THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY ABOUT THE 2021 NORRA 500

luvbaja2

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Eliseo, another great event again, even though we DNF'd. As a participant since the beginning I have seen many changes, some good, some not so good. But the most important thing throughout the years is your willingness to ask for and act on input from the racers. So here is my input this year. Horsepower Ranch - a good place maybe to start and finish the race, but I think having tech and all the operations there does not work. It's a bit crowded, signage , directions a little lacking, and once we figured out how to get in and out, you changed directions on us. We had only 80 some entries, so what will it look like with 250 entries for the 1000? It was not convenient to drive back and forth many times. I was told to bring my time card back to Ops, a drive of 45 min each way for me. (I didn't). You said that any inquires needed to be done in person, another inconvenience. At the drivers meeting you said we could call, or text you. When we were working on our car we tried to call, text, email someone so we could start the next day. I finally texted Radalie ( as I have her personal cell number) and she said she would take the message to you. In the past we could just go to Ops at the finish line and handle all these issues.
I would say "everyone" was staying in Ensenada and a location in town would provide a much better place to hold tech, Ops, logistics, etc. We could drive out of town for the start just as day two.
Thanks again for everyone's efforts at NORRA. We will be there for the 1000.
Bruce Galien,, FireForce Racing, #4, 1976 "Staggered Tandem"
 

oneleglance

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Being a Sweep I got to see alot behind the scenes and I am even more impressed by NORRA and all the people that I was as a chase.
Amazing work keeping 2 languages going and all the cats herded in the right directions.

For the Santo Tomas start on Day 2 I know that everyone was told many times not unload trailers along the road....but I would change the language to NOT TO UNLOAD ALONG THE HIGHWAY.
And use the Stella tracker to give penalties to folks who don't follow the rule.
Granted I was flagging at the END of town so folks were coming in looking for spots and rarely saw me waving like a mad man but many did and followed the rules. There should be a penalty for those who don't which results in a reward for those who do.

Weatherman should announce over the air the time the 1st bike & car start and the last bike & car start, then the time the last bike & car finish a Special Stage. That would help everyone listening know how things are going.

Honestly it would be great to make a Weatherman cheat sheet for folks in that role & the relay role. Keep chatter short and even if the race/chase you are calling don't reply to Weatherman if the message is short or important JUST SAY IT. Many many folks can hear much farther than they can talk....think of a little pocket radio and how it can hear a station hundreds of miles away.

The road books need a legend of penalty meanings. I had a number of people ask me what a SZ or DZ penalty was.

I am looking forward to the 1000 and I really hope Tech/Contingency can happen in front of the convention center like past years. Start and finish at Horsepower is cool but I agree that the locals should get to enjoy the Tech Day madness. Stupid Covid :)
 

CHINOLAS

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Eliseo, another great event again, even though we DNF'd. As a participant since the beginning I have seen many changes, some good, some not so good. But the most important thing throughout the years is your willingness to ask for and act on input from the racers. So here is my input this year. Horsepower Ranch - a good place maybe to start and finish the race, but I think having tech and all the operations there does not work. It's a bit crowded, signage , directions a little lacking, and once we figured out how to get in and out, you changed directions on us. We had only 80 some entries, so what will it look like with 250 entries for the 1000? It was not convenient to drive back and forth many times. I was told to bring my time card back to Ops, a drive of 45 min each way for me. (I didn't). You said that any inquires needed to be done in person, another inconvenience. At the drivers meeting you said we could call, or text you. When we were working on our car we tried to call, text, email someone so we could start the next day. I finally texted Radalie ( as I have her personal cell number) and she said she would take the message to you. In the past we could just go to Ops at the finish line and handle all these issues.
I would say "everyone" was staying in Ensenada and a location in town would provide a much better place to hold tech, Ops, logistics, etc. We could drive out of town for the start just as day two.
Thanks again for everyone's efforts at NORRA. We will be there for the 1000.
Bruce Galien,, FireForce Racing, #4, 1976 "Staggered Tandem"
Bruce

Agree 100% with you it sucks to be that far away from civilization but Covid Regulations forced us out of town, we had the option to do it at the same location SCORE has been doing his races but we thought HPR would be more suitable, the downside to that is the lack of Cell service and how far it is from town.

