To help prepare Jesse beyond his years of driving experience and past history at Baja, we thought we would give him a nice quiet ride through a landmine field. With explosive charges set to fire randomly, he will have to drive his truck around a most formidable field of flying dirt and debris. While the military has sophisticated equipment to detect landmines and take their time navigating a field of them, Jesse will have to rely on instinct and cat-like reflexes to avoid becoming a projectile himself as he zips through the field in his truck. The simulation will be sobering. Driving the Baja course means poor visibility and unknown obstacles, and even at 30mph he will have only a few 10ths of second to react, let alone when he opens it up on the flats. This will be a true test of preparedness and one Jesse needs to take seriously.
We don’t stop there though. Just for the heck of it, for both destructive purpose and science, we launch a truck into the air to examine the impact should Jesse’s vehicle become airborne and flip while racing. Loaded with accelerometers and special equipment, we record impacts both to the truck and to the driver to get an idea of the true dangers involved with this kind of racing. Baja racing is not for the weak at heart or those just looking to kick up a little dirt. If a vehicle flips moving at speed, impacts are not only severe, they may be deadly. Being airborne in a vehicle may not be new for Jesse, but being airborne upside down would be; and not something he wants to see while racing the Baja.
Sure, from the outside it may look like another dirt race, but with an unforgiving landscape that was never meant for cars, let alone humans, Jesse will have to draw on every skill he has to keep his vehicle moving and his mind sharp. Over hours of racing in dry heat, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and dirt flying impeding his line of sight, this is anything but ordinary. Once again, Jesse is put to the test to see if he can evade disaster and live to see another day.
David Sandler is the Science Advisor for 'Jesse James is a Dead Man', and President and Co-Founder of StrengthPro, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org