunities to finalise when I get back from Malaysia next week.
I’m really amazed and humbled by the messages of support and assistance from people I’ve known for a long time – not least the loving support here at home! Thank you all! Have a great weekend, everyone./Robbo