2022 Norra Mexican 1000, The Good, Bad and Ugly !!!

NIKAL

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I am not NORRA but I think the answer to the race numbers has to do with the broad range of vehicles this race attracts. How would you number a Meyers Manx... Maybe MM1 ? MM2? Ok, that's easy enough... but what class number do you give the 3-door Suburban? Or the Porsche's? Or a Vanagen? Or all of the different yet similar UTV classes? Because there are so many unique vehicles I think allowing the racers to choose their number works. Most of the classes are pretty small (UTV exception) and you get to know who is racing in your class and go by name and vehicle and not their number. In that regard it's more persona and fun because you get to know the teams and vehicles and not just their number.

Aloha
I guess I get that. But in every race series the classes are identified by a number series, even back in the earlier days. Maybe they could add a letter first to identify V vintage, P pioneer? Maybe the first digit identify the class they race in and the racer can pick whichever numbers they chose after that? A few examples from a spectator view where I was confused. Ryan Arcaro is in Vintage Open Buggy and he was # 85, then you had Mark McMillin in Vintage 6 cyl Buggy and he was # 23. Both being in the same era, both Chenowith beam buggy’s with 2 digit numbers. I assumed they were racing each other. Only after seeing the entry list did I know there was open & 6 cyl classes were separate.

Then in Pioneer Buggy you had a Funco # 305 and in Pioneer truck you had Rich Minga running # 304. One digit apart but two different vehicles in different classes. Then go to Evolution buggy and these guys are running 2 & 3 digit #’s. Gay Smith races #20. I can tell the difference visually between Gay’s Baja vs McMillin’s buggy, but the numbers would make people think they are racing each other and how unfair that could look.

Regarding a Bronco or Jeep, that’s class 3. Short wheelbase 4x4. The Suburban, that’s class 4 long wheelbase 4x4. The Porsche, that’s class 6 production sedan or make a class for former Dakar rally cars If that’s were the Porsche originates from.

Again this is from an outsiders perspective. Like you said if I was there and in the race I would know the handful of racers in my class. But I still doubt I’d know all the classes and who’s who by name & class and not number.
 

CHINOLAS

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I would say for the number of entries and the number of people moving down the peninsula this year’s NORRA was fantastic and for all intents and purposes most things went well and the experience was fun and that’s a major reason we come back every year.

Initial Thoughts:

It was fantastic that we got back to the streets of Ensenada with a real contingency, no issues or pains for inspection or the registration process and everything went smooth for us. Great to hang out during the Saturday contingency and talk to locals and racers alike, we had great time.

I found most of this year’s special stages really fun, I know from experience that after running a tough, rough and/or technical section you will usually throw in a fun/fast section and vice versa – so it was great when we were on the rough rocky or whooped out sections knowing there was some fun ahead. Personally, I absolutely love the challenging sections as long as they don’t last all day.

Race Course feedback:

Day 1 - First special is pretty standard stuff and I still find it fun – I think after Valley T it gets better for us, around Mikes is just technical enough to keep you on your toes but your able to keep your speed. Diablo and the run into El Dorado are always fun.

El Dorado Finish line was great, chase crew was able to catch up and we enjoyed a few beers and chatted with a few friends, but the food line was already too long when we finished and we needed to go find fuel so we didn’t get a chance to eat.

Day 2 – I always dread leaving San Felipe, I realize there are only a few options to get us out and most all of them include whoops which my short wheel base doesn’t like. We usually just take our time and try to get out alive.

I saw we were doing the dunes again after the first road crossing and felt bad for folks who were in limited classes and starting later. With the number of entrees going through there it was bound to be a mess. I wasn’t disappointed.

Our Bronco is pretty capable and can go nearly anywhere so not an issue for us but we could have been there all-day pulling people out – we helped a few who were ready with a tow strap, I can’t imagine the number of people who got stuck after us.

The second special stage on Day 2 is always a great run, the old road around the old coco’s corner is great. Mixing it up with some new stuff heading into BOLA is nice, always great to see new sections (at least to me) - except for the Baja 1000 section you threw in, I did it in November in the Bronco and yup, I still hate it ;) - At least you cut out the whoop section that was right before it…

The number of silt beds surprised us as were the chase crews with trailers stuck in them, again we throw it in 4wd and go around if we can, help out if they are ready. The silt was pretty gnarly right before the end of the stage but still fun for us.

Finish line in BOLA is always great, even more so with no wind. All of us had time to grab beers, tacos and ice cream in the tent.

Day 3 – Again a great long day of racing, love the long stages. Started out tough and rocky to the mission, followed by sandy and fast all the way to HWY 1. Transit to San Ignacio, stuff as much fuel in as we can and have a fast run to San Juanico, pay for some questionable gas and finish the stage.

Finish line was tough, lots of people and traffic, lots of confusion as it was dark even though we finished well ahead of allot of folks. We found parking and had just enough time to grab a beer and pizza slice before we had to head out to find our hotel and our chase crew who couldn’t get anywhere near the finish line or the mission hotel.

Day 4 – Another long day, lots of new stuff for me. Fun heading out of Loreto great to see spectators and the run to the mission is always a highlight. In my opinion the no-pass section followed by the sand washes (and no wind) was a debacle. I understand why that section was no pass but with it being so close to the start and only a short special stage before it only took a few slower cars to stacked everyone up and then we all got dumped out into the sand and the dust. With no wind it was no bueno, it was just a line of cars hitting push to pass all the way to the end of the stage. I bet this stage (minus the no-pass zone) is super fun otherwise.

2nd special stage was amazing, probably my favorite so far in any NORRA race. The last bit along the Sea of Cortez was pretty spectacular.

Finish Line was ok, easy on the chase crews who made it there at the same time as us, we had some beers and hung out with the Baja Sur Bronco Group for a few and then headed off to find our hotel as it was getting dark. I don’t know if there was any food being served so can’t comment on it.

Day 5 – Short day and that was ok. I found the entire course fun, but my navigator did not like the 1st special, he is not a fan of heights. The 2nd special was great for us, we love the tight and technical higher speed stuff along with the soft sandy washes.

Finish line, I know you are very well aware as you asked us directly... The wait was extremely long, i think we waited over an hour and thirty minutes to get to the finish podium. I know a few folks left the line ahead of us. Kudos for NORRA providing lots of beer and water while we waited. Could have done without the long wait in the heat but hey we finished.

Our chase crew couldn’t find the entrance to the secure finish line parking area and they got stuck in traffic for over an hour just trying to get into San Jose and couldn’t anywhere near the finish line (we are not locals and don’t know the backroads). They ended up parking in a paid lot over by the Tropica and walking the mile or so to the finish, they were not happy. Not sure anything else could have been done besides knowing the area better.

To add insult to injury all of the parking was taken up in our hotel by the folks who were in faster classes so we had zero parking options and had to roll the dice parking my truck, trailer and bronco in a “paid supervised lot” over 2 miles away from the motel for two days. I realize this is not a NORRA issue but we were hoping the lot used in past races might have been open as an alternative… lesson learned. There were many folks in the same boat as us scrambling to find secure parking anywhere for their stuff. It sucks to spend 4-5 hours AFTER finishing the race sweating my butt off trying to secure our stuff, kind of ruined the moment to be honest. Again, not necessarily a NORRA issue but any suggestions or options for teams would be welcome. I am still sour on it…

Awards Ceremony – We had a great time. Loved the format for awards as it moved things along nicely. Easy to get drinks, not so easy to get food. We got in line early (still daylight) and it was still a long wait, we couldn’t believe people were in line right up until the party was over and how long the line was all night.

Stella feedback:

We have used the Stella now 4-5 times, this is the first time it has been in our favor (speed wise) and worked consistently well – except for stopped vehicles. Every single time we came upon a stopped racer it would warn us as we were passing them, not before. Other than that, the push to pass worked 99% of the time for us as did the notifications to pass.

Suggestions, problems, issues:

Day 1 Special Stage Start: That sucked, plain and simple. Sitting, waiting, moving, burning fuel and sweating into our suits for over an hour sucked. I know it was probably a mistake or whatever but it wasn’t fun or folks in the back. Glad to see the times were adjusted.

Safari Class:

We had some nervous moments near El Dàtil when we caught a few of the safari vintage class manx and others on course. We were moving fairly quickly and closed in on them fast, luckily it was daylight the dust wasn’t too bad and we had good visibility and space to pass. We were a little surprised they didn’t have any rear lights and they were even on course. We did our best not to throw rocks as we passed them but its rocky out there...

BOLA…

I have to be honest, I hesitate to post this next bit, not trying to be petty but there were a few of us spun up on the morning of Day 3…

Our team didn’t have a place to stay, which is fine AND no wind, no complaints there – happy to sleep under the stars on a windless BOLA night - which we did.

We shared a parking area and room facilities with another racer and slept in the Las Hamacas parking area, however later that evening several truckloads of NORRA volunteers showed up for the middle room in the building we were staying near, as did their friends and their friends friends (several trucks worth), they then proceeded to have a Mexican party on the front patio of the motel building until the sun came up.

This in itself isn’t an issue, sure it sucks for us and at least 5 other teams who got zero sleep before the longest race day. Maybe we could have said something? We didn’t and that’s on us. My issue is they got a room and never slept in it. They sat on the patio of the motel and blasted music, threw up, fell down, dropped bottles and all sorts of other stuff, but never slept. They could have done that anywhere –

I will say a few of them did come back and clean up the mess they left – and it was a big one… we probably would have had to clean up as we didn’t want us or NORRA get blamed. But props to them for cleaning it up at least. I will now always wonder if the NORRA volunteer with the flag in his hands is waving in the right direction, but I guess I already did 

Again, not sure it matters, and truthfully what if it was another NORRA racing team and not volunteers? We probably would have told them to shut the F up…

Other thoughts:

One of the reasons we love coming back and doing NORRA is the fun, as mentioned. A few of the days are tough being in pioneer/legends and running toward the back of the pack. We ran a very clean and quick race this year, even finishing “Early” in Loreto and La Paz but we were unable to really enjoy the finish line activities. In Loreto my chase crew couldn’t even make it to the mission hotel as it was disaster to navigate to the finish line and parking a chase truck was impossible.

I realize the number of racers this year was a record breaker and NORRA wants to attract old and new racers to stay viable. However, I also know that NORRA should honor the past, not just in contingency and marketing material but also on the race course. I am not saying we should to start in front of class 1 or trophy trucks either. It would just be great to be able to start a little earlier somedays so that we have a chance to enjoy the festivities and get some live coverage a little at the end of race day for our folks back home. It is impossible to please everyone I know, maybe a few tweaks here and there will make it better for all...

Speaking of live coverage, I heard NORRA knocked I out of the park this year. Lots of folks back home watched and loved the coverage and said it was great!

I know this was long winded but thanks again for another stellar NORRA. I hope we can continue to participate and have FUN.
Thanks for the feedback, really appreciate the time you took to write this and we will consider all these ideas and thoughts.
 
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jeff

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I guess I get that. But in every race series the classes are identified by a number series, even back in the earlier days. Maybe they could add a letter first to identify V vintage, P pioneer? Maybe the first digit identify the class they race in and the racer can pick whichever numbers they chose after that?.....
When I was checking on my buddies racing in a different class I'd use the filter feature on the live map by clicking on the class to only view that specific class. That showed me every car still in the race at the time in that specific class BUT if you aren't using the map to sort / filter things there is another way to do this. Having a code before the number might make it easier for one's brain to quickly scan the list (or map) and see where everyone in that class is running. That feature already exists now if you use the filter but maybe that's not what everyone does.

