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The GOOD, BAD and UGLY of the NORRA 500 !!!

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
Guys

Like always, open to suggestions and ideas to make the Norra 500 better next year.

My personal thoughts for improvement are the following:

REGISTRATION AND TECH:

STELLA Mounting delayed the TECH inspection and we will have them after Tech and not before like this year.

GPS Rally Clinics, we had only a few people and no idea why; we need everyone to come down and learn how to use roadbook and GPS for safety.

Safety Training, we had some drivers complained about losing time with the training they already know and I agree but I believe that refreshing people´s minds is good every race on what to do with Stella and also Safety Ideas.

RACE DAYS:

Start Order for Day 1, I am open to suggestions about this, some racers have come to me asking to change it from based on registration to something different but need ideas, a whole new post about this.

First Special of the day, there was a big HIGHWAY fight between the first starters on day 2 at the 500 to start in Santo Tomas dust free even with taking a penalty, passing on the right side on dirt on the highway almost running over people, almost hitting barriers after military checkpoint at Uruapan, racing at 100 mph on the highway on a transit stage, RIDICULOUS; we will change it to prevent this from happening again, the exact same start order in Ensenada or if it is the Mexican 1000 the exact same order as the first start every day will be used for the first special of the day, that way there is no reason to try to win the start st the first special of the day to run dust free.

PUSH to PASS, Even with the testing every morning for the RF antennas to work, we still had issues with units not transmitting or receiving the RF signal with push to pass requests, happened specially at the Pine Forest, I can´t think of another way to penalize or help whoever has been stalled by someone not moving, need help and ideas here.

Speeding Penalties, Stella penalized 60 cars during day 1 and little less than 40 on day 2, a lot of you guys are playing with the speed control on your vehicles to get the most out of the Stella tracking but remember, penalties are assessed by a computer programming and not a human, if you get a peak and get seconds of penalties it is what it is, some inquiries came in from racers that lost first place because a 30 second speeding penalty but we can´t do anything about it, make sure you comply and understand this, my 2 cents on this is to always drive 2 miles below the limit.

KING OF THE MOUNTAIN, well we did our best and still not enough IMO, took forever to start each group up the mountain and that will not happen again, next year we will continue from Mike´s up and turn to Valley T using Simpson, the problem this year was heavy rains and Baja 400 used the road and destroyed it, not a NORRA road to use and we had to last-minute change the course to go in and out of Mikes on the same road, we need 10k to 15k to fix the road because we need heavy machinery to do it, city does not help us and we will look for a sponsor to help us with that, we got a year to do it, all in all i think you guys had fun and by the way Robby´s Record in 2016 of 16:51 was broken by Gay Smith with 16:32 so officially we have a new KING of the MOUNTAIN.

Start and Finish in Ensenada, open to ideas if you want to change anything.

Parties, Food, Drinks, any ideas on what to change.

AWARDS, well the first time to do a morning awards, did you guys liked it, how was the food, short or long awards? let me know.

