For more than 20 years, Mark Post has raced over almost every sand dune, past every tumbleweed and through every ravine of deepest Baja, Mexico. And as the owner of Riviera Racing and 2007 champion of the Baja 1000, he knows what it takes to win in the dirt.
“Most people consider it the toughest motor sport race of any kind, because once that flag drops, it’s a thousand miles nonstop of war,” says Post. “And you need a battle plan. It’s a huge team effort.” During the race, Post and his navigator in the team’s trophy truck are supported by anywhere from 75 to 100 additional team members in stationary pits, two aeroplanes, a helicopter and six roving chase vehicles. “The chase vehicles are loaded with spares and parts, whatever our race truck might need, strategically moving around the racecourse. The aeroplanes help us relay information between the truck and the team members. The helicopter is there for safety purposes.”
Co-ordinating such a large crew in a remote area requires tight logistical planning. The Riviera Racing team used to plot their strategy by cross-referencing a hodgepodge of paper maps, charts and checklists. But now, using the MotionX GPS HD app on iPad, the team is able to load the exact route of the racecourse on a detailed satellite map. Then they overlay the information they need — pit stops, driver changes, refuelling locations and access roads for support vehicles. And they insert thousands of course notes gathered from running each mile of the course in the weeks leading up to the race.
“The support teams need detailed data for every turn, gully and obstacle on the race’s route. iPad is the one common denominator with all the information that’s crucial to running a successful race,” says Post. With the ability to zoom in and out on any part of the course and get precise data instantly, he says, “we’re a lot quicker now about knowing where to go”. And knowing how to handle whatever Baja throws their way.
In the end, the months of prepping the race truck, and weeks of pre-running, logistics and support planning all come down to 19 hours of racing. “There’s no chance to get the race right again. There’s no hitting replay. That’s why using iPad for our prerace logistics is critical.”