Jim Wazny, Chris Ridgway, and Mario Panagiotopoulis, all lower-limb amputees, joined forces November 15-17, to race the 45th Baja 1000 on their Honda CRF450x dirt bikes. Out of 11 teams that started in the 450cc class, the HERO (Helping Everyone Reach Out) Racing team was one of nine to finish-they claimed sixth place in their class, riding 1,121.55 miles in 31 hours, 30 minutes, 59 seconds.
In total, 298 individuals from 34 states and 23 countries came to compete in what many riders consider to be one of the toughest off-road races in the world; 174 individuals finished. The Baja 1000 is a 1,000-mile dirt race down the Baja California Peninsula. It starts in Ensenada, Baja California, and ends in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. What makes this race stand out from many other off-road races is that cars, trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles compete together.
Wazny, Ridgway, and Panagiotopoulis combined racing with a charitable endeavor: partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, they raced to provide a prosthetic leg for a boy in need.