Regards
Eliseo Garcia
Race Director
NORRA
 

bajaxp

Baja Bobsled Team
Comments:
-I thought the Stella worked great. But not getting the kit until tech is BS, plus fleecing racers $40 for insurance, plus $175 for a cobby $30 worth of wires and antennas with connectors that fell off in our hands...then...wait for it...the install kit didn't come with the 'bracket'...BOOM another $55. Cash please. The brackets bolts were too small and we had to go back and re-drill the holes and put in 1/4-20's to make sure it wouldn't fall apart. But on a happier note, push to pass worked great and I really like it when the speed zone goes yellow before it goes red. No penalties for us. Never did hear a VCP beep like in the past.
-Speaking of speed zone penalties...perhaps you could consider an average speed over the entire length of the speed zone in order to prevent petty penalties.
-Speeding in a transit...insanity. DQ IMO. Public safety on public roads plus our (+NORRA's) reputation is at risk.
-King of the mountain....the wait sucked and the thing itself was ok. Honestly I could take it or leave it. Not sure what the big deal was...I treated it like a SPECIAL, which is exactly what it was. So why all the hoopla about it plus it was something like a two hour delay causing us to finish in the dark (in my case with a dark shield).
-The morning awards location, food, drinks, etc was top notch. Still...still...still way too many interviews and speeches. The whole awards should take an hour or less. Was there a recap video of the previous two days of racing this year? If so I missed it. Love those at the 1000. Just make sure the video has a nice mix of racers and classes. The 2018 MX1K video was sponsored by Yokohama and they pretty much only showed a Yok shod buggy and a Yok shod Bronco.
-For me I wouldn't mind if the race was on Thursday and Friday. Might stay an extra day and enjoy Ensenada or perhaps leave on Saturday and avoid the 3+ hours waiting in line at the border.
-I like the starting order like it is.
-You should make a minimum number of bikes to enter, or you will cancel their (bikes) race. Absolutely nuts to have an entire course staffed, swept, comms, etc for a half dozen bikes. If they can not muster 40 people then cancel. And this is from a dyed in the wool bike guy. Maybe someone needs to talk to some of the AMA district riders, clubs, etc and rally their ranks to come down and race with us.
-NORRA tech should be in charge of their own rules. Racers can protest AFTER the race and should have to put up a $1000 cash to be able to protest. If the part is legal they loose their money. But to have my car bumped up a class because one racer in my class doesn't like a part on my car and nobody can say what is wrong is...well WRONG. This was before the race when nobody knew even if the part(s) in question were even going to be on my car! I stand by my car being legal for the original class I signed up for and again nobody could tell me what was was illegal. 'Guilty until proven innocent' doesn't work for me. Norm Francis would be a great choice to run NORRA tech. At least he has the balls to stand up for what is right and he wouldn't hide at tech.
-My recommendation for the rally school would be to split up the Lowrance/Garmin guys from the Leadnav guys and have two shorter classes...appx 45 min long. The Leadnav guys have a very different system. The roadbook portion could obviously be the same. I was first introduced to Eliseo at the rally clinic in 2018 and I gained a ton of respect for him during the clinic. This cat knows his chit, and he said (paraphrasing)...'You are stupid and giving away time if you are only using the GPS...use the road book...use the road book...it is the bible and there is a ton of info, safety, and ways to actually go quicker in there....plus it is fun once you learn how to use it the right way.' Very true! My co-dog loves riding with me at NORRA because he is SOOOOO busy in the RH seat with timing between stages, road book, calling corners, helping over blind rises, staying in the mirrors, monitoring the cars vitals, etc.
-I know it is hard in Baja Norte, but work extra hard to keep us off the freshly used SCORE, RECORD, CODE courses. You could tell where they had just run the Baja 400 as it was beat to chit. I don't mind the rough, but it was significantly rougher than the MX1K. You don't want to lose car count due to stock, pioneer, etc cars getting chewed up in the rough and not wanting to race again.
-For being the first 500, I thought it was really fun and well run. The two day format that starts and finishes in Ensenada was easy logistically. Easy to chase, easy to get to Ensenada, easy because we didn't have to pack up and move hotels every night. It makes a nice 'bookend' to the MX1K because of the easy logistics and being exactly six month apart. Ensenada weather in October was near perfect.
My 2 pesos
Matt #12
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
