Desert Dingo Racing LogoI was recently contacted by Jim Graham, co-owner of Desert Dingo Racing . His team is racing a 1969 VW Beetle in the Baja 1000 in Mexico. This year the Baja 1000 event occurs on the same day as World Diabetes Day sponsored by the Internation Diabetes Foundation.

I am not familiar at all with either of these events ( some video of the Baja 1000 can be found on YouTube here ) but the two events are related in that the team will be using the event to generate awareness of diabetes ( two team members have Type 2 diabetes ) and raise money for diabetes research and education.

Jim was kind enough to provide background on his team and the event.

  • Desert Dingo Racing is a team of Silicon Valley professionals who’ve come together to race a near-stock 1969 VW Beetle in the 40th annual, 1,300 mile long Baja 1000 desert race. The course will take them from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja California.
  • Two members of the team, Mike Aquino and Richard Palasik, have Type 2 diabetes and several other team members have a history of the disease in their families.
  • The team has partnered with the International Diabetes Federation and has been designated the official “World Diabetes Day car” for the race. The team is supporting a drive-a-thon fund raiser to support diabetes research and education. 100% of the funds raised go to the IDF. We’re also working with the Federacion Mexicana de Diabetes in Mexico City and expect to be distributing information on diabetes in Spanish during the race.
  • Diabetes is the third leading cause of death in Baja California. Mexico is second only to the U.S. with the highest prevalence of diabetes in North America, reporting 33% of all cases, according to the SASI Group. Of the 8 million people living along the U.S.-Mexico border, 5.7%, or approximately 1.2 million, have Type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Pre-diabetes has been found among 14% of the total adult population in the area on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the CDC. Pre-diabetes affects approximately one million individuals, impacting 51% of women and 49% of men.
  • Baja 1000 Race Week runs from Nov. 10-16 and coincides with World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14. The race begins 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. We expect it will take us 53 hours to complete the course driving non-stop and changing out drivers and navigators several times. We will start live blogging and Twittering when we arrive in Mexico on Nov. 9.
  • The race attracts 300,000 spectators on the course and millions more watch the TV coverage. It’s the longest non-stop point-to-point race in the world.
  • Class 11 racing is limited to near-stock pre-1983 VW Beetles that have a roll cage, minor suspension modifications, racing seats and seatbelts and slightly larger tires. The nine-time winner in Class 11, Eric Solorzano, built Desert Dingo’s engine.