The GENERAL TIRE NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally finished today in San Jose Del Cabo after 4 days of non-stop action packed with speed, drama and the beauty of the “BAJA”. This is the “original” BAJA race and it is still in the infancy stage of its reincarnation, but one thing is for sure: Once you do it, you will come back. They call it “The Happiest Race on Earth” for good reason: it is simply different and many might say better.
Clyde Stacy and Robby Gordon in the RPM/ SPEED Energy HUMMER lit it up this year as mostly a training and testing missing for the H3 and also for Clyde’s DAKAR debut this coming January in Peru. “We had three issues in the last DAKAR that we were able to address in this rally”, Gordon explained at the finish line, “I was pushing this car as hard as I would in any DAKAR stage”
Michael Gaughan’s Dodge Ram Charger cleaned house with the OA in the “vintage open truck” class while Mark McMillin came home with best in class for “vintage open buggy.”
The RDC team of Klaus Rasch, Gus Vildosola and Martin Garibay, ran strong on every stage and also put heat on the “other” classes with an incredible showing of car build, teamwork and driving skill. An impressive rally for the 67 class 11 and their second class championship in the M1K.
Mexico’s Octavio “TAVO” Valle took OA top honors of the bike classes on a DAKAR prepped HONDA CRF 450X with nearly an hour cushion over the next fastest bike of BAJA rookie Michael Gilkey.
Of the many notable bike highlights, Malcolm and Alexander Smith continued the family legacy by taking their 2-stroke Husqvarna to the limit and really “did work” by keeping the “jalopy” out in the front of the pack virtually every stage. It is amazing to see the talent of both their bike build as well as Alexander’s prowess doing battle with late model bikes.
Rookie of the year on bikes goes out to Michael Gilkey of North Carolina who spent his first days in BAJA riding up front with longtime seasoned vets “TAVO”, Alexander Smith and (on day 1) Tim Morton.
Hugely impressive was Gus Holcomb and Mark Reynolds showing on their KTM350. Also first time BAJA riders, they were out in front for the entire rally and have now been bitten by the BAJA bug.
There are so many deep stories on this rally and we will only tell you this: If you watch Dust to Glory and see the part where the first Mexican 1000 finishes, it looks very small and intimate, as with anything that is new and special. With the reemergence of the Mexican 1000 the finish area had this same intimacy, which is nice. But going forward into the future, this rally will evolve and attract many newcomers to this style of multi-day stages and unmarked courses with navigation playing a determining factor.
The entire team at GT and NORRA pulled off an amazing event that is just a sign of many new things to come. After spending 4 days running down the BAJA, all of the participants, both racers and crew are reveling in the essence of this event and living the reality of the “F-WORD”: FUN.