OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (WEHT) — A group of young adults in the Off-Road Motorsports Youth Foundation continues to prepare for a world competition known as Baja 1,000 in Baja California, Mexico in November.
The group of 12 of the team — ranging from ages 17 to 23 — are among the youngest ever in the decades-long racing tradition to compete.
The race takes drivers about 40 hours to complete in the Mexican desert.
Hundred of hours of work over two years has helped prepare the OMYF for the Baja 1,000 competition only professional racers have.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of being able to be a part of my whole life, and now to be a part of it in such a large scale is amazing,” said Preston Lewis, who serves as the OMYF executive director.
The 12 leaders in organization will leave for La Paz, Mexico on November 7, and the race itself will start November 16 after putting in months of work on the racing truck.
The race will take the team across Baja California where 300 other entry vehicles will navigate rocks, hills and mountains for 1,300 miles to Encenada.
On Sunday, the team took time to check break lines and to plan for protecting the truck’s transmission from rocks and debris.
Some of the members have even traveled to the course in Mexico for the past two years to learn the terrain, and they plan to simulate the race and practice at Fastest Lap in Evansville.
The other drivers and co-drivers making the trip say they are thankful and think the trip is a great opportunity.
They are also looking for new people to step up to join the foundation and to join as sponsors.
“I’m super thankful to be a part of this, and it really is a good opportunity. And we’d love to have more people here and give more people the opportunity,” said Ayden Clark, who serves the OMYF. “We need people to drive chase trucks and just other people here that we can teach. It would be awesome to get more people involved in this.”
“I’m ready for it, and that’s what overpowers the overwhelming-ness is the thought that you get to go down there and do that,” said Preston Lewis, who serves the OMYF. “It’s going to be a blast.”
The OMYF began after Preston Lewis was diagnosed with Leukemia, and a Make-A-Wish wish help kick off the organization.
Its members and leaders volunteer their time to mentor members of a younger generation to pursue their interests and to let them know they can be successful at anything if they work hard.
“Knowledge is power,” said Tayrn Hamilton, who serves the OMYF. “You can’t know too much — whether it be just simply putting on the wheel of the tire on this to building the whole cage or going through the motor and looking at that.”
“You know, I don’t think anyone really realizes that it’s possible for them to go do this, but it is.” Preston Lewis said. “That’s what we’re there to do is to share that with others that it is possible for them to get out there, get their hands dirty and go race and learn as they go.”
Racers say they hope to take their truck for a test drive in two weeks’ time.
The organization has started an Amazon wish list for those hoping to contribute to the organization in its trip to Baja California.
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