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Rally bikes in a container ready for shipping to Baja. Rally bikes in a container ready for shipping to Baja.

Rally offers shipping to European racers

23 bikes were shipped from Liverpool for next week's Baja Rally

European rally racers are getting some extra encouragement to participate in the Baja Rally this year. Their bikes have been shipped by sea at no cost to the riders.

The bikes and gear belonging to 23 rally contestants were packed in crates and loaded into two containers for shipping by freighter from Liverpool, England, for a 38-day-voyage to Ensenada, Baja California.

It is the first the time the four-year-old Baja Rally has shipped bikes in such a fashion, but the practice is not new. It was adopted by the Paris-Dakar Rally (now The Dakar) to ship bikes to South America.

Baja Rally organizers wanted to make the race more accessible to European riders, so they worked with the Knights of Old Group logistics firm in the U.K. to get bikes from the U.K., Ireland, Scotland and Austria into containers and on to a cargo vessel.

At the conclusion of the rally the bikes will be shipped back again.

“We pretty much decided that in order to sustain our event we needed to bring the racers to Mexico so we offered them a free ride on the boat,” said the rally’s Mauricio Parra. “The normal cost for a racer to ship a single bike is several thousand dollars but consolidating a single shipment with two containers . . . was an economical way to share what we have here and attract more world-class racers to future editions.”

The 1,450-kilometer rally begins on Monday and finishes the following Saturday at the San Nicolas Hotel and Casino in Ensenada. Eighty entrants will participate from 13 different countries.

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