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.

Just about the time you think you’ve seen it all, here comes something down the pike that rattles your cage and pops your eyeballs wide open. Most of us tend to agree that one of the worst motorcycles ever made was the Suzuki TM 400 Cyclone. It had plenty of power, that’s for sure, but the power that it did have came on like a light switch and there was no telling exactly when the hit would come. Sometimes it came on at 3000 RPM, and other times it was 3500 RPM, and it all contributed to you taking strange trips down the dirt.