Baja Loco

4 Racing Days & Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000

Non-Fiction - Memoir
330 Pages
Reviewed on 12/11/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days & Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000 by Rico Austin is a memoir that reads like a race. Yes, the author takes readers through a mesmerizing journey of over 1300 miles across the treacherous wilderness and the harsh environment of the Baja. In this memoir, the reader gets into the spirit and soul of a racing team, experiences the jolts and excitement and the fear of riding through danger. But then, the end is more satisfying than the journey itself. This is a story of adventure, a heart-throbbing tale that will make readers sweat and feel as though they were the ones on the road.

The story starts with a very unusual and curious question: “What do Mexico, tequila, vintage and rally cars, honored tradition, dune buggies, dust, trucks, motorcycles, mechanics, Trophy Lites, endless spectators, fearless drivers, desert beauty, Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez have in common?” The reader is immediately transported into a different world, led furiously by the hand, to see the exotic world of the Baja through the keen, sharp eyes of the racer. It is beautifully written and the surprises are many along the way. Readers will enjoy the characters, the beautiful sense of humor, and the exuberance of the team. There are many lessons that can be applicable to other areas of life. Rico Austin is a gifted writer with a clear and powerful voice and the innate ability to make readers see reality through his own eyes. Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days & Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000 is a fast-paced, compelling memoir that will delight racing fans.

Stephen Fisher

Baja Loco by Rico Austin is about his first hand experience as he is introduced to the Norra 1000. A race traversing the Baja peninsula. the race taking place over the course of 4 days with a camaraderie that at first, reminded me of a cross between The Gumball Rally, and The Cannonball Run. The first day of the race featured a local tourist trap worth the $50 charge before retiring at Bahia De Los Angeles. The end of day two featured a Fiesta in Loreto with showers, and beds that were less than luxurious. Thank the Racing gods for a race that is sponsored by, "Azunia Tequilla." Before, and during the race, the real competition is between racers and the harsh natural environment, combined with the unpredictable, elements.
Armed with a tape recorder, Rico Austin does a superb job of telling this story with maps, photos, and interviews of many of the racing teams, and personalities associated with what is described as, "The Happiest Race on Earth." He captures much of the wit, and passion for this endeavor by many of the participants. When he began describing all of the colorful vehicles entered in the race, Rico paints the moment, and the feeling with majestic artistry. "It was breathtaking, even the manliest of men would get weak in the knees seeing such a display of pure testosterone." I loved his quotes of a couple of a couple of recording artists that captures the spirit of the race. "This could be Heaven, or this could be Hell." from the Eagles, and Frank Sanatra's "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the Bible says, 'Love thy enemy!"

Ryan Jordan

Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days & Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000 by Rico Austin is a story about a thirteen-hundred-mile race in Mexico across some of the harshest landscape imaginable as an endurance test of the racing world. This volume is full of pictures and information about the race and, to be completely honest, I had never even heard of the race before picking up this book, but now I think it is a fairly amazing thing that sort of shocked me in some ways. The book starts with an account of what the race is, some famous quotes and information about racers, and then dips into the story about the actual race itself. There are lots of quotes mixed throughout that help highlight the story and the ideas being presented in this memoir.

The pictures were amazing and truly set it above and beyond what might have been expected from a book like this. I enjoyed the stories immensely and really felt like I was there with them during this race. The author has a true gift of being able to paint a word picture and tell a very compelling story by blending together text with conversations and documents, adding realism and vitality to the story. Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days & Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000 by Rico Austin is a real winner and worth reading by anyone who loves books with great pictures about exciting things out in the real world.

Deborah Lloyd

Thirteen hundred miles of mostly hot, dusty desert terrain make up the four-day road race, known as the NORRA (National Off Road Racing Association) Mexican 1000. Beginning at Essenada, and ending in San Jose Del Cabo, on the Mexico Baja Peninsula, the race is an exciting adventure. The 176 vehicles that started in the 2014 race represent several categories. Writer Rico Austin joins Jim Riley and other members of a vintage racing car group, sponsored by the Azunia Tequila company. Rico interviews many participants in the group to write the fascinating nonfictional work, Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days and Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000. He adds many interesting details to illustrate the challenges, and rewards, of such a difficult venture.

Simply put, Rico Austin is a great storyteller. He captures the many personalities, quirks and motivations of many racers, and the people who support them. While he competently describes the adventurous race itself, another engrossing aspect is the relationships developed around this one race. There is a strong, friendly atmosphere made of a close camaraderie, growing into lifelong friendships. The support of most of the Mexican people encountered along the way is also heartening. The author writes in a clear, succinct manner; the reader can almost hear his voice telling the story. Perhaps, the most fun part of the book, Baja Loco: 4 Racing Days and Tequila Nights on the NORRA Mexican 1000 by Rico Austin is the photograph collection. From the faces of the drivers, to the hot, dry desert, to the gorgeous coastline, the reader becomes an eyewitness to an amazing event.