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#110 Race Report, NORRA Mexican 1000

Rory

Crayola Killer
Another NORRA Mexican 1000 in the books and another WIN for Ed Maurin and myself in the Ex- Larry Ragland Woodstuff Chaparral. This is 3 for 3 since Ed and I hooked up in this historical race car and our race worked out yet again, just like we planned.

The crew consisted of myself, Ed Maurin, Paul LaVine, Ron Banks and Lucas Hand. Ron and I traveled from Az with the race car in tow as we picked up the rest of the crew at the airport in San Diego. Next stop was the border for inspection and Visas. No problems there, then it was on our way to Ensenada to get settled in...

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Tech inspection, also known as BILSTEIN day for us (we had daily sponsors for the event) was a treat as we got to see some cool off road cars and talk with friends and catch up on each others lives since the last race. A new sponsor for us at this race was BOOSTane fuel additive. Since we don't like to run race fuel at $13.00 a gallon we tried out this stuff with GREAT results....more later...

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Once tech was over we settled in for the night and got ready for the long week ahead. The plan was to run at 75% no matter what until we at least got to Loreto and see where we were at. The key to any race is to stay in the car at all times, so that means no flats, no getting stuck and not breaking stuff.

Day 1:
PCI Race Radios day. Ensenada to San Felipe.

The run to San Felipe was a good one. I would drive the 1st stage and Eddy the 2nd. Within the first 60 miles there was already 3-4 vehicles with MAJOR damage on the side of the course and many more that I thought might be running a little too hard....to each there own. The first thing we noticed was the rear suspension. Bilstien sent us complete rebuild kits for the rear shocks and a different shim kit to change the valving. Before the MINT 400 Billy Goerke set up the front end but we ran out of time for the rear. Collins Motorsports rebuilt the Bilstien shocks and welded some schrader valves on the top of the cans for easier maintenance. The first hole I hit boosted the confidence in the car as it was night and day from the MINT 400. We were now about to hit stuff a little harder without upsetting the car.

The run up to Mikes was enjoyable and had no issues as I turned the wheel over to Eddy for his run to San Felipe. Eddy would also have a clean run running down the dry lake and into the whoops of San Felipe. After day 1 we would end up with a slight lead over Jay Bills and Ted Baker in my old Dirtrix buggy. Once we got to the hotel we took a quick once over on the car and decided to eat an early dinner, jump in the pool and then relax for a few before prepping the car. After much screwing around we found a slight issue with the rear hubs as they had loosened up ever so slightly. Probably would have been fine but we decided to pull off the drive plates and the outer CV and tighten them up. This is the first time we had ever had an issue with them coming loose...

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Day 2:
BOOSTane Day. San Felipe to BOLA.

The run to BOLA was uneventful as the car finished the 1st stage with no issues and the 2nd stage was issue free as well. Lucas Hand got to drive the transit stage as his grandfather (Walt Lott) had raced in the first event back in 1967 and now another family member in 2017...pretty cool deal. I would finish the race into BOLA and beat the chase truck by about 2 hours. It was nice to have a chance to catch my breath as I waited for the prep work that needed to be done for the marathon stage the next day...

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Photo credit unknown

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Day 3:
Fast Eddy's Pellet cookers day. BOLA to Loreto.

Our lead over 2nd and 3rd place grew a little as Eddy and I were getting in a groove. The prep work had been spot on and the crew was like a well oiled machine. A couple guys from the crew got the "Mexico bug", one must of had his alcohol spiked because he got deathly sick after only 12 Margaritas the night before, and the other was constantly looking for a bathroom and was not confident farting.

This was a day we needed to get through without any problems due to logistics and no chase help. If you had any problems on any of these 2 stages help was a long ways away. I drove stage 1 and did not have any issue but lots of others did. When I came up to race mile 70 my heart sank as I saw Bob Gordon's "Ole Betsy" sitting on the side of the course after a high speed roll over. The hole was not marked and it also caught the Mav TV buggy. I was extremely bummed for the entire Bob Gordon team as I knew they wanted this win badly. Eddy's run was a little more difficult as the Stella device started acting up and the GPS started having a mind of it's own. We would lose 9 minute to Ted Baker in the Dirtrix but still lead on time by around 20 minutes.

One of the best things about making it to Loreto is knowing people like Ron Bellerive (Loreto local). Ron opened up his garage to us as we prepped the Chaparral in record time and comfortably with plenty of light and a 2 post lift. Not only that, the ladies there also had a pot luck going on at the time and brought us out dinner! THANKS RON AND GIRLS!!!

