Despite being stood in the middle of a desert, there’s been heavy rain fall. The streets of Baja, our starting point for the race, have been flooded in a way that the locals haven’t seen for decades – to combat the wait for the rain to pass and the ground to dry, the natives are doing what they know best; heading to the bar and sipping on a tequila or two. To huge relief, the next day, the sun comes out in spectacular style. Conditions quickly return to what you’d expect from being stood amongst the sand, stone and cacti in the Mexican desert, and we can move on with why we’ve travelled some 5,500 miles for – the world famous Baja 1000 race.
It’s the first time the brutal race has ever been postponed due to bad weather, and after seeing how gruelling, challenging and inherently dangerous it is, it’s easy to understand why.
The Baja 1000 sees competitors speed through the Mexican desert in a point to point race on two or four wheels over 24 hours.
The terrain, weather and speed are so aggressive on the cars and bikes that only 20% of entrants actually cross the finish line – crashes are frequent and often fatal, and even the spectators, who want to be as close to the action as they can, have been known to die in collisions.
The air feels tense – the scene is almost utopian. The sun beats down, engines roar and the atmosphere is electric; it’s a frantic mix of adrenaline, anticipation, and excitement - with a dash of fear.
But we’re not here standing in the crowd as spectators – we’re here as part of a crew, as we follow Jenson Button, ambassador for our latest release of footwear that celebrates the heritage of motorsport.
Since his record tenure as one of Britain’s favourite Formula One drivers (which saw him crowned World Champion), Jenson has been a busy boy. Keeping all things with an engine in his daily routine, he’s launched his own team: Rocket Motorsport – and brought them to Baja. Baja 1000 is the perfect representation of why Jenson is involved in this latest Duke + Dexter range – as ever, it’s centred around being unique, individual and unmissable. Jenson, taking his expertise from the track to the desert, is the very embodiment of the same elements of daring that we cherish.
With an electric atmosphere provided by obsessed fans, this race offers the perfect backdrop for us to get up close and personal with Jenson as he takes to the track in his Duke + Dexter branded Trophy Truck.
As a fan and customer of the brand, Jenson’s been involved in every step of the design process of this collaboration – from the number 22 patches that celebrate his own history, to the vibrant colours that reflect the pace and animation of motorsport.
However, despite all the excitement of the launch of these new styles, and the fact we were out racing in the desert, reality soon kicked in when Jenson’s truck broke down in a deserted section of the track, leaving him stranded with his co-driver under the stars all night.
As one of the most intense, gruelling and frankly bonkers races on the planet, it came as no surprise that Baja had claimed another 4 wheeled victim – but with an incredible backdrop of mountains, sand and blue skies – there could always be worst places to break down – so with the racing for Rocket Motorsport done, it’s time for us to head to the nearest bar and take on another Mexican challenge – Tequila.