Every fall since 1967 a hearty and eclectic band of adventurers have gathered in Ensenada, Mexico in Baja California for one of the roughest, toughest and most exhilarating rides ever concocted. It’s the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the longest non-stop, point-to-point race in the world. Now award-winning filmmaker Dana Brown (“Step into Liquid”), plunges into the world of the Baja 1000 with DUST TO GLORY a feature documentary that captures all the excitement, hard knocks, sights and sounds of this extraordinary event.
Using over fifty cameras and a crew of ninety, Brown puts the audience right in the middle of a race often called the most dangerous in the world. But the Baja 1000 is not only about the competition but the camaraderie among some 1200 participants driving 270 vehicles of all sizes and shapes in a carnival atmosphere witnessed by 200,000 spectators. As much as anything, DUST TO GLORY celebrates the unique people and geography of Baja, from sun-baked mountains to dusty deserts to the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. “The place is everything,” says Brown. “If the race were someplace else, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s like a going back in time.”
Among the people Brown introduces us to is Mike “Mouse” McCoy (who also served as one of the film’s producers), a motorcycle maniac who gives new meaning to the term hard-nosed. For reason known only to himself, Mouse has decided to ride the entire 1000 miles of the race solo— with no other drivers to spell him for over 18 hours.
Also along for the ride are three generations of the McMillin family, including 16-year-old prodigy Andy, with a brand new Calif. driver’s license, tearing down dirt roads in their open wheel Class 1 buggy. Keeping it all in the family is the contentious father-son team of JN and Jimmy Roberts. Sixty-two-year-old JN won the first Baja in 1967 but hasn’t been back in thirty years. Then there’s an all-women team as well as the remarkable sight of relatively unmodified pre-1983 VW bugs—the little engines that could—pushing to make it across the finish line.
And presiding over the whole event as the Grand Marshall is the almost angelic presence of the most famous racer alive, Mario Andretti, who seems like there is no place on earth he would rather be. In fact, celebrities have long been a part of the amazing scene and Steve McQueen and James Garner make cameo appearances in archival footage.
Racing everything from motorcycles hitting speeds up to 120 mph, 800 horsepower trophy trucks, dune buggies with Porsche engines and even the diminutive Bugs, everyone is there just for the joy of it all and the accomplishment of completing something nearly impossible. And thanks to DUST TO GLORY even those less adventurous get to thrill in the ride of a lifetime.
Release Date: April 1st, 2005 (limited).
MPAA Rating: PG for racing action and peril, and for some language.
Distributor: IFC Films
Cast and Credits
Starring: Jimmy Vasser, Mike "Mouse" McCoy, Mario Andretti, Robby Gordon, Sal Fish
Produced by: Mike "Mouse" McCoy, Scott Waugh, Mike McCoy