Comments:
-I thought the Stella worked great. But not getting the kit until tech is BS, plus fleecing racers $40 for insurance, plus $175 for a cobby $30 worth of wires and antennas with connectors that fell off in our hands...then...wait for it...the install kit didn't come with the 'bracket'...BOOM another $55. Cash please. The brackets bolts were too small and we had to go back and re-drill the holes and put in 1/4-20's to make sure it wouldn't fall apart. But on a happier note, push to pass worked great and I really like it when the speed zone goes yellow before it goes red. No penalties for us. Never did hear a VCP beep like in the past.
-Speaking of speed zone penalties...perhaps you could consider an average speed over the entire length of the speed zone in order to prevent petty penalties.
-Speeding in a transit...insanity. DQ IMO. Public safety on public roads plus our (+NORRA's) reputation is at risk.
-King of the mountain....the wait sucked and the thing itself was ok. Honestly I could take it or leave it. Not sure what the big deal was...I treated it like a SPECIAL, which is exactly what it was. So why all the hoopla about it plus it was something like a two hour delay causing us to finish in the dark (in my case with a dark shield).
-The morning awards location, food, drinks, etc was top notch. Still...still...still way too many interviews and speeches. The whole awards should take an hour or less. Was there a recap video of the previous two days of racing this year? If so I missed it. Love those at the 1000. Just make sure the video has a nice mix of racers and classes. The 2018 MX1K video was sponsored by Yokohama and they pretty much only showed a Yok shod buggy and a Yok shod Bronco.
-For me I wouldn't mind if the race was on Thursday and Friday. Might stay an extra day and enjoy Ensenada or perhaps leave on Saturday and avoid the 3+ hours waiting in line at the border.
-I like the starting order like it is.
-You should make a minimum number of bikes to enter, or you will cancel their (bikes) race. Absolutely nuts to have an entire course staffed, swept, comms, etc for a half dozen bikes. If they can not muster 40 people then cancel. And this is from a dyed in the wool bike guy. Maybe someone needs to talk to some of the AMA district riders, clubs, etc and rally their ranks to come down and race with us.
-NORRA tech should be in charge of their own rules. Racers can protest AFTER the race and should have to put up a $1000 cash to be able to protest. If the part is legal they loose their money. But to have my car bumped up a class because one racer in my class doesn't like a part on my car and nobody can say what is wrong is...well WRONG. This was before the race when nobody knew even if the part(s) in question were even going to be on my car! I stand by my car being legal for the original class I signed up for and again nobody could tell me what was was illegal. 'Guilty until proven innocent' doesn't work for me. Norm Francis would be a great choice to run NORRA tech. At least he has the balls to stand up for what is right and he wouldn't hide at tech.
-My recommendation for the rally school would be to split up the Lowrance/Garmin guys from the Leadnav guys and have two shorter classes...appx 45 min long. The Leadnav guys have a very different system. The roadbook portion could obviously be the same. I was first introduced to Eliseo at the rally clinic in 2018 and I gained a ton of respect for him during the clinic. This cat knows his chit, and he said (paraphrasing)...'You are stupid and giving away time if you are only using the GPS...use the road book...use the road book...it is the bible and there is a ton of info, safety, and ways to actually go quicker in there....plus it is fun once you learn how to use it the right way.' Very true! My co-dog loves riding with me at NORRA because he is SOOOOO busy in the RH seat with timing between stages, road book, calling corners, helping over blind rises, staying in the mirrors, monitoring the cars vitals, etc.
-I know it is hard in Baja Norte, but work extra hard to keep us off the freshly used SCORE, RECORD, CODE courses. You could tell where they had just run the Baja 400 as it was beat to chit. I don't mind the rough, but it was significantly rougher than the MX1K. You don't want to lose car count due to stock, pioneer, etc cars getting chewed up in the rough and not wanting to race again.
-For being the first 500, I thought it was really fun and well run. The two day format that starts and finishes in Ensenada was easy logistically. Easy to chase, easy to get to Ensenada, easy because we didn't have to pack up and move hotels every night. It makes a nice 'bookend' to the MX1K because of the easy logistics and being exactly six month apart. Ensenada weather in October was near perfect.
My 2 pesos
Matt #12
Making my notes Matt !! Thanks for the time spent with your response.
 

