2014 NORRA 1000

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Silverstate 300 Photo Gallery

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NORRA Photo Book

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Send your NORRA photos to picturethisnorra@gmail.com.  Once you have sent your photos we will respond with a PayPal button that you can purchase the book through.

Our goal is to provide a NORRA 1000 photo gallery and storyline to follow this great race.  The book can be used when asking for sponsorships, sharing with family and friends, or with sharing someone looking into the race for next year.

Some photos you may want to include are driver photos and action shots.  Every team that submits photos and purchases the book will be featured.  This is a one time shot.  No corrections will be available after printing.  All photo choices and editing will be left to our Editors, Karen Gonzalez and Lisa Campos.

FAQs

  1. Will everything I submit be featured in the book?   No.  Depending on the amount of photos you submit the editors will choose the photos that best fit the book.
  2. Can I order additional books after 8-1-14?  Yes, however, additional costs may apply.
  3. Are refunds available?  Yes.  You will just have to pay to ship the book back to us.
  4. When can I expect my book?  Your book will arrive approximately 10 days after printing.  We are scheduled to print 8-1-14
  5. Is this for profit?  No.  All costs are 100% for printing and shipping only.  We just want to provide a nice souvenir item for all the racers.
  6. Can specific space be purchased?  Yes.  If there are photos that you would like to have guaranteed in the book or if you would like a full page, half page, quarter page to feature a photo of choice or ad that can be arranged.

 

NORRA 1000 Recap

bullring mexicaliContingency

We crossed the border around 9am and quickly pick up our tourist visas.  It’s 10 miles to the bullring and our hotel in Mexicali.  The Willys is already turning heads, people are stopping in the road to take pictures.  I always pick up stickers before going to race in Mexico.  Racing is part of Baja history and the people here love off road racing.  Our crew this year will be Jeff McCullough navigating, Carlos and Lisa Campos handling the drive into Cabo and Mom will keep an eye on us all.  There are over 150 entries this year, 60 more than 2012.  After signing in we drive the Willys over to the bullring and get in line.

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Great timing!  The mayor, Mike Pearlman, and NORRA officials are getting their pictures with the 1928 Willys, hopefully for the local papers.  It’s a long, hot day and the Willys has found it’s way into the Baja history books.  I believe it is the oldest car to ever race off road.

finish stage 1

Day 1

We are all ready to go by 7am.  There is a long line along the bullring and we are starting 1 minute apart.  It’s going to be difficult to drive the Willy fast.  There is a lot of bump steering and we couldn’t find room for a sway bar and asphalt roads we are hitting 70 mph that’s it I can’t control it after that.

It’s 25 miles to the restart on the dry lake bed.  We are off to a great start on course.  We keep pace with other cars but it’s not easy.  If I hit anything at 70 mph and jump the car it would literally land turn sideways and roll over.  We’ll have to be happy with finishing each day, no matter how long it takes.

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It’s going to be a great race.  Picture this, to my left is the Galaxy 500 hauling ass across the silt-covered lake bed.  We are in the middle of doing 70 mph there are three other vehicles to my right all taking their own line.  “A blast from the past.”

Each stage has new challenges the deep sand is coming up next.  There are cars stuck everywhere including the Galaxy 500.  The Willys handles this area very good floating across the sand.

Jeff is doing a great job keeping us on course.  Also, keeping up to date with our rally book.  The warning in this book can save your lives or at least your vehicle.  Day One is over not very impressive finish.  I think we are 78 overall at 20-30 cars are out and 20 finish after us.

finish day 2 stage 2

Bay of L.A.

Day 2

The stages are very long today.  134 miles, 50 miles in transit then 76 miles and finish in transit totaling 404 miles.  We are finished in Loreto, my favorite city in Baja and staying at my favorite hotel La Luna.

We are in late, the street party is over and the buffet just closed.  Mike is handing out free drink tickets, we enjoyed a couple of beers by the pool.  It’s time to find the hotel and check in.  Lisa, Carlos, and Mom are not far behind.  The rooms are great and the A/C works.  It’s around 10 pm.  I am done.  Just enough time left to have a quick dinner next door.  Today goes down in history as my hardest day of racing ever.  13 1/2 hours.  I am falling asleep at the dinner table… time to go!

finish day 3 la paz norra 1000

Loreto

Day 3

We are racing on Baja Sur time now.  My phone says 6am but it’s 7am.

