The First Baja 1000 – 27 Hours to La Paz

The First Baja 1000 – 27 Hours to La Paz


The first official “Baja 1000” started in Tijuana, Baja California, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. The course length that year was 849 miles (1,366 km) and ended in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The overall winning time was 27 hours 38 minutes by Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels while driving a Meyers Manx buggy. From 1967 to 1972, the race was organized by NORRA and featured by ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” with Jim McKay covering the 1968 event.  The race attracted many notable participants such as the late Mickey Thompson, Parnelli Jones, James Garner, and Mary McGee, the first woman to compete in the event.  SCORE International has promoted the Baja 1000 since 1975.  The race course typically starts and ends in Ensenada with every third year being a peninsula run ending in La Paz or Cabo.

Feature photo from NORRA.com.

Curtis Guise

Administrator
Curtis hate to do this but remember the race was called Mexican 1000 in 1967, the first Baja 1000 was in 1973 when the BSC did it.
Yes that is correct. The first sentence under the video says it was called the Mexican 1000 the first year. I was debating on what to title this post and went with the same title as the video.

Also SCORE held the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 in 2017. They and most everyone else considers the 1967-1972 races were "Baja 1000's". That might not be technically correct and up for debate... So let's talk about it. We have nothing else to do while stuck at home right? LOL
 

BajaFand

Well-Known Member
How was it then only 849 miles from TJ to La Paz when a current B1k from Ens to La Paz is typically 1000-1100 miles? Is it because in the early years the unpaved race course is what is known as HWY 1 now?
 

Curtis Guise

Administrator
How was it then only 849 miles from TJ to La Paz when a current B1k from Ens to La Paz is typically 1000-1100 miles? Is it because in the early years the unpaved race course is what is known as HWY 1 now?
Looking at Google maps from TJ to La Paz it shows 914 miles (1471km). So maybe they did use allot of what is Hwy 1 now plus other shorter routes. I'm sure someone on here can explain the 1967 course better. Or is there a map somewhere?

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Zambo

Well-Known Member
How was it then only 849 miles from TJ to La Paz when a current B1k from Ens to La Paz is typically 1000-1100 miles? Is it because in the early years the unpaved race course is what is known as HWY 1 now?
Because a current B1K course goes all over the place on a specific path. Back then I believe there was no course. It was first guy to LaPaz wins.
 

Zambo

Well-Known Member
I for one would love to see a similar idea take shape one day. Perhaps with multiple objectives rather than just one. Closed group of people, meet at HP ranch, hand out a list of places on the peninsula that they have to visit. First one to hit all those places, then get to Cabo, is the winner. No chase crews allowed, every competitor has to fend for themselves. Not really a spectator sport, more like a gigantic scavenger hunt.
 

BMW21

Member
Looking at Google maps from TJ to La Paz it shows 914 miles (1471km). So maybe they did use allot of what is Hwy 1 now plus other shorter routes. I'm sure someone on here can explain the 1967 course better. Or is there a map somewhere?

View attachment 210516
If you're really interested I can ask my dad, the guy who won overall.
 

51rcr

Well-Known Member
have him tell his story and record it. give a copy to off road hall of fame so they can do a transcript and edit it. it would be a neat background story to play in front of a peninsula map with his route and other routes overlaid. Some museums have a set up like that. it may not happen anytime soon but even in 50 years it would be a great piece of history to have. Iam sure theres a few videographers that would love to do it. Our PBS station recorded the old WW guys stories and played them and archived them. History and stroyies that would be lost otherwise. Lots of info in them.
 

osborne

Well-Known Member
I like the scavenger hunt idea...get a receipt or stamp in each town. Outlaw style, cannon ball race
 

CHINOLAS

Well-Known Member
How was it then only 849 miles from TJ to La Paz when a current B1k from Ens to La Paz is typically 1000-1100 miles? Is it because in the early years the unpaved race course is what is known as HWY 1 now?
You are correct, the first 80 miles from ENSENADA to CAMALU was Pavement, then the rest to San Quintin was graded roads but mostly HWY 1, also the last miles into La Paz was also highway.
 

Zambo

Well-Known Member
I like the scavenger hunt idea...get a receipt or stamp in each town. Outlaw style, cannon ball race
I was thinking you hand out something at the meeting, a special coin perhaps, and you just take a picture of the coin at each stop. No need to even go there and prep anything.
 

Dave Cole 4454

Well-Known Member
They and most everyone else considers the 1967-1972 races were "Baja 1000's". That might not be technically correct and up for debate... So let's talk about it. We have nothing else to do while stuck at home right? LOL
Not kissing NORRA butt...but...I have always had a tough time by that misappropriation of history.

Not only did SCORE assume a history that wasnt theirs, it wasnt even the 50th race. Just a way to make a buck.

Sorry, troof hurts and Im feeling a little stir crazy so not too worried about calling it the way I see it. NORRA did the same thing but at least called it the 50th anniversary race.
 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
I for one would love to see a similar idea take shape one day. Perhaps with multiple objectives rather than just one. Closed group of people, meet at HP ranch, hand out a list of places on the peninsula that they have to visit. First one to hit all those places, then get to Cabo, is the winner. No chase crews allowed, every competitor has to fend for themselves. Not really a spectator sport, more like a gigantic scavenger hunt.
There was a race like this before. Probably 20 years ago we met a motorcycle rider on a BMW adventure bike down in Baja near Guerrero Negro. He had a hole in his engine side cover which we helped JB weld & bottle cap closed. He said he laid the bike down during a race.

We asked what race? He said a Bike shop in Az or NV? Don’t remember? But they did this underground Border to Cabo race. It was a race by invite only. Total underground race. You started at the US boarder, and first guy to some hotel in Cabo wins. Only rules were you had checkpoints in different towns or villages where you found a hotel, store or camp to get your sheet stamped. There were 10-12 check point stamps you had to get.

This was before GPS. He said you got a map of Baja with a list of towns and the names of the checkpoint places. The bikes were Adventure style bikes as you could be on the asphalt or some dirt road or trail.

Everyman was for himself. No support, no chase crews, no emergency crews, nothing. Just you & your bike. He said he passed a few guys who wrecked just getting out of TJ in the fog. His lay down was enough to take him out of the race too. We were helping him get the bike fixed so he could ride back to the US.

Maybe someone else has heard of this race before?