March 23, 2023
Two things we love around here; Baja, Mexico and old junk! So when we had a chance to provide gloves, goggles and open-face Bonanza helmets to the Safari Special team, it was a no-brainer. Racing a vintage buggy like this in the NORRA is a lifetime achievement for any serious desert rat and we were stoked to see them finish the rally and have an absolute blast the whole way. Looking good in our gear was just the icing on top! Thanks to Stefan Wigand for the words and images below.
The Mexican 1000 is an insane idea and challenging off-road race that takes place annually in Mexico. The race is organized by NORRA (National Off-Road Racing Association). While the race has professional teams and drivers, it is also known as the common man's race, or the happiest race on earth, as it is open to vintage cars and attracts enthusiasts from all walks of life. Though it may be the happiest race on earth, it doesn’t mean that the racing and raw Baja landscape isn’t fierce.
One of the main draws of the Mexican 1000 is the vintage aspect, with many competitors driving cars and motorcycles that are decades old. However, this does not mean that the competition is not fierce if not friendly. Many professional drivers also compete in the race, looking to test their skills against both the challenging terrain and the vintage cars.
Slow Baja, the foremost documentarian around all things Baja off-road adventure, has championed the Safari Class and is a unique class within the Mexican 1000, which is dedicated to slow and steady progress rather than outright speed and aims to provide a fun and inclusive rally experience for those who may not have the fastest or most expensive cars. Michael Emery of Slow Baja’s dedication to this event has helped to promote it to a wider audience and encourage more people to get involved in the Mexican 1000.
Safari Special is a motley crew of creative individuals, vintage truck enthusiasts, photographers, filmmakers, writers, and friends who came together to participate in the Safari Class of the Mexican 1000 in 2022. Their team embodies the spirit of the race, which is not just about winning but also about the camaraderie and sense of adventure that comes with rallying through the harsh and unforgiving desert.
The Mexican 1000 is no easy feat, with competitors facing challenging terrain, extreme temperatures, and unpredictable weather conditions. The race is a test of endurance and skill, and simply finishing is an achievement in itself.
Despite the challenges, the people involved in the Mexican 1000 are what make the experience truly special. From the generational fabricator and gear heads who have been involved in the sport for decades to the locals who survive on the tourism that the race brings, the people are an integral part of the race's fabric. Rolling into La Paz and seeing the excitement of the locals, especially the children who look up to the drivers, is a testament to the impact that the race has on the community.
So why do people empty their bank accounts and risk their lives to race 1000 miles through an uninhabitable desert? The answer is simple - for the fun and friendship that comes with it. The Mexican 1000 is not just a race, but a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for off-road racing and the thrill of adventure. It is this sense of community and shared experience that keeps people coming back year after year, ready to take on the challenges of the Baja desert once again.
We would like to thank our sponsors for helping us get across the finish line. Madre Mezcal, Pioneertown Motel, Buck Mason, Work of Club, DV mechanics, Meyers Manx, Biltwell, Baja Dream, Dad Grass and Crosa.