Sept. 6, 2016. (Agua Dulce, Calif.): The NORRA Mexican 1000 is unlike any other race on the planet. “The Happiest Race On Earth!,” captures the spirit and adventure encountered by those who were first to take on the challenge of Baja. Before NORRA held the inaugural Mexican 1000 in 1967, adventure seekers would run the length of the Baja Peninsula; using telegraph offices in Tijuana and LaPaz to verify their elapsed times. Drivers chose all types of vehicles for their attempts; bikes, dune buggies, even passenger cars and trucks. As time went by, Baja racing progressed as technology advanced. Today, satellite based global positioning systems are used to verify the times. The fastest vehicles are extremely high tech and loaded with exotic materials. NORRA embraces new technology while also celebrating the entire history of Baja racing at the Mexican 1000. They have classes for four wheeled vehicles and bikes that represent each era of racing from the very beginning to the present day.

Winners of each era do not receive just an ordinary trophy to commemorate their accomplishment; NORRA works very hard to create trophies that are worthy of such an incredible adventure. Every era winner trophy is unique (see inset trophies above); paying homage to a racer from the past who contributed to off-road racing. The custom trophies inspired a stronger competitive drive in many who wanted desperately to take one home at last year’s race. One of those was motorcycle hall of famer and multiple two, and four wheeled championship winner, Ricky Johnson. Johnson was looking forward to just participating in the Happiest Race On Earth until he saw the motorcycle trophy that honored Danny Hamel; then he wanted to win. “I had to have that trophy,” said Johnson, “Danny was someone I really respected for what he accomplished racing in Baja.” Nothing brings back the fond memories created during the rally like these custom trophies. Below is a list of the era winners and the custom trophies they earned:


Steve McQueen Memorial Trophy
Boyd Jaynes

Frank "Scoop" Vessels Memorial Trophy
Mark Stahl

Manny Esquerra Memorial Trophy
Ed Maurin

Corky McMillin Memorial Trophy
Gay Smith

Nye Frank Memorial Trophy
Jim Bult

Larry Plank Memorial Trophy
Greg DiStefano

Danny Hamel Memorial Trophy
Ricky Johnson

Many of those drawn to the allure of Baja in the earliest days were not professional racers, just average Joes who wanted to accomplish something great. That is an apt description of Pioneer era winner Boyd Jaynes and his co-driver Brian Godfrey. Jaynes is an accomplished photographer and Godfrey is a marketing professional. “We were blown away when we saw the trophies,” said Jaynes, “I thought the Steve McQueen trophy for Pioneer Era was the coolest. Brian was just floored; kudos to NORRA for making a win even better. We are just normal guys. We come down to have fun and try to get some exposure for our sponsors. We are both super busy but make time to run NORRA every year. To race against a legend like Rod Hall, and then beat him, was incredible for us. When Rod came up on stage to present the Steve McQueen trophy to us, it was surreal. Brian has had the trophy with him since the race but I want it for a while now. We will have to figure out a timeshare plan for the trophy! We are very excited to see what NORRA comes up with for 2017 and the 50th anniversary.”

Stay tuned, additional information about the 50th anniversary and the 2017 Mexican 1000 Rally will be announced in the days, weeks and months to come!




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, as well as modern desert Rally Raid cars, pre-runner trucks, buggies and motorcycles.

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-1970's.

The 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000 was supported by Azunia Tequila, Walker Evans Racing, South Point Hotel Casino, Bilstein Shock Absorbers and Mastercraft/Impact Safety.