Question From a New Guy

Glibert65

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So I've been wanting to try my hand in off road racing and was thinking of making Vintage my starting point and I have a few questions:
1) Do vehicles in vintage need to be genuine vintage models, or do they simply need to follow the rules? Say if I were to build a Legends buggy frame that conformed to all the rules, would that be allowed?

2) What could I expect the costs to be to run in the Mexican 500, excluding the cost of the car itself?
 

LantanaTX

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So I've been wanting to try my hand in off road racing and was thinking of making Vintage my starting point and I have a few questions:
1) Do vehicles in vintage need to be genuine vintage models, or do they simply need to follow the rules? Say if I were to build a Legends buggy frame that conformed to all the rules, would that be allowed?

2) What could I expect the costs to be to run in the Mexican 500, excluding the cost of the car itself?

It needs to be a vintage chassis. There are plenty out there at good prices.


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Glibert65

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It needs to be a vintage chassis. There are plenty out there at good prices.


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Thanks for the clarification, the rulebook on NORRA was confusing to me regarding this subject.

edit: After reading the rules a bit more I came across a strange piece of text that confused me. It reads, "VW powered classes are in the Vintage Era even if built more recent." Does this mean you can put modern VW engines in vintage chassis, or that vintage VW engines can go into a modern chassis? Or am I completely missing the mark?
 
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MasTacos

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I think it's the 2nd one and was put in to accommodate the Manx/Kit classes that run a VW engine.

Cost varies greatly but here are some things to consider when you're making your budget:

- Prep
- Spares (how much you bring can directly impact if you finish or not)
- Tires (I break'em out from spares because you can depend on going through a few)
- Crew food (normally, when asking people to burn vacation time, you feed'em and give'em snacks)
- Crew "entertainment"..... ;)
- Entry Fee
- Pit costs (if you use a pit service)
- Fuel Costs for chase
- Hotels
- Chase and Trailer insurance
- Cash to bring in the vehicle while racing for incidentals like paying a "thank you" gratuity for getting towed out of a silt-bed by the same local that a local directed you in to it

There are probably a ton of other costs involved but I can't think of them off-hand.
 

Rory

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I'm not sure the rules state the vehicle NEEDS to be a vintage chassis but it would probably be best.....and cheaper. If you have a buggy with that conforms to the rules for a Legend buggy then you would be legal. To build a car from scratch and build it to Legend specs would most likey be more costly than buying an old Chenowth or Funco chassis with a majority of the parts on it for less than $4000.....most likely cheaper than that. There have been a few up for sale lately that were rolling chassis for around the $1500-$2500 range. The more parts you can get with the vehicle the better........
 

BajaboundMoto

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I too had the same question @Glibert65 when we (my wife) entered NORRA Mexican 1000 this year. She drove a 1 seat 1600 buggy that's a recent build but the class is called "vintage". I thought that was wacky because the chassis isn't old. They call it vintage basically because it's still very similar to years ago but the modern 1600's have fancier shocks (and I'm sure some other stuff but we're new and still learning).
So, a 1600 chassis and buggy built in 2019 will still be in a class called Vintage.

She raced the Mexican 1000 with basically a 2 person team - her driving the buggy and our 1 crew guy driving the chase truck.
That's it!
Talk about a minimal team!!

A few years ago we started rebuilding an older RaceCo 1-1600 buggy for NORRA with a friend and it's looking AWESOME, but, he passed away so we basically walked away from it and what we'd put into it (mostly because we're new, we don't know that much, he was the fabricator, and we own a current 1-1600).
The RaceCo 1-1600 is a 1983 and it fits into a different class for something like 25+ years old 1600's.

@Glibert65 - if you are looking for a project 1-1600 I have of one that's well on it's way to racing, our 1-1600 RaceCo.
As I recall the frame is almost all completely rebuilt to specs (we changed out probably 95% of the tubing to be current legal/safe, had a lot of 1"), shocks there (maybe only fronts), trailing arms (not attached), seat, shifter, front end almost complete, super cool old-school fiberglass body, and more.
No motor no trans.
I know his family would like to sell it.

Or, you could go the route that 2 of my buddies did... they bought fully built race ready "vintage" buggies from Rory here who posted before my post.

Whatever you do Glibert, take advice from a new buggy guy and DO NOT try to build your own complete buggy. The time, knowledge, and expense is DUMB if you aren't already in the know.

1 year ago we had never owned our own race car (we are very knowledgeable with dirt bikes adn Baja people).
Now we own and race (my wife) the 1-1600 and just picked up a 2 seat 10 car we might be buying, but planning at least to race it (Jen again and another lady) at the Mexican 1000 2019.
yikes....
 
