When Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels drove their Meyers Manx buggy from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas in 1967, they had no idea what desert racing would become over the following decades. Now 50 years after Don Francisco and Ed Pearlman’s inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000, Mike Pearlman carries on the legacy of his late father. 2017 marks the eighth running of the revitalized Mexican 1000, which now caters to both vintage and modern cars as a rally run over multiple days. This year the event grows an extra day to five, breaking up the long trip from Ensenada to Bahia de Los Angeles into two days, with a stop in San Felipe. Traditional stops in Loreto and La Paz remain, as does the finish line and epic celebration in San Juan del Cabo for all of those lucky enough to finish this race.
Don’t let the “happiest race on earth” moniker fool you, the Mexican 1000 is a legit race. What sets it apart from traditional point-to-point desert races is the format, not necessarily the difficulty. No prerunning is allowed in NORRA, which reduces the amount of time that competitors need to devote to the race while evening the playing field. Instead, after racing against Baja legends like Bud Feldkamp and Mark Stahl all day, you can sit down and join them for dinner! Untimed transit stages are used on pavement to link together the course and avoid bottomless silt beds and Chenowth sized whoops. Each day consists of multiple timed “special stages”, with the lowest combined time at the end of the week determining the winner. Past winners include guys like Walker Evans; dyed in the wool competitors who don’t know how to slow or take it easy.
2017 marks the biggest Mexican 1000 yet, with over 200 entries spread across vintage and modern classes for four-wheel and two-wheel competitors. Starting on Sunday, RDC will have daily coverage with provisional results, stories from the course, and the stunning photography that you have come to expect from the world’s leading desert racing authority.