Rob MacCachren tells a good story. Also, back in 2007, he got his teammate Mark Post arrested in Mexico. Well, maybe he didn’t. He’s not exactly sure. I mean, he’s sure Mark got arrested, but it may or may not have been because of Rob’s fishtail on the highway leaving a dirt section of the San Felipe 250. It all started with a junkyard, or rather, it ended there. Hold up, I’ve been telling the story like Rob told it to me, but let’s iron out some wrinkles. The rest of this ride will be bumpy as hell, but we might as well make the reading smooth.
Today, Rob Mac is driving the Rockstar/BFG trophy truck with Jason Voss and Justin “Bean” Smith. He’s the lead driver on the team, and he’s won the Baja 1000 four times, the past three wins consecutive: 2014, 2015, and 2016. He’s also won stadium truck races, short course races, Craftsman truck series races before it was called Craftsman truck and way before it changed to Camping World, basically, at least one of every American and Mexican dirt race, and often more than one. So he’s a badass, and when he describes his 2007 teammate Mark Post as a madman, well, you start to expect a story to back that up. Rob delivers.
“You ever see the Riviera truck being chased by the cops video?” Rob asks, and I nod yes, with a vague memory of seeing a blurry YouTube video of a trophy truck ducking around a flashing police car and hauling ass in the dirt. “Well, I had just gotten out for the driver change, and Mark is on the highway, and this is after they started doing speed zones on the pavement sections, so you had to keep under a speed limit.”
Rob had completed his section, and was in the helicopter chasing the team—Baja 1000 top classes are no cheap date, when he noticed that the Riviera truck had some Federales company. “I couldn’t figure out what they were doing, because while I had come in hot when I was in the truck, I hadn’t been speeding, and we could see Mark’s speed, and he wasn’t over the limit.” First the cars paced the truck, then they lit him up.
Mark radioed to the chase vehicles, “What did I do? What do I do? They want me to pull over.”
It is not strictly legal for an aircraft to communicate directly with a race vehicle except in case of danger, but Rob figured being chased by the cops was danger. “I said to him, ‘Do what you want, but we’re 50 miles from the finish line in close second.’”
Mark didn’t pull over, he just keeps going the speed limit with the police cars behind him, and then he gets to the dirt and he takes off. They get the finish line and there are cops everywhere, blocking the finish, pointing guns at the truck. The crowd is going nuts.
Rob mimes holding a machine gun and Mark bringing the truck to an abrupt stop. “We’re a little worried, because Mark is a madman, and I don’t know what he’s going to do, but he stops and puts his hands up and they drag him out and handcuff him. In the meantime, his co-driver is like, ‘What do I do?’ and I say ‘Kelly drive it across the finish!’ and he does and they impound it and we had to get it out of a junkyard and it was that junkyard that we just passed, so that’s what made me think of it.”
What do you do at the end of a race when your truck is in impound and your driver is handcuffed in the back of a police car being hauled off to some unknown place in Mexico? Well, you land the helicopter, tell the race director, and then start tracking everything down. “We finally find Mark, and pay to get him out, and the cops never do tell us why they arrested him, and it all sort of goes away, but we’ve lost the race and Mark is getting hammered on Don Julio, but I’m still thinking about the race. We realize that we have all this video in the helicopter, and you can see exactly what happens and when, so we drag the race director over to look at it, and he says to the folks tallying up the scores, ‘Give ‘em back the time lost at the finish line. Where does that put them?’ and they do the math and look up and say, ‘In First Place.’ So we won. And that year we won my first overall in the Baja 1000 too.”