Troy Herbst currently leads the cars at the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000. Photo: Bink Design

(Bahía de Los Ángeles, Baja California): The opening stages of the NORRA Mexican 1000 were like beauty and the beast for competitors. Both the bikes, and the four wheeled competitors ran along the Pacific Coast; taking in spectacular scenery. The ocean contributed to the show with huge surf that crashed onto the jagged coastline. Just off shore, whales could be seen breaching out of the water. Much of the coast section runs along towering cliffs that drop to the surf below, but drivers got a chance to dip their treads into the water as they ran right on the sand in some spots. Don’t think that it was all fun in the sun; the beast would be found on the second half of the 456 mile long course. As they turned east and crossed the width of the peninsula on their way to the Bay of LA, there was plenty of silt and whoops to endure.

“That section where the Trophy Trucks have been running for the last ten years was not the place to take back time; I think my neck is broken,” said Mark McMillin jokingly. He was racing “Macadu” the 1979 Porsche powered Chenowth that took him to many Baja wins in the late seventies and early eighties. Mark may have been commenting about how rough it was but he was already at the finish line relaxing with a margarita in hand while much newer and more technically advanced cars and trucks were still coming across the line. He’s still a master in the dirt; even in a vintage era, beamed front end buggy.

Mark wasn’t the only one talking about how rough it was. “Lightning” Larry Ragland was the first across the line driving Jimmy Smith’s Ultra Wheels car. “The young guy over there beat me on time,” said Ragland, pointing towards the younger Pierce Herbst who is only 14 years old, “We tried to hold him off but we could have used some more wheel travel.” No Trophy Truck driver, especially one as accomplished as Lightning Larry, will ever be satisfied with the wheel travel on a transaxle car.

“We’ve been driving all day,” said Herbst, “We had no flats; we didn’t even get out of the car. There is not much to do on the truck tonight.” When asked if he had some good battles during the day he replied that it was a good day and was really fun. Ed Herbst was piloting the number 3 truck of Mark Post. “We were running in the top three but I missed a corner,” said Herbst, “When I spun around, it was dusty and I slipped into a deep rain rut. It seemed like an hour before we got out. It’s all good, we had a fun day.”

Steve Olliges had a good showing in the Zorro truck. Steve’s truck usually has a huge FOX shocks logo on the side. Apparently, Zorro means fox in Spanish so they put a special wrap on for the Mexican 1000. “It was a great day,” said Olliges, “It was left, right; you had to be on your toes all the way. It was very technical. We were chasing the Herbst Truggy and Apdaly (Lopez). There were some penalty zones so we’ll have to see how that plays out, but the truck ran perfectly today.”

Greg DiStefano admitted he was playing it safe. “We just kept moving all day,” said  DiStefano “I have a great navigator. He was amazing and didn’t miss a thing. It takes patience. We want to win but you have to finish. I wanted to huck it sideways in some of those sweeping corners but there were some big holes out there. We saw trucks stuck in those holes! There was a lot of whoops and silt too.”

Jonathan Brenthel had a great day behind the wheel of his Brenthel Industries class one car. “It was fast, it was fun,” said Brenthel, “We had a few little issues but overall it was really exciting. We never got passed. We started 27th and finished 6th over the line.”

Notably absent at the finish line was Walker Evans who broke something and is coming in on a trailer tonight and Robby Gordon who had a pin come out in his axle, causing the splines to twist. It took him 4 hours to clean it out and put it in the other way. He was able to continue on and finish the day. He wasn’t tracking today but we have his official times, and he will be racing tomorrow. Penalties need to be assessed so all results are un-official at this point but here is the way the top 11 will start tomorrow based on corrected time.

Unofficial Mexican 1000 Results  Thus Far
1. 119- Herbst
2. 100- Smith
3. 72- Acer
4. 7- Bult
5. 803- Westhem
6. 5- Clyde Stacy
7. 56- DiStefano
8. 827- Olliges
9. 8173- Brenthel
10. 34- Losch
11. 1515- Reardon

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