We covered this race shortly after it happened, but now we have a video with some really fantastic shots of Ernie Vigil riding the National Off-Road Racing Association Mexican 1000 on his Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE.
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “it’s not the bike, it’s the rider” and never is it more true than when the rider is a super skilled dirt rider like Vigil, who is a Triumph factory team rider, on a ride that was made to be pretty challenging for lightweight, dedicated dirt bikes. The majority of the bikes competing were 450cc dirtbikes that weigh in on either side of 250lbs. The Scrambler 1200XE weighs not-quite double that at 450lbs with a whopping 89hp. The power output of the smaller dirtbikes is quite a lot less than that.
And yet, there goes Ernie, flying along dirt roads with the rear end of the bike wiggling all over the place. He blasts that heavy bike with a 1200cc motor through, over, and around all kinds of surfaces. The astute will note that the route contains lots of dirt, some water crossings, and a bunch of what you might hear called “baby head” rocks, and he seems to handle it all with complete aplomb. The only surface that gave him trouble was, predictably, deep sand. Deep sand will give the best of us trouble, I’d posit. The best way to tackle it is with speed, but at speed things can go sideways very, very quickly.
The rally was not just a day ride. It was a five-day, and nearly 1350-mile, grueling slog through Baja California, Mexico. A lot of it is just wide open dirt roads where participants can really use the speed their bikes put out. Some of it is very challenging to the riders as well as the bikes. Out of the thirteen open-class participants in the rally, Vigil came in fifth, which means he and his arguably inappropriate machine bested some of the purpose-built bikes in the race. Vigil said his goal was “not only to finish, but to prove we could be competitive.” I’d say “mission accomplished” there. And with a great video to boot!