Cody Rahders and longtime friend and competitor James Hill are teaming up to tackle one of the toughest races in the world. The legendary Baja 500 starts out in the streets of Ensenada Mexico and travels south through the brutal Baja terrain into San Felipe. The course then heads north through the heart of Baja and back to the finish in Ensenada . Most people can only dream of doing something like this. Its safe to say Cody and James are living the dream.
Over the years Cody and James have both made a name for themselves in the UTV community. Cody has more wins behind the wheel of a Polaris RZR than your average hipster has flannels. His drive and will to win is what landed him on the podium time after time at Lucas.
James owns and operates a UTV custom shop in Lake Elsinore CA. In the past James has raced a factory backed Can-Am and is currently racing a Polaris in the Terracross Series against Cody. When Cody decided to take on Baja he knew his friend James would be all in. These two teamed up pose a major threat to everyone they compete against.
First the team had a build a race car. Cody made a few calls and days later a Polaris RZR Turbo shows up at the Black Rhino Performance “Race Barn”. Building a SCORE legal RZR is no easy task. For the next few months Cody and his father Doug devote 100% of their free time to the build. James played a huge role in the build. As co-driver James is tasked with getting the RZR across the finish line at all costs. He should know the machine inside and out. After countless hours and many sleepless nights the RZR was ready to test. Cody and the crew loaded up and headed for Plaster City CA. The terrain here rivals that of Baja and is a proving ground for many top teams.
Success in Baja is not a given, prep, prep, prep and more prep are required to even have a shot. Many teams over look whats required. Race car prep, chase truck prep, pre-runner prep and maybe the biggest is the mental prep. Baja will break you, Baja is like a beautiful women, she will make you fall in love but if your cross her she will leave you with nothing in the middle of nowhere. That being said Cody and his team picked up the Black Rhino Performance Pre-runner RZR and headed south. The goal was to gather course intel and make sure the race car was ready for this punishing race.
Rolling into Friday is where the mind games start to wreck shop. You are pushing a race car through a sea of fans, music is cranking in every direction, “Steekers” is yelled 3000 times as a 7 year old local kid is tugging at your shirt and the whole time you are replaying the last 120 days in your head. “Did I put that bolt back in? Mental note check that.” After the mental notes have drove you mental you find yourself back at your hotel trying to turn your brain off so you can rest. In 6 hours you will strap into a seat and if everything goes perfect you wont get out of it for 12 plus hours. To some people this sounds like a cruel form of torture but to those of who live to push the limits we call it Baja.
The photo below shows Cody co-driving for James during the 2008 Soboba Mud Race and now James will return the favor and co-drive for Cody.