Interest in the vintage-themed, on-and off-road Baja rally, known as the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000, is clearly on the rise.
Even though the fifth annual running of the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 may be more than four months away, NORRA officials announced that a new single-day record of 73 entrants was processed on the rally’s traditional New Year’s Day registration opening, Tuesday, January 1, 2014.
One of the most highly anticpated entries arrived via Mojave Valley, Arizona and off-road racing historian Rory Ward. Ward is bringing the ex-Mickey Thompson 1977 Challenger IV; a winged, single-seat, front-engined, V-8 powered racer that has taken Ward three years to restore. The unique car, which was recently on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, is the first Mickey Thompon-built off-road race car to have hit the dirt in decades.
Leading once again the online registration process was veteran rally racer Dave Sykes, who was 2014’s first official Mexican 1000 entrant with his #46 1972 Ford/ Dodge hybrid race truck fondly referred to as the “SuperFodge.” Sykes is entered in NORRA’s Vintage Open Truck/SUV category that already includes competition from South Point Hotel owner and former Mexican 1000 vintage overall winnerMichael Gaughan, Las Vegas’ Brian Collins, former Ford factory racer John Swift, rally newcomerKevin Fitzgerald, NORRA veteran Robert Motheral and returning Mexican racer Andrea Tomba with two entries.
The entry list for 2014 already includes last year’s overall vintage champion Walker Evans, along with such notable racing names as Mark McMillin, Mark Post, Troy Herbst, Jim Smith, Dave Westhem, Mark Stahl, Randy Wilson, Buddy Feldkamp, Gay Smith, JT Taylor, Paul Fornier, Larry McRae and Rich Voss.
NORRA added the first motorcycle entry came from Chuck Wallace of Dallas, Texas who will be riding a 1984 Honda XR in the Motorcycle Super Vintage category.
For Dave Sykes, the annual NORRA Mexican 1000 run has become one of his most anticipated annual racing traditions. Like most NORRA competitors, Sykes and co-driver Scott Steinburger try to keep it simple — choosing to drive their veteran race truck 1,200-miles in the rally and back from the San Jose del Cabo finish line with no chase crew.
“I drive down, but I have to drive back too,” explained Sykes. “I don’t break things. I wanna’ have more fun than worrying about winning, but there are always great racing moments too.”
The organizers explained registration will continue up until NORRA Tech and Display Day on Saturday, May 9 in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico. Early registration not only guarantees a vehicle entry, but also provides competitors with their choice of numbers, up-front Day 1 starting positions by class (first-in, first-out) and a confirmed hotel reservation for the rally’s first overnight for four-wheel vehicles in Bahia De Los Angeles (available on a very limed basis).
The 2014 General Tire Mexican 1000 rally is scheduled to run from May 10 to 14, and will once again span the entire Baja peninsula from Ensenada just south of the U.S. border to San Jose Del Cabo at land’s end.
“The Happiest Race on Earth” is expected by NORRA to host 200 teams later this year, which would represent another rally record.
NORRA added its annual Mexican 1000 is supported by General Tire, American Racing Wheel, Azunia Tequila, South Point Hotel and Casino, KC HiLites, Walker Evans Racing, Bilstein Shocks and MasterCraft Safety.