2017 Race-Dezert NORRA Mexican 1000 Coverage
The second day of the 2017 NORRA Mexican 1000 took competitors along the Sea of Cortez from San Felipe to Bahia de los Angeles (Bay of LA), splitting up what was traditionally a long day from Ensenada to Bay of LA into two days.
The nearing completion of the paving of Mex 3 from San Felipe past Coco’s Corner down to Chapala, where it ties in with Mex 1, made the trip easy for chase crews with trailers who appreciated not having to circle back through Ensenada. “The great thing about this race is that there are five finish lines,” shared Bob Bower when we saw him in Bay of LA.
Cameron Steele leads all vehicles in his Geiser Trophy Truck, and honestly there is no reason he shouldn’t be winning. This is the same guy who was leading the San Felipe 250 last month until just a few miles from the finish line. Perhaps more interesting is that Cam has a slim lead over Mark Post in the Rivera Trophy Truck that truly is “historic” (by NORRA’s definition).
Perhaps our favorite aspect of the Mexican 1000 is the combination of old and new vehicles, and various disciplines such as Ultra4 buggies and rally cars. Behind Steele and Post, but well ahead of most of the field, are the Class 5 Unlimited buggies of Drew Belk and Troy Johnson. These guys are running in the top ten overall and embarrassing some trucks with far more horsepower and suspension travel. Other surprising front runners include Billy Whittington in his Polaris RZR 1000 and King of the Hammers promoter Dave Cole in his Ultra4 car. While these vehicles are not vintage, they certainly raise some eyebrows when they are passing luxury prerunners and Class 1 buggies.
“We had no idea what this race would become,” explained Grand Marshall Eliseo Garcia, who worked with Ed Pearlman and Don Francisco to organize the inaugural Mexican 1000 fifty years ago. Today, a new generation of adventurous souls follow in the footsteps of guys like Parnelli Jones and Mickey Thompson. Sean Danley, for instance, had never even been to Baja before this week. He was born in November of 1967, the same month and year of that first Mexican 1000. Danley flew from Saudi Arabia to race in the Mexican 1000 in a Class 11 VW. Despite frying the clutch on Day One, Danley found someone in San Felipe to repair the car and continued on, running flawlessly on Day Two. “We worked hard to get here,” he noted, “and it will take more than that to end my race.”
The bikes are now split from the cars, ending their day in Guerrero Negro, where they will enjoy a safe cushion in front of the four-wheeled competitors. Day Three steps up the distance for the cars, who have to cover 396 miles on their way to Loreto, 300 of which is timed special stages. That should be plenty of miles for each competitor to make more memories in Baja.