2014 NORRA Mexican 1000 Wraps Up in Baja

May. 19, 2014 By Art Eugenio, GETSOMEphoto.com
Rich Voss wins the Evolution class at the 2014 NORRA Mexican 1000.

As expected, last week’s NORRA Mexican 1000 was more than a rally, more than a good time, but more of history in the making, as the rally set a new attendance record for entries at 168. There were a number of new faces as well as the “regulars” from the last few years, a plethora of “new” vintage rigs, but most importantly the same spirit for which NORRA has become known.

Newcomer to the rally and overall winner this year was Rich Voss. He can often been seen overseeing his son Jason’s racing efforts in the Best in the Desert series, but this time it was his “turn to have fun.” He and his crew navigated an almost flawless rally to bring home the overall win in their “vintage” ProTruck.

Bob Gordon finished second in the Vintage Class.

Rory Ward continued the legacy of Mickey Thompson in the Challenger 4 coming up short of a win. As groundbreaking as the car was in its day it often had trouble and DNFed often while leading the race, mostly because the man behind the wheel didn’t know when to say when. That wasn’t the case this time around for Ward, as overheating issues and a broken rod end took him out of the running on day two of the rally.

2014 Photo Highlights

2013 Mexican 1000 Coverage

2012 NORRA Mexican 1000

“The CH4 is FAST, and very squirrelly,” said Ward. “It was a great time running. I started behind Bud Feldkemp in the BelRay buggy and after running for 20 minutes at cruise pace I picked it up and started seeing light dust. I finally caught him and hour into the run. He was running very well and then I got to his rear bumper and stayed there for approximately 15 minutes, trying to find a line around him but he was a hard guy to pass. I found my spot and plowed through the brush and made the pass stick. This was probably the highlight of the race getting to pass a car and driver whom I've always looked up to.”

Rory Ward and team were unable to get the Mickey Thompson racecar to the finish line this year.

Unfortunately, Ward’s good fortune didn’t last, as the CH4 ran into issues early on.

“As the outside air got a little warmer so the did the temps on the CH4,” Ward said. “Then at race mile 101, the rear of the car let loose and started walking sideways on me.  Something had broken in the rear. I pulled over and saw the rear trailing arm literally sticking straight up out of the dirt! ‘That was odd,’ I thought. I had broke a rod end and it slightly bent the trailing arm.

“We are disappointed of course but very proud of what we did.  Challenger IV ran the way it always did, close to the front, FAST and with a lot of flash!” he said. “Then of course came the DNF, which pretty much always happened to this marvelous machine. In memory of Mickey Thompson, thanks for letting me sit in your seat for a little while, it's something that I will never forget and a story that will bore the hell out of the family ‘til the day I die.”

When the rally made its return to the deserts of Mexico just a few years ago, many said it wouldn’t happen again. They said it was a one-time deal, that people wouldn’t keep bringing their vintage off-road cars back to beat them down the Baja peninsula, and no one in the their right mind would actually build a vintage-style rig for this or, god forbid, restore one. The naysayers be damned, as the NORRA Mexican 1000 has established itself as a bucket list event to which more and more flock to each year. This rally is something that every man can attain.

John Swift

So the question is, what are you building for next year’s Mexican 1000?

Larry Roeseler

Full results for this year’s race can be found at http://www.norra.com/results.php.

2014 Photo Highlights

2013 Mexican 1000 Coverage

2012 NORRA Mexican 1000

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