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LantanaTX

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I would look at the era/class rules and pick a class. The older the era the cheaper the car will end up costing. I also use a minimal crew. You only need one chase truck. I think you should always have two people in the chase truck plus 1 or 2 in the race car. That is all the team you need. You can tent camp or only need 1 room in each town. Pump gas is preferred and is cheaper than race gas. It also helps to be able to run Pemex if the chase truck is delayed. Carry money in the race car as stated above and in case you have to pull into a Pemex for fuel. Try to have a range of at least 200 miles and you won’t need pit support on the course even though pit support is now included in the entry fee. Hot pitting takes time. Your chase truck will never be able to pit you during a special and can only pit you on the highway transit sections which I why I have a 200 mile+ range. Your major costs are the entry fee, party bands for crew, fuel for the race car and truck. We budget $1,000 for diesel and $500-600 for the race car. Food is cheap and NORRA provides dinner everywhere except La Paz. We can do the whole NORRA race on one set of tires but that tire wear may be spread over a few more tires if you get flats.


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Chris_Wilson

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Norra has a full suite of classes for modern cars.
 

Glibert65

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Thanks for the responses guys! I've been racking my brain on the classes I could run and costs I could afford. Thanks to you guys I've narrowed it down to about three options:

1) A kit Manx that's been rotting in my yard for the last few years, even though it had a running engine when it got parked.

2) A 93 Toyota pickup that I bought as my first car, with luck that should be running in a few weeks time.

3) Buying a partially finished buggy and tossing in an engine and some love.

All of these are possible, let's just hope that I can pull the funds for one before too long, lest I be a few weeks too late for the race
 

enesset

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I ran an OG Manx #67 Yuma yellow in NORRA 2018. I've been crew for with my Early Bronco buddies annually since 2012.

You MUST have a chase (we did not and that's just not smart).....prepaid fuel with Mag-7 and hoped for the kindness of others..... We only had 115-ish mile range and that's not smart. We only carried one spare (and didn't need it), but that's not smart.....I bought a slightly used engine from a friend that was a grenade with the pin pulled and thankfully went off 5-miles and 10 days before the event...that was not smart.....

I started the project with a pan shortened by Bruce's guys and then used Manx specific community guys for most of what I could not do on the build myself.

Fabrication costs for cage, etc will be a shocking 5-digit number.....everyone that says buy an existing car/buggy/etc is 100-percent correct.

I bought a Manx with a body code 5-digits from the one my grandpa had when we were growing up and while I've done a lot of "building/assembling" I'd never built a vehicle from literally a naked pan/frame.... without even a front beam....and that goal was accomplished....but wow it was expensive.....learned a LOT.

Another reason to buy (and not use your toyota) is you won't have an emotional attachment and can beat the snot out of it....on day 2 we got really sideways and the reality of destroying it and leaving it in Baja really sunk in.....
 

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enesset

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Oh and if you haven't raced before a very important lesson is....buy/build/use something simple and extremely common.

Be thinking.....1600cc VW platform or very basic Ford......

Or even....recall the old adage, if it flies, floats, or......then rent it! With a rented Trophylite you get dedicated support as well.....low-ish stress....
 
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Bro_Gill

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A little reality. you're very young and the cost of doing this is very high, even when done 'cheap'. Unless you have a trust fund, your best friend is a fabricator, and you have 3 friends that have been racing in Baja for 10 years each, you need to reevaluate your goals. I would start with just getting a car running that you can work on, be comfortable trouble shooting it, and know how to limp it home with 3 wheels, 2 cylinders, etc... VW based cars are not as easy to run these days because just about anybody under the age of 40 never drove one and thinks they are too hard to maintain. They are not a typical vehicle anymore. But, if you are good with the air cooled ride, then I would look at the simplest form to run, like very simple suspension, just good parts, and don't go crazy on tire size. Then go drive many many hours in sand, silt, and rocks to practice, how to avoid things, how to get unstuck, how to care for reverse, etc... Then think about doing this rally. It isn't cheap, it is long, and it will take at least 4 people and 2 vehicles to do.
 

enesset

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Bro_Gill....don't forget in addition to the friend as a fabricator, if the vehicle owner is not a legit-trouble-shooter mechanic or has done as much running/breaking/fixing as you described above then the co-dog better be!
 

