Through VETMotorsports, an award-winning, non-clinical outreach program that honors and empowers active military, veterans with service-connected injuries and their caregivers through active participation in motorsports, two veterans are serving as pit crew members with the Magnificent 7 (MAG 7) during this week’s SCORE Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
The VETMotorsports program was created to provide inspiration and motivation to active military and veterans with service-related injuries by making them part of a new team and giving them a new mission. VETMotorsports recruits participants, embeds them with professional racing teams or puts them behind the wheel, and covers all expenses for them a caregiver to take part in the experience.
Working with the MAG 7 team during the 51st annual desert race will be Army Specialist Alex Zerbest for Neosho, Wisconsin and Army Specalist Howard Zimmerman from Aguanga, California.
The vets will be doing light mechanical work on a variety of motorcycles and four-wheel vehicles during the 1000-mile race. MAG 7 crews establish pits every 60 miles of the grueling off-road event, offering participants refueling, repairs and maintenance, transportation, communication and other necessities. The group has been part of the Baja 1000 since 1967.
“We’re passionate about desert racing and have been coming to Baja from the very beginning,” said MAG 7 Rear Admiral (ret) Mike Shatynski. “Every year we welcome new members to the group who share our excitement for racing and adventure. We’re honored to be working with VETMotorsports this year and to welcome this amazing group of vets to the team. It’s going to be an awesome week working together.”
“Losing 22 veterans a day to suicide is something that has to stop,” said VETMotorsports Founder and Executive Director Peter Cline. “That’s why we founded VETMotorsports and why we’re excited to be working with MAG 7 to honor and empower these brave service members through events like this year’s Baja.”
VETMotorsports’ Baja 1000 program is being made possible through individual donations to the non-profit. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.vetmotorsports.org to donate, volunteer or participate.