In 2015 we crashed a 1957 Chevy into a Jeep in the middle of the Mexican desert, and that was the least insane thing that happened during the NORRA Mexican 1000.
The NORRA 1000 is a weeklong off-road race similar to the early days of the Baja 1000. All the participants race vintage machines, from Mickey Thompsonesque buggies to jacked-up Broncos to Meyers Manxes to our favorites, the Production class passenger cars on fat dirt tires.
Our 2015 ride was with Jim Riley’s team in the Rippin’ Rooster, and boy, heck, did we all have an adventure. Despite absolutely heroic efforts from the Rooster team, we ended up stuck in the dirt just a short hike from the finish line, and the failure has haunted the team for the past 360 days.
May we present the rise of the Rooster. Yup, the wreck of fiberglass and blown-up small-block that left Cabo San Lucas on a trailer after the 2015 race is rebuilt, reborn, and out for revenge. Maybe they should call it the Rippin’ Phoenix, ’cause it sure was ashes when we left it in Mexico.
“The bright side is that it didn’t take long to get it apart when we got home last year,” said mechanic James Pfeiffer, as we admired the new bodywork and paint scheme on the Chevy. “It was pretty much all apart already.”
Team owner and main Rooster pilot Jim Riley said rebuilding the car was a real team effort. “A friend saw the crash and wrote to me that he had the quarter-panels we needed. A designer sent me the new race scheme idea. The engine is still a carbureted 350 but all rebuilt. We’ve got new wheels and tires, cleaned up the interior. We’ve been working on it nonstop this whole past year. We’re ready to race.”
The 2016 Mexican 1000 starts April 23, 2016, and runs from Ensenada to Bay of L.A. to Loreto to La Paz before ending in San Jose del Cabo in Baja, Mexico. We’ll be getting updates from the team during the week of the race, so check back soon to see if the Rooster gets its revenge.
Want to read about the disastrous 2015 Mexican 1000? It’s all here: