November 17, 2012
45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
Final round of five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series
November 14-17, 2012 – 1,121.55 miles
Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
PRO CARS & TRUCKS
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK
GUS VILDOSOLA, No. 21 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Gus Vildosola, Jr. drove start to mile 618. Vildosola, Sr. drove to mile 785. Vildosola Jr. drove to the finish.) — Tavo (Vildosola Jr.) started the race in 25th position and that was a hell of a job because trying to get past all these SCORE Trophy Trucks is just almost impossible. These guys did it. I’d like to really congratulate them. They did a job second to none. My part was a small section in the center of the peninsula. My job was to keep it together and get it to them in the same position they gave it to me and they did the rest. They do a fantastic job. This was a much, much stronger battle than 2010. In 2010 we started second and took the lead right after San Felipe, but this one was a little more difficult. We had to drive really hard starting from 25th. CO-DRIVER GUS VILDOSOLA, JR. said: It was tough going at the beginning and there were a lot of trucks in front of us. Getting around them was a little difficult but our plan was to be in 10th place by Puertecitos. We were actually in 10th place at the goat trail. We decided to take it easy from there on down and try to conserve the SCORE Trophy Truck through San Felipe. This is a new (driver’s) suit that I put on at race mile 785 and it looks like it went 1000 miles. We went through the first 618 miles and I got out at San Ignacio. It was just a hell of a race and I’m extremely proud of our guys and extremely proud of (co-pilot) Javi (Valenzuela.) We come down here and say that we represent Mexico and we went out and won another one for Mexico. We lost three or four minutes with a flat. We were behind B.J. (Baldwin) at that time and (Ryan) Arciero was behind us. I thought I lost it (the race) there because I was pushing hard to catch B.J. and we got the flat and all of a sudden at about race mile 1000 we saw him (Baldwin), so we chased after him and passed him. We got some clean air after that, which was nice. I’m in love with the new SCORE Trophy Truck. It is amazing and we drove by everyone today. We actually spent some time looking at some video of the start from the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 from 2011 in preparation. I drove really hard at the start (of the 2011 Tecate SCORE Baja 500) and it didn’t get me anywhere. At the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in 2010 I drove extremely smart and went really hard when I could and I just laid back when there was no visibility. I did the same thing this time and it ended up working out for us. We passed about five trucks before Ojos Negros and we were 10th place. By Puertecitos we were running in the top seven. We just had a good, smart race. There has been a noise coming from the SCORE Trophy Truck for the last 400 miles and I was praying to get to the finish line. I’ve been babying the SCORE Trophy Truck for the last 100 miles.
B.J. BALWIN, No. 97 B.J. (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle. Baldwin drove the entire race) — I was just getting warmed up and getting ready to make my move on Tavo (Vildosola) and then it (the race) ended. It was definitely a tough day for me. We planned on having Mark Post get in at mile 795 and we got to mile 790 and kept calling on the radio but nobody was answering. Before you knew it we were at mile 820 before we heard from our pit. Our pit ended up being at mile 835. If I had gotten out, there was going to be no time for me to get back in so I stayed in while we got fuel and tires. We had a couple of mishaps with our pits that cost us quite a bit of time. One of the fuel fillers was not working right. They had to change that and then on the very last fuel pit we had a similar problem with the fueling system. It was just stuff that we slipped up on and stuff we need to lace up for next year. We had a good race and the SCORE Trophy Truck ran really good and it was a really good in San Felipe. I got caught slipping at about mile 85 and Bryce (Menzies) got around me. I just took the wrong line. I screwed up and Bryce got around me. When we got to San Felipe, where all the big bumps were, I drove right around Rob MacCachren and Bryce. That’s where we were first car on the road, and we led for most of the day. It was a good race for us but obviously we would have liked to have won. I didn’t have any communication all day and I didn’t know where we. Our radio was not working very well. This is my third time getting second at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 so I’m over this and I’m ready to win it. Maybe next year. I would like to get a fifth championship in the bag. It would be nice to be a five-time off road champion. (On finishing second three times this year,) it is about the same as going 200 miles and losing a drivetrain. It is that disheartening. It is about as disheartening as getting a DNF. ITavo’s (Vildosola) win today was not a hard fought win. It wasn’t a hard fought battle between me and him. He was on point and he drove really well. The fact that I didn’t get out when I was supposed to, really wore down on me physically. A thousand miles was easy where as the last 122 miles was the hard part. I wanted to get out and move my hips and knees and get all the fluid moving in my body, get hydrated, get a sandwich and get intelligence. Intelligence is what wins races.
