Back to storm the desert

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Amigos: Quinn Wilson, left, and Phil Casey competing in last year's Baja 1000

Queenstowner Quinn Wilson’s preparing for another hair-raising high-speed ride in the Mexican desert.

He and former local Phil ‘LP’ Casey are starting the world’s most prestigious off-road race, Baja 1000, next Friday.

Last year, despite minimal preparation, they finished third in their class, covering more than 1800km in under 45 hours.

This year’s course is a shorter 1300km loop race from Ensenada.

Wilson and and Casey are also sharing the duties with another driver and co-driver so they’ll possibly race for only 12 hours.

On the other hand, with about 540 horsepower, their Trophy Truck’s a lot bigger and faster than the model they raced last year.

“Everything’s coming a lot quicker at you, so Phil said being in the truck for 12 hours is like doubling it.”

Wilson’s pre-running the course with Casey this week.

“I make notes on every corner and any ditches, jumps, cliffs, canyons, drops, whatever we’ve got coming up.”

With 28 trucks in their class setting off at one-minute intervals, Wilson says they’ll often be engulfed in dust from other vehicles.

“You can’t see a whole lot, it does make it pretty interesting – you’ve got to run on GPS.”

The 29-year-old says their third placing last year was pretty incredible – “there’s been guys running it for 10 years and they still haven’t finished”.

“You don’t want to hold too many high hopes, but it would be nice to get another good finish.”

Wilson’s already had some recent ‘seat time’.

He and Queenstowner Max Perkins raced the five-day Targa Rally, winning the Peter Brock Memorial Trophy for “embracing the spirit” of the event, along with their mechanic Kevin Molloy.

scoop@scene.co.nz