FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2016. (Agua Dulce, Calif.): Mark Stahl has a unique perspective on the NORRA Mexican 1000. Not only does he love competing in the rally, but his racing accomplishments have inspired others to join in on the fun too. Mark is one of the many icons of the sport whose participation makes the rally so special. Mark won the Baja 1000, (B1K) overall in 1978 and ’80, the class one victory again in 1981 and the Baja Challenge class in 2007. He has also won the NORRA Mexican 1000 three times. His wins are impressive considering who he has raced against and the fact that he drove those early races entirely solo. Mark’s competition included a who’s who list of heavy hitters like Mickey Thompson, Bud Feldkamp, Bob Gordon, Frank Vessels, the McMillin’s, Johnny Johnson, Ivan Stewart, Bob Rodine, Malcolm Smith, Roger Mears, and many others.
(Above) Mark Stahl's trophy wall shows his accomplishments stacked up like sponsor stickers emblazoned on the side of his race vehicles. Including front and center, top shelf, three NORRA Mexican 1000 Baja Peninsula Trophies, the Inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000 Legends Era - Frank "Scoop" Vessels Memorial Trophy. Below this, Mark flashes the equivalent of a Super Bowl ring from the 1978 Baja 1000.
Mark sold his car and went pavement racing in the Nascar Winston West, Winston Cup, and ARCA series until he retired from racing in 2001. He got the bug to go back to Baja in 2007; running the B1K with Jim Christensen in the Baja Challenge class. In 2010, prolific vintage car restorers Jeff Furrier and Rory Ward purchased Mark’s original Chenowth, B1K winning car and began the long process of sourcing parts and completing its restoration. Jeff Furrier went racing as a teenager with the second car owner, Jim Travis. Jeff developed a connection to the car and kept track of it over the years.
“As the project progressed, Jeff and I threw the idea around of bringing Mark in to drive the car at the Mexican 1000,” said Rory Ward, “The truth is, neither of us wanted to give up any seat time, (he said with a laugh). We decided to let Mark drive the first stage and we would take it the rest of the way. Mark had a blast and stayed with us all the way to Cabo. Mark is no stranger to Baja but we like to take credit for introducing him to NORRA.” Mark’s restored class one car (as seen below) was on display for three weeks around the Baja 1000 with other iconic cars including the Blue Ray Bullet and Bob Gordon's Besty. The City of Ensenada, with the support of Pro Turismo, is working to create a permanent off-road museum in Ensenada. To attract attention, and get proof of concept, they opened a temporary museum location at Museo Caracol..
Mark was instantly hooked on NORRA. He soon found his own vintage racer to compete with, a Ford F-100 that was raced by Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, Coco and Charlotte Corral. “When I was racing the Baja 1000 it was a lot of stress,” said Stahl, “That was before GPS. They gave you a road book instead. Driving a single seater, you did not have time to look at the book. You had to do hours and hours of prerunning to learn the course. I had a great car so I was expected to win; that put a lot of pressure on me. The NORRA race is totally different, it’s so much fun. You are still racing, you still have to prep your car, and the terrain is still tough, but the atmosphere is completely different. Everyone is there to have a good time. If you come across someone stopped on the side of the course, you stop to make sure they’re ok. It’s a big deal to make sure everyone gets to the finish line in Cabo.”
Mark Stahl and the Fillmore Ford have been a force to be reckoned with in years past. Yet Mark is actually helping a competitor finish his truck in order to race against it in the same category in 2017. This type of camaraderie is commonplace and what sets the NORRA Mexican 1000 apart from many if not all other events. Viva "The Happiest Race On Earth!"
There is a huge wave of interest for the Mexican 1000 due to the rally’s 50th anniversary in 2017. Mark is helping another competitor in his class get his truck ready for the race. He is unselfishly sharing his knowledge so they can race against each other all the way to Cabo. Mark suggested he put three seats across the cab like he did. That way, more people will be able to participate in the race. Like many of the competitors, Mark loves to have his family and friends along while racing.
One of the unique things about the NORRA Mexican 1000 is the mix of vintage race cars and bikes with UTV’s and modern race vehicles; they have a class for anyone. The competitors have the same make-up. Icons of offroad racing are lined up next to average Joes and/or the fastest pros. In 2016, AMA motorcycle hall of famer Ricky Johnson came out and let the entire bike field know he has not slowed down a bit; the 7 time AMA national champion took the overall bike win. Second overall Steve Greib came up on RJ (Ricky Johnson) on day 3 while he was working on his bike; he broke a chain. “I offered my chain tool and told him it would make it much quicker,” said Grieb, “He told me that I stopped, so I could take off first, it was only fair. He let me get out for a while before he took off. We had a good battle and ended up riding together on a lot of the transfer stages. The whole experience was amazing; I got to ride with one of my childhood heroes, RJ.”
