Day 2 (RALLY DAY 1)
of the Yokohama NORRA 500
Presented by Method Race Wheels
All Photography By: Bink Designs
ENSENADA, BAJA CALIF. – It was day two of the NORRA 500, but it was the first day that the competitors would run their vehicles in anger. The trouble was, nobody was even mad. Not even Mark Post who was third over the line. Apparently he ran up the bumper of first on the road Jax Redline and gave him the push to pass signal several times. It wasn’t clear if it was a malfunction, or if the young man was not familiar with the whole affair. Post didn’t take much offense, after all he was winning races before Redline was even born, and has nothing to prove. Redline has racing experience, but it was his first time behind the wheel of an honest to goodness Trophy Truck. The red mist had to have been thick in the cab as he diced with Post, Zac Langley, and Larry Ragland at the front of the pack. Langley was second to finish so the first three to finish represented three generations of offroad racers. Despite being first on the road, it’s a game of elapsed time. Ruben Torres of @chifladosracingteam was the overall winner on day one.
Certainly the highlight of many was their trip through the pine forest. Not only is the scenery absolutely spectacular, but it gets very technical as the narrow trail darts in and out of the trees. When we interviewed Judy Smith at technical inspection, she was a little apprehensive about whether the dust would seriously limit vision to the point of being treacherous. Thankfully there was enough wind to keep things reasonably clear. Mike Diorio, who was driving the first V8 class one car ever built by Jimco (in 1998), was fighting a loose alternator belt which caused the car to stall in sharp corners. Despite the increased tension, he was still able to have a little fun through the forest. He and David Hough battled through the trees. “It reminded me of high school; Dave and I chasing each other around in our trucks.” Said Diorio.
While the cars ran the northern loop, the bikes, and the safari class was on a separate course that looped to the south. The safari class was on the same bike course, but they ran later. They were able to stop and smell the roses along the way. Not only did they pull over to take pictures whenever they saw something cool, but they stopped for tacos too. That sounds like the way to go.
The bikes were the first to go up the road to Mike’s so it gives us a little idea about how fast the cars will be going. Kevin and Michele Busch had a great day and made it the 20 miles up to Mike’s in 20 minutes. The comradery between the bike competitors is really something else. Jeff Leonard was up around Valle De Trinidad when he started to have some navigation problems. He actually called Kevin Busch on the phone for help, and Kevin gave him the info he needed. It was the first time racing NORRA for Jeff’s teammate Tony Donna. Tony is used to going all out from the start, and left a couple of checkpoints early. They know they will have some penalties as a result, but their day was still a ton of fun, and they are looking forward to riding the northern loop.
One of the best parts of the NORRA 500, and the Mexican 1000, is the chance to race on multiple days. In the time between the day’s stages you can make changes to your bike, car, truck, or UTV. You might have a tough day racing, but still have a second, or third, chance to turn your race around. It’s so much more fun to have that opportunity to make repairs, or get dialed in even better for the next day’s racing. We will see who gets faster as the competitors switch courses, and run day two of racing. For those who could not catch the live stream, you can tune in to day 2 coverage by following the live coverage link on the norra.com home page, or by checking out our facebook page> NorraFanPage.
GOOD VIBES. # # # GOOD TIMES!
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.
NORRA enjoys corporate partnerships with Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, South Point Hotel Casino, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, STEEL-IT, RIGID, Multitool USA, Timberline, Schampa, Satellite Phone Store.com, PCI Race Radios, Warn, Biltwell, USActionTrax, Joe Hauler, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), B3KREATIV, and many more.