(Agua Dulce, Calif.): There are always great stories that come to light during the NORRA, Mexican 1000. With such a diverse group of vintage cars, modern race vehicles, UTV’s, motorcycles and prerunners competing this year, the rally has become compelling before the it even begins. Vehicles in the race range from PJ Jones’ Polaris RZR XP1000 to Larry Trim’s 1968 SC/Rambler sedan. Trim raced in 2013 and made plans to return with a vintage racer. His S/C Rambler is a recreation of a car once driven by James Garner. “We had help from a member of the original 1969 build team,” says Trim, “We have made the car as authentic to the original as possible, right down to the airbags in the front coils, and the bias ply super traxion tires. I’ll be trading driving duties with my co driver and business partner Brent Yeadon.”
As in years past, legends like Walker Evans and Rod Hall are back to compete; Walker in the Pro Unlimited class, Rod driving an early Bronco in Pioneer 4x4s. Early Bronco lovers will have a huge number of trucks to cheer on during the race. The team of photographer Boyd Jaynes and marketing executive Brian Godfrey will be going for their 5th win racing together. “The Mexican 1000 gives regular guys like us the chance to go racing,” said Godfrey, “It’s great fun, low key, and no stress. You cross the finish line, have a shot of tequila and then work on the truck a little bit before dinner. My Dad and Brother both come down to help out and share the fun.”
Many families and longtime friends make up the teams that compete. Father and Son, Rob and Kyle Usnick will be competing on bikes. Kyle on a 1998 Kawasaki KX300 and Rob on a 1970 Husqvarna 400. The motorcycle contingent will also include iron women Jen Morton, multi-time motocross champion Ricky Johnson, and Baja racing legend Steve Hengeveld. Ruben Hale, the son of Anita Grosso (Mama Espinosa), will be back riding with the bikes from Ensenada to El Rosario in honor of her passing. As usual, Mama Espinosa’s will host dinner for the bikes on Saturday April 23rd. Then there is the class that many say is the most hardcore of the rally; the Classic British Thumpers class. Riding the length of the Baja Peninsula on a vintage English bike is truly incredible.
Looking at the list of entries, many competitors and their vehicles bring back fond memories from several eras of off-road racing. Mike Coleman will be racing the Ford F150 known as Roseanne. The truck was piloted by Frank “Scoop” Vessels, Robby Gordon and Marty Coyne in years past. Also competing will be the Land shark Truggy of Terrible Herbst Racing. John Swift will be piloting his beautiful 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass in the Pioneer Buggies class and Jim “Rooster” Riley has repaired the “Rippin Rooster” 1957 Chevrolet to look stunning after having a tough battle with Baja last year. Thanks to a huge turnout of media, which includes those wild men from across the pond, The Gentlemen’s Guide To Racing, who are driving an iconic Nissan Pick-up truck, coverage of the race will be extensive. If you can’t make it down, go to www.norra.com/live where you will find live tracking by Volocore, live chat, daily recaps, and live video streaming from out on the course.
More: 2012 NORRA 1000 Trip Report
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