DESERT RACING is the ultimate challenge of Man and machine in the world today!

It has all of the challenges of road racing, except that it does not take place in a groomed, purpose-built theater. Our race course is some of the harshest and most desolate terrain on the planet. Usually when people hear the word desert, they think of big sand dunes, but we also race thousands of feet up mountains, speed along beaches, and wind through endless valleys of cacti.

 

MARK'S DREAM was to win The Baja 1000 which is the most popular Desert Race in the world.

  Left: me, Right: Mark in Ensenada, BC at the start of the 2016 Baja 500.

Left: me, Right: Mark in Ensenada, BC at the start of the 2016 Baja 500.

My friend, Mark Luhtala, was a loving family man, successful businessman, talented jet mechanic, and he built a Spec Trophy Truck that we raced in The Baja 1000. In November 2016 our team had a podium finish in the bag. I was co-driving with Mark and we were in 2nd place when only 250 miles before the finish line we were struck by another race vehicle.

The race-truck was thrashed, and Mark was severely injured.

WRECK.jpg

Mark’s 4th attempt at finishing The Baja 1000 had ended with him losing his left leg and having the whole left side of his body crushed. Only a few hours out of surgery Mark expressed his desire to go back to the desert and win the race next year! Mark Luhtala died in the hospital 3 days after the accident. 

Mark truly was an Amazing Man

Perhaps it is because I am a former Marine, but it is just not in my nature to blame others for the things that happen in my life. Instead, I choose to analyze what went wrong and make an attempt to correct it in the best way I know how. My positive outlook and my first aid experience from the Marine Corps motivated me to create RACE FOR SAFETY: The Mark Luhtala Baja 1000.

The wreck took my friend's life, but I walked away for a reason.