NORRA-LogoSince the mid-1970s, the name of Bilstein has been synonymous with high-performance shock absorbers that are engineered for the demanding environment of desert off-road racing.  Now Bilstein has joined forces with the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) in its mission to “Honor the Past” and “Forging the Future” by being named as the “official shock absorber” of the California-based organization.

Today’s announcement comes in preparation of NORRA”s second off-road rally of 2013– the upcoming NORRA Mexican 500 “La Carrera Del Norte” (The Race of the North).  Scheduled for Sept. 27 – 30th, the new three-day Mexican 500 rally will take competitors from the historic off-road racing home of Ensenada, Baja, Mexico to Mexicali, San Felipe and back to Ensenada over three fun and adventure-filled days of competition and camaraderie.

NORRA-LogoJuly 3, 2013: Hoping to harness the momentum it enjoyed by hosting the largest rally since its 2010 rebirth, the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) today confirmed details of a second vintage-themed event for this calendar year. Now officially christened the 2013 NORRA Mexican 500 Rally, the on and off-road competition days will take place over a three-day period from Saturday, September 28th through Monday, September 30th.

In keeping with NORRA’s new tradition of opening event registration on a major holiday, all drivers and teams can submit official entries online beginning at 12:00 PM (PST) on Thursday, July 4th. Affectionately dubbed “The Happiest Race on Earth,” NORRA’s General Tire Mexican 1000 opens registration on New Year’s Day for its trademark spring event.

Armed with a now-proven track record of creating, promoting and hosting the latest form of desert off-road racing, the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) today officially announced it will stage a second vintage-themed rally this year from September 25th to September 28th beginning and ending in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico. The yet-to-be named event will be held the same weekend as the more traditionally formatted 10th annual “Mexicana Logistics 300” race of the CODE Off Road Series, and will offer competitors a second calendar date to NORRA’s General Tire Mexican 1000 rally, which this year takes place from April 27-May 1.

In a unique partnership, NORRA will work on this event with CODE, a well-established Mexican sanctioning body that attracts a very large and enthusiastic group of local racers. CODE has been instrumental in helping NORRA with the complex logistics needed to hold the annual NORRA General Tire Mexican 1000 adventure.

SAN CLEMENTE, CA, January 8, 2012 – Azuñia Tequila’s Race Team is ready to take on the untamed Baja desert with two race cars entering into the 2013 NORRA Mexican 1000.  Azunia’s race car the Snortin Nortin dominated the vintage class for two consecutive years and the team is looking to make that win a triple and re-introduce a fan favorite from early Mint 400 and Baja racing years the “57 Chevy”.  The “57 Chevy” was formerly owned and raced by Larry Schwacofer.

“The Snortin Nortin and the 57 Chevy will be going into a head-to-head battle in the 2013 NORRA race,” said Jim Riley, driver of record of Snortin Nortin and CEO of Azuñia Tequila. “Rick “Hurricane” Johnson and I have been racing on the same team for a long time.  This will be exciting to compete in different race cars in the same class on the Azuñia Tequila Race Team.”

Fort Mill, SC – April 24, 2012 - What do a rooster and a hurricane have in common? They will both be at the General Tire NORRA (National Off-Road Racing Association) Mexican 1000. Friends, and teammates, Rick “Hurricane” Johnson and Jim “Rooster” Riley will once again embark upon the 1,100-mile race down the exotic Baja peninsula from Mexicali to San Jose Del Cabo. This year’s rally marking the third time since the Mexican 1000 revival in 2010 that racers from all generations have piloted their vintage vehicles across one of the world’s most notorious deserts.

Johnson in his 1979 winged sprint car named “Jalopy” and Riley in the famed “Snortin Nortin” will both tackle the gritty, old school style of racing that has laid the groundwork for what we know as off-road racing today. Both historians of the sport, Johnson and Riley sat down to talk about the history of the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000, vehicle preparation, challenges, strategy, and socializing with 300 of their closest off-road friends. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What does it mean to you to compete in a race that laid the groundwork for today’s off-road racing?

