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Thread: Hallet's Desert Adventures (Mike Hallett)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    El Cajon, CA
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    Hallet's Desert Adventures (Mike Hallett)

    1986 Baja 1000, Ensenada to Lapaz
    1050 miles

    During the summer of that year Allen Fox convinced me we only needed 2 riders to pull this off. 500 miles each doesn’t sound too bad, while you’re sitting around drinking a cold one. Then you think about prerunning and the race; that’s 1000 miles each! We were young and stupid. That was our plan. If I recall correctly, John Tomson, our sponsor with California Communication, registered as a 3rd rider in case Al or I were injured and couldn’t ride. We would ride the Turanchula, a 250R with CR 500 suspension built by Al.

    Conditioning was everything. I rode a 60 pound Jack at work, by choice! Around 6 weeks prior to my race, I would ride my rutted out one mile practice track, 10 laps 3 times a week. A couple weeks prior to the race, my brother Tom and I got off work on Friday. We grabbed our gear, drove most of the night to Catavina, slept 2 or 3 hours, got up, and preran. I preran solo which wasn’t that smart. That also left Tom solo chasing me. Not the brightest thing to do; I guess we were just lucky in that regard. During that prerun on a section called El Arco, I came upon 50 army soldiers on the same trail I was on coming towards me. I couldn’t turn around due to the lack of fuel, so I decided to stop and idle while they marched past me. I’d never been so mad dogged in my life. All these guys looked like they were 15 years old carrying assault weapons. Nothing happened and I got the hell out of there. Later I found out El Arco was a military camp. The only other problem with that prerun was the damn dogs. The course went through fish camps on the Pacific Coast chock full of mangy aggressive dogs. I swear the fishermen would turn them loose just to see if one could get a leg bite in. They would stop to watch the dogs chase you.

    The weekend prior to the race, the team went down to prerun for 5 days. That all went well until Allen and John were prerunning the last 200 miles to Lapaz. We were all unfamiliar with that section. Al and John were supposed to stop at a dirt road crossing for fuel. They got there on the trikes before we could in the truck. I found where they crossed the road. So I proceeded to follow them on the course. I knew they only had 10 to 15 miles worth of fuel left. About 10 miles in, I found them under a tree. I thought they were out of fuel, and just chilling until I found them. Al and John were passing a Rancho when an angry local came out with something in his hands and an angry dog. John, in a panic, wadded it up half a mile from the Ranch house, rendering himself unconscious. Al said he knew he was alive because John was face down in the silt, and puffs of dust were coming up around his helmet with every breath. When I get there, all was okay except John had no idea that we were even in Mexico. He was dazed and confused the rest of the day. He got over it. After our prerun to Lapaz, we returned the 1000 miles to Ensenada on Wednesday. Al and I headed back to San Diego to pick up his wife and my girlfriend. Going throughTijuana, a local cop made eye contact with me traveling opposite directions. I told Al this guy would turn around and shake us down. Sure enough, he flipped a beotch and was after us. Lucky for us, there was 4 or 5 cars between us. I hauled butt for the border. I made the inspection line as he caught us. He wouldn’t extort money in front of American customs. He just glared at us and drove off. Saved us 40 bucks. We got the girls and made it back to Ensenada Thursday morning for contingency. Late Thursday afternoon, Al made one last test ride on the race back on the streets in Ensenada. Bad idea. In traffic, he hit a curb and bent the axle. You could ride on city streets as long as you obeyed traffic laws. We replaced the bent axle, went through tech inspection, then left it at impound. Now that our spare axle was bent, it was usable if we got in a pinch. Friday morning the race was on.

