desert racing history

stuckthrottle

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Does anyone have any factual information on how off road racing got started? I've searched most of the web and found nothing. It would be nice to know how all of this got started......
thanks
victor fabian
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Jimmy8

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I think it all started with the meyers manx, and trying to beat the record down the baja penninsula. I dont know any details and I am sure some others can elaborate.
 

BIG_FAT_LOSER

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From what I understand off road racing (at least in Mexico) began with endurance races between car manufactures driving hwy 1 from ensenada to la paz to prove the reliability of their vehicles.

anybody??

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pjc

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A superb documentary covering what you are looking for can be had in the purchase of the "1967 Baja 1000" race video from Shoemaker. See www.shoemakertv.com</A>



PJCinLV
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Donahoe

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It all started in a Wash in Hemet..... Ask Rod Hall, Jim Venable, and the Late Bill Stropp. Long ago befor the earth cooled.

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martininsocal

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while most can relate to racing starting with the baja records runs in the max and the motorcycles, it started way before that. people had begun informal racing after folks started returning from WWII.
military vehicles were in surplus and the gi's had learned how fun the little general purpose (jeep) could be. also, folks started settling in the west-southwest and started exploring the deserts and boondocks. it wasn't long before these folks started seeing who could go the highest or the fastest. i believe some of these races started in the san jacinto river bed near hemet and have heard that some very fast jeeps were hanging around hall's(or was it frickers?) gas station. shoppe, minor, hall and several others were one upping each other with big motored jeeps and stuff. it blossomed from there.
the endurance races in mexico were actually on the new(then) paved transpeninsula highway that stretched the length of mainland mexico. the factories built stock cars that cost 100k to race and show who built the best car. hudsons, mercurys, nash, they all got into it. even before that cars raced on dirt roads, but they weren't exactly the type of offroad races we associate with today. infact, i think the starlight 400(mint) actually happened before the first norra 1000. and there were races in borrego then too.

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stuckthrottle

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Now were getting somewhere..... Thanks everyone.....
Just goes to show how much we (dont) know about where this sport that were so fascinated with came from.
Anyone else?

victor fabian
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rdc

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I THINK CHARIOT RACES WERE THE FIRST OFFROAD RACES. BUT I THINK THE SUSPENSION SUCKED BACK THEN?
 

Jimmy8

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Being from parker, I do know a little history on the Parker 400. When th race was first started it was known as the Dam 500. This is because of the Parker Dam on the river. Ed Perleman of NORRA brought the race to parker in 1972. soon after, Mickey thompson took over the race and named it the Parker 400. After Mickey, sal took over, and in 1997 Jay from whiplash took over. Next year, will mark the 30th annual parker 400. It has to be one of the oldest off road races still going I believe.
 

Tom

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My knowledge on the Baja 1000 history. In March '62 Dave Ekins rode a 250 from TJ to La Paz in just under 40 hours. A few weeks later Bill Stroppe led a few Chevy trucks down in what was called "The roughest Run Under the Sun". In January '67, John Cummings drove a Meyers Manx from TJ to La Paz in 29 hours, but this wasn't non-stop. It was 950 miles and included only 130 miles of pavement. In April '67, Bruce Meyers drove from La Paz to TJ in under 35 hours. Two months later, June '67, the first real race in Baja took place. It was two Land Cruisers (both Chevy V-8 powered) and a Meyers Manx. The first Baja run under NORRA was in September '67, and consisted of a team of five Jeeps. It was somewhat of a failure but the first Mexican 1000, October 31, '67, had a field of 68 vehicles. It was won by Ted Mangels in a Meyers Manx in just over 26 hours.
 
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