On The Rise: Yokohama Tire Continues Baja Legacy as Title Sponsor of Unique NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally
AGUA DULCE, CALIF. – It would be relatively easy for any tire company to take a world-class event like the NORRA Mexican 1000 and simply add a title sponsorship in the name of brand recognition and product validation. In the case of Yokohama, however, the partnership in the Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 goes far deeper than that.
As more than 250 teams prepare to take next week’s 10th running of the annual trans-Baja rally affectionately known as “the Happiest Race on Earth,” both Yokohama’s desert racing past and present will be on full display, along with a full slate of brand activation activities. Famous for its retro vibe and emphasis on fun competition, the Yokohama Tire-backed NORRA Mexican 1000 is a vintage-themed rally that commences on Sunday, 28thin Ensenada, Baja Mexico and finishes 1,256 miles later on Thursday, May 2nd on the beaches of San Jose Del Cabo.
|One of the milestones to NORRA’s indisputable success in growing its annual Yokohama Mexican 1000 rally has been through the support of a wide variety of top-level corporate partners. From the onset the historic promotional body has enjoyed the blessing of industry sponsors both large and small.
“This is the third year we’re the title sponsor and it’s been great,” said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama Tire’s vice president of marketing and product management. “Besides being a classic Baja off-road rally, the Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000 is a blast for racers and enthusiasts, and an excellent venue to spotlight our GEOLANDAR® tire line.”
YOKOHAMA THEN AND NOW: Yokohama’s Bob Mount (left) and Bosch’s Marty Fiolka stand in front of the five car Yokohama/Bosch/Toyota “Super Team” for a 1989 poster shoot (top). One of the most successful teams at NORRA, Brian Godfrey (left) and Boyd Jaynes will once again do battle at the 2019 NORRA Mexican 1000 in their vintage 1968 Ford Bronco.
By 1989 Yokohama teamed with Toyota and Bosch to create off-road racing’s first true factory “super” team. It consisted of five independent teams running Toyota powerplants and vehicles under the now iconic red and white-striped Yokohama livery including entries from Jim Stiles (Class 1 buggy), Jim and Lisa Greenway (Class 2), Craig Watkins and Greg Aronson (Class 10), Malcolm Vinje and Mark Hanson (Class 7S) and Gregg Symonds (Class 7 4×4).
At last year’s NORRA race, Yokohama’s new GEOLANDAR M/T tire was showcased on the winning 1968 Ford Bronco named Caballo Del Diablo (or Devil’s Horse in English). Driven by owner Boyd Jaynes and Brian Godfrey, the performance represented the team’s sixth NORRA Mexican 1000 class victory and fourth consecutive win in the Pioneer 4×4 category.
THE OG YOKOHAMA COUPLE: Jim and Lisa Greenway will return to the Baja desert in their original Yokohama-supported 1980 Raceco-VW at the upcoming NORRA Mexican 1000. The veteran couple has been part of the Yokohama family since the mid-1980s. (Art Eugenio photo)
Along with the Caballo Del Diablo effort, for 2019 the Yokohama flag will be proudly flown into the Mexican 1000 battle by a variety of teams and classes including Jim and Lisa Greenway in their original #1601 1980 Raceco-VW (nicknamed Flipper) in Legend Buggy, Rudy Townsley in a historic #75 Chenowth-VW (Pioneer Buggy), the #229 1978 Chenowth 2000 of Bob Lawrence (Legend Buggy), the #207 1979 Chenowth 2000 of Mario Alesi (Challenger Buggy) and the #61 Mahindra Roxor entered by Ned and Kat Bacon (Pioneer 4×4). Yokohama will also have a major presence in the growing NORRA UTV categories thanks to the first-ever Mexican 1000 appearance of Kristen and Wayne Matlock in their #7154 factory Polaris RZR XP4 (Stock Turbo UTV category).
”NORRA is proud of all our corporate relations, but perhaps none more than the one we enjoy with Yokohama Tire,” explained NORRA President Mike Pearlman. “They have supported Baja racing for decades, and their partnership with us is great for our racers and the event itself. Without question, they have the best tires on the road – and on the dirt.”
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 pre-runners, trucks, buggies, UTVs, bikes and desert Rally Raid cars.
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-1970’s.
The 2019 YOKOHAMA NORRA Mexican 1000 is supported by Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, South Point Hotel Casino, Walker Evans Racing, STEEL-IT, RIGID, Multitool USA, Savvy Offroad, Amber Racing Services, F&L Racing Fuels, Timberline, Schampa, Satellite Phone Store.com, PCI Race Radios, Joe Hauler, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), B3Kreative, The Rennsport Group and many more.