Aussie ironman Chris Warwick | Columns | Gassit Garage
The 2017 Kamfari winner Chris Warwick had very mixed emotions at the finish line of the 50th running of the Baja 1000.
The Northern Territory rider was stoked and relieved to finish the gruelling course, but he couldn’t hide the disappointment of not achieving his goal of bettering his previous podium finishes. We spoke to him at the finish line, 64 hours after he started the race.
How was the start?
The start of the race was great, I was about mid pack with the Ironman guys, which I thought was pretty good.
Your race slowed around the 80-mile mark, what happened?
I was a bit close to the highway and got distracted by another team. I came off the bike into a ravine and did a lot of damage to the bike and hurt myself.
How badly hurt were you?
I smashed up my helmet and was a little bit down and disappointed with myself at that stage, but I managed to get back on the bike, got back in a rhythm and got down to San Felipe which is where the big whoops are. But unfortunately my light bar broke.
How did you cope, mentally?
I was like ‘you can do it, there is still plenty of time, it’s a long race’, I kept charging on. Then the sun was coming up to eye level and I had no visor so I put my dark lens in but that didn’t seem to help much, and then there was a big square stone in the sand that I didn’t see and I went over the bars for 30-40 metres. I hit it at about 100km/h so it destroyed everything that was on my bars: Stella, GPS – and I twisted my knee really bad.
What’s the Stella?
It’s a GPS recording device handed to us by race officials. It records our race to ensure we stay on track, obey speed restrictions in towns and also alerts us of racers behind us.
At that stage I didn’t think I was going to finish. I got down to 300 miles and thought about giving up. But I had a bit of a rest and sent a message to my girlfriend and tried to get some information out to people so they knew I was alright. I got back on the bike and started riding really well after that, up until last night. I was most of the way through the 50 miles of silt, but the side-by-sides kept coming past and it was too dangerous. At that stage I had been riding for 45 hours, I was fatigued, dehydrated and struggling. I camped the night in the desert and continued the race this morning. But I made the finish, so that’s the main thing.