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4. May, 2013 - NORRA 1000 Race Report


 Mammoth Motorcycle Club #42 Race report

BIKE:  1983 XR500R.  Acerbis tank, precision concepts suspension.

Sponsors:  Mammoth Motorcycle Club, Checkers Offroad, Precision Concepts Racing, Buchanan's Spoke & Rim, Baja Designs.



Mammoth M/C Race Team: 

·       James  (Owner, rider. From Mammoth Lakes, CA)

·       Adam (Rider. From Embarrass, MN)

·       Kim  (Chase/support/lead mechanic.  From Mammoth Lakes, CA)

·        Johnston (Trainer/Dietitian/surfer/mechanic.  From Mammoth Lakes, CA)

·        Angel (Beer support/translator.  From Pacoima, CA)

·        Rafael (Boss Man/Life Saver.  From Pacoima, CA).


The NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road vintage race is a 4 day event, starting outside the city  of Mexicali and ends in San Jose Del Cabo – covering over 1200 miles.  Modern vehicles are also allowed to enter.  Norra.com for more information.

 



Day one: The vintage bikes started after all the modern bikes.  Our bike was the first vintage off the line (6:12 am). We started in pairs at the top of Laguna Salada  dry lake(just outside of Mexicali City). I was teamed up next to another VMO (vintage Moto Open) bike, #33 - it was a CB500 converted into desert bike. I got out in front of him immediately, and never saw him again. The plan was to run the bike at a moderate race pace, trying hard to not push it too much, and remembering to "save" the motor for the long haul – 2 years ago we pushed our bike too hard and ended with a blown motor and a DNF (Did Not Finish).  Our XR500 cruised nicely at 75-80 mph, passing multiple orange bikes, but it painfully obvious that we were a little under-geared.  


Unfortunately the #33 CB500 developed fatal engine problems on the hwy transit after SS1. The TT500 (#88) was fast, but developed electrical problems somewhere on the second stage and had to be trailed to BOLA for repairs.  Adam Klimek took the bike from me at the 100 mile mark, and ran it through San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay, and on to the finish at Bay of LA. He had a solid run, with no problems.


We finished the first day 1st in the vintage open class, and somewhere around 20th overall bike (42 entries). T hen it was off to eat giant lobster and drink beer on the beach - we deserved it!



Day 2: 6am start for bikes, and we were lined up based on fastest to slowest.  Adam started amongst the modern bikes - ahead of almost half the field. Not a bad starting position for a 30 year old bike.  


Right off the bat visibility was bad (fog), which resulted in a front flat (more of a huge gash) at about 50 miles in. Higher pressures were in order for the remainder of the race. Adam, or “Weird” as he’s commonly known, was up and running after a quick tube change, and passed approx 15/18 bikes - making up a bit of time on the competition. He handed the bike off to me at Vizcaino. 


I started the second stage directly behind the #88 bike and vintage light bike (#888). I also started with the huge gash in the front tire, with tube bulging through… but I didn't know it at the time.  At approx mile 60, I passed both vintage bikes and never saw them again. 


This was the longest (170 miles) and most remote section of the race, filled with sand dunes, whoops, river crossings, and gnarly mountain passes. Any type of extraction would have been extremely difficult and an all-day Pain in the ass.   Knowing this, my imagination proceeded to run wild with disaster scenarios  - I was hearing random loud engine noises, hissing tires, the clunking sounds of broken suspension parts and other bizarre things. I tried to ignore them, but at times I was 100% sure the motor was dying - it wasn't. I kept pushing, however, and only stopping to relieve myself when my bladder couldn't handle it anymore (3 or 4 times).


We finished first vintage bike into Loreto - exhausted.

During the race, I unknowingly offered up my tool wrap and entire contents of my fender bag to the Baja Gods. I was sad to lose this, but hoped that the Baja Gods might show mercy on me during the two remaining days.

In Loreto, Our team learned that motorcycle racer, Jimmy Stocker (#208), had been involved in an accident with a race buggy and had passed away due to the injuries he sustained.  We met Jimmy in Mexicali, and quickly became friends – discussing strategy and exchanging other race info.  Jimmy came across as an extremely positive person; he loved Baja, loved to race, and will be extremely missed by everyone he had the pleasure of meeting him.  Rest in Peace Jimmy.   


Day 3



Weird (Adam Klimek from Minnesota) started day 3, and completed the first section without any issues.  He was first vintage bike into the city of Insurgentes. 



My section was next, 120 miles of amazing Baja desert... through beautiful towns and villages, hoards of screaming race fans, and amazing vistas and along Pacific Ocean beaches. This was my favorite part of the race, and the Baja California terrain is absolutely amazing – truly inspiring.  The only way to experience Baja is in the seat of a bike!


The #88 TT500 passed me at around mile 75 (hauling the mail), and I passed him back at around mile 90, and then I was passed again sometime after laying the XR down in a sand pit. Never the less, we finished 2nd vintage bike into La Paz, but still leading our class. My race was over, as Weird was to do all of day 4. We ate and drank in La Paz... perhaps a little too much.



Day 4: 6am start for Weird on the streets of La Paz - slight hangover.










Weird had a solid run - getting passed by the TT500, but managing to pass it back just outside of Todo Santos - He was the first vintage bike through at the road crossing. 




 Weird continued on, stopping to help another bike at about 15 miles from the finish. The rider was out of fuel and asked if he could borrow some... having plenty, Weird agreed to help. The rider grabbed at our plastic tee on the fuel line and immediately broke it - fuel spilling all over the place. Weird informed the rider that he was an "asshole," as they were now both stuck. Feeling bad, The rider removed his vent hose and offered it as a solution to get us moving again. We were now very low on fuel, and running only the left side petcock on the 5.8 gal Acerbis tank.  Weird eventually ran out of fuel (about 5 miles from the finish)... and stopped to lay the bike over to move more fuel from one side to the other. It was just enough to finish. Out of 4 entries in our class (Vintage Moto Open), we ended up finishing first. Out of 42 total bikes entered, we ended with a respectable 15th Overall. Not too bad for a 30 year old scooter.


A HUGE thanks to my chase/support Crew – Mammoth Motorcycle Club:  Kim Connolly, Johnston Julao, Angel Sierra, and Rafael Guerrero.  I was extremely lucky to have such a great team - always being where they need to be, and always staying positive (and always drinking beer...).  They committed a week of their lives to support me and Weird in Baja.  Because of you, we had a successful run down the Baja Peninsula!


Most importantly, thank you to ALL the citizens of Baja California for allowing us race in your country.  It’s an amazing place, and I miss it already.  Viva Mexico!  

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