MARK WEYHRICH, No. 9 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle. Gary (Weyhrich) drove start to mile 620. Mark drove to the finish) — There was a lot of traffic up north and we were in a really good pack of cars. He was trying to get around a guy in San Matias wash and put it off the course and down a ravine. We were down about 15 minutes doing that and enough slower guys got by us that the leaders gapped us by about 20 minutes. We were fighting to get that back the whole rest of the day. I had a lot of motion sickness so I wasn’t very fast on the first part of my section. Other than that it was great. We ran the same BFGoodrich front tires the entire race with no flats. Luck just wasn’t on our side today. There are so many good teams anymore that to be here third is quite an accomplishment. We are happy to have that. It’s tough at night because there were so many sportsman bikes and quads. There were like 50 of them I think and it was just a bear to get through them all night long. They put up a ton of dust at night. It is amazing what they (SCORE) do down here and we are all very grateful that they give us a chance to come out here and fulfill our dreams.
RYAN ARCIERO, No. 49 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle. Arciero drove start to mile 615. Troy Herbst drove to the finish.) — This team doesn’t ever give up and that’s why I love being a part of the Terrible Herbst Motorsports team. Troy (Herbst) did a fantastic job. He got stuck in the mud toward the end but he was giving Tavo (Vildosola) and B.J. (Baldwin) a run. He was chasing them down and I would rather have him doing that, trying to chase them down, than finish third. The SCORE Trophy Truck ran great all day long. It was incredible. We started so deep in the field. The start was so tough. We gave the SCORE Trophy Truck to Troy and we were the third physical place. My hat is off to him and the team. They never gave up. They spent 40 minutes trying to dig themselves out of the mud and got a flat after that and still chased these guys down.
DANIEL McMILLIN, No. 23 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle. McMillin drove start to Vizcaino. Chuck Hovey drove to the finish) — I had no issues except one flat tire. I had a great SCORE Trophy Truck with no issues all day. It was perfect. CO-DRIVER CHUCK HOVEY said: It was a good day. Daniel had a good run and he brought the SCORE Trophy Truck to me in third place. Very respectable. I had a great run too but my only real problem was with my helmet. My pumper quit and my helmet kept fogging up. We were doing pretty good and holding our own until we got over in the fog on the coast. I was just done and I couldn’t see so I had to open my shield. I ran with it open for about 200 miles. This was a perfect running SCORE Trophy Truck.
STEVE STROBEL, No. 94 (Sixth in class and sixth overall four-wheel vehicle. Strobel shared driving duties with Dale Ebberts and Gay Smith) — The first half of the race was dust, dust, dust. You’ve just got to bide your time out there. Around race mile 900 it got really wet (the fog) and I thought we were in for a long evening but it got better and went away. I put my lens up and I was trying to clean my glasses and we clipped a cactus over on the other side but other than that is was good all day. The fog wasn’t as bad out there as I thought it might have been.
ANDY McMILLIN, No. 31 (Seventh in class and seventh overall four-wheel vehicle. Andy McMillin drove start to El Crucero. Scott McMillin drove to Loreto. Andy drove to the finish) — We had a pretty solid run. I had two flats early. I didn’t hit anything but they just went flat and that was disappointing. I had no flats on my second run but we had some electrical problem or ignition problem and the truck was shutting off on me up toward San Felipe. We lost a lot of time dealing with that. We spent 15 minutes in the pit trying to diagnose the problem but couldn’t find anything. We just kind of cruised in from there and knew we weren’t in contention. The course is pretty much the same as 2010 but there are a few extra washouts because of the hurricane. It was a fun course but rough.
BRYCE MENZIES, No. 1 (Eighth in class and eighth overall four-wheel vehicle. Menzies drove start to mile 531. Jones drove to the finish.) — CO-DRIVER JESSE JONES said: Bryce Menzies had a really great run going and he stuck with B.J. Baldwin all day up until mile 531 at Vizcaino. He smelled some oil burning and stopped and checked. We had a crack in an oil line so he had to sit there and wait. We threw one (an oil line) into a chase truck with some extra oil and got it out to him. He got the truck to me but it took about an hour and a half. That was the only problem we had except for one flat tire in the middle of the night. I stuffed a rock. It was operator error.
NICK VANDERWEY, No. 84 (Ninth in class and 10th overall four-wheel vehicle. Vanderwey shared driving duties with Larry Vanderwey and Curt LeDuc.) — The brakes were a little goofy but the truck ran fine. In Loreto I tipped the SCORE Trophy Truck on its side. The power cord on the radio was loose and not working and when we fell on our side the radio started working and we could hear our crew talking. We broadcast that we just rolled over and our crew was nearby. They pulled us upright and we never had the radio working again. It was like a miracle that the radio comes on while we are on our side and when we get righted, it doesn’t. It’s crazy. Two SCORE Trophy Trucks got by while we were sitting on our side so that’s a bummer. I gave away a couple positions and that just didn’t need to happen.
