Tim Sanchez is is many things....photographer, desert racer, journalist, entrepreneur, Baja adventurer and family man. He has logged nearly a half million miles of travel all over the Baja peninsula and is always eager for more time south of the border. We caught up with Tim recently to talk about his ongoing love affair with Baja and his new role with the Desert Assassins racing team.
BB: How long have you been traveling down to Baja?
TS: I got my first taste of high-speed adrenaline in the 1960's as a youngster. Together, I shared the passion of Baja adventure travel with my father beginning at 7-years old trouncing down the peninsula in my father's Dodge Power Wagon. My love affair with the majestic land known as 'Baja' is four decades in the making. And after nearly a half million Baja adventure miles, my dream of sharing the passion of off road adventure came to life when I was joined by my 20-year old daughter, Brittany, where our father/daughter duo raced the SCORE Baja 1000 together in the highly competitive Baja Bug class. We crossed the line over 25 hours later, exiting the race car, beaten and battered, but we were smiling ear-to-ear. The Baja Peninsula has long been considered my second-home as my father is Mexican and my mother is of Irish descent.
BB: How did you first get involved in desert racing?
TS: My father, also a Baja adventurer, introduced me to the SCORE Baja 1000 race in the early 1970's as a spectator and fan. As a teenager I continued to follow the races and we went to races at Riverside Raceway and then followed the series to Baja. After high school I entered the United States Army and when I returned from serving our country in the military I was sucked into the vortex of desert racing.
BB: You recently got hired as the team manager of the Desert Assassins. What is that new role going to entail?
TS: Actually, it's a bit more complicated than just the team manager position. Cameron and Heidi Steele hired me as their Director of Operations overseeing their entire company, Desert Assassins, which is involved in many aspects of the action sports world. Of course it includes racing two Geiser Trophy Trucks in multiple series, as well as the Class 6 truck that Heidi races is a big part of what I manage. I am also managing the two motorcycle action television shows (Rip to the Tip and Master of Baja) highlighting the majestic beauty of Baja that has aired on the FUEL TV Channel in the past few years. And then add in the 8 to 10 off road motorcycle rides with up to 40 riders per ride supported by a fleet of chase trucks and staff needed to travel down the Baja Peninsula, it can be rather daunting at times. The Desert Assassins is a non-stop marketing machine that is involved in many different projects from racing to introducing the love of Baja to those that have never been.
BB: You also work for Fox Racing Shox and run the DirtNewz website. Is it safe to say you have intentionally built up a career that revolves around traveling to Baja?
TS: The general public probably has no idea about my career path, as I'm fairly a private person, but the truth of the matter is that I'm a retired law enforcement executive that served the public in both the military and Southern California law enforcement for 28 years. Over the many years, I have balanced an adventure lifestyle with a successful public service career as a law enforcement supervisor. I started Rock On Motorsports Management, Inc. 20 years ago as marketing and advertising firm specializing in the action sports world, with the idea that my kids would someday morph into running the many different aspects of the company. My company ROMM, Inc. owns and operates DIRTnewz.com, which is led by my married daughter Brittany Westhoff. But in addition to DIRTnewz, we also have a myriad of clients such as FOX RACING SHOX, BFGoodrich Tires and many more. It just happens to be that my clients also travel to Baja on a regular basis. The flip side of my wild high-energy adrenaline junky adventure side is nearly the opposite. I've been lucky enough to be considered by some as an accomplished photographer and published journalist having won the SCORE International Journalist of the Year award twice. I have a couple books in the works, but I'm not too hip on publishing them for the world to read, they are more or less a historic journey of my adventure life for my close friends and family.
BB: Any particular destination in Baja that you would say is your favorite?
TS: Now this is a tough question! I have so many loves down the length of the peninsula. When I say, 'loves' I'm referring to perfect beaches, vista views, and canyons that many people don't even know exist! When I need to escape from the world I have a handful of spots to go hide at, but recently I was 'hiding' and Larry Roeseler and Tim Herbst were on an off road motorcycle trip and they FOUND me! I love the beach so in the summer time my two favorite spots are San Juanico and Gonzaga. In winter, I roam the Sea of Cortez between El Barril and San Felipe. I might have some other secret spots that I don't want to divulge but I'm always open to share a couple cold Pacificos with anyone! I love Baja and the people of Baja.
BB: What is your best Baja memory?
TS: I have three that really stick out. The first one is while I was with a group of friends on a moto / atv ride and we were staying overnight at Rancho Santa Ynez in Catavina at Oscar and Matilda's and my friend and mentor, Jimmy Smith, drove north from Los Barriles to meet us that exact particular night. We sat outside at the picnic table until the sun rose drinking a bottle of tequila and telling stories. I got to tell you, I really miss Jimmy. I learned a lot about life from Don Jimmy! The second was racing the SCORE Baja 1000 with my daughter. Together we started and finished the race and it was an incredible challenge, but sharing the experience of racing in Baja with my kids has long been a dream and it was the time of my life. The last was winning the 2007 SCORE Baja 1000, the longest ever Baja 1000 in history at 1296-miles. We won the race overall in the #3 Riviera Racing truck and with it being the most historic desert race to date, the 40th SCORE Baja 1000, it was 3 months of nonstop work and wild running fun!
BB: Awesome! Thanks Tim!