May 12, 2009
Few things inspire me like early desert racing, especially the Baja. These filthy pioneers combined the need for speed with adventure and pure soul like nothing before or since.
The first real Baja race was started by Ed Pearlman, a former Marine and his organization called NORRA (National Off Road Racing Association). It was originally the Mexican 1000.
A lot has changed since those days. Everything but the desert. The race is now run by the tireless Sal Fish and the organization founded by Mickey Thopmson in 1973–SCORE. Every year there is a Baja 250, 500 and 1000 which puts men and their machines through hell for very little reward. The purses don't even come close to paying expenses and the teams run the gamut from personal jets and corporate sponsors to back yard builders in nearly stock VWs.
What is significant this year is that NORRA is back, and it's a totally different deal than the SCORE races. They are doing to Mexican 1000 in September as a three-day, stage rally format for vintage machines, circa 1975 and earlier. A major part of the logistical expenses with modern Baja racing is the pre run. It's hard for your average guy to have enough time and resources to practice a 1000 mile course a couple weeks before going back down and doing it all over again. With the new/old Mexican 1000 there is no prerunning, everyone gets the map the night before the race starts. Before that, all that is known is where it starts, Ensenada, and the nightly stops and finsh: Bay of LA, Loreto and La Paz. Some parts are paved, most not, and each vehicle gets a black box linked to a central GPS tracking system. They didn't have that in 1967!
So what's a guy to do when an opportunity like this pops up? Well, find a way to do it of course! Good thing ol' Wes White at Four Aces happens to own one of the finest examples of a period correct unit Triumph desert race bike and has a slight inclination towards tequila. We're already laying the plans for a desert assault for 2010, and a spectator trip for this year just to watch the mayhem. Stay tuned as Team Pipe Dream develops. Anyone feel like sponsoring?