BaseCamp Off-road Team
In a word...Diehards.
Actually, call us ..."Livehards" - because we think living should be bold, no looking back for us dyed-in-the-wool upstate New Yorkers. The challenge, perseverance and hard work needed to prepare for the Baja 1000 is right up our alley. The fact that it is the longest, nonstop, point-to-point endurance race in the world added to the temptation to join the “this is crazy hard” crew we admire.
Our team values integrity in people and integrity in process. We believe the best challenge for ourselves, and for each other, is to do the right thing, treat people right, don’t take shortcuts, and take pride in our work.
Desert racing is not for everyone. So even if you are not up for “crazy hard”, we encourage you to live big, take the high road, challenge yourself, and don’t take the easy way out of anything. It's what we're going to do while we finish preparing for the Baja 1000 this November.
“If you do not live what you believe, you will end up believing what you live.”
From his time as a US Army Paratrooper when he jumped out of that first plane - throughout his career as a law-enforcement official - Sgt. Matt Barnes has always found value and great satisfaction in the preparation and training for all endeavors. That hardened work ethic, an appreciation for challenges and an annoyingly childish sense of humor culminate in some unexpected endeavors...like entering the world’s most grueling off-road race...for his first racing attempt ever. That’s right, there is no “double dog dare” you could defiantly throw his way that Barnes would not seriously consider. Aha, you start to discern the devilish glint in his eye.
Go big or go home is the attitude here. Like pulling off the first Upstate New York, US Army Best Ranger style law enforcement competition to determine bragging rights for the Rochester area’s “Best Cop.” With the help of then Greece Police Chief Todd Baxter, the law enforcement skills challenge went out and was met by dozens of area cops with the rallying cry to “strengthen and connect our law enforcement community.” From the ground up, Barnes planned, built, carried, and strong-willed the sponsors, supporters and law enforcement community into a unifying day of police tactical challenges including live shooting, rappelling and a helicopter rescue event. Gotta love big ideas.
So the Baja 1000 doesn’t sound quite so intimidating if you know these players.
Foolhardy? Maybe. Unprepared? Never.
Discipline. Service. Leadership. Oh yeah, and a sense of adventure.
Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter is mostly work, except for that sense of adventure. That unique nature that drives a 22 year Army veteran, 30 year law enforcement career, former SWAT Commander and now top cop in Monroe County. So you might ask, what compels one to sign on as co-driver and navigator in this notorious off-road race? Sheriff Baxter replies simply, “Barnes asked me.” Guess he knows a cool adventure when he hears one.
This is bucket list spontaneity at its best.
As a fleet mechanic for Fairport Electric Company, Andy, in his modest way would not admit to being the “Master Jedi” level mechanic we were lucky enough to find. Andy claims, “I thought this was going to be a cruise night car” yet his expertise in all things on wheels is the only reason we are willing to risk life and limb at the Baja 1000 this November in Mexico.
During five years of steady work on this project as mechanic, vicarious shop teacher and friend, Andy started out with a "little help assembling the front end” and guided us through completion to our now off-road racing worthy vehicle.
Andy sums up his passion, “I’d rather be building than racing.”
And what a beauty you’ve helped build, Andy.
You can happily live in Upstate NY and never get an up close sighting of a real Baja 1000 contender for, oh, easily 40 or 45 years. Which is why we relentlessly pestered Gary Walker for an audience with him for two years. For real...spent two whole years stalking Gary Walker at work, in person, by phone, (didn’t try sky-writing) before concrete contact was established. Gary also happens to be a certified Honda mechanic and oh so casual Senior Master level technician for Ford and Isuzu.
Now we could humble brag that we’re complete novices to the sport of off-road racing, setting off on our first adventure to the big, bad Baja 1000 without trepidation but...BUT...Gary is a cool, top ten finisher BOTH times he bike raced the Baja 1000 with John Bosch (more about our double whammy racing find later.)
So once Gary realized we weren’t letting him get away, Gary became an indispensable extra set of eyes, an extra set of ideas that have been a godsend. His real genius (hard to choose) has been his teamwork skill, the assistance and collaboration he brings that makes our team complete.
In true renaissance race car driver style, Gary claims, “I enjoy building a car as much as racing it.” The Basecamp Off-Road team is sure glad to have your help with both, Gary.
In Upstate New York, where most people don’t know how to spell Baja, much less race in it...guess who we found? Yessiree, a bona fide racing fanatic (we say that in great admiration) and true VW nut who grew up working on Volkswagens. The fact that we didn't actually find him (Gary Walker brought him in on the biggest, two-for-one jackpot imaginable) shows how lucky we are.
John Bosch has an impressive race history and an appreciation for detail that we continue to learn is crucial to our madcap attempt to become desert off-road racers. Having John on the team assures us we will last beyond the first (or fifth or fifteenth) hurdle that will be speeding our way at the Baja 1000. Can we mention again that John and Gary Walker finished in the top ten BOTH times they entered the Baja 1000 on bikes? Double underscore our further admiration.
John’s Race History:
2 time Baja 1000 Moto finisher with Gary Walker - 8th place 2014, 6th place 2015
Rolex Grand Am Series competitor 2008-2012
SCCA World Challenge Competitor 2002
AMA Motocross Competitor 1987-present
Cup Light Competitor 2000’s
Ice Racing series competitor 1990’s
Bob Bondurant Pro Search Finalist 1993