For 2022 if we are allowed to go back to town it will be better.
 

CHINOLAS

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Being a Sweep I got to see alot behind the scenes and I am even more impressed by NORRA and all the people that I was as a chase.
Amazing work keeping 2 languages going and all the cats herded in the right directions.

For the Santo Tomas start on Day 2 I know that everyone was told many times not unload trailers along the road....but I would change the language to NOT TO UNLOAD ALONG THE HIGHWAY.
And use the Stella tracker to give penalties to folks who don't follow the rule.
Granted I was flagging at the END of town so folks were coming in looking for spots and rarely saw me waving like a mad man but many did and followed the rules. There should be a penalty for those who don't which results in a reward for those who do.

Weatherman should announce over the air the time the 1st bike & car start and the last bike & car start, then the time the last bike & car finish a Special Stage. That would help everyone listening know how things are going.

Honestly it would be great to make a Weatherman cheat sheet for folks in that role & the relay role. Keep chatter short and even if the race/chase you are calling don't reply to Weatherman if the message is short or important JUST SAY IT. Many many folks can hear much farther than they can talk....think of a little pocket radio and how it can hear a station hundreds of miles away.

The road books need a legend of penalty meanings. I had a number of people ask me what a SZ or DZ penalty was.

I am looking forward to the 1000 and I really hope Tech/Contingency can happen in front of the convention center like past years. Start and finish at Horsepower is cool but I agree that the locals should get to enjoy the Tech Day madness. Stupid Covid :)
Thanks very much Lance, we will definitely shoot for going back to normal in 2022.
 

John Yeiser

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Another Great race!! The call outs on leadnav were really well done and I can't imagine the effort put out to provide that much detail. As usual everyone is super nice and accommodating. The new Hill climb format is way better and I am sure a lot less headache for you guys. Your response time with medical and insurance was great this race, including the personal running them, nice as can be. The only area I personally would change are some of the small extra loops that I am guessing were 'intended to add milage." Such as the extra loop on day two stage 2, with the long speed zones and traversing farm lands and new uncut roads. Although I like all type of off-roading, I think in this format, 60 less miles in the race and getting everyone back to the finish a little earlier leaves more time to hang out and gets most everyone back before dark. I know a lot of people will want more milage for the event, but with a lot of older vintage cars, helping insure a successful return before midnight, might not be a bad comprise. All of that being said, its not a complaint, just a suggestion. I plan on racing with NORRA regardless of any potential changes you guys do. You have a successful event and I can't wait to come back.
 

Zambo

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I thought the STELLA device worked as well as I've seen it work. It still gives me a warning that I just passed a broken down vehicle instead of it telling me in advance, but other than that from our perspective it did its job nicely. We had way less problems with push-to-pass, which should be thought of as the antidote for having to nerf somebody rather than the antidote for having to drive through a little dust.

One combination of STELLA and NORRA rules I'd like to really compliment was the use of the countdown feature for the stock UTVs at the MAG7 pit stops. You would go into the pit and have to stay there for 5 minutes to get fuel. As the 5 minutes was elapsing, the unit would start counting down on the screen so you knew exactly how long you had to wait until you could clear the pit. IMO, this tech could go a long way to controlling transits on the highway sections. Put a start and end waypoint on the highway section which gives teams enough time to fuel or do driver swaps in a reasonable amount of time and just use the countdown feature to control re-entry into the racecourse. Just an idea.

