Nineveh resident DeWitt finishes his second NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally

The adrenaline junkie within Joel DeWitt likes to expand its horizons every so often.

Most recently, the Nineveh resident, a firefighter for the White River Township Fire Department, competed in the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally, a six-day event billed — fairly or not — as the happiest race on earth.

Only its contestants are qualified to say if these words are laced with a smidge of false advertising.

“Moments are,” said DeWitt, 33. “Some days are better than others. It just beats the snot out of both you and the motorcycle.”

From a financial standpoint, the endeavor, which ran from April 28 to May 3, didn’t make an abundance of sense.

Life’s more memorable experiences often don’t.

DeWitt paid the $3,500 entry fee to get his opportunity to compete in the pro rally moto division, loaded up his dirt bike, a 2017 Honda CRF450X, climbed inside his 2014 GMC Sierra truck and set out on the long drive west to San Diego.

Among the many stops was in the Denver suburb of Brighton, Colorado to pick up his friend Simon Edwards, a competitor in the race’s 60-and-over class.

Another $3,500 was paid to Baja Bound Adventures, which drove DeWitt and Edwards to the starting point of Ensenada, then followed them during competition in order to supply them whatever was needed at the time — be it bike parts, warmer clothes, food, water, tires, fuel or any other necessities.

The race took place from April 28 to May 3, starting in Ensenada and finishing approximately 990 miles to the south in San Jose del Cabo. Along the way, DeWitt found himself maneuvering his bike atop everything from sand to gravel to dry lake and river beds — all while occasionally brushing up against cactuses.

“This is an old event that started in the 1960s or ’70s,” DeWitt said. “Right now, if you ask me if I would want to do the Mexican 1000 again, I would say no. But in two months, I’ll be ready to start talking about it again.

“Baja is the most beautiful, unforgiving landscape. Imagine riding a bucking bronco for 1,000 miles.”

Temperatures range from the 40s to around 100 depending on where one is at the time, DeWitt said. The Pacific Ocean side tends to be chillier; once bikers near the Sea of Cortez, the mercury rises — sometimes significantly.

“Planning for the weather temperature-wise is one of the hardest parts of this race,” DeWitt said. “Yes, this is a speed race, but it’s also a navigation race. It’s like doing Mapquest at 100 miles an hour. If you get lost, you have to figure out how to get unlost.”

DeWitt made it through five of the six days this time around, bettering his performance in the 2023 Mexican 1000, his debut there, in which his 2020 Yamaha YZ450FX had oil pouring from the bottom after Day 3.

“We made a decision to push the bike across the finish line, but we had to take the max time and max penalties for the day,” DeWitt said.

He was able to bring home $2,000 in prize money as well as a trophy.

Having already forked over $7,000, not counting the gas money required to get DeWitt to and from San Diego, the first question posed to him would be, ‘Why?’

“I grew up poor. We didn’t have enough money for me to be racing when I was a kid,” DeWitt said. “Once I got out on my own and started making money, I started doing it.

“How many people have raced Baja? I’ve gone skydiving from 18,000 feet just because not that many people do it. A very small percentage of the population does things like this.”

DeWitt wants to not only finish the six days, but win his event.

Will the third time be the charm for DeWitt a little less than a year from now? Will there be a third time at all?

He says it’s likely — but again, ask in two months just to be sure.