April 26, 2016

Another Long Day For NORRA Racers, Bay Of LA To Loreto


Steve Olliges' F-150 ZORRO ("Fox" in Spanish) hauling the mail.

(Loreto, Baja California): Day two of the NORRA Mexican 1000 got off to a rocky start; literally. Drivers picked their way through rocky terrain outside Bay of LA in the beginning miles of the course. They made a huge sweep that took them back to the Pacific Coast, down the interior, back to the Pacific Coast once more and then they cut across to Loreto on the Sea of Cortez for the finish. The scenic highlight of the day was the incredible huge cacti that enveloped miles of the course. For Mark Newhan, who drove the second leg in Steve Olliges’ Zorro F-150, the highlight of the day was running wide open in the door slammer truck. Built on par with a Trophy Truck, but to class 1450 rules, it has a steel cab and working doors but still hauls. “Steve started the truck and I got in at San Ignacio,” said Newhan, “It was a super fast course and the Zorro truck was running good. We were hitting 125-130 mph. We have a small crew; only seven and are having a great time. We will take a good look at the truck tonight; it’s going to be another long day tomorrow.” They crossed the line sixth.

First to the line again was the Terrible Herbst Landshark Truggy. “We were on cruise control,” said Troy Herbst, “The car knows where to go. We were passed by Acer at mile 70 but then we saw him on his lid. Thanks so much to the crew for putting the Landshark back together again for this race. We won seven championships in it. I really enjoy this style of racing. It’s such a relaxed atmosphere. Last night we were sitting around the fire with Walker Evans, Larry Ragland, Mark McMillin, Mark Post, Butch Jensen, the list just keeps going on."

Robert Acer was on his lid, but with some help from Larry Ragland, he got back on all fours and finished second over the line. “We were out front with the Landshark behind us,” said Acer, “We went up a hill and made a hard right then hit a rut; rolling one and a half times. Larry Ragland was two cars behind and stopped to roll us back over. Today there were two hard stages but it was really fun. NORRA has brought the heart and soul back to racing.”

Third across the line was the very healthy sounding truck of Dave Westhem; followed by Greg DiStefano. DiStefano and navigator Scott Connelly are El Suertudo Racing; the lucky guy in Spanish. They are racing an ex McMillin truck that they usually use for prerunning. Scott talked about the bond he has with Greg when they are racing in the truck. “I am watching the gauges and keeping us on course by calling out the waypoints and the corners. It’s also my job to keep the driver calm. It’s a long race and a lot of work over 4 days. The Mexican 1000 is great fun but it’s also a tough race.”

Westhem's #803 truck sounded healthy and was going strong on Day 2 en route to Loreto.

It was another top ten finish for Brothers Jonathan and Jordan Brenthel who finished 8th across the line. They are driving a Brenthel Industries buggy powered by a 250 horsepower, V6 engine. They have been switching the driving and navigating positions back and forth and have managed to keep up with the big V8’s. “I drove today and Jonathan navigated which is new for him, especially with the road book,” said Jordan Brenthel, “We tried to maintain a steady pace. In the long, straight, high speed sections after San Ignacio the car was getting hot so we could not run wide open. We saw cars on the side of the course with blown engines in the same area so we knew it was a good choice to back off. It was a fun, clean day and we never got out of the car.

Top ten finishers across the line were:

  1. Troy Herbst
  2. 2. Robert Acer
  3. 3. Dave Westhem
  4. 4. Greg DiStefano
  5. 5. Jim Bult
  6. 6. Steve Olliges
  7. 7. Mike West
  8. 8. Jonathan Brenthel
  9. 9. Kevin Reardon
  10. 10. Matt Campbell

In the bike categories, Ricky Johnson has maintained his overall lead and looks great after five stages completed; four left to complete. One of, if not the most, interesting motorcycle competitors in the race is the husband and wife team of Kevin and Michelle Busch. They are riding a Honda 650x. Everyone on a motorcycle is called a rider but Michelle is more so than most. Kevin has the handlebars and Michelle is right behind him; they are riding tandem, all the way to Cabo. They had a tough day today; Michelle got sand lodged in her eye, they ran low on fuel, and they hit some rocks that flattened both tires. They had to use some Baja engineering; stuffing the tire with sticks and branches but they made it to the finish before the cut off. They plan on going the whole way and then, coming all the way back in the same fashion. They didn’t bring a trailer or support vehicles. Talk about adventure riding!

Overall bike standings are:

  1. Johnson- Modern Open
  2. Greib- Modern
  3. Jenkins- Modern
  4. Hart- Modern
  5. Price- 50+ Vintage Dudes
  6. Uribe- Modern
  7. Morton- Modern Lites
  8. Hibert- Modern
  9. Imbuzan- Modern
  10. Kunz- Modern
  11. Busch- 50+ Vintage Dudes
  12. Heppekausen- Classic British Thumpers
  13. Bier- Modern
  14. Bartoli- 50+ Vintage Dudes
  15. Edwards- 50+ Vintage Dudes
  16. West- Vintage
  17. Pitts- Modern
  18. ricio Uribe Modern Open

LIVE! coverage and tracking of this years event at the starting line, in the field and at the finish line.

After a great evening spent in Loreto, the rally heads to La Paz in the morning. There will be more harsh inland terrain and then a beautifully scenic stretch down the bay side into La Paz. Go to and hit the link to live event coverage or click the button below. The cars leave the line at 10:00 am mountain daylight time. You can watch the live streaming video and check out live tracking of your favorite drivers. video and check out live tracking of your favorite drivers. Don’t miss a minute of the action!





Beginning in 2010, the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) began promoting a rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally. The unique off-road rally was co-created by promoter Mike Pearlman to consist of special stages (unlimited speed timed stages in the dirt) linked together by controlled speed liaison / transit sections (highway). The one-of-a-kind, once-a-year, four-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, rally cars, a limited group of modern desert racecars and classes for prerunner trucks and buggies.

Pearlman’s late father Ed and others established the first running of the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally in November of 1967, which eventually became internationally recognized and evolved into the Baja 1000 in the mid-1970s.

The NORRA Mexican 1000 is supported by American Racing Wheel, South Point Hotel Casino, Walker Evans Racing, Azunia Tequila, KC HiLites, Bilstein Shock Absorbers and Mastercraft/Impact Safety.