Sdracer

Well-Known Member
The only concern I had was the 8 mile speed zone outside of Tres Hermanos to just south of the Ojos jumps on day 2. I was bouncing up and down off of the 25mph speed limit and got my doors blown off by a UTV in my class passing me at race speeds. My co-driver kept me calm by saying not to worry, he would get a penalty. So I maintained my speed zone speed.
Come to find out that car did not get any penalty whatsoever. I talked with him after getting home from the race on social media and he told me that stella told him "some stellas got a 7 mile speed zone, some got an 8 mile speed zone" ?? What? That did not make any sense to me.

Luckily to my benefit, that car ran out of gas and lost by over 2 hours, so it did not come down to any conflict at the finish line for finishing position.
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
We thought NORRA did a great job with this event and we hope this is now an annual race. My co-driver, Pete Alesi, is the second generation of three generations racing in Baja and he said it was the most fun he ever had racing. He and his son will be racing their own vintage open car at the NORRA 1000 for the first time in 2020.

Stella brackets and wiring needs to be sent to racers when ordered so they are just popping in the units at tech. Have a separate parking area for last minute entries and those who didn't wire it properly to keep things moving.

It would be great if the push to pass wasn't a 3 football field range. Some people continue to push it when they first see dust. They should look for an opportunity to actually get to you before pushing it. This could be dangerous when I pulled over and no one is there, got tired of waiting and then I pull back into the course right in front of them. Reduce the range to 30'.

Eliseo, you and I have already talked about this and you promised to fix this but I will mention again here to share the conversation. Day 1 start should have the Era leaving together by class. It made no sense to start us 50 cars behind our competitor for the overall. We weren't slow at the last race, we blew an engine and DNF'd.

Not sure what caused this but day two course was faint white on the GPS and I could not make out the course on the first special out of Santo Tomas, If there is color coding, Please use the bright blue or red. Luckily Justin from PCI was at the stagging area for the Day 2 SS2 and he went through my GPS and changed all the colors for me to blue.

Matt, Nice shout out to the value of the co-driver, you should try doing all that by yourself in a single seat car someday! I only got off course once at this race (a new record!) because I followed someone in the Baja 400 wash where we can't read the course as well and I could not see the course on the GPS.

On the 8 mile speed zone, I was cool with it when I saw the Baja 400 course crossing it a few time. No thanks! Good job on keeping us off of it. Mayby talk the land owner up 35mph.
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
The only concern I had was the 8 mile speed zone outside of Tres Hermanos to just south of the Ojos jumps on day 2. I was bouncing up and down off of the 25mph speed limit and got my doors blown off by a UTV in my class passing me at race speeds. My co-driver kept me calm by saying not to worry, he would get a penalty. So I maintained my speed zone speed.
Come to find out that car did not get any penalty whatsoever. I talked with him after getting home from the race on social media and he told me that stella told him "some stellas got a 7 mile speed zone, some got an 8 mile speed zone" ?? What? That did not make any sense to me.

Luckily to my benefit, that car ran out of gas and lost by over 2 hours, so it did not come down to any conflict at the finish line for finishing position.
I am worried about this if you can maybe email me the car number to egarcia@norra.com in order to check his tracking info and verify with Stella if it is true that programming was wrong, this can´t be happening. Email me both numbers in order to verify the tracking and programming for both and compare please.
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
We thought NORRA did a great job with this event and we hope this is now an annual race. My co-driver, Pete Alesi, is the second generation of three generations racing in Baja and he said it was the most fun he ever had racing. He and his son will be racing their own vintage open car at the NORRA 1000 for the first time in 2020.

Stella brackets and wiring needs to be sent to racers when ordered so they are just popping in the units at tech. Have a separate parking area for last minute entries and those who didn't wire it properly to keep things moving.

It would be great if the push to pass wasn't a 3 football field range. Some people continue to push it when they first see dust. They should look for an opportunity to actually get to you before pushing it. This could be dangerous when I pulled over and no one is there, got tired of waiting and then I pull back into the course right in front of them. Reduce the range to 30'.