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Day 4:
KC HiLites Day. Loreto to La Paz.

The prep was on par as we started another day. There was only 1 more marathon stage to go which was a 175 mile run on stage 2. Eddy ran a great pace out of Loreto and kept the Chaparral in the #1 position as I readied for stage 2. The stage started out well but at race mile 80-ish I would have pucker factor 10. The Martillo Rally car was stuck cross ways in the course in a DEEP silt bed. There was no place to go as they tried to flag me off in time but it was not good, I was stuck. I jumped out of the car and pulled out the tow rope. Within 5 minutes the Rally car was free and I saw the 2 co-riders (buggy was a 3 seater) runnig towards me with some Max Trax ramps. They yelled at me "Get in the car"! I was shocked but did as I was told. They threw the tow strap in my lap and I didn't have time to strap on my belts as they yelled "GO, GO , GO"! I was on my way within 5 minutes of being stuck....AMAZING! I owe the race to those guys, they didn't have to do that but I appreciate the help and I wish them as much Baja Karma as they can get. It took 5 miles to find a spot to pull over and finish putting up the tow strap and belt myself back in. All I could think about was all the time Ted Baker was making on me with the Dirtrix. I finished the stage with no other issues and as it turns out the Dirtrix ran into some issues of it's own with a rear flat and being stuck in the same place I was....

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Photo credit RDC.

Day 5:
Racers Only Day. La Paz to Cabo.

We were now in cruise mode as we had about a 1 hour lead on 2nd place. Eddy and myself were not about to be "That guy" who did something stupid with less than 100 miles to go and throw the entire race out the window. I would do the 1st stage (20 miles) and Eddy would finish off the last 75 miles to the finish. We were feeling good and very relaxed. As I parked next to Mark McMillin I saw that he and Robby were going to do a photo op. Never let an opportunity pass you up.....

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I would start directly behind Mark and thought to myself, "Hey, here's an opportunity to try and pass a legend of the sport"! The other side of my brain said "don't be an idiot". I figured I would run my race and just see what happens. Within 5 miles I was about 20 seconds off of Marks bumper and the smile on my face was getting bigger and bigger. Around this time was when we were going through some mountain passes and i saw Mark look out his window at me across the small canyon. Marks bumper started getting farther and farther away. The old man was not about to let me make a spot on him, he still had alot of racing left in him and it showed as his rear bumper disappeared from view.

I handed the car off to Eddy for the run into Cabo and it was trouble free besides a few navigation issues. Eddy would cross the line for our 2nd straight win at NORRA and our 2nd straight "Challenger Era" Overall win! Larry Ragland would join him on the victory podium as Ed soaked up the victory!

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What an accomplishment, 3 straight races with Eddy (2016 NORRA, 2017 MINT 400 and 2017 NORRA) and 3 straight wins! It's a testament to the hard work and prep that goes into this vehicle and the tireless help from Paul, Ron and Lucas all the way down the Peninsula.

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The awards were next and we knew that it would be a long night but we didn't care. NORRA did a great job on the 50th anniversary of the event and nothing was going to dampen our mood. It was great catching up with our racing friends and hearing their stories of the race and having a good laugh.

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Friday morning was upon us early as Eddy, Paul and Lucas (also known as team Candy Ass, due to flying home) held over a day in Cabo, Myself and Ron headed back up the Peninsula. We had a great group of traveling partners in Todd Richards "Lilttle Mac team" that consisted of Todd, Mark, Ryan and none other than Jerry and Judy MacDonald. It was a very enjoyable ride home as we stopped a few times along the way to enjoy some stuff but also tried to get back on the road to put Cabo as far in our rear view mirrors as possible. Nothing makes a trip better than spending it with good company. We were also able to hang out for a short time with my buddy Joel Amaya in Constiucion for lunch.......Great job on picking the restaurant Joel!

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Don't forget to feed the dogs with the left over lunch meat you know you will be throwing away when you get home....

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We had a few issues with trailers on the way from Cocos as Todd had a flat and we had a spring hanger detach from the frame...

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A couple things:

1st- We've added it up, we have 4100 miles on our 35" BFGoodrich Baja TA's. These are dated 2003, were bought with stickers on them 3 years ago. They have 3 NORRA Mexican 1000's (at 1300 miles each) and one MINT 400 (at 230 miles) not counting testing miles. People were amazed, as were we at how much we have gotten out of them. Well, most people were amazed, Larry Ragland told us "You're not driving fast enough...."! Fair enough, but we will take the 3 fist place trophies anyways.