    Al was to ride the 1st leg 375 miles. I got on for 475 miles at night. Al would get on for the last 200 miles to Lapaz. Al had a good ride going until what else, he bends our only straight axle 340 miles in. When I got on he said it wasn’t bent as badly as our spare axle, so we left it on. That turned out to be our undoing eventually. I left Catavina at 4:30 in the afternoon with lights on. In the dirt, I couldn’t even notice the axle. 80 miles into my ride, the course went down highway 1 for 40 miles of asphalt. Now the axle was shaking, my teeth loose. Wide open 80 mph and I could barely focus-not good. Back on dirt south of San Ignasio, the course was fast, mostly graded roads. At the 3rd or 4th pit stop into my ride, we went 50 miles between pits. 1 mile or so from the pit, a large fire could be seen. I figured they had a party going at the pit, turned out a motorcycle being fueled caught fire along with one leg of the rider. They got the rider put out quick. While I was being fueled, Walker Evans flies by in his class 8 Dodge. I knew someone was behind me. For 20 miles, I could see lights flickering around me on the hillsides. The bike was still on fire when I left the pits. Shortly after, we went through a little village. Still in Walker’s dust, I narrowly avoided hitting a cow laying in the road that Walker had just hit. Approximately 300 miles into my ride, things deteriorated. Running 70+ mph, I crested a rise in the road. I noticed a campfire to my right. In Mexico, that means possible booby trap and it was! They had dug a ditch all the way across and mounded the dirt on the far side making a 16-20 inch curb to hit and I did, ¾ cracked in 6th gear.

    The next thing I saw was looking right into my own twin 50 watt oscars, feet straight up. Slow motion set in and I thought how bad my broken back would be. I consciously kept the throttle twisted hoping the rear would come down, shoot the bike back under me, and it did. I came down with both feet on the seat standing up. 70 mph, dropped back down on the pegs. Life was good. Mental fatigue set in at 400 miles. Physically, I wasn’t too bad except bouts of leg numbness. About 50 miles past the booby trap, near La Parisma, I overshot a turn, trying to save the bike. As I started over the edge of the road, I bailed off into the darkness. A 5 foot deep ditch? 50 foot deep ditch? I would soon find out. It turned out to be 10 feet deep. As I lay at the bottom face down, I thought how I’d have to find the trike. Then I heard it coming down the bank. It rolled right onto me. It never flipped over. The skid pan had me pinned down. I got out from under it, rode it side hill back up to the road and off I went. The last 40 miles of my section was W.F.O. 25’ wide smooth graded road, piece of cake.

    Now I was 10 miles from my destination. I could see the lights of Villa Insurgentes. At this speed, the grueling ride was over in 8 minutes. It felt like I was getting a right flat, . The bike veered hard right, my right hand hit the ground. That’s all I remember. My next memory is getting up in the middle of a pasture, no broken body parts (that’s good) my helmet was stuffed with weeds and dirt. I get out my flashlight to search for my bike. I had no idea what had just happened when I found it, it was bad. The steering head broke off the frame, leaving only cables holding the forks on. Apparently my right hand hitting the ground was when the forks went horizontal. The throttle side handlebar dug in running wide open, must have been quite a crash. So I stood the forks upright, started the bike, and walked it back up to the road. I thought “Hey, maybe I can wheelie the 10 miles in.” NOT. I would use my towstrap to tie the forks upright; that seemed more feasable. Didn’t work , too much leverage. That time I went over the bars in 1st gear. Okay so wheelie it was. Multiple crashes later, maybe ½ mile further, I’m frigging exhausted. I heard a 4 stroke coming. It was an XR. He stopped I asked if he would get word to our pit of my dilemma. He said he would. Off he went, so I waited. How long I don’t know, 45 minutes maybe.