Eliseo, you and I have already talked about this and you promised to fix this but I will mention again here to share the conversation. Day 1 start should have the Era leaving together by class. It made no sense to start us 50 cars behind our competitor for the overall. We weren't slow at the last race, we blew an engine and DNF'd.

Not sure what caused this but day two course was faint white on the GPS and I could not make out the course on the first special out of Santo Tomas, If there is color coding, Please use the bright blue or red. Luckily Justin from PCI was at the stagging area for the Day 2 SS2 and he went through my GPS and changed all the colors for me to blue.

Matt, Nice shout out to the value of the co-driver, you should try doing all that by yourself in a single seat car someday! I only got off course once at this race (a new record!) because I followed someone in the Baja 400 wash where we can't read the course as well and I could not see the course on the GPS.

On the 8 mile speed zone, I was cool with it when I saw the Baja 400 course crossing it a few time. No thanks! Good job on keeping us off of it. Mayby talk the land owner up 35mph.
Bob

Stella took a while to ship the first kits and then decided to deliver at Tech, it was a bad decision i agree and will not happen again, also they will be after Tech in the next event to prevent clogging the Tech Line.

Will try to change Push to Pass distance but I think that we have to change all RF options to same distance including SOS, Hazard and Push To Pass, will ask Stella about this.

Day 1 Start is a different post and will decide based on feedback from all you guys, but Era´s should start together, I will post the proposed class starting order here and we can analyze it to be fair and just.

GPS Files, that was mentioned at the GPS School and forgot to tell everyone at Drivers Meeting, root files are in dark blue for specials and black for transits, all of them USR and GPX but some old Lowrance units when you import the files change the trail colors to several colored options, spoke to Lowrance staff about this and there is no way to prevent this unless you manually change this in your unit.

On the 8-mile speed zone, there is no way to change to 35 mph, they just don´t want us on the main road at high speeds.

Still making my notes.
 

jeff

Moderator
Not sure what caused this but day two course was faint white on the GPS and I could not make out the course on the first special out of Santo Tomas, If there is color coding, Please use the bright blue or red. Luckily Justin from PCI was at the stagging area for the Day 2 SS2 and he went through my GPS and changed all the colors for me to blue.
Your GPS did that... not NORRA. The first thing I do when we get the file from NORRA is go through each day and change the color to be uniform. If I don't the course color might be green, tan, yellow, etc. You'll want to add that to a prep list.

Aloha
 

LantanaTX

Well-Known Member
Your GPS did that... not NORRA. The first thing I do when we get the file from NORRA is go through each day and change the color to be uniform. If I don't the course color might be green, tan, yellow, etc. You'll want to add that to a prep list.

Aloha
Thanks, I wasn't really sure what happened and will make sure we check this. We have been using the HDS5 for a while and this was the first time it happened.
 

D10R10717

Active Member
2 min splits for the start of Mikes Hill climb for evolution class. So everyone can have a dust free run and really see who is KOM. Instead of catching the guy in front of us 10 miles into the stage and eating dust with no place to pass or pull over
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
2 min splits for the start of Mikes Hill climb for evolution class. So everyone can have a dust free run and really see who is KOM. Instead of catching the guy in front of us 10 miles into the stage and eating dust with no place to pass or pull over
That is really a possibility next year because if we fix the road after Mikes to come down thru Simpson we will not hold anyone at the bottom start and we can let them go as they show up, if we get a few cars together we start them 2 minutes apart without waiting more than maybe a few minutes instead of hours.

The Only little issue is we need 10k to 15k to fix the road and needs to be right after Score´s race, we are currently working on finding a sponsor to step up for that.
 

bajaxp

Baja Bobsled Team
Eliseo, I always thought Mike Jr maintained/fixed the Simpson road. He has a bunch of heavy equipment up there already that could easily do the job.
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
Eliseo, I always thought Mike Jr maintained/fixed the Simpson road. He has a bunch of heavy equipment up there already that could easily do the job.
I Spoke to him before the race and said he won´t do it, no reasons explained but i think the way it is now it will be a really difficult job, the road is really rough.
 

luvbaja2

Well-Known Member
Eliseo first of all from FireForce Racing, 1976 Funco "Staggered Tandem" #4, thank you and everyone at NORRA for a great event. We enjoyed the format, enjoyed five days in Ensenada, and will do it again next. year. Our suggestions for improvement.