We need to suit up quickly and get to the Pemex Station.  No showers today.  The start is just outside of the town at a bar called El Boracho for breakfast.  Day 2 had ended with a bad accident and fatality.  The start of cars was moved back 1 hour and because of our late finish we are not starting until 11:22.

We are now running our own race.  Starting in the rear and it’s all I can do to keep the Willys on course the roads a narrow with sandy shoals, dry stickers, mesquite bushes on one side and 6′ tall cactus on the other.  We keep moving along looking forward to day 4 and the Cabo finish line.

Day 3 is almost done as we enter La Paz something went wrong.  It was very hot just over 100 the car stalls at every light but starts quickly but as we near the finish line it gets worse.  Stalling on the podium we start it again and roll into the Malacon.  What a great reception.  Day 3 is done but what went wrong with the Willys?

As the car cools down it starts to run fine again, what’s going on?

We spent the rest of the day at Stella on the beach a couple of great margaritas the Willy starts fine and runs fine to the parking lot.

The End

Day 4

The finish of it all in Cabo San Jose.  7 am the car keeps stalling.  I pulled the radiator cover and air cleaner.  The manual choke is closed and won’t stay open.  We wired it open and and the car starts up quickly.  I hope we found the problem.  And the car is running better to the start line.  But something is still wrong.  I spend the entire morning tracking down all the parts to install a fuel pressure regulator.  It is time to start, 11am, but as the car gets hotter it runs worse.  We leave the start line and the car will hardly run.  The traffic is terrible and the car stalls constantly.  I don’t know what to do.  Finally the car stalls in front of an open auto parts store.  We are going to buy a new carburetor and get back in the race.  One big problem.  Most auto parts store don’t sell carburetors anymore.  The store manager calls around to other stores and there isn’t a Holley Carburetor anywhere.  2 hours later and he finds one Edlebrock.  They want 5,800 pesos for it (yust over $500.)  I don’t think it will even fit.  We have removed the carb now 3 times.  Checked everything.  It’s all over and we’re timed out.  Just over 1000 miles and we’re done.

Conclusion

We built the oldest car to ever run the NORRA 1000.  It wasn’t perfect.  It took over 1 year to finish.  We learned a lot about fabricating the hard way.  A big thanks to everyone at our Lost Boys Shop that built the 1928 Willys:  Stewart, Derek, and Butch thanks for all your hard work!  And a special thanks to Tony at General Tires, he has helped on every vehicle we own and we greatly appreciate all their support.

Although Dirt Sports Magazine would not allow us to be part of the bullring.    We’re proud of our contribution to the NORRA 1000.  1 1/2 years of work over in 4 days of racing.  Did we restore a moment in history?  Maybe not.  But we sure did forge the future with a 1928 Willys Whippet.

To see a car this old running down the Baja Peninsula certainly took spectators by surprise.  This is what racing could have looked like 90 years ago.  I could rewrite history with this car even if only in my book:  “The First Car to Win the Mexican 1000 in 1928!” (It only went to La Paz then!)

Next year?

NORRA 1000: 1928 Willy’s Whippet

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It all started two years ago and  rebuilding the Willy’s took more time than I thought. I changed the suspension three times, I changed the motor mounts ten times, the radiator was moved at least 3 times and the list goes on. Butch Burtness changed the timing cover 3 times in order to change from the EFI motor to a carburetor motor. The installing of the serpentine belt created its own complications. I worked many weekends and would not have been ready for the Norra 1000 without the help of Butch and Stewart Dixon.

testing norra 1000
Projects get started everyday, few are completed. Overcoming some of the obstacles have been very challenging.  Working with a frame of almost 100 years created many limitations. Each component had to be redesigned to merge the old with the new. For example, adding a 4 link suspension to a very narrow framed car caused us to create a link connection along the outside of the front frame and somewhat traditional in the rear.

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But I couldn’t give up, the April 27, 2013 deadline for the Norra 1000 was approaching fast. I knew that if this project didn’t get finished this year, it may never get finished. There is always more to complete, change this or fix that, but we made it!