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2nd- The BOOSTane additive we used with Pemex worked well beyond how we thought it was going to work. We used about 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of BOOSTane during the entire rally and increased our mileage from 7.5 mpg to 8.5 mpg. Not only that, the motor never missed a beat and never got hot. Looking at the exhaust we were pleasantly surprised at the color the engine was putting out....

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Thanks again to Ed Maurin for giving me another opportunity to race this historical racer in the 50th NORRA Mexican 1000, I can't thank him enough. To Paul, Ron and Lucas, thanks for toughing it out on some pretty long days as tensions were wearing thin on those long days.

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TRichards

Well-Known Member
Thats Awesome Rory. Glad to travel back with you. Fun times. Can't wait for next year.
 

Jangaard

Well-Known Member
Congratulations Fast Eddie and team! That is an accomplishment for sure. It is really nice to see someone who is a racer from long ago come back to the sport in there senior years (LOL) and jump back into the thick of things and be so competitive.
 

Fourstroker

Well-Known Member
Great story Rory and congrats on the win. Hope to be there next year with my Dads DR2
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
A couple other things I left out.

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1st- I need to thank NORRA on doing such an OUTSTANDING job keeping this traveling 3 ring circus going down the Peninsula. Setting up and tearing down a start finish line every day for 5 days (not including the separate stops for the bikes) has got to be a challenge. My hats off to Mike Pearlman, Jennifer Coleman, Eliseo Garcia, Chris Wilson and the rest of the NORRA staff on a job well done. I was expecting the awards to go long, it always has and I understand that it takes a lot of work to try and get results tallied and figured out.

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2nd- For the most part the crews seemed to be well behaved especially on the HWY, I did not see any bone head moves or near crashes. I'm sure there might have been a few but i never witnessed any nor heard about any.

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3rd- The Stella device was especially nice for Ed and myself in the single seater. We were buzzed a couple times and pulled right over when there was a chance. I did however have 3 straight UTV's jack rabbit on me on the 1st stage of day 1, i think they were all the rental UTV's and they made it extremely dangerous trying to get around. It would be nice to see some sort of drivers meeting for the "New guys" after the normal drivers meeting following tech to teach them the proper off road way of pulling over to the side when being caught from behind. The first 3 I caught before Jamal would move ever so slightly to the side but still mostly in the middle of the race course with their foot still matted to the floor.....AFTER jack rabbiting on me. Everybody has been the new guy before but maybe a better drivers meeting especially for day 1 is in order (and I would volunteer for this if needed). The warning triangles showed up late or just as you passed the stopped vehicle so that needs a little work but the speed zone warnings were awesome (although on day 3 they didn't work on our Stella device) but for the most part I would give them a B+ grade.

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4th- One of the most important things for me i left out and i was hoping to not have to do it, instead I was hoping to leave it to Ryan/Frank Arciero and Tim Crabtree. The goal was for them to drive ole Betsy to another Overall Vintage win for our good friend Baja Bob Gordon. After a bad crash leaving BOLA around race mile 70, ole Betsy had enough damage to keep her from finishing. Ed and I both agreed that we would dedicate our win to Baja Bob Gordon and the rest of the Gordon family and crew. I miss that guy, he was always such a pleasure to talk to at every race and we always seemed to find some time to chat for a few at the NORRA events....I will forever cherish those times. This one was for you big guy!

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ORMHOF

Well-Known Member
Rory, we are so fortunate to have you on the board of directors for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. You really are kind of a big deal! Thanks for all you do, Barbara
 

Hammer97

New Member
Great job Rory and team!
I am the second owner of Fly-N-Hi. Ive known the original owner(Mark Dye) for 15+ years and Jim Baker who worked here from the start. Jim and Larry had a close relationship and that developed into some sponsorship from Fly-N-Hi for that car. We lost Jim in 2007 and I am sure he was with you on that journey. We really appreciate you continuing the tradition with "Fly ing" our colors. We raced a 1400 class truck to a 6 place finish and fell in love with the race and the Baja. Look for us next year with our Ultra4 unlimited truck along with the 1400 truck and possibly a vintage car from Parnelli Jones or Jim Bakers F-100 he raced in the Mexican 1000 25-30 years ago. We Cant wait!

Jeremy Hammer
Fly-N-Hi Racing
Fly-N-Hi Total Performance Center
3319 W. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85009
602-272-2433 Shop
602-320-7331 Cell
 
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