Shifting gears, without going into our specific problem, I'd like to suggest that when a vehicle finishes the day, they should pull over at the scoring tent and go inside and make sure their times for the day are correct. You are there, the roadbook is there, the car is there, and NORRA officials are there....verify everything right there while its fresh and convenient to do so. Sign the time sheet the same way a golfer signs his scorecard during a tournament. That way when the results come out at the end of the day, they are as correct as possible. It is too easy for incorrect times that are poorly written on the scorecard to be entered into the results that get posted. This can cause some pretty big confusion during the race the next day.

We stayed at HPR and as such the logistics for us were super easy, but if we had to stay in town like most teams I can certainly see that making that drive back and forth would have taken a lot of the shine off the event. Hopefully as Eliseo has said, we will be back to a central location soon. I'll take the chance to reiterate an opinion I shared a while back....the finishing party should take place right at the finish line as cars are finishing. It would go a long way toward the fun and camaraderie of the event to arrive at the finish directly into a crowd of your fellow racers welcoming you to the end.

Congrats on putting on another great event. Hopefully my car still has enough miles left on it to keep racing.
 

CHINOLAS

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Another Great race!! The call outs on leadnav were really well done and I can't imagine the effort put out to provide that much detail. As usual everyone is super nice and accommodating. The new Hill climb format is way better and I am sure a lot less headache for you guys. Your response time with medical and insurance was great this race, including the personal running them, nice as can be. The only area I personally would change are some of the small extra loops that I am guessing were 'intended to add milage." Such as the extra loop on day two stage 2, with the long speed zones and traversing farm lands and new uncut roads. Although I like all type of off-roading, I think in this format, 60 less miles in the race and getting everyone back to the finish a little earlier leaves more time to hang out and gets most everyone back before dark. I know a lot of people will want more milage for the event, but with a lot of older vintage cars, helping insure a successful return before midnight, might not be a bad comprise. All of that being said, its not a complaint, just a suggestion. I plan on racing with NORRA regardless of any potential changes you guys do. You have a successful event and I can't wait to come back.
John

Thanks very much for your input and yes I agree we tried to shoot for 500 miles of dirt this year and added some new sections that at the end might be too much, for next year we will definitely look at this and make it more fun and shoot for everyone to be at finish before dark, also Bikes have told us it was a bit risky to get passed by some cars, we had to do this due to the number of entries it was just super expensive to hold rescue, checks and everyone on 2 courses like we did in 2019 to be able to separate bikes and cars but 2022 looks way better for all so we will shoot for bikes only course next year.
 

CHINOLAS

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I thought the STELLA device worked as well as I've seen it work. It still gives me a warning that I just passed a broken down vehicle instead of it telling me in advance, but other than that from our perspective it did its job nicely. We had way less problems with push-to-pass, which should be thought of as the antidote for having to nerf somebody rather than the antidote for having to drive through a little dust.

One combination of STELLA and NORRA rules I'd like to really compliment was the use of the countdown feature for the stock UTVs at the MAG7 pit stops. You would go into the pit and have to stay there for 5 minutes to get fuel. As the 5 minutes was elapsing, the unit would start counting down on the screen so you knew exactly how long you had to wait until you could clear the pit. IMO, this tech could go a long way to controlling transits on the highway sections. Put a start and end waypoint on the highway section which gives teams enough time to fuel or do driver swaps in a reasonable amount of time and just use the countdown feature to control re-entry into the racecourse. Just an idea.

Shifting gears, without going into our specific problem, I'd like to suggest that when a vehicle finishes the day, they should pull over at the scoring tent and go inside and make sure their times for the day are correct. You are there, the roadbook is there, the car is there, and NORRA officials are there....verify everything right there while its fresh and convenient to do so. Sign the time sheet the same way a golfer signs his scorecard during a tournament. That way when the results come out at the end of the day, they are as correct as possible. It is too easy for incorrect times that are poorly written on the scorecard to be entered into the results that get posted. This can cause some pretty big confusion during the race the next day.