    I heard another thumper coming. I stopped him and he offered me a ride in. So I kicked the trike over the edge of the road into the pasture so no one could see it or steal it. I stacked a couple of rocks so I could find it. I hopped on the back of the bike and took off. Halfway to insurgentes, we saw a light coming backwards on the course. I asked the guy to slow down. I said it might be Al, but he didn’t understand me. Both of us were wearing helmets. Al went flying by in the Toyota. Oh no! I stopped the guy and explained that the truck that just went by was coming for me. Al had 200 miles of road ahead of him. I begged this guy to turn around and stop him. He agreed. He was in the race and went backwards to help me. That’s Baja. So he left me in the road in full gear. He took of backwards on the course after Al. As his lights disappeared, I heard dogs growling. That’s just great. I survived all that, just to get attacked by dogs. Both were German shephard size and pissed. Now that my eyes were getting adjusted to the dark again, I could see a ranch house 400’ out in the field. I talked calmly to the dogs. I think they only spoke Spanish… 5 minutes of dog whispering and lots of backpedaling. The only thing I had going for my was full riding gear. Now two sets of lights were coming towards me. I might live! The XR waves and goes by. The dogs stayed right in front of me. Al pulled up, his lights on the dogs. He ran them off and picked me up. Back up the road to the stacked rocks. I jumped out and went straight to the bike and stood it upright before Al gets there. He shines his flashlight on it and says “Looks okay.” He sat on it like he was going to start it and it folded up. When he got up he smiled and said, “This can’t be good.” We loaded it into the truck, hauled it to the pits, and some lighting. Upon inspection, almost every weld on the frame was broken. From that bent axle, we threw in the towel at 3:00 am 200 miles short. Baja wins this one.

    We make it to the hotel in Lapaz, rest for a day, and decide we’re only 150 miles from Cabo. We decided to go fishing and skip the awards ceremony we wouldn’t be part of anyways. On to Cabo we went. We caught two sailfish, both 80-100 pounds. At least we salvaged a good fishing trip out of the deal.


    Al with one of the fish

    On our way home, we stopped for fuel at Catavina. While fueling, two Mexican guys pulled up in a Ranger that looked like it belonged in a junk yard. They asked if we wanted to buy some marijuana. We told them no thanks. They turned around in the gas station. One of them was showing us a gun on their dash. “Oh, this is bad.” They headed the same direction we were going. We waited around 10 minutes to let them get a good head start. A few miles up the road, they were waiting. They got in front of us and tried to stop us. Yeah right! We cat and moused with them for a awhile. I’d had enough. I was driving a ¾ ton 4x4 Chevy. He was in Ranger. I forced my way past him and left Al in his Toyota to fend for himself. He got by a few miles later. The Mexican guy couldn’t catch up. We all got home safe. That race was a true ass kicking, I supplied the ass.

    When you win, things usually go good and you get a trophy. When you lose, things go bad but you have a good story.

    -Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cedar City, Utah
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    Awesome! Great Story and Pics! Thank you for sharing! HH

  3. #3
    mike1979 is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Michigan
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    Sounds exhausting! Great story though.

  4. #4
    Billy Golightly's Avatar
    Billy Golightly is offline Always finding new and exciting ways to not give a hoot in hell Catch me if you can
    Join Date
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    Live Oak, FL
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    That is an AWESOME story Mike, thanks for sharing. The part about the 250R folding up had me laughing out loud...oh how times like that are such a pain when they happen but make great stories years later!
    One can only beat their head up against the wall so often before they get blood in their eyes.

    Note to members: Stupidity is a BANABLE offense, mods can decide if YOU are being stupid and WILL ban you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    OK
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    5,453
    Definitely an awesome story, Thank you.. I was laughing out loud about leaving you in the dark with the 2 pissed off dogs.
    Rides:
    1986 ATC250R (sectional pipe and Klemm Research silencer)
    1986 ATC250R (Desert Bike, WAX-ON seat, Dual Cibie lights, Steering Stabilizer)
    1979 ATC110 (Bandito frame and forks, Turbo wheels, disc braked)
    1982 ATC70 (Lifan manual 125)
    1987 LT80 (piped, widened)


    My feedback thread
    http://www.3wheelerworld.com/showthr...ack-for-dcreel

    RIP Trace.. Godspeed.

