The Gentleman’s Guide to Racing (GGTR) has covered some of the biggest off-road desert races here in North America, and now the GGTR duo, made up of Michael “Skiny” Power and Cultural Attache Spanish Tony, has set its sites on the NORRA Mexican 1000.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): The NORRA Mexican 1000 is an epic race that travels the length of the Baja Peninsula. Known as “The Happiest Race On Earth,” its rally based format is fun for those seeking adventure and challenging for those who relish competition. The event has classes for many different bikes which draws a diverse and talented bunch of riders. There could be no greater demonstration of that point than to look at this year’s top finishers.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): The Bilstein Madonna trophy is recognized around the world as one of the most prestigious awards a racer can achieve. When Bilstein announced they would be presenting a Madonna and two sets of shocks at the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000, many racers took note. The Mexican 1000 is a unique blend of high-performance driving, incredible scenery and world-class adventure in a tough, multi-stage race that honors the roots of Baja racing. Part of the criteria for earning the Madonna award was competing in an authentic vintage vehicle.
(San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California): The final stages of the NORRA Mexican 1000 were not merely a formality. Plenty of challenging terrain was in store for competitors as they made their way down the coast from La Paz to the finish in San Jose Del Cabo. Some pulled under the NORRA banner at the finish with hardly a scratch. Others limped in, dirty, broken and barely running. Most notable in its absence was the #72 Trophy Truck of Robert Acer. Acer’s V-drive gave out during the first special stage, leaving him miles from the finish line. Rear engine trucks have the back end of the engine pointing forward. The V-drive redirects the drive shaft back to the rear axle. Without it, the truck doesn’t move. The NORRA Mexican 1000 is the happiest race on earth but it’s also an extremely challenging test of endurance.
(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.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): NORRA is more than just adventure wrapped up in a race down the peninsula. For many who enter the Mexican 1000, it’s time spent with family and friends enjoying the diverse challenges unique to Baja.
Rob and Kyle Usnick are a father and son team who are no strangers to off-road racing. In fact, they enjoy every brutal minute of it. Having started in 2009, Rob has competed in numerous King of the Hammers, the Mint 400, several other SCORE, BITD, BRT and of course the NORRA Mexican 1000 in 2013 and 2015. With a diverse resume, Rob has raced JeepSpeed, rockcrawlers, motorcycles, and UTV’s.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): There are always great stories that come to light during the NORRA, Mexican 1000. With such a diverse group of vintage cars, modern race vehicles, UTVs, motorcycles and prerunners competing this year, the rally has become compelling before the it even begins. Vehicles in the race range from PJ Jones’ Polaris XP1000 to Larry Trim’s 1968 SC/Rambler sedan. Trim raced in 2013 and made plans to return with a vintage racer. His S/C Rambler is a recreation of a car once driven by James Garner. “We had help from a member of the original 1969 build team,” says Trim, “We have made the car as authentic to the original as possible, right down to the airbags in the front coils, and the bias ply super traxion tires. I’ll be trading driving duties with my co driver and business partner Brent Yeadon.”
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): MAG-7’s pit service is the cheapest “insurance” for Baja racing you will ever invest in for the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000. If you’re planning to self-support your race vehicle, consider using them for emergency service only. This gives you six well-equipped pits complete with welders, power tools, and a skilled team to help you get back on your way.
For 2016 they’re rolling out a new pit service pricing model in response to racer feedback designed to reduce costs and give teams maximum flexibility.
BIKE SUPPORT – Included with Mexican 1000 entry
Back for their third straight year at the Mexican 1000, Mag7 has been pitting since 1969 when the original Magnificent 7 provided services at the Baja 1000. All entrants receive “bike” level pit support, (a $600 value) which includes fuel at all pitting locations strategically placed over this year’s five-day, 1,300-mile trans-Baja Mexican 1000 rally. If you want to replicate the original rally, Mag7 will carry your pit box or tote (one per team) along the route. This gives the hardcore adventure rider a true test at the rally having only him/her and basic pit support to rely on. The totes can hold various items such as: parts, tools, a tent, a sleeping bag and will be waiting for the rider each evening.
BASIC PIT SERVICE – $600
Their Basic Service gives you and your team full access to their pits, tools, and staff. If you need help, their team – made up of racers – will be there to help get you back on the road. Pit locations are designed to allow you to chase or self-support during the transit sections. All pits are at the 50%-60% point of each Special Stage, right where you need them the most.
“PICK YOUR PITS” SERVICE – $100 for first pit, $50 for each additional pit
Once you’ve signed up for your Basic Pit Service, they offer you the option to add one more more pits that best suit your race plan. They space their pits approximately at the midpoint of the Special Stages, but you may not need all of them. Pick Your Pits allows you just pay for the pits you need, reducing your overall pit service cost. You can either provide them with your fuel and spares or buy fuel through them (for an additional fee) and they’ll have it ready when you arrive. They do the fueling and servicing using their own equipment and you’re on your way.
(They can provide 91, 100 and 110 octane fuel, and use their own dry breaks, Jazz cans, or 11-gallon dump cans. They also do two strokes!)
CHASE TRUCK SUPPORT – $50 (plus fuel cost)
There’s little worse in off road racing to be running low on fuel with no Pemex in sight. For this year’s NORRA, we’re offering a Chase Truck Fueling and Fuel Dump point at a location to be announced once the map is released. This ensures your chase vehicles will have the range to fully support your vehicle and that you can optimize the space in your Chase Trucks without having to crowd in extra fuel drums.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): The entire NORRA family wishes to recognize the passing of Doña Anita Grosso de Espinoza, known to racers and world travelers as “Mama Espinoza.” Over the many years, countless NORRA racers and Baja adventurers were fortunate enough to make her acquaintance and enjoy her generous hospitality. The restaurant she ran with her family for over 40 years was check point one at the very first Mexican 1000 back in 1967. Mama Espinoza’s has always been the place to fuel up and get a delicious meal before heading farther south on the Peninsula.
(Agua Dulce, Calif.): After taking part in a legendary rally like NORRA’s Mexican 1000, it’s fitting that the awards ceremony is equally as celebrated. Navigating the length of the Baja Peninsula on your motorcycle, in your UTV, vintage race vehicle or modern race car demands a festive moment to relax, rejoice with new friends and old, and to bask in the accolades you have earned.