On The Rise: NORRA’s Seaside Fiesta Now an Off-Road Racing Institution
AGUA DULCE, CALIF.
It was here that the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) first established one of its signature off-road racing traditions – the annual Mexican 1000 seaside awards banquet.
That groundbreaking first event, which was sponsored by longtime rally support Michael Gaughan and his South Point Hotel and Casino, was a revelation that became a cornerstone to NORRA’s “Happiest Race on Earth” mantra. For Mexican 1000 racers, crews, family and VIPs, the site of hundreds of chairs, table cloth adorned tables, perfectly presented bars with top-shelf liquor, well-dressed wait staff and endless tables of gourmet Mexican food was a revelation in post-race awards celebrations. The fact that it was all located directly on the sand, as opposed to a generic ballroom in some nondescript hotel, helped it became an indelible memory.
TO THE VICTORS
Traditionally, desert off-road awards ceremonies have been rather bland, and often poorly attended affairs as most teams completed the race and headed home early the next day. NORRA changed all of that, and the next few years saw the event expand to nearly 1,500 guests – the largest in the sport.
The challenge to NORRA came in the form of both trying to offer awards the same day as the finish of the race (from an official rally timing and scoring point of view), as well as a large list of categories and winners that stretched the evening well into the night.
A WELCOME CELEBRATION:
Plans are already in place for the 2019 Yokohama Tire Mexican 1000 seaside awards celebration, ones that take the very best of the past while enhancing the overall show as well. A live classic rock band will entertain at the venue’s massive stage, complete with concert-level sound system and LED big screen. Once again, the party will feature multiple food stations and bars, with catering from Rogerio Ampudia of Stella Cucina al Forno Cabo. Back by popular demand will be ice cold “Yokohama NORRA Baja Blonde” beer courtesy of Cerveceria Transpeninsular and Roganto wine. The biggest change, however, is expected to be a much more concise awards presentation to be hosted and co-produced by NORRA racer and veteran emcee Marty Fiolka.
FOOD AND FUN:
“Looking back now, that first seaside party in 2012 really set the standard for how to end an event like the Mexican 1000 in style,” shared NORRA President Mike Pearlman. “The main goal for NORRA is to build an experience for our racers, families, and crew like no other. This party is now the biggest and best awards event in the sport, and 2019 will take that tradition and build on it for the future. Cheers!”
Beginning in 2010, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) began promoting a rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. The unique off-road rally was co-created by promoter Mike Pearlman to consist of special stages (unlimited speed timed stages in the dirt) linked together by controlled speed liaison/transit sections (highway). The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year, five-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, as well as modern desert Rally Raid cars, pre-runner trucks, buggies, UTVs, and motorcycles.
Pearlman’s late father Ed and others established the first running of the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally in November of 1967, which eventually became internationally recognized and evolved into the Baja 1000 in the mid-1970s.
The 2019 YOKOHAMA NORRA Mexican 1000 is supported by Yokohama, Method Race Wheels, South Point Hotel Casino, Walker Evans Racing, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, Steel-It, Multitool USA, RIGID, Savvy Offroad, VP Racing Fuels, Timberline, Ensenada Proturismo, Mastercraft/Impact Safety, Cerveceria Transpeninsular, Roganto, Biltwell Inc., Schampa, Racing TraX.com, Satellite Phone Store.com, P.C.I. Race Radios, WARN, Magic Bullet, US Action Trax.com, and many more
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