I have been trying to step up to bigger events as I work toward the ultimate goal of the Dakar Rally. I started out with long distance cross country trips on the KLR (which was even before I officially hatched this plan), moved on to non competitive dual-sport and trail rides, then to enduros and then just last year stepped up to RallyMoto racing. Over the winter I had been trying to decide what the next big thing would be.
A year ago I had heard of an interesting race in Baja known as the “Mexican 1000″ which is a multi day stage race that runs the length of the Baja peninsula. It is the same area where they run the Baja 1000 but they route you around some of the more difficult terrain and instead of an all out 1000 mile race, it is split up over several days. The problem was the race was only open to pre 1985 vintage vehicles, the idea being to re-live the early days of Baja.
I found a post on advrider.com late in December talking about how this year the Mexican 1000 would be open to modern vehicles. After reading up on the race and seeing how it is run a lot like an FIM cross country rally (such as the Dakar) I seriously started looking into it. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Mark Renolds who runs the online store ema-usa.com based in Connecticut. He is driving out with a van and trailer and was looking for one more rider to help split the costs. So, he will haul my bike and gear and I will be able to fly out, do the race, then fly home.
This may still be a long way from Dakar but I think it should be an excellent next step for me. With RallyMoto I have started to learn about how to do a rally but the special stages are very short (under 20 miles). Last year there was one special stage in the Mexican 1000 that was 175 miles. Also, since I have never ridden in the desert this should be a good introduction to that without getting beyond my abilities. Since the race is still geared toward vintage vehicles they don’t route you through any really difficult terrain (or so I hear).
So, I am officially entered into the race and I got my entry in early enough to get my lucky #42. I will be riding the DRZ400 which I think should work well for the race. It isn’t that fast but is rock-solid reliable and I have already started turning it into a rally bike. I still have a lot of work left to do on it to be completely ready so keep an eye here for pics and updates. The race starts on April 29th starting in Mexicali Mexico and finishes on May 2nd in San Jose del Cabo.
You can find more info on the race at http://www.norra.com/