STELLA - I had already purchased the kit, so had it ahead of time, which many did not. Problem - no instructions. Mounted the bracket incorrectly on the dash. Needed to buy new mount $55. Antenna did not work. Had to BUY a replacement $70. This is on top of the original $200. Sitting in tech you are held hostage to get it done. MANDATORY TRAINING - how about an on line course prior to the event? Bring your certificate to registration. Or at least have a schedule of training times so we don't have to wait for an hour to take the 15 min course.

PINE FOREST - was not expecting quite so much technical rough terrain. For a limited buggy it was a grind. We made it, just had to slow down, so not to break anything.

COURSE - First day was a breeze to chase. Day two we had to split up the trucks to cover both sides. Some may not have had two chase trucks.?? Any way to run the "west?" course all on the Pacific side and not cross over? San Quentin and back?

MIKES HILL CLIMB - Definitely a frustrating time for us and many of the slower classes. Added 2.5 hours to an already long day. After Simpsons road was not an exit option you could have cut it off at the cross over road to Valle T. and saved a lot of wasted time. I spoke with Mike about it and he seems adamant to do it again. A lot of fast guys enjoyed it it seems, but to me it was just frustrating. And it added quite a long time to the awards ceremony. If you do it next year just make sure there is little or no delay in the race in general.

Thanks again to you and everyone else involved. We will see you in April

Bruce Galien, #4
 

Team Todo En

Well-Known Member
I would like to see maps similar to the B1k with race miles marked in 10s or 20s so our team can carry one and have an idea where we are if no cell service and we are only in radio contact or if not they could get our rm location from weatherman.
Perfect example: During the 500 on day 2 we were having some issues and were in radio contact with our team, but when we told them we were at rm 165 they had no idea where that was and went off in the wrong direction. I know a locator and a couple of Sat phones could suffice but we were low budget on this one.
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
I would like to see maps similar to the B1k with race miles marked in 10s or 20s so our team can carry one and have an idea where we are if no cell service and we are only in radio contact or if not they could get our rm location from weatherman.
Perfect example: During the 500 on day 2 we were having some issues and were in radio contact with our team, but when we told them we were at rm 165 they had no idea where that was and went off in the wrong direction. I know a locator and a couple of Sat phones could suffice but we were low budget on this one.
There was no RM 165 at the Norra 500 in any stage, our longest stage was 111 miles on day 1 cars and was the pine forest, I think you are a bit confused but I understand your point, a race like the Baja 1000 has only one stage from start to finish and it is very easy to add mileage to it since RM 165 will always be the same exact location on a map, but at the Norra events we might have RM 165 on stage 01 or 02 or 05 etc, it is confusing, the way we always do it is by stage and waypoint number that is how we always instruct race and chase crews at the GPS and Rally School we have prior to the drivers meeting, if you get to learn the waypoints you will find it is way easier than race miles, what I will do for the next event will be to create a CHASE BIBLE with all access roads and course together for chase teams to see where is the closest access to the race car if they need to assist, but even with that you need to get your crews to attend Rally School and learn about it, all chase teams need to have printed copies of the Road Book PDF´s that are available online, also use the GPS files that are also online with waypoints and that way will find the location right away.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

aburruss

Member
I would like to see maps similar to the B1k with race miles marked in 10s or 20s so our team can carry one and have an idea where we are ...
In 2016 NORRA published the Mexican1000 Google Earth files with race miles (every 5 miles) on them, and it was a TREMENDOUS help. I wish they would do this again.

race miles.jpg
 
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