  6. #6
    cox's Avatar
    cox is offline Just Too Addicted Arm chair racerJust too addicted
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Edmonton alberta canada
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    552
    Wow man, what a great story. i loved every moment i was reading it. Thank you for sharing!! I just about crapped when i was reading about the boobytrap and the 2 dogs. Just awesome!!
    R.I.P. Yamahondaman
    Still practicing my NoobiX cube, take it easy on me...
    1982 Yamaha YT175J ( Not much left but the 's)
    1982 Yamaha YT175J
    1983 Yamaha YT125K + 175J =
    1984 ATC 200ES BR - running again - Camchain noise holding me back....
    1984 ATC70 -SOLD-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    California, USA about 50 miles north of sacremento
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    942
    Awesome story! Thanks for sharing this

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Northeast
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    16,243
    THANK YOU so much for joining 3WW and sharing your story with us!!

    Thank god you got out of there alive. Getting the wheeler back was merely a plus!

    The stories you guys have explaining what you went through FASCINATE ME!!

    PLease remain a member and when you have some time share with us some stories (And ship me the 300R kits you have alo0ng with the ported 350X clyinders if it ever came to that, probably would have been a 500CC motor......)

    We get togethe in smakll groups until we have the expenses to so a road trip to somethin such as "TRIKEFEST" but be prepared to be bombarded with true fanns of this sport. We are simnply a group of guys that are fascinated and absolyutely love restoring them and anh7y aftermartket parts (along with the guy that has them in a barn ) are truly very desirable for us ENTHUSIASTS!!

    Although many of us don't have the money for a "Buyout" we'd love to get our hands on anything from that era. From what I understand, many thing where thrown away ; What a shame when we we are willing to re-coatr them in Zinc or powder coat them.

    Of course we all want the old-school parts in the right hands, some people do not know what they've bought and realize the value of this stuff and how many things wemerely mant to upgrade and copy......

    People such as yourself have so many stories to share and that in itself gets MOST of us all worked up.

    Thanks again for sharing that experience, it was so long ago but told with lots of unforgotten details!!!

    We wish EVERY one o0f you guys would be members but times and lives change.......................

    Take care my friend and please stop in once in awhile once in awhile to share some more stories, tips and tricks!!

    Thank you for being a part of OUR sport this many years later and willing to share!!

    Thank you and please check in once in awhile!!

    Please try and ignore the bombardment of needless questuions; Also, please enjoy the website that Billy has made up, continuing to try and upgrade it the best he can.
    86 ATC200X Flatrack ( I may not be fast but this is one FAST 200X!!).

    86 ATC350X Motocross, 86 ATC452X Flatrack!!

    07 Weekend Warrior Toy Hauler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    EastGreenbush, newyork
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    very cool!! To only have had the opportunity to expierience such highs and lows in the prime of the ATC!! Great story man, bet it was fun for you to rehatch that one!! Welcome to the boards.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Kentucky
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    Awesome story....worth every second of reading.
    Tionesta Trikes ATC 450R
    86 250R
    86 Tecate-3
    83 ATC 70
    85 Big Red
    Tricky Dicks Cagiva WMX 200 sold
    Trikefest survivor 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
    My feedback: http://www.3wheelerworldforums.com/s...dback+eric250r

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    conesus lake NY
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    absolutely fantastic!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    FL
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    What a tremendous story....you were living on that trip for sure! The best stories truly are of the times things went horribly wrong.

    Thank you for sharing!
    -BFC
    '86 250R

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    El Cajon, CA
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    32
    Im glad you guys enjojed the story,more to come. Maybe i can refine my writing skills, before the next one, Dean Kirsten might read it and give me an F. Dirtcrasher as a matter of fact, I have 2 200x ,1 with,1 without motor, My old race bike and prerunner, Some spare parts, Mike

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    OK
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    5,453



    Rides:
    1986 ATC250R (sectional pipe and Klemm Research silencer)
    1986 ATC250R (Desert Bike, WAX-ON seat, Dual Cibie lights, Steering Stabilizer)
    1979 ATC110 (Bandito frame and forks, Turbo wheels, disc braked)
    1982 ATC70 (Lifan manual 125)
    1987 LT80 (piped, widened)


    My feedback thread
    http://www.3wheelerworld.com/showthr...ack-for-dcreel

    RIP Trace.. Godspeed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    El Cajon, CA
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    dcreel your a psycic ,that is the next adventure I am writing. mike

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