The NORRA Mexican 1000 is a great opportunity to pass on the knowledge gained over decades to the next generation. It has also enabled the flow of information between competitors. “Because of the NORRA rally I was able to spend time with Bob Gordon,” said Mark Stahl, “I knew all about my Baja 1000 wins but it was amazing to talk to Bob and some of my other competitors about how their race went. It was fascinating to learn about the race from their perspectives.” One popular tale comes from Mark McMillin who says he tricked Stahl by turning one of his headlights off to make him think it was a motorcycle following him. It is a great tale, but Stahl says he knew it was Mark back there all along. NORRA gives each competitor a chance to relive the adventure of the original Mexican 1000 while creating the tales that will be told by future generations. Come join us for the NORRA Mexican 1000 so you can tell your own story about racing with four time Baja 1000 winner Mark Stahl.
The time is now to begin planning to attend the 50th anniversary NORRA Mexican 1000. “The Happiest Race On Earth!” gets better every year and the anniversary race is one you don’t want to miss. You will compete in a rally style event, rub elbows with icons of off-road racing, and witness the spectacular beauty of one of the few wild places left on earth. First time competitors become lifelong fans of the Mexican 1000. The rally is such a unique and rewarding experience, once you participate, you will want to return every year. Check out the itinerary below and start planning to attend. Complete rules and detailed information is provided on the NORRA website here: https://www.norra.com/rules_current.php
NEW RALLY DETAILS FOR 2017
For the 50th anniversary, the first day’s stage will head from Ensenada to San Felipe. Competitors will have time to relax and have some fun in San Felipe before calling it a night. New this year will be several benefits aimed at the racers. Additional Insurance is available, (increased medical insurance to $10,000, legal support, and bail bonds), and there is a new scoring and timing system that uses the latest technology to increase safety. There will be FREE MAG-7 pit support for EVERY entry including cars! The Race for Cash will have an optional daily jackpot which means 6 opportunities to win plus the overall in your category.
2017 NORRA MEXICAN 1000
Friday April 21st
(Welcome Fiesta / Pre-Registration / Tech Opens)
Saturday April 22nd
(Registration / Tech / Drivers Meetings)
Sunday April 23rd
Ensenada ~ San Felipe *NEW!*
Monday April 24th
San Felipe ~ Bahia de los Angeles
Tuesday April 25th
Bahia de los Angeles ~ Loreto
Wednesday April 26th
Loreto ~ La Paz
Thursday April 27th
La Paz ~ San Jose del Cabo
BECOME A PART OF HISTORY
Dont miss out on the greatest adventure you will ever experience!
Login to your existing NORRA account, or create a new NORRA account at www.norra.com/member/login. Have picture images (.jpg, .bmp, or .png) of your Driver's License, Passport and Health Insurance Card ready to upload to your profile. Have your race radio frequency handy as well as your emergency contact phone numbers. Determine what category your vehicle should be competing in (refer to 2017 rules at www.norra.com/rules_current ). Update and complete the 'My Profile' and 'My Vehicle' sections of your account. Once, pre-registration opens, it should be as easy as selecting your vehicle and choosing your preference of payment option. Upon completion of registration you will receive a confirmation email and see your entry online.
In order for your Team/Vehicle to be highlighted for this year's event - complete all information about your entry and submit photos when registering. (See details below.) Incomplete information and/or lack of photos may result in your registration not being shown nor listed in association with the 2017 Mexican 1000 Rally.
- Vehicle Number
- Vehicle Name
- Vehicle Model/Manufacturer (Supply Picture)
- Team Name
- Engine, Trans, Fuel Specs
- History of Vehicle
- Driver Of Record Name, From, About (Supply Picture)
- Co-Driver (s) Name, From, About (Supply Picture(s)
- Special Thanks - Sponsors, Family, Etc.
PHOTOS: Photos should be cleared with any outside photographer before submitting. (NORRA is not to be held responsible for unlicensed photos) Please submit 1-3 digital photos of your vehicle in .JPG or .PNG formats. File size should be around 800 pixels wide (or larger) and at least 72 dpi (or higher). In doubt? Submit the highest file size possible that is able to be sent via email.
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.