FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2019
The Latest From NORRA
Inaugural Yokohama NORRA 500 Overall Goes To A Baja Racing Icon -
"Lightning" Larry Ragland!
Agua Dulce, CALIF. – The inaugural Yokohama NORRA 500, presented by Method Race Wheels, shares much in common with its more established sibling, the Mexican 1000. NORRA has always had a very diverse group of vehicles competing at the Mexican 1000. Vintage race cars, trucks, and bikes share the dirt with their contemporary counterparts, and UTV’s. The NORRA races Honor the Past, while Forging the Future. At the NORRA 500, that was also true of the drivers. Overall winner Larry Ragland, a Baja racing Icon, was driving for team owner Jimmy Smith who has his own rich legacy in offroad racing. Right on their heels was the 15 year old Phenom Jax Redline. Redline had his Father Shane riding in the co-driver’s seat of their Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck. Who else but his own Dad would know what Jax was capable of, and his faith in Jax’ driving skills was well founded. Something that is a product of so many racing opportunities these days are the wealth of competent young drivers in their teens who already have a decade or so of racing experience. Redline is forging his own legacy while Ragland just keeps piling up race wins in Baja. The pattern repeated itself throughout the field with Zak Langley 3rd overall, and veteran Gay Smith in 4th place. Demonstrating that you don’t have to own an exotic race vehicle to be competitive in NORRA’s rally format, Thomas Purcell drove his Can Am X3 to 5th place overall racing in the Evolution Modified Turbo UTV class.
Those who run a good pace, and avoid penalties, do very well in the overall standings, but that’s not always the goal for many of the competitors. Racing a vintage vehicle with 30 year old (or more), technology requires fortitude, and a good understanding of your vehicles limitations. The Baja terrain is always the number one competitor that has to be overcome. The NORRA 500 had some difficult stages that required skill as well as speed. NORRA events are called "The Happiest Race On Earth!”, and they are, but they also offer challenges that will test even the most experienced drivers. That’s why the beautiful hand-made trophies awarded to the victors mean so much. After surviving the challenges of Baja in a multi-day rally, and the legendary celebrations that take place each night, a plastic bowling trophy won’t suffice. NORRA trophies are cast bronze, and carved wood. They are a fitting reward for such an incredible adventure.
The Inaugural Yokohama NORRA 500 was somewhat of an experiment. The Mexican 1000 is such an iconic event, and the effort it takes to run the entire length of the Baja Peninsula makes it so special, so could a loop race based in Ensenada really compare? If you ask anyone who participated the answer is yes. The NORRA 500 made it super easy for friends and family to attend the entire event, and race teams were able to sleep in the same bed every night, but the course had challenges that created its own individuality. It had everything that makes the Mexican 1000 awesome, with its own unique flavor. From now on the pair of NORRA races will be like ordering tacos in Baja; do I go with the carne asada, or the carnitas? Like most of us do, we’ll take one of each, thank you.
For complete results, daily race reports, and live feed videos from the race go to norra.com. The NORRA website is loaded with information, and history of racing in Baja. You can also sign up for upcoming events, and learn how to join in on all the fun. The NORRA 500 and the rest of the NORRA series is made possible by the competitors, the many volunteers who help during the events, and sponsorship support from Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, South Point Hotel Casino, STEEL-IT, K&N Filters, Multitool USA, Timberline, Schampa, Satellite Phone Store.com, Rigid, PCI Race Radios, Alpinestars, Joe Hauler, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), and B3KREATIV. Registration for the Yokohama Mexican 1000 began at noon on November 9th. If you haven’t joined us yet, get over to norra.com and make plans to participate as soon as possible.
### "The Happiest Race On Earth!" ###
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, five-day rally includes vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, as well as modern pre-runners, trucks, buggies, UTVs, bikes and desert Rally Raid cars.
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.
NORRA enjoys corporate partnerships with Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, South Point Hotel Casino, K&N, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, STEEL-IT, RIGID, Multitool USA, Timberline, Schampa, Satellite Phone Store.com, PCI Race Radios, Warn, Biltwell, USActionTrax, Joe Hauler, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), B3KREATIV, and many more.