(Agua Dulce, Calif.): In celebration of his lifelong love affair with off-road motorsports, the Baja peninsula and an entire industry he helped to foster, racing legend Rod Hall was today named by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) as “Grand Marshal” for the 2014 General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000. Scheduled for May 10 – 14, this unique, vintage-flavored off-road event will cover 1,300+ miles over four days starting in Ensenada, Mexicali, Baja, Mexico and finishing in the world-class resort destination of San Jose Del Cabo.
Now preparing for the fifth annual running of an event known as “The Happiest Race on Earth,” NORRA has enjoyed a rich history of honoring a special off-road icon at each of its General Tire Mexican 1000 rallies. Racing legend Parnelli Jones, overall victor in the NORRA Mexican 1000s of 1971 and 1972, served as Grand Marshal at the inaugural 2010 event. Baja record setter and fiberglass dune buggy inventor Bruce Meyers was next, followed in 2012 by motorsports television personality and Baja enthusiast Dave Despain. Last year’s honoree was five-time overall Baja 1000 champion and Mexican 1000 rally veteran Mark McMillin.
As part of his Grand Marshal duties, the always-amiable Hall will make a special appearance at the “Welcome Fiesta and Driver’s Meeting” in Ensenada’s historic Riviera Cultural Center the night before competition begins. He will also be attending daily post-rally celebrations in several of the event’s overnights stops. This will include the highly-anticipated South Point Hotel Casino “Rally Awards and Celebration” in the seaside town of San Jose Del Cabo.
“Well, first of all it’s really an honor to be named as the Grand Marshal for the fifth annual rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally,” explained Hall from his Reno, Nevada home. “Going back to Baja without the pressures of racing but with the excitement of seeing all these guys and their unique machines will be great. You get to an age where pulling on the old driving suit isn’t as important as it once was. I am just tickled to go down there with NORRA and hang out for a week just being Rod Hall.”
Inducted with the 2005 class of honorees into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), Hall was one of the founding fathers of the sport.
Rod Hall began his racing career in 1964 by winning the Afton Canyon Jeep Junket in the desert outside of Riverside, California. He then went on to race the inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000 in 1967 before winning the event overall with Larry Minor in 1969. By 1975, along with co-rider and friend Jim Fricker, Hall was assigned to a Bill-Stoppe prepared factory 4WD Dodge. In 1977, the duo began a winning streak that lasted into the next decade with an unbroken string of 37 consecutive SCORE and HDRA victories—an off-road racing record.
Racing in overseas rallies eventually earned Hall a factory program with HUMMER. Together with son Chad, the team enjoyed another era of remarkable success and championships. Hall is the ten-time winner of the Mint 400, a ten-time winner of the Parker 400, the 12-time winner of the Fireworks 250, 12-time winner of the Baja 500 and the only 17-time winner of the Baja 1000. Over the course of his racing career, Hall has won 14 major class points championships.
“Let’s face it, Rod Hall is one of the sport’s true originals, and we are pleased and proud to have him join us for the 2014 NORRA Mexican 1000,” explained NORRA President Mike Pearlman. “It’s great to add a legend like Rod Hall to a rally that’s shaping up to be the best Mexican 1000 yet!”