AGUA DULCE, Calif. – For the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA), the mantra for its General Tire Mexican 1000 rally revolves around two distinctive elements – customer service and giving their clients a great time while racing down the Baja peninsula.
Thanks to a newly finalized agreement with Ultra4 Racing, those objectives will be greatly enhanced for the sixth annual running of “The Happiest Race on Earth.”
Led by Ultra4 President Dave Cole, a group of friends and enthusiasts will provide NORRA competitors a formal and highly organized “sweep” of the race course for both motorcycle and four-wheel entrants. Unlike more informal efforts of past Mexican 1000s, this year racers and their chase crews can plan for a much larger and more comprehensive program to offer aid to vehicles broken down on course.
Cole is a highly respected member of the off-road industry, whose link to highly experienced desert veterans and hard-core recovery vehicles comes via his co-founding of the now iconic “King of the Hammers” event held in the California desert near Lucerne Valley each February.
“The Mexican 1000 is supposed to be challenging, but also enjoyable,” stated NORRA President Michael Pearlman. “There is nothing fun about waiting in the desert for a tow or ride back to the highway or overnight stop. We are very pleased to raise the level of service for our Mexican 1000 guests thanks to this incredible new sweep program being orchestrated by Dave Cole and Ultra4 Racing.”
NORRA and Cole are working together to create a multiphase support effort 14 people strong revolving around seven vehicles comprised of well-equipped Ford Raptor or pre-run trucks and winch-carrying Jeep JKs.
NORRA promotes and organizes the annual General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally, a unique on- and off-road stage rally that runs the length of the Baja peninsula. Scheduled to take place on April 25-29, for 2015 competitors will enjoy a fun-filled journey from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico to the world-class resort city of San Jose del Cabo.
For the Mexican 1000’s two-wheel competitors, the sweep crew will utilize two trucks and the same crew working each day. The operations plan for the motorcycles (and a three-wheel ATV) will be to take water and basic first aid kits to help riders on the way, leaving after the last entrant starts and then to shadow the last team all day. If a bike breaks, the team will help fix it if possible, otherwise the bike and rider will be loaded up and transported. There will be room for up to six bikes and riders. As added insurance, the Mag 7 pitting organization will bring an empty trailer to each of their pits and transport any additional vehicles if necessary.
NORRA’s four-wheel categories will enjoy the support of two sweep teams for both its Vintage and Evolution categories. Each of these efforts will be comprised of a Ford Raptor/pre-runner and a Jeep JK, with operational staff alternating its on-course days to supply sufficient rest after what can be long days of on-course recovery.
Finally, in addition to these “Field Teams,” Cole and off-road veteran Ron Stobaugh will comprise two floating “Boss Teams” to keep tabs of their crews and assist where and when needed.
To aid in the coordination and safety of all the Ultra4 Racing crews, each recovery vehicle will have satellite tracking, and each pairing of vehicles will also feature a satellite phone. Familiar off-road industry suppliers also lending much needed support include ESAB Welders, Smittybuilt recovery gear and WARN winch equipment.
“The blending of NORRA and Ultra4 for the Mexican 1000 is a great win for both parties,” explained Cole. “All of the rally categories can now expect a much higher level of support, while all of the support personnel can expect to have a great week in the Baja peninsula. The bottom line is that I have learned to love this race and will do anything I can to support it.”
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, four-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, as well as modern desert Rally Raid cars, pre-runner trucks, buggies and motorcycles.
Pearlman’s late father, Ed, and others established the first running of the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally in November 1967, which eventually became internationally recognized and evolved into the Baja 1000 in the mid-1970s.
The General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 is supported by General Tire, American Racing Wheel, South Point Hotel Casino, Walker Evans Racing, Azunia Tequila, KC HiLites, Bilstein Shock Absorbers and Mastercraft/Impact Safety.