A new BAJA motorcycle speed record was set today by multi-time SCORE champion Tim Morton with an average speed of 69.66 MPH on the first day of the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000. However this may not stick as an official record because, ironically, Morton smoked the crank on his HONDA XR650r on the last transfer stage on the way in to Bahia De Los Angeles. Also, Morton was assessed a 30 minute penalty for being late into the 3rd and final controlled stage from Gonzaga to Chapala. “I went to the Pemex on the south side of San Felipe to get my gas and they were closed,” Morton explained at the finish area in Bay of LA, “So that sent me back into town and made me late for my 3rd stage, then the crank blew up on my way in.
Two new BAJA rookies lead the OA bikes category today in the newly official unlimited bikes class. Mike Gilkey of North Carolina and Aaron Gisbson spent their first day in Mexico dominating the class, both on KTM 950SEs. They were both taking advantage of the faster, smoother routes offered by NORRA and both used road book navigation in the true rally style of racing. At the start and end of specials 2 and 3, both the rookies were alone and leading the way.
“How about that, Morton continued, “Some of us long time BAJA guys taking the wrong lines while a pair of total newbies taking the right ones.” Morton is known to never use any GPS by rule and opted today for a manual road book machine.
What is important to note here is that this may be a sign of things to come with NORRA in the future: Rally style of courses and navigation as opposed to marked courses open for pre-running. The futures is never crystal clear but NORRA is definitely changing the races look in BAJA and will continue to try to make the experience “FUN” while adding to the competitive aspects at the same time.
On the vintage side of things Alan Deere of AZ and his team rode a 2 cyl. HONDA 360SL for the lead in the vintage class. Their old school bike was the oldest in the entire field of 23.
The father and son team of Alexander and Malcom Smith road a 1980’s Husqvarna 2-stroke to a strong finish even after turning a top end at the end of the first timed section at Laguna Salada.
Living up to his normal antics, Robby Gordon took his massive DAKAR support vehicle on an excursion in the gnarly sand dunes on the other side of Laguna Salada. He actually got air in the beast.
Day 2 of the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 continues from Bahia De Los Angeles toward Loreto on a 388 miles day of racing 2 specials and a pair of longer transfers.