Baja Designs race teams accounted for 42 podiums and 19 first-place finishes at the 2021 Baja 1000, with some using our BDX experimental LEDs to win.
Every year of the Baja 1000 seems to throw a new curveball at those that take on the challenge. This year’s decision to host an extensive 1200+ mile peninsula run was undoubtedly the twist that brought some additional excitement to this year’s race. Hundreds of vehicles set out from Ensenada, barreling their way to the southern town of La Paz as they encountered every type of terrain that Baja could possibly dish out. Peninsula runs are not particularly common these days, with the last one taking place in 2017. While the extra few hundred miles of racing can add some unexpected challenges to an already brutal race, quality lighting keeps these teams safe. Year after year, the results show that if you want the competitive edge at night, you’ll race with Baja Designs. Constant innovation keeps Baja Designs and our TeamBD racers at the top of the pack and Baja has been a proving ground for BD since the company’s inception. With no exception this year, select TeamBD racers had the opportunity to race with various emerging LED technologies not yet available to the public. Through contingency and out in the field, BD’s new technology could be spotted within a handful of custom red XL and OnX6 series lights. One might not find it a coincidence that the fastest two and four-wheeled finishers of the year happed to race behind these new lights.
If there is ever a question of whether Baja Designs lights give racers a competitive edge out in the course, then look no farther than the results of this year’s race. TeamBD race teams accounted for 42 podiums and 19 first-place finishes. The first vehicle across the finish line was the 1x SLR Honda bike, which took yet another first-place win in the Pro Moto Unlimited class. The three-man team comprised of Mark Samuels, Justin Morgan, and Brandon Prieto logged a total of 23+ hours on the bike, finishing an entire hour before the next bike in line. Team leader Mark Samuels is no stranger to Baja and reminisced the importance of great illumination “It was awesome to get back racing a peninsula run to La Paz. Starting off with 5 hours of night racing in the early morning, lights are one of the most important parts of winning the Baja 1000. If you can’t see, you can’t go”.
Baja Designs racers made a huge dent in Pro UTV classes, completely sweeping the entire podium for Pro UTV NA, Pro UTV Forced Induction, and Pro UTV Open classes. A list of very familiar names filled out the podium blocks, ranging from Branden Sims and Wes Miller in turbo cars, to Kaden Wells and Wayne Matlock in open class. Out of a long list of skilled drivers, Phil Blurton piloted the first UTV across the line. Quite the accomplishment considering this was Phil’s first attempt at racing the Baja 1000!
Elias Hanna took the lead for the Pro UTV NA class in the Team Honda Off-Road/Proctor Racing Honda Talon. The team spent a bit of time perfecting the lighting package with the Baja Designs race support crew in the weeks leading up to the race. Elias seemed to think it paid off, stating “Before the race, we tested a Spot and Wide Cornering setup on my race Talon in Barstow, CA. This gave me the confidence to run at high speeds at night like it was daylight. Thanks to Baja Designs for building the best race lights on the market. We set the pace and run up front, from start to finish!”
Jeff Proctor, Justin Park, Cody Parkhouse, Ethan Hagle, and Juan Carlos Salvatierra are a few other familiar names certainly worth a mention. Each are long-time Baja Designs athlete’s that finished at the top of their class, with Salvatierra finishing with one of the highest accomplishments in the sport. Salvatierra rode the 725X bike completely solo all the way to the finish, for a first-place win in the Pro Moto Ironman class. It has been said that to Iron Man Baja is the original, and only true way to complete the grueling 1000+ mile race. Salvatierra did it like a real champ.
Tavo Vildolsola and Cameron Steele are some of the most seasoned guys out there when it comes to steering a TT across the finish line. Both kept pace for an extremely tight race and secured the second and third place positions respectively. Cameron’s post-race take on just how tight the race was – “What the heck do you do when all three of us on the podium are running Baja Designs lights? Race your ass off and hope they make a mistake!”
The leader of the pack, however, with an overall time of 20:45:58 was Luke McMillin in his AWD TT – along with the help of another Baja legend Rob MacCachren. This win marks the second Baja 1000 win in a row for Luke. This win adds to a hugely productive year for him, and a generations-long list of accolades for the McMillin family. Baja Designs invested great care into perfectly structuring and aiming Luke’s lighting package before the race. Luke races with a very tightly designed lighting array, maximizing every bit of output that the lights produce. The opportunity to have the Baja Designs race support team customize and or validate vehicle lighting packages is quite rare and seldom offered – that said it is a service that may be available to you upon request if you are a currently rostered TeamBD racer.
It seems fair to say that when it comes to Baja Designs’ place within the pack of lighting manufacturers, the proof is in the silty pudding – champions choose Baja Designs. Any racer or off-road recreationalist that requires the ultimate in safety and performance need look no further than Baja Designs LED and Laser Lighting – Shop For Yours Here
Want to learn more about BDX? Click Here and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next wave of new technology under those colorful BDX bezels.