Over the last 130 years there have been plenty of major motorsport competitions such as NASCAR, Moto GP, Rallying and of course Formula 1. However, these mainstream sports are just the tip of the iceberg and there are some races around the world that are quite frankly crazy! From Le Mans to Dakar these are my top 8 craziest races in the world (in no particular order because there all as crazy as each other!)
1. The Baja 1000
The Baja 1000 is an off-road race that takes place in the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. It allows various vehicle classes to compete on the same course, from motorcycles, buggies, trucks and custom race cars.
A 1000 mile race (1600km), it is traditionally started in Ensenada and ends in La Paz. The reason it makes it into my top 10 craziest races is that, as well as it being 1000 trudge through the Mexican desert, the spectators actively sabotaged and booby trap the course! Just take a look!
2. The Dakar Rally
This legendary race used to run from Paris to Dakar, Senegal but due to security threats (it was TOO dangerous), it has been moved to South America since 2009 and is open to both professionals and amateurs. Each stage has a distance of around 500-560 miles per day, with 2014 having 13 stages.
Despite it being called a rally, it is in fact an off-road endurance race, with extremely tough terrain, crossing sand dunes, mud, rock and camel grass, the terrain is so tough some riders have succumbed to heart attacks over the years!
3. Erzberg Rodeo
The Erzberg Rodeo is an Austrian motorcycle event that started in 1995 and is currently sponsored by Red Bull. It takes place in the Austrian alps on a working mine and is known for being the race with highest attrition rate with only a handful, out of the 1,500 who qualified, actually finishing the course!
The Rodeo has 4 days of events culminating with the top 500 making it through to the ‘Red Bull Hare Scramble’ which is 35km long and rarely do more than 30 make it with the four hour limit to finish the race, it is brutal!
4. Zero Emissions Race
This race started out as one person’s (Louis Palmer) round the world trip in a purely solar powered car, electric car. That journey took him 18 months and gave him the idea for the Zero Emissions Race.
The race consisted of Palmer inviting drivers from all over the world to drive their own cars with the only condition being that they use an electric car and generate it via renewable activity. Four teams entered the competition and so began the 80 day, 30000km and 17 country journey around the world (October 2010 – Feb 2011) the Zerotracer team won overall. The next race took place 2 years later and Palmer is hoping for a race every 2 years.
5. 4×4 Rainforest Challenge
Now for one of the muddiest races on the planet we have the 4×4 Rainforest Challenge which takes place in Malaysia every November. Fought over 5 nights and 6 days across 500 miles of unforgiving terrain, this race takes you through rain, mud, flooded rivers, slippery slopes and landslides taking well over an hour to travel just one kilometre!
As well as fighting the tough terrain you also have to deal with the humidity, sand flies, leeches and sleepless nights. This is not one for the faint-hearted!
6. King of the Hammers
Probably the most difficult off-road event in the United States is the King of the Hammers. This event combines two crazy extremes and meshes them into one, desert racing and rock crawling, hardly gin and tonic!
The race is held in February at Means Dry Lake in California and teams start two by two and have to complete the 165-mile course, including rock crawling, in less than 14 hours.
7. The Nurburgring 24
The Nurburgring is meant to be one of most difficult and dangerous race tracks in the world which is now primarily used as a testing facility. Some crazy souls however choose to not only take on the Nurburgring, but actually endure 24 hours of speeding round its corners!
And with over 200 cars and 700 drives taking part this race is not just crazy, it is also very, very dangerous!
8. East African Safari Rally
This 1000km race once took part in the World Rally Championship and was known for being the hardest in the entire calendar. Dropped from 2003, the race is still going with crazy souls taking on the continents toughest rally and official races taking place every year!
Despite being dropped from the World Rally Championship, the Kenyan government is trying to get its status restored.
So I’ll think you’ll agree there is much more to motorsport than just Formula 1, and if you’re looking for something a little more exciting than driving round in a circle for a couple of hours then these are the races for you!