SERGIO SALGADO, No. 88 (Tenth in class. Salgado shared driving duties with Matt Loidice and Mike Julson.) — CO-DRIVER MATT LOIODICE said: We didn’t have any problems at all for two rookie SCORE Trophy Truck drivers. Our whole goal was just to make it here and finish. This is my first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and first SCORE Trophy Truck race. It was awesome and it took us a good 50 miles to get comfortable in it. These things are fast. They are unbelievable and I can’t wait to do another one. Let’s go race it again. Let’s put some tires on it and fuel in it and race it back home
PETE SOHREN, No. 1 (Eleventh in class) CO-PILOT MARCOS GOMEZ said: We hit a dog at race mile one, then we had a flat two miles in. We changed the flat, get back going, and we go off the cliff at race mile four in the dust trying to catch the three trucks that passed us. We come out behind an apartment complex, get back up on the road and at mile marker eight we get a second flat. At mile marker 15 we get a third flat and now have no spares and our crew is at pit 150. Pete Sohren pinned it with a left rear flat all the way to Ojos Negros. We thought we were going to melt the left rear hubs. We went two or three hundred miles and had another flat. We had a total of eight flats. We did a lot of tire changing.
JUAN C. LOPEZ, No. 18 (Twelfth in class. Lopez drove start to mile 545. Robby Gordon drove to finish) – CO-DRIVER ROBBY GORDON said: We lost two rear shocks down the San Felipe beach run and it took a while to change them. Juan (Lopez) did a good job and the shocks blowing out isn’t his fault. The little check valves popped. I got in the truck at mile 545 and we didn’t have any problems. It was a pretty smooth run from there home but unfortunately you can’t give up that much time early. There’s a lot of good SCORE Trophy Trucks now and the series is obviously getting more competitive all the time. Obviously we are happy with our result.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 20 (Sixteenth in class. MacCachren shared driving duties with Robbie Pierce.) — We lost first gear at mile 70, but that was no big deal. The problem was that we lost reverse too. When Juan Carlos Lopez was way behind us we decided it would be smart to change a transmission when Robbie (Pierce) got in. We figured we had the time and it wouldn’t kill us. When Robbie got about five miles from me getting in he became stuck for about three hours at mile 823.
LUKE McMILLIN, No. 103 (First in class and ninth overall four-wheel vehicle. McMillin shared driving duties with Justin Smith.) — To win the three Tecate SCORE Baja races in my rookie year, I couldn’t even dream of that, especially the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 La Paz run… Unreal, I think I’m dreaming right now. I started the car and went to race mile 350 and we got to San Felipe and we had about a 20-minute lead there. That is where I decided to back it off and go for the class win and not try and chase the trucks. The whups were just nasty. I got it to Justin (Smith) with a 16-minute lead and he brought it back to me with an hour lead. About 100 miles before the finish we had a heartbreaker when the car just shut off. It was the wiring to the fuel pump. We hooked up my Parker pumper to the fuel pumps and got going again. I thought we were done right there.
RONNY WILSON, No. 102 (Second in class. Wilson shared driving duties with John Herder and Randy Wilson.) — We rolled over at race mile 107 and we lost all of the lights and tore the right side and front arms off the car. We were down a little over an hour and after that everything worked okay. We were trying to pass a SCORE Trophy Truck and we moved to the right a little bit and hung a wheel in a ditch and flipped the car over.
CLYDE STACY, No. 106 (Third in class. Justin Davis drove start to mile 550. Justin Matney drove to the finish.) – CO-DRIVER JUSTIN MATNEY said: We had some belt issues and lost a rear rotor. We got stuck with Herbst at race mile 595. We came around a corner and we slid into him. We helped pull him out. We worked together to get our car out and then we helped pull him out. We lost about an hour. That really killed us when we got stuck.
JON WALKER, No. 107 (Fourth in class. Walker drove the entire race) — We rolled it at race mile 100 and I walked about two miles. We missed a turn and I decided instead of backing up, to take a motorcycle line. We got stuck in the tide. It was the complete Baja experience. There was some wicked silt.
NILS CASTILLO, No. 145 (Fifth in class. Castillo shared driving duties with Nils Castillo and Joe Custer) — CO-DRIVER JOE CUSTER said: The tires were awesome. We had one flat but other than that the course was fast. It’s the first time in our buggy. It was fabulous. Gene Haas did great, he put the car out front. We had a rear start and we were running fourth when he got out. We are going to have a nice off-season now. The last two years we broke. A new truck and it didn’t break so we had a good run.
TONY MIGLINI, No. 105 (Sixth in class.) — About four hours into it I got super tired. We had brake issues and we stopped and then we capped off our right rear caliper and decided to run with fronts and one rear. Before, we only had fronts. We were in a killer spot earlier in the race for a long time. We relinquished first during the first stint with Armin Kremer. Andy’s whole job was just to be cool and take it easy. He did everything he was supposed to. He brought the car in, in one piece. I think we were seven or eight spots back and then when the sun came up it was game on. Once I stopped being tired it was killer. We were flying. It’s a big thing for my first year in Class 1.
TRAVIS CHASE, No. 113 (Seventh in class. Chase shared