Winning the Baja 1000 Part 2 of 2

Mickey designed some of the fastest off-road cars ever built. In 1979 he won the Race of Champions at Kresno. But the race he wanted to win was the Baja 1000 in Mexico -- the toughest test for young men, let alone a 50 year old. But Mickey wouldn't quit. The move to Mexico in 1982 was like an army preparing for combat. It was as if Mickey's whole life had prepared him for this race. There were over 200 cars at the starting line. In a cloud of dust they began their race through the desert. Near Gonzaga Bay Mickey hit a muddy tide pool and flooded his car. "The mud was so thick I had to scrape it out of my eyes before I could open them. I poured some gasoline on my flooded engine and set it afire. It really blazed up. An airplane was flying around and the pilot brought it down to see if he could help. When the fire flamed real high, everyone around me scattered. I jumped in the car, hit the ignition and got it up to 100 mph as fast as I could. It blew out the flames so I stopped and hitched up my harness and put my helmet back on. I'd figured I'd either get the ignition dry or burn up the car. It was a desperate thing to do but that's how you survive in Baja." After ten hours the rough terrain took its toll on Mickey and his car. It took the crew 45 minutes to fix a brake problem. While Mickey stood beside his crew, he watched cars fly by that he'd taken hours to pass. In true Mickey style, he didn't give up. He knew he would just have to pass them again. Over the next nine hours Mickey did pass them again, won the race and set a new speed record of 19 hours, 40 minutes and 23 seconds. From his home made car that beat the rich kids' store bought cars, to his junkyard cars that won street races, to his innovative cars that set new records on the dragstrip, to Bonneville to Indianapolis, to Pan Am to Baja -- Mickey Thompson succeeded because he never gave up.

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Dirt part 5
For description see part 1




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