I can see why having 40+ classes with similar numbers would be confusing. It seems like an easy solution could be implemented and I think KISS can be used to make this easier for viewers with very little additional work. Racers keep their race number regardless of class but the system also has them designated by a unique class identifier. Say you give Vintage Open Truck w/4x4 a code. Say it's something like VOT4. You would have the class code next to (or near) the race number. In my case I could have been 444-VOT4. Or VOT4-444

Mark McMillin could have been 23-V6CB or V6CB-23
Minga could have been 304-PT or PT-304
Arciero could have been 85-VOB or VOB-85

With an easy to reference legend I think it would become almost second nature to look for the class by the code rather than the race number.

These are the 40 (possibly more) classes you'd need an easy to decipher identifier for...

Evolution Unlimited Buggy
Historic Truck and Truggy
Evolution Modified Turbo UTV
Evolution Unlimited Truck
Evolution Heavy Metal
Vintage Class 5
Evolution Open UTV
Vintage Open Truck w/4x4
Vintage 4-cyl Buggies
Evolution Stock Turbo UTV
Evolution Prerun Buggies
Evolution Limited Engine Buggy
Evolution Prerun Trucks
Vintage Open Buggies
Evolution Stock UTV
Challenger Cars
Vintage Open Trucks
Vintage 6-cyl Buggies
Legend Buggies
Evolution Modified UTV
Vintage 6-cyl Trucks
Vintage Short Wheelbase 4x4
Evolution Class 7100
Vintage Open Truck, Rear Leafs
Vintage Military Vehicle
Legend 4x4s
Challenger Trucks
Challenger 4x4s
Evolution Meyers Manx
Legend Trucks
Evolution Ultra 4x4
Vintage Open Production Cars
Pioneer Trucks
Vintage Stock Production Cars
Pioneer Buggies
Pioneer 4x4s
Vintage Class 1/2-1600
Vintage 4-cyl Trucks
Vintage Class 11
Legend Cars


Aloha
 

Baja Belk

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The topic of numbers reminds me........ Elieso, I think in the spirit of "The Happiest Race on Earth", you could have a conversation with your tech guy regarding number plates. To be blunt, he is, um....a bit anal. And by "a bit", I mean.....extremely. He's busted our balls two years in a row for our front-facing number being 3.5 inches instead of 4. We don't have a forward-facing flat surface on our car. We ended up putting a number on our LED light bar. He wants us to fabricate a plastic plate to hang off the windshield frame. No offense, but we're not going to do that. I heard similar complaints from other racers, including one sponsor/racer who was forced to color in their very thin colored number shadowing with black sharpie. C'mon man.

I know visible numbers are important for staging, but I think there needs to be a consideration of the spirit of the law instead of the utmost letter of the law. If numbers are visible on all sides of the car, and are legible, I don't think this guy needs to be out there with a measuring tape referring non-compliant racers to the conveniently located vendor selling 4" number stickers for $20 a pop.
 

ONE_RJ

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The topic of numbers reminds me........ Elieso, I think in the spirit of "The Happiest Race on Earth", you could have a conversation with your tech guy regarding number plates. To be blunt, he is, um....a bit anal. And by "a bit", I mean.....extremely. He's busted our balls two years in a row for our front-facing number being 3.5 inches instead of 4. We don't have a forward-facing flat surface on our car. We ended up putting a number on our LED light bar. He wants us to fabricate a plastic plate to hang off the windshield frame. No offense, but we're not going to do that. I heard similar complaints from other racers, including one sponsor/racer who was forced to color in their very thin colored number shadowing with black sharpie. C'mon man.