2013 NORRA 1000
There are so many people to thank. J.R. and Dana Leaner who had the Whippet sitting it a pile in Idyllwild and sold it to us. Mogi, who built the transmission. The rebuilt engine came from Power Train – a 97 Ford explorer. And of course, the driveline was built by Inland Driveline. The front and rear axles came from Sierra Towing in San Bernardino. I have Summit Racing on my quick dial list and Ebay motors has burned a hole in my lap top screen. The final body work and custom paint was done by Jim’s in Temecula. Fabrication, roll cage, floor, welding and creating new parts and pieces to fill in the gaps done by Gary and Stewart Dixon. Butch Burtness completed the brakes and wiring, motor plumbing etc.  And we can’t forget our tire sponsor, we have General Tires on everything we race.

I am now on my way to Baja!

Gary

2012 Best In The Desert, Blue Water Desert Challenge Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29744404@N08/8204600875/in/set-72157632061832055

2012 BITD Blue Water Desert Challenge

Parker Arizona…….We came, we saw, we got defeated…….again!!

Thursday morning, Stewart showed up with the truck, ready to qualify for the 2012 BITD Blue Water Desert Challenge. We showed up at the Blue Water Casino to register for the race as well as qualifying. We were set to start fourth in qualifying. We arrived back at the truck and began prepping it for qualifying. We added a splash of fuel, just enough for the 3 mile qualifying lap, removing the rear tires to lighten the truck enough to hopefully gain some ground.  The rain was relentless. Mother Nature decided to open up and water down the track, adding for a little dust control.  It didn’t help. Our first lap around was good. It was definitely a lot better than our second lap. Due to the heavy rains, the generator that Casey Folks was using to operate the red and green lights at the start line, malfunctioned and we probably lost a few seconds at the start line.  Due to unknown reasons Casey combined the 7200 class and the 1000 class vehicles together. All in all, we settled for a 13th place qualifying spot, starting next the 12th place starter, Randy Merritt, #7281 of KC HiLites/Mongo Racing. 

Saturday morning, October 13th, we enjoyed watching the 1st race and then began setting the truck up for the race. Completing our normal, pre-race check list, the truck was ready. Stewart Dixon got into the driver’s seat and Derek Dixon was navigating. They warmed the truck up and staged for the 3rd race. Staging was at 9:45am and race time was 10:15am.  We lined up and hung out with the Lost Boys crew, waiting for the time to start our engines and take to the start line. 10:15a.m. rolls around and we start the race next to Randy Merritt. We got the green light and the race has begun! The start of the race was more set up for buggies and not a 6,000 pound truck with a 540 horse power engine. We were bogging down and bogging down bad. We lost off the start line to Mongo Racing but this was about combined times. We still had Sundays to race to better our final position. The truck was holding up. The race course was a 3 lap race. The first and second laps were 26 mile loops with the last lap being 21 miles for a total of 73 miles. We were keeping a average pace at an average of 33 minutes a lap.  Stewart and Derek passed Gary Dixon, Jeff McCullough and Kevyn Thaxton in the hot pit, while they were yelling into the PCI radio, it was difficult to understand what Stewart was saying. We attempted to reach them but they were gone. We were going to finish the first race! Looks like Parker isn’t going to get us this time.. WRONG! We went to the Ford Mesa, to watch the 7200 class trucks and 1000 vehicles come to the finish line. At 1 hour and 39 minutes, Lost Boys #7205 unlimited Ford crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, Parker beat us again at their own race….AGAIN!! Four turns from the finish line, Stewart heard a pop in the engine and lost all horsepower. They pulled it into the Ford Mesa, smoke billowing from the engine breather. We were done! We burned up our piston rings. Will there ever be a moment where Lost Boys Racing will beat Parker Arizona at its own race? Stay tuned for the Parker 425 in February.

We hung out at camp and enjoyed everyone’s company. We barbequed! We ate! We had a good time with friends and family. The kids had a great time swimming in the river, and we relaxed. Lost Boys Racing may have lost the 2012 BITD Blue Water Desert Challenge, but having our friends and family out there, cheering us on, WE WON! Next on our agenda, 2012 BITD Henderson 250, November 30th-December 2nd.

Stay Tuned for Blue Water Challenge photos coming soon.