The 56th Annual Norra Mexican 1000 Race
High speeds, tight maneuvers and skillful driving are all on display as vehicles scramble across the Baja desert landscape for the Yokohama NORRA Mexican 1000, a 5-day spectacle in desert racing that, since its inception in 1967, has drawn spectators from all around the world.
The Safari Special race team embarked on their second journey through Baja, Mexico. A thousand miles of sun, dust and Tepache.
This year, De La Calle participated as a sponsor for a competitor in the Mexican 1000: Safari Special, an archivist project devoted to desert racing and the unique blend of SoCal and Mexican culture during 1967-1977. “Each year we pick the original chassis that raced and we find the individuals that help build or race that chassis.” Safari Special founder Tim Martin says the goal is to capture and document the stories of these celebrated vintage builds.
One of the most notorious in the world, the NORRA Mexican 1000 takes place across the Baja Californian Peninsula, the sliver of land separating the Gulf of California from the Pacific. The race begins in Ensenada, and ends in Cabo. There are sand washes, cattle crossings, dry lake beds, and miles and miles of rocks and dirt. “We have a saying in desert racing: To finish first, you must first finish. You make all the plans you can, but once that green flag drops– it’s a free for all,” says Tim Martin, founder of Safari Special. “The terrain is just so rugged and unpredictable from one day to the next,” De La Calle co-founder Alex Matthews highlights. The race is as much against the landscape as it is the other vehicles. Each year, there are reports of booby traps. Holes dug and hidden from plain view, water splashes created from makeshift river blockades, as well as buried obstacles thrown in for added excitement.
The team was founded by Martin, whose grandfather sparked his love and interest in the Mexican 1000. This year’s drivers include Tim Martin, Dorothy Groza, Sera Trimble, Emmy Laine Pickett, Aaron Belchere, Stephen Sakulsky, Chris Boadle, Matt Johnson, and Dallin Jolly. This passionate, ragtag group of motorsport enthusiasts thrill in the sense of heritage; the idea of taking part in history while paying homage to the mechanics, limitations, and advantages of the era.