We stayed at HPR and as such the logistics for us were super easy, but if we had to stay in town like most teams I can certainly see that making that drive back and forth would have taken a lot of the shine off the event. Hopefully as Eliseo has said, we will be back to a central location soon. I'll take the chance to reiterate an opinion I shared a while back....the finishing party should take place right at the finish line as cars are finishing. It would go a long way toward the fun and camaraderie of the event to arrive at the finish directly into a crowd of your fellow racers welcoming you to the end.

Congrats on putting on another great event. Hopefully my car still has enough miles left on it to keep racing.
John

I love the idea of using the Stella Neutralization feature for speed zones on highways, we have been testing this feature since April and I think we got a grip on this event to be able to trust it, also Stella has been testing the timing feature on the Stella as well, we had a few seconds difference on the actual timing card system but not much, human error is a big factor for typo errors while inputting time cards into timing system and if we get Timing Reports from Stella it might be more accurate, we can still have the time cards for backup.
 

BajaTriumph

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Thank You for a great NORRA 500! Such a monumental effort by all, Mike, Elisio, Casey, Pepe, Cesar, the girls, Tech guys, course workers, Mag7 crew and Lance & the amazing Sweep Crew!!! Tonya tried to solo drive the Bruce Meyers tribute Baja Tow’d, with timing-out and a big engine failure at D2SS4-mile15 she only drove 350 miles. Our first ever DNF and long night on course!
Only issue to add, was with OPS at HRP, communication is terrible in the valley.
We will be back with the Sal Fish tribute EMPI Baja Bug for 2022 Mexican 1000!!
Gracias Amigos, Viva Baja
 

jukadad

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For penalties, what does DZ mean? Our team got more than a few of these and nobody can figure out why? Were we supposed to slow every time the red hazard light came on Stella?
 

CHINOLAS

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For penalties, what does DZ mean? Our team got more than a few of these and nobody can figure out why? Were we supposed to slow every time the red hazard light came on Stella?
Hello

It is a bit disappointing to find out that teams register for this RALLY and do not attend Rally Training, they do not know how to navigate or use a GPS unit, and even worst some of them don't even use their roadbooks at all, every rally raid event is based on a Road Book since there is no Pre Running that book has all the information you need to be SAFE and also competitive.

NORRA events are not the exception and I always as Rally Master or Race Director try as much as I can to train new teams.

DZ or SZ is a Rally Term that means in French DEBUT DE ZONE in English it means Start of a Zone and it is all over your roadbook when a speed zone starts, also at the end of every speed zone, you will find in your roadbook FZ that stands for FIN DE ZONE end of the zone.

You also got a SPEED ZONE Bulletin on every roadbook, that document has a list of all the speed zones for the day, their location, and speed information, a trained navigator will STUDY the roadbook prior to starting and will highlight the important things in the roadbook like DANGERS, SPEED ZONES, NEUTRAL ZONES, and once he is using it during the rally he will notice an important waypoint is coming up ahead.

Your Stella Tracker will alert you prior to starting a speed zone with a yellow speed limit on the screen, then when you are inside of the zone the unit will stay red with the limit if you are below, if you get close to the limit it will start beeping repeatedly and you have 1 second to slow down or the red speed sign on the screen will start flashing and you will get a penalty.

Please follow this link for a bit of Stella info:
Instructional Video on our NORRA youtube channel:
On your penalties description if they are speed zone related you will have the following description DZ1-12, will explain:

DZ stands for a speed zone violation, the next number is the speed zone number based on the list provided with the roadbook, then after the dash that number corresponds to the number of impulses or peaks you went over the limit, you will get 9 seconds of a time penalty for every impulse or peak.

Hope this helps.
 

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Orangerocker

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Need more of a time gap from the bikes and the cars. Was very surprised to see that an hour was eliminated from the gap between cars and bikes. Why was this done? The trucks /cars caught the bikes. The car /bike starting time gap is one of the safest things Norra has done to manage the high danger of cars overtaking bikes. Please bring back the longer start gaps.
 