I know visible numbers are important for staging, but I think there needs to be a consideration of the spirit of the law instead of the utmost letter of the law. If numbers are visible on all sides of the car, and are legible, I don't think this guy needs to be out there with a measuring tape referring non-compliant racers to the conveniently located vendor selling 4" number stickers for $20 a pop.
I couldn't agree more. Tech was not a happy place to be if you didn't purchase the NORRA approved numbers and be told the exact location they needed to be. Car inspection and safety equipment inspection was a breeze. Stella was also very awkward with a number of changes to the units and un expected charges.
 

CHINOLAS

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The topic of numbers reminds me........ Elieso, I think in the spirit of "The Happiest Race on Earth", you could have a conversation with your tech guy regarding number plates. To be blunt, he is, um....a bit anal. And by "a bit", I mean.....extremely. He's busted our balls two years in a row for our front-facing number being 3.5 inches instead of 4. We don't have a forward-facing flat surface on our car. We ended up putting a number on our LED light bar. He wants us to fabricate a plastic plate to hang off the windshield frame. No offense, but we're not going to do that. I heard similar complaints from other racers, including one sponsor/racer who was forced to color in their very thin colored number shadowing with black sharpie. C'mon man.

I know visible numbers are important for staging, but I think there needs to be a consideration of the spirit of the law instead of the utmost letter of the law. If numbers are visible on all sides of the car, and are legible, I don't think this guy needs to be out there with a measuring tape referring non-compliant racers to the conveniently located vendor selling 4" number stickers for $20 a pop.
Will definitely check that, we might need to update the rules for numbers.
 
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CHINOLAS

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I couldn't agree more. Tech was not a happy place to be if you didn't purchase the NORRA approved numbers and be told the exact location they needed to be. Car inspection and safety equipment inspection was a breeze. Stella was also very awkward with a number of changes to the units and un expected charges.
Just to make this clear we do not charge anything for the number vendor to be there in tech and we do not make any money with those numbers, Greg Garber one of our Tech Inspectors said he had a friend that made numbers and was interested in helping at Tech, we allowed them and that's it, but I agree with you guys because both the Yokohama Sponsored Matlock UTV´s had numbers in Pink I believe and he made them change them, the problem was they did not have any cash with them and Yokohama branding director asked me to pay for both number sets, I paid 140 dlls FOR 2 SETS, 70 dlls each, they didn't even made me a Race Director discount or anything.

That was outrageous and we will take care of that for the next one.
 

jeff

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I couldn't agree more. Tech was not a happy place to be if you didn't purchase the NORRA approved numbers and be told the exact location they needed to be. Car inspection and safety equipment inspection was a breeze. Stella was also very awkward with a number of changes to the units and un expected charges.
You never forget your first NORRA number fiasco. We had "light silver" numbers on a black background one year. Was told nope, not going to allow them. So I walked to the PCI trailer and bought generic white numbers... because I figured hey, white numbers on a black car will stand out great! We were told NOPE, we're not going to tech you with those numbers. So I called in a favor with JC and he found a local that made us the correct black stickers with the correct white background. Ever since that experience our NORRA sticker game has been on point! 🤣

Aloha
 

TRAVISD

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I couldn't agree more. Tech was not a happy place to be if you didn't purchase the NORRA approved numbers and be told the exact location they needed to be. Car inspection and safety equipment inspection was a breeze. Stella was also very awkward with a number of changes to the units and un expected charges.


I agree, we had to add another number to the side of our truck. When there was numbers 6 inches above the new number plate. What was weird was ALOT of Evolution cars and trucks didn't have to add the side number. I guess money can buy you anything! lol
 

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NIKAL

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I agree, we had to add another number to the side of our truck. When there was numbers 6 inches above the new number plate. What was weird was ALOT of Evolution cars and trucks didn't have to add the side number. I guess money can buy you anything! lol
3 sets of numbers just on the sides!
 

TRAVISD

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3 sets of numbers just on the sides!

Yah, the other two weren't good enough this year!

I think some of the issue is the inconsistency in the placement and the enforcement. Especially when you are in the tech tent and these trucks go by you with numbers in the "incorrect" location and nothing is said. And I am here adding more numbers to the side of my truck with a puzzled look on my face. LOL

FYI, I was told they had to be in the door area below the window, that's what I was explained.

