(Agua Dulce, Calif.): The Bilstein Madonna trophy is recognized around the world as one of the most prestigious awards a racer can achieve. When Bilstein announced they would be presenting a Madonna and two sets of shocks at the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000, many racers took note. The Mexican 1000 is a unique blend of high-performance driving, incredible scenery and world-class adventure in a tough, multi-stage race that honors the roots of Baja racing. Part of the criteria for earning the Madonna award was competing in an authentic vintage vehicle.
Several top finishers were running Bilstein shocks on their cars but Madonna award winner Mark Stahl was running the very same Bilstein shocks that were originally installed on his Ford F100 race truck back in 1978. No stranger to the Madonna award, Stahl twice earned Madonnas for winning the Baja 1000 overall in 1978 and then again in 1980. Bilstein has a rich history in off-road racing and Stahl has a rich history with Bilstein. After proving the effectiveness of Bilstein in the dirt, Stahl worked to introduce the company to oval and dirt track racing in the United States. Bilstein shocks went on to be as successful on pavement as they have been on dirt. “Winning another Madonna award really means a lot to me,” said Stahl, “Bilstein has been a huge supporter of mine throughout my racing career. I am proud of our accomplishments off-road and the work we did to introduce Bilstein to stock car racing in the 1980’s. When we restored our vintage race truck for NORRA, it was important to me to be as authentic as possible; using as many original parts on the truck that we could. Our Bilstein shocks are still in perfect working condition after all these years and can handle the worst Baja terrain that we encounter during the Mexican 1000.”
Mark Stahl won the Madonna and a set of shocks. NORRA racer Ed Maurin was selected as a winner of a set of Bilstein shocks. He was driving the restored Woodstuff, Porsche powered, 1983 Chaparral single seater, car that “Lightning” Larry Ragland drove in the 1980’s. “The car loves to hit the hard stuff,” said Maurin, “When we get into the rough stuff, it works a whole lot better; it’s a blast to drive. We are running the same type of Bilstein coilovers that the car ran when Larry drove it. He raced with me last year and said the car was amazing. The Porsche motor is a monster, it loves to go fast. This whole vintage thing is so cool. We get a chance to become friends with and race against our heroes in off-road racing.
Ed and Mark have been racing on Bilstein shocks since the 1970’s. They added to their impressive resumes at the NORRA Mexican 1000. Ed won the Challenger Era Buggies class sharing the driver’s seat with Rory Ward and Mark took the top spot in the Legends Era Truck category.