BajaboundMoto

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if the vehicle owner is not a legit-trouble-shooter mechanic or has done as much running/breaking/fixing as you described above then the co-dog better be!
Jennifer did pretty crazy good at Mexican 1000 especially considering she/we had only owned a buggy for 6 months before she raced it solo, and with a 1 person crew. And no she's not a mechanic.
She drove fast but smart.
The final results don't tell the story though as she dropped over 2 hours and about 20 OA positions in the final 100 miles (ended up 61st OA).
Recently while BS'ing with some race friends they're suprised to hear she changed 2 wheels during the event and also removed a damaged shock, both during race stages. People seem suprised to hear that.
I sure hope the '19 Mex.1000 goes as smoothly as it did getting to La Paz in '18 (the final day, not wishing that day on anyone).

I'm sure they (and others) would be suprised to hear that last week (I was out of the country, so I'm no help) she hooked up the 102" wide trailer (oh yeah, she towed the 102" back from Cabo, solo, after the Mex.1000 too, that's gnar), grabbed a chick friend of hers, and took off to Ensenada to pick up a class 10 car.
But instead of just bringing it home they went on an 84 mile loop of typical SCORE stuff, alone, in a buggy with no spares or tools.
Not sure there's many women who'd do that (and judging by many of the posts on RDC, maybe not many men either).

@Glibert65 what area do you live?
 

LantanaTX

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Jennifer did pretty crazy good at Mexican 1000 especially considering she/we had only owned a buggy for 6 months before she raced it solo, and with a 1 person crew. And no she's not a mechanic.
She drove fast but smart.
The final results don't tell the story though as she dropped over 2 hours and about 20 OA positions in the final 100 miles (ended up 61st OA).
Recently while BS'ing with some race friends they're suprised to hear she changed 2 wheels during the event and also removed a damaged shock, both during race stages. People seem suprised to hear that.
I sure hope the '19 Mex.1000 goes as smoothly as it did getting to La Paz in '18 (the final day, not wishing that day on anyone).

I'm sure they (and others) would be suprised to hear that last week (I was out of the country, so I'm no help) she hooked up the 102" wide trailer (oh yeah, she towed the 102" back from Cabo, solo, after the Mex.1000 too, that's gnar), grabbed a chick friend of hers, and took off to Ensenada to pick up a class 10 car.
But instead of just bringing it home they went on an 84 mile loop of typical SCORE stuff, alone, in a buggy with no spares or tools.
Not sure there's many women who'd do that (and judging by many of the posts on RDC, maybe not many men either).

@Glibert65 what area do you live?

She is one of my favorite badass women drivers. I saw her on the stage into La Paz. Car looked great!


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BajaboundMoto

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Hahahaha.... yeah, agree.
I started out with a simple post and it became a "my wife is pretty rad" post.
 

Glibert65

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A little reality. you're very young and the cost of doing this is very high, even when done 'cheap'. Unless you have a trust fund, your best friend is a fabricator, and you have 3 friends that have been racing in Baja for 10 years each, you need to reevaluate your goals. I would start with just getting a car running that you can work on, be comfortable trouble shooting it, and know how to limp it home with 3 wheels, 2 cylinders, etc... VW based cars are not as easy to run these days because just about anybody under the age of 40 never drove one and thinks they are too hard to maintain. They are not a typical vehicle anymore. But, if you are good with the air cooled ride, then I would look at the simplest form to run, like very simple suspension, just good parts, and don't go crazy on tire size. Then go drive many many hours in sand, silt, and rocks to practice, how to avoid things, how to get unstuck, how to care for reverse, etc... Then think about doing this rally. It isn't cheap, it is long, and it will take at least 4 people and 2 vehicles to do.
Funny you should say that, a friend of the family is a killer fabricator, and he's the kind of guy that will do a project for the fun of it, so I'm actually safe there.

The way that I see, is that as a college minded individual, the hard reality is that highschool is the last opportunity I will have to do some racing for the next 5-6 years. I've an expected budget of 15-20k by the end of it, and that seems possible if MOST things go right, since it's obvious that not all of it will. Why not do another form of racing you may ask? Well it's a matter of personal pride, to be able to say that I ran Baja before I even got my diploma. Which in one form or another, is the reason alot of my other motorsport minded friends love it as well, just so they can say they did it.
 

Glibert65

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Bro_Gill....don't forget in addition to the friend as a fabricator, if the vehicle owner is not a legit-trouble-shooter mechanic or has done as much running/breaking/fixing as you described above then the co-dog better be!
I'l be honest the only trouble shooting I do is for the family Mustang, which, while a hassle, isn't a 40 year old engine in 10 year old frame kind of hassle
 
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