CHINOLAS

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Need more of a time gap from the bikes and the cars. Was very surprised to see that an hour was eliminated from the gap between cars and bikes. Why was this done? The trucks /cars caught the bikes. The car /bike starting time gap is one of the safest things Norra has done to manage the high danger of cars overtaking bikes. Please bring back the longer start gaps.
I Will do for the next one, hope we get back to normal with over 200 entries so we can pay for additional land use and have split courses like always.

We are in the process of eliminating GPS files for Bikes only and go into Full Roadbook navigation, reason for this is SAFETY, all accidents on this last Rally that required medical support were caused by Bike Riders that didn't had a roadbook or navigation tools at all, CHASING DUST is dangerous and have caused severe accidents in the past, we cant do this anymore.

We will require a navigation tower with all the tools and equipment to be safe, also will have a few training sessions for riders interested in learning how to do it.
 

jukadad

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Hello

It is a bit disappointing to find out that teams register for this RALLY and do not attend Rally Training, they do not know how to navigate or use a GPS unit, and even worst some of them don't even use their roadbooks at all, every rally raid event is based on a Road Book since there is no Pre Running that book has all the information you need to be SAFE and also competitive.

NORRA events are not the exception and I always as Rally Master or Race Director try as much as I can to train new teams.

DZ or SZ is a Rally Term that means in French DEBUT DE ZONE in English it means Start of a Zone and it is all over your roadbook when a speed zone starts, also at the end of every speed zone, you will find in your roadbook FZ that stands for FIN DE ZONE end of the zone.

You also got a SPEED ZONE Bulletin on every roadbook, that document has a list of all the speed zones for the day, their location, and speed information, a trained navigator will STUDY the roadbook prior to starting and will highlight the important things in the roadbook like DANGERS, SPEED ZONES, NEUTRAL ZONES, and once he is using it during the rally he will notice an important waypoint is coming up ahead.

Your Stella Tracker will alert you prior to starting a speed zone with a yellow speed limit on the screen, then when you are inside of the zone the unit will stay red with the limit if you are below, if you get close to the limit it will start beeping repeatedly and you have 1 second to slow down or the red speed sign on the screen will start flashing and you will get a penalty.

Please follow this link for a bit of Stella info:
Instructional Video on our NORRA youtube channel:
On your penalties description if they are speed zone related you will have the following description DZ1-12, will explain:

DZ stands for a speed zone violation, the next number is the speed zone number based on the list provided with the roadbook, then after the dash that number corresponds to the number of impulses or peaks you went over the limit, you will get 9 seconds of a time penalty for every impulse or peak.

Hope this helps.
sorry i forgot the foreign language part from rally training, which i did watch. We made sure to actually come to a complete stop as soon as the yellow came on and then go up to the speed for the zone, im sure that was the problem, thanks for the explanation.
 

Bubbastew

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Eliseo thanks for the fun course for the 500. The norra crew was great as usual . Stella worked as it should with speed zones and push to pass . Being on a bike chased by the cars some used the push to pass and some didn’t . Ones that did were for the most part patient enough to let us find a place to get out of the way after alert. Switching to road book only for bikes is fine but not having backup gps is not safe. The roll charts were so large that the didn’t fit in the roll chart holder. Even removing the parts we knew like start to first stage etc they were still to big. First day my chart jammed at about six mile mark and I had to navigate by gps rest of the day . Day two I didn’t even use it as it was bigger than day one. There was a lot of warnings on charts I don’t even look at that in my mind could be eliminated. At least having gps routes got me home. Let’s see if we can make the roll charts fit . It is not an option to carry separate parts of it in your pack to load at start or end of transit. I am coming back for the 1000 for sure .
 

notime

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Does somebody knows if where to rent one of the road book charts holders

Planning to race next year on a ATV and with limited funds and one time use I’m starting to see options

Other thing it’s start to learn how to use it before the race

IMG_0424.png
 
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