Dersert racing rules. Period. I've been involved in one way or another since around 1983 when Class 1 driver Ron Brant let me and a couple buddies hang out at his race shop. We got the sweet jobs like scraping skid plates and cleaning CV joints, but it eventually worked into week-long pre running trips all over Baja and a ton of good adventures. Ron is now retired and lives in Mulege, Baja Sur where he can usually be found fishing or working on his also-retired Class 5 Baja bug.
Señor Brant, still kicking ass in the desert.
This year Ron decided to race his bug in the NORRA Mexican 1000
from Ensenada to Cabo over four days. It's a little weird since it is run in a rally format, not the traditional balls-out desert style of racing we are used to. What that means is there are transit stages at 60mph on the highway and you actually get to take some time for fuel stops and even sleep in hotels every night. The idea behind NORRA was to get as many vintage cars and bikes out of mothballs and back into the boonies. For a 67-year old Brant, who's been trying to quit racing since about 1989, this sounded like a great reason to prep his pre runner, gather some friends and do some racin'.
I don't know the official results yet, since we only pitted for the first day and then bailed and came back for work, but the most recent results I can find show him leading his class and running 10th overall in a field of 85 or so "Vintage Cars". I'll update this once solid results are available. (Today is the last day of race).
What's this got to do with choppers? Everything. Desert cars are full of inspiration for custom motorcycles, and not just fab stuff. Superfluous junk doesn't last in the desert and cars naturally evolve into exactly what they need to be and nothing more. Just like a cranky old bike, the desert will humble even the richest, most talented people and it rewards preparedness, good design and a level head. Sounds familiar, eh?
So thanks Ron, for letting me scrape skid plates as a dumb kid, it helped send me off on a lifetime of gear head adventures both on and off road, on two wheels and four.
The Edsel is definitely a bad boy machine.
Inside the Galaxy command center. Last I read, it was on it's roof somewhere south of Bay of LA.
There were several early Fords, and all were hauling ass.
Some of the best and worst days of my life were spent in a Class 11 car. Much props to these dudes.
The Galaxy getting' it.
Old school is cool whether it's choppers or buggies.
The Manx club followed the race with legendary 88-year old Bruce Meyers riding shotgun up front.
And you thought the Iron Man always drove Toyotas, huh?
A friend once described racing Class 11 as "A thousand mile long car accident"
Back before ugly wraps became the graphic of choice, cars were hand-painted with cool shit like this.
My favorite of the old Class 6 cars. This Nova was made to boogie!
Schwackofer's old '57 Chevy. Yep it's a steel body.