2011 Mexican 1000 Rally

NORRA Day 1:

Click the photo above for a full slide show

Parade start from the bullring in Mexicali.  A wild ride through the streets in rush hour.  We re-staged just off the highway and are going to start 40th or 50th, just behind Rick Johnson.  Right off the start we are all lost.  Rick Johnson is just ahead of me and I hope he knows where the course is.  GPS is not loaded correctly and the course is not showing up.  Thirty minutes later, we are back on course.

The rear suspension is not working at all, the shocks are too stiff.  And why did I use three shocks per side?  It takes the whole day to loosen up the rear end.  Carlos, Lisa, and my Mom are at the end of the first section.  I am going to stop for fuel.  Carlos spots oil around the rear tire.  After a quick check, the valve cover is broken.  The first person over to help has an extra engine in his truck and gives up the valve cover.  I wish I knew his name so could thank him.  I am ready for section 2.  Just before the start, Jeff and Betsy are towed in to the staging area with no gas.  The AMC is not getting very good gas mileage.  We had changed the ring and pinion just before the race.

Day 1 ends in Bay of L.A..  The AMC is not here, Jeff shows up later with a broken upper control arm and a massive exhaust leak.  It’s a couple of hours to fix it but the welder isn’t working and I don’t think it will hold.

I can’t sleep so, I get up early at 5am to take pictures.

NORRA Day 2:

It’s an early start, 8am and  Jeff decides to start the race then return to  repair the arm again at a local repair shop.  It takes a couple of hours but they are going to take a DNF for the day.  I am off to a rough start, also something is clicking in the rear end and half way through the day, all three shocks break off the right side.  After a long stop at Mag 7 pit support, I weld them back on with a welder that doesn’t work again.  Just down the road all three left side shocks break off.  I stop during a transit section and weld them back on with an arc welder and $40 later, I am back on the road.  I am now at the last section with 120 miles to go for the day and all the shocks on the right side break off again.  I am going to finish the day with three shocks in my lap.  Rear suspension now works too good and the car is going metal to metal, with 120 miles to go I can’t keep this up and must slow down.  It makes for a long day but I finish.  I got to the finish line just before dark.  I will spend the next 3 hours fixing shock towers at a local repair shop.  Another $40, a bottle of Tequila given to a local for his help, and I am ready to race.

(insert pic 7797)

NORRA Day 3, Loreto Bay:

Just out of town the road turns to asphalt and goes straight uphill with blind turns, no lines, and a long drop off the edge.  The shocks are working but why did I put three back on again?  Albert Einstein said “Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  The sections are getting harder to run fast, rocks everywhere, and small whoops take me out.  And the hard pack!  Every bump is transferring into the car.  I have hit my head at least 100 times today on the roll cage.    This was a brand new helmet.

Almost to the end now and I hit the silt beds full speed.  It’s 3’ deep but the Hi-Jumper keeps going.  It’s 1 mile to the finish then it’s all over.  Two trips to the Mexican 1000 and two finishes.  A long transit section to La Paz and 2nd place goes to Lost Boys Racing.  The AMC is not far behind, he’s having his own issues throughout the day but completes the race just after me.  Even after taking max time for day 2, he is still  awarded 2nd place in his class for making it to La Paz.  Jeff and Betsy did the best they could, this car really took a beating in 2010 and the prep time almost 4 months.  It’s amazing just how much damage these cars can withstand, but this may be the AMC’s last year.

The awards are tomorrow at 10am then poolside for the rest of the day.  At dusk we are off at Papas & Beer then a nice drive to the Marina Hotel.  Dinner at Guillermo’s overlooking the bay, a great evening with music, Jeff, Carlos, Lisa, and Mom.

What next?  A 30 hour drive to San Diego with 6 people in an F350 Crew Cab.  How do you spell relief?  Well, it doesn’t start with “Ford.”

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1 Comment

  1. Betsy is cool!

    Glad you guys had fun. Hope to see you there next race.


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