A (Johnson) – Competing in the 2012 General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 returns us to a place in time where man and machine first challenged the unknown terrains of BAJA California, Mexico. It’s an honor for me to represent General Tire and retrace the routes of my childhood heroes who laid the groundwork for a race that is now known as the famous Baja 1000. In 1965 Ted Mangels was the first person to record a registered time in a 4-wheeled vehicle beating the previously set time of motorcycle racer Dave Ekins.

Las Vegas, NV – March 23, 2012 – General Tire announced today, in conjunction with the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA), that they will title sponsor the 2012 Mexican 1000. The General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 will run April 28 – May 2, 2012 and cover more than 1,100 miles down the exotic Baja peninsula from Mexicali to San Jose Del Cabo. This year’s rally, the third since the Mexican 1000 revival in 2010, is comprised of gritty, old school racing and a variety of unique social activities and is sure to be one for the history books.

Known as “The Happiest Race on Earth”, the Mexican 1000 is gaining a reputation for bringing fun and a shared sense of adventure back to Baja off-road racing. The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year rally spotlights vintage off-road vehicles, motorcycles and ATVs, as well as rally cars, a limited number of modern desert racecars, and classes for prerunner-type trucks and buggies. The four-day, on and off-road rally offers teams high-speed off-road driving with unparalleled views of Mexico’s scenic Baja peninsula, as well as offering new levels of the hospitality and social camaraderie that is the heart of the General Tire Mexican 1000 experience.

As the third annual NORRA Mexican 1000 gets set take the green flag for next month’s four-day run down the legendary Baja peninsula, event organizers and KC HiLites have announced a new partnership that will see the legendary light brand be the “Official Light” for the 2012 rally.

KC has been a pioneer in high quality off-road lighting since 1970 and its familiar yellow light cover has become one of the sport’s most iconic symbols.  Many of the vintage trucks, buggies and sedans that will compete in this year’s four-day, 1,100 mile competition will be counting on KC lights to help light the famous Baja darkness. KC HiLites products will also be utilized on several of the rally’s official pace trucks and support vehicles.

“KC HiLiTES is honored to be intimately involved with the NORRA Mexican 1000 for 2012,” explained company President Michael DeHaas. “This is an ideal relationship for KC, as it keeps us connected with our heritage and also with an event that’s completely unique and with huge potential for the future. Our involvement with motorsports has been critical to the process of designing, engineering and manufacturing the most advanced auxiliary lighting available. Thanks NORRA, for continuing the legacy of Baja off-road racing and adventure.”

“NORRA’s Mexican 1000 and KC HiLites is an ideal partnership for both parties,” explained founder Mike Pearlman. “Our motto is ‘Honoring the Past. Forging the Future.’ a philosophy we share with KC.”

About the Mexican 1000
Named the “Happiest Race on Earth,” the NORRA Mexican 1000 is a unique, once-a-year, four-day competitive rally through Baja that includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcyles, as well as newer “evolution” classes. NORRA is expecting more than 100 entries for next month’s Mexican 1000, a field comprised of a wide array of vehicles and teams.

For more information, including driver bios and vehicle histories, please visit www.Mexican1000.com

February 16, 2012: In celebration of his love affair with off-road motorsports and the exotic Baja peninsula, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) today announced that television star and racing journalist Dave Despain will be honored as the official Grand Marshall for the upcoming NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. Scheduled for April 28-May 2, this unique off-road event will cover 1,100 miles over four days beginning in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico and finishing in the world-class resort destination of San Jose Del Cabo.

Despain, a longtime off-road racing and Baja enthusiast, joins a growing list of distinguished Mexican 1000 Rally Grand Marshalls. Iconic Parnelli Jones, overall victor in the original NORRA Mexican 1000 in 1971 and 1972, enjoyed that title in the inaugural 2010 event, while Baja record setter and fiberglass dune buggy inventor Bruce Meyers was named Grand Marshall last year.

