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HIRED GUNS SCORE Racers Have Used The Magnificent 7 Pits For Decades To Win And Finish Races By Dan Sanchez Photos Courtesy of Mag7 When you think of how the original Pit Crew called The Magnificent 7 has grown to more than 80 people from its original seven members, it showcases the growing need for racers to have experienced crew and support during a SCORE Baja racing effort. “We started assisting racers in the late 1960s, and over the years, it has evolved to assist every type of class– from Pro Motos to cars and UTV classes,” says Michael Magers, Race Director for Mag7. “It started as a club but evolved into a serious supporting role for many racers, but Mag7 still remains a non-profit, fully volunteer program.” Knowing the best places along any given SCORE Baja racecourse to set up a pit area requires decades of knowledge and experience that each team member brings to the table. “We offer everything from fueling vehicles, tire changes, and handling any emergency situation,” says Magers. “Even if some racers simply want something to drink or eat along the way, they can sign-up for our services.” With a team of mechanics, welders, logistics personnel, and even cooks, Mag7 has plenty of volunteers with a variety of skillsets. “Many of our team members have been with us for more than 20-years,” says Magers. “We have pit captains who manage the various pit teams and logistics, and we offer extensive training for safety and make sure each pit has the proper safety gear for fueling and working on any vehicle. Most of our volunteers get involved by contacting us directly, but the amount of people we take usually depends on the race, the number of teams that have signed up for our services, and the number of services we are providing each of those teams. For a race like the SCORE Baja 500, we have eight pits with six people in each, plus team leaders. This can add up to about 70-80 team members.” Most of the racers that utilize Mag7 are privateers and low-budget teams, of which there are many. “Baja can be a ruthless place,” says Magers. “But for first-time racers or those family teams that are on a budget, they can truly depend on us to help them with just about everything. The time it would take for them to calculate how much fuel they need, where to pit, how to get the people there, and so on– it becomes much easier to set things up with us and we take care of it. In addition, our members are very passionate about off-road racing and love doing it just to be a part of a SCORE Baja race.” Racers who don’t have a lot of Baja racing experience can also benefit from occasionally volunteering for working with a pit team. “It’s good for racers to really understand what it takes to finish a Baja race and to get some experience in a pit crew,” says Magers. “It can help them learn what to expect and avoid some of the more common mistakes.” One of the most common mistakes the Mag7 crews see is racers losing their way on the course. “We track all of our teams that sign up for us, and also coordinate with other pit crews like BFGoodrich Tires and radio communications with the Weatherman,” he says. “We often send out team members to look for racers from their last visual checkpoint or from the last pit they made. Many often take a wrong turn and their mistake is now knowing how to use the GPS and navigation tools properly. It’s important to make good reference points and have a good navigator as a co-driver rather than just a good mechanic.” While there are many stories Magers and the Mag7 team can recall about their experiences in Baja, one that stuck out is the perseverance of one racer who wanted to finish a SCORE race more than anything. “There are thousands of stories, but I recall one racer from Japan who competed in 2013 or 14 that came into one of our pits at 2 am,” said Magers. “He didn’t speak a word of English or Spanish but had a cracked case on his Honda 450. He was already passed the official finish time but wanted to make it to the end of the course. We got him going and got him down the peninsula and he finished the race.” Racers can always get involved with Mag7 by visiting the Mag7 race website and signing up when registration opens a few weeks before the race. SJ

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