Racing 4000 miles through Mexico unsupported and with your own camping gear on the back!
Strictly speaking this isn't a travel story but a rally event, but at the same time it's about using an Enduro with camping gear. As the Baja 4000 is such a unique event and such a showcase of how versatile a properly setup travel enduro is, we feel it definitely belongs here! Peter from beautiful British Columbia in Canada took his Nomad-ADV Husqvarna 701 to one of the toughest rallies in Northern America, the Baja 4000. Unlike the Baja 1000, the Baja 4000 is totally unsupported... and that reads really unsupported! That means no hotels, not even fixed sleeping spots. no support truck to take your tools or spares and it even goes as far as taking your own tent! Racing 4000 miles (!) through the deserts of Baja Mexico, with your own tent and camping gear on the back and arriving 10 days later and unscathed at the finish line is a super achievement on its own... As Peter wrote below 4 days into the 10 day event the fatigue set in, which is hardly surprising if you have to do it all yourself. Peter took it one step further though, he didn't 'just' finish but he won the event. As you can read below he had a few hairy moments but the Nomad kit performed faultlessly!
Below is Peter's account of 4000 miles racing through the Mexican desert:
Why I chose the 701 as the basis of my rally bike
The 701 obviously has an amazing pedigree with the LC4 KTM engine, and of course now KTM own Husqvarna, so there was a reassurance of quality. My 2017 model has the rocker arm counter balance upgrades that the 690 of the same year didn’t have, which makes the big thumper much smoother than previous versions, so that was key for me over the 690, to reduce vibrations on long periods of riding. I have a friend with the older version 690, and there is a noticeable improvement, especially at higher speeds.
Only 1 mechanical issue in the whole race!
The only mechanical I had was the failure of the hydraulic clutch line, which melted the plastic covering near to the point it enters the slave cylinder. I managed to repurpose a brake line from another bike that had broken down, which was by no means perfect but it got me to the end of the rally. The 701 also comes standard with a slipper clutch, that was vital in getting the bike back to the bivouac for repairs. Without it, the rally would have been over for me. After upgrading to an Oberon clutch slave and getting a new OEM clutch line, it failed on me again on another 12 day trip in British Columbia. It failed at the exact same point. I now use a heavy duty line from Gas Gas with a copper washer into the slave, which I think is more bullet proof. It's hard to say why these are failing, it could be the high heat on long trips. Other than that the bike was flawless for 10 days of hard riding and used around 3/4 Litre of oil over the 5000kms, while being ridden hard at times, over long days of riding.
A standout moment...
There were of course endless amazing experiences throughout the 10 days, meeting the Mexican army at midnight randomly in the middle of the desert was pretty interesting, but they were very nice and had a pot of coffee going! So its hard to pick one but I would say that losing my GPS to a dead battery (charging cable failed) just as it was getting dark was up there. Around day 4 as fatigue was starting to add up, I was following a gps track for a few hours and then got to the small town at the end of that particular part of the course. I then had to search for the main road out of the town. For background, I was using a Bad Elf GPS connected to iPad and iPhone for Nav. As I started to pay more attention to the screen, I realized the blue dot was not actually moving and the Bad Elf was completely dead. No Gps signal on the cell phone either. I had no real point of reference on the map, and there were no roads shown on any of the map layers for this very remote area, I realized I was completely lost! After about 20 minutes I came across some locals who spoke no English but eventually after much pointing, got in their car and I followed them to a dirt road which I would never have found in the dark otherwise. There were no streetlights and it was pitch black, I had considered setting up the tent and calling it a day, but that would mean, no race win. It was 2 hours on that road to get back to another small town which would lead to a highway and onto the bivvy for the night, all with no nav! At the second town, I was able to get my bearings however, and use mapping to guide me home. That ended up being a long day, and lost in the dark was a bit disconcerting! There were dozens of other highlights, and I never run out of stories to tell at the pub!
As Peters photos show he had a great time! Mexico is a great place to visit, especially on an enduro which can take you to places you would otherwise miss.