“I’ve been in love with the Baja Peninsula since the first time I covered a race there so to be named Grand Marshall for this year’s Mexican 1000 is both an honor and great thrill for me,” explained Despain. “Baja racers are special people but when they’re racing and I’m working TV there’s never a chance to socialize. The Mexican 1000 offers an opportunity to hang out with these folks after we all take our helmets off. I can’t wait!”
As part of his Grand Marshall duties, Despain will host the “Welcome Fiesta and Driver’s Meeting” at Mexicali’s historic bullring the night before competition begins. An avid motorcyclist, Despain will chase the event on the highway riding a Yamaha Super Tenere and also spend one day as a co-driver in a vintage off-road race car.

Already gaining a reputation for bringing fun and a shared sense of adventure back to Baja off-road racing, the one-of-a-kind, once-a-year rally spotlights vintage off-road vehicles, motorcycles and ATVs, as well as rally cars, a limited number of modern desert racecars and classes for prerunner-type trucks and buggies.

Perhaps best known today for his weekly hosting role at SPEED’s top-rated Wind Tunnel program (a job he has held since 2003), Despain has a long history of off-road and motorcycle broadcasting including hosting a number of highly regarded ESPN programs covering the SCORE Trophy-Truck series.

“NORRA is pleased to honor Dave Despain as our 2012 Mexican 1000 Grand Marshall and celebrate his many contributions to the heritage and coverage of our sport, both to the two and four-wheel world,” stated Pearlman. “Our objective for the 2012 rally is communicating the Mexican 1000’s unique story to a larger audience, and Dave is the ideal Grand Marshall in that regard. His influence on the motorsports universe cannot be overstated.”

ABOUT THE MEXICAN 1000
Dubbed the “Happiest Race on Earth” by Dirt Sports magazine, the unique vintage-flavored Mexican 1000 off-road rally was co-created by promoter Mike Pearlman in 2010. The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year, four-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, rally cars, a limited number of modern desert racecars and classes for prerunner trucks and buggies. Registration is now open to automobiles and motorcycles that meet basic safety standards as outlined in the new NORRA rulebook (currently available www.mexican1000.com).

With its dates and rally format firmly solidified, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) opened online registration to all participants for the 2012 Mexican 1000 on New Year’s Day. Since then rally registrations have surged to new pre-event levels. While there are still over three months left before teams converge at the historic bullring in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico for pre-rally technical inspections and an opening night “Welcome Fiesta and Driver’s Meeting,” nearly three dozen teams have already added their names to what should be record year for the unique four-day competition.  (See below for the first 30 Mexican 1000 entries.)

The first three entries came from enthusiastic rally veterans Walker Evans, Michael Gaughan and Butch Jensen. Additional entries arrived courtesy of veterans Brian Collins, Mark Post and Mark Stahl. It is expected that two-time rally winner Bob Gordon will join Malcolm Smith, Bud Feldkamp, Frank “Butch” Arciero Jr., Larry Roeseler, Don Adams, Dave Westhem, Randy Salmont and many others making plans for the journey down the Baja peninsula this April 28 – May 2, 2012.

Evans, an iconic figure in the world of off-road motorsports, will return with his famous Dodge Class 8 pick-up truck that took him to so many victories in the 1980s. At last year’s Mexican 1000 a mechanical issue forced him to retire on Day 2 just outside of beautiful Bahia De Los Angeles, but the beloved racer is looking forward to his return to this vintage-flavored event.

“Well, here is the real story,” explained Evans, who entered his first NORRA Mexican 1000 back in 1969. “I love Mexico. I love everything about the place. I am at the age and at the time of my life when I want to give something back to the place that has given me so much. The new NORRA Mexican 1000 is the perfect way to do that; four fun-filled days of seeing that beautiful peninsula while having time to visit with old friends and locals. It’s the most fun you can have, and I intend to have a good time, I can tell you that!”