As I type these words, I am a few days out of having returned from the 2017 edition of the El Diablo Run from Southern California to San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico. The El Diablo Run started back in 2006 by Bill and McGoo of Biltwell Inc. with about 40 participants in a loosely organized dash down sketchy Mexican highways to the free-spirited town of San Felipe nestled right on the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. The 2017 run participants numbered in a handful of hundreds.
The El Diablo run is all about the ride—and the tacos and beer-induced shenanigans once you get to the destination. There are no vendor aisles or big rigs lined up with teams of mechanics installing chrome doodads on bikes in a parking lot with a big corporate sponsor plastering banners everywhere like a lot of other events.
Once arriving in San Felipe you can either set up a hammock in a palapa or pitch a tent on the beach and enjoy a fresh, tasty beverage out of a hollowed-out pineapple or coconut. Pure tropical bliss.
Although San Felipe is easily a day’s ride from most of Southern California, it feels a lot farther than that. It is definitely another country. While not being really any more dangerous than your common sense can dictate, laws are very relaxed there. If you want to ride your motorcycle up and down the beach and right into the ocean, you can do that and nobody will bat an eyelash. It has happened on a few occasions actually.
It’s a refreshing change from the overly politically correct and sue-happy society in the United States. If you do something stupid in Mexico, it’s your problem and you deal with it. There are no lawyers to run to, and the locals will just shake their heads at you and laugh. By the way, those locals make some of the best food in the western hemisphere. The tacos there are what food dreams are made of. Just don’t drink the water or get any ice cubes for your drink. Trust me on both of these insights.
The El Diablo run features “biker games” during its daytime portions, with one of the standouts being the Circle of Death race. Some strategically placed tires form a circle track on an abandoned dirt lot littered with sand, rocks, broken beer bottles, and discarded party remnants from gringo revelers of yesteryear. Everything from choppers to decommissioned police bikes get loose on this battlefield, and more than little bit of blood is shed from riders and zealous onlookers alike. It’s all in good fun and is always something to talk about for a few years.
The event that closes out the El Diablo Run is the Cocktagon. It’s as crazy as it sounds. It is basically a bunch of people wearing nothing but swimming trunks and helmets beating each other silly with Wiffle-ball bats on the beach within a phallic-shaped battleground. Dozens enter, and only one is left standing. Add in spectators shooting fireworks and spraying beer at the gladiators and you truly have some spectacular entertainment.
The outstanding thing about the El Diablo Run is the riding and hanging out with old and new friends. It’s about the experience. These pure elements are lacking in a lot of current motorcycle events. It’s these elements along with the adventure and allure of Mexico that make EDR a must-attend event when it rolls around every other year. Did I mention to not drink the water or get ice cubes in your drink?