The NORRA Mexican 1000's been called "a conga line down the Baja peninsula." It's also one of the only events you see vintage, historic, and other wacky off-road vehicles really racing. Now Robby Gordon's bringing in a Pro Unlimited class, and I fear organizers made a deal with the devil in exchange for TV time.
The National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) was founded in 1966, and ran the first Mexican 1000 in '67 when pitting different vehicles like trucks and dune buggiest against each other was novel.
Since then, the race has evolved to be known for contestants running insane baja-ified classics like the Triple Nickel Ford Galaxie. It also has a reputation of being one big fat crazy party, with a significantly less serious edge to competition than, say, the Baja 500 or 1000. Now, Robby Gordon's Formula Off-Road team has put up a $50,000 bounty to the winner of a new "Pro Unlimited" class they've just introduced. That'll bring in very fast vehicles and merciless drivers. The deal gets NORRA a one-hour TV special on NBCSN which will air June 6.
Don't get me wrong, I think Robby Gordon's a cool dude and a certified legend behind the wheel of almost anything. But his hard-charging attitude and the heavy firepower he brings might disrupt the jovial irreverence that makes the Mexican 1000 so great.
I understand NORRA's desire to be inclusionary and get extra publicity too; an event of this magnitude takes a lot of money and effort to run (even in "anything-goes" Baja, Mexico) and some spotlight time on NBC could really help their visibility. That, of course, could boost the interest needed to keep the event online.
Here's hoping Robby and his fast friends can do their thing without turning the Mexican 1000 into "just another desert race." Do you think the high-horsepower trucks can coexist with rebuilt first-gen Broncos and Meyers Manx buggies?
The Mexican kicks off in just a few weeks; running from April 22 to 29th this year.
Image via AP