Can I file a protest for illegal number placement to these trucks or is it to late? lol
 

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NIKAL

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Just to make this clear we do not charge anything for the number vendor to be there in tech and we do not make any money with those numbers, Greg Garber one of our Tech Inspectors said he had a friend that made numbers and was interested in helping at Tech, we allowed them and that's it, but I agree with you guys because both the Yokohama Sponsored Matlock UTV´s had numbers in Pink I believe and he made them change them, the problem was they did not have any cash with them and Yokohama branding director asked me to pay for both number sets, I paid 140 dlls FOR 2 SETS, 70 dlls each, they didn't even made me a Race Director discount or anything.

That was outrageous and we will take care of that for the next one.
Why didn’t Yokohama pay for the numbers for Yokohama cars that were not right? You should not have to pay for the Matlock numbers as they were still not right.

There was only one number per side, tucked in the rear fender well, not on the door area. The background was black with white numbers and shadowed in pink. How’s that ok?

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Congrats to Wayne on winning his class!
 

Manx Mike

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The course was often challenging and we enjoyed the hell out of it. We managed to survive with out any mechanical issues, always kept moving even through the sand dunes and multiple silt beds. I had asked about the speed zones and passing, was told not allowed and still had racers pass when I was maybe 1-2 mph under the zone limit(they were not in my class, so not worth a protest to me). I don't have a speed limiter and was trying to avoid speeding penalties(I did just that, no penalties!). A couple of times I waved others by, so the dust would clear quicker. The time I didn't was in the 7 mile NO-PASSING zone, we were bunched up behind 4 other slower vehicles and would have loved to get around them if we could, but we waited until after the zone. The food situation at the awards has been covered by many. The other issue at the awards was the picture taking with the Trophy's, by the time we got called up(Evolution Meyers Manx)almost to the end, there was no clear direction for the photo's, people not in our class were milling about in the way BS'ing, I only saw 1 person/photographer(Fotosol) and he stated his flash was dead, lighting was poor and so we didn't get any pictures in front of the 1st place background. I understand the change in format to speed things up, but previously when the awards were called out, a picture of that vehicle was posted on the big screen but not this year. A lot of people work real hard for a little recognition.
1 interesting experience with a couple of Safari buggy's, On the graded road coming into San Juanico, I crested a hill at around 80mph to see the #10 Manx humming along the best he could, about the time I caught him he pulled off the road with the #69 Manx, about that time a TT passed us both probably doing 100mph, I thought that could get a bit hairy for the Safari cars.
Thank You to the entire NORRA Team for Another great event!
 

Chezron

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I agree, it seemed a little crazy to have to buy 4 of these when its pretty obvious what number we are, it also kinda hurts the original look. Other than that the race was amazing! Bill Brindle was so helpful, he needs a raise!
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GDRBORETIRED

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Just to make this clear we do not charge anything for the number vendor to be there in tech and we do not make any money with those numbers, Greg Garber one of our Tech Inspectors said he had a friend that made numbers and was interested in helping at Tech, we allowed them and that's it, but I agree with you guys because both the Yokohama Sponsored Matlock UTV´s had numbers in Pink I believe and he made them change them, the problem was they did not have any cash with them and Yokohama branding director asked me to pay for both number sets, I paid 140 dlls FOR 2 SETS, 70 dlls each, they didn't even made me a Race Director discount or anything.

That was outrageous and we will take care of that for the next one.
It sounds to me someone has trouble reading and following the rules (which have NOT changed for several years). The rules were not recently changed, so you had time to do it righ,t before tech.
 
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Getrdone

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Ditto!!!!!!!!
The wife was a bit upset, when she saw us pulling up and then it cut out. First world problems though. We all finished safe and if a video feed is our biggest complaint……total success. Yes a few odds and ends, but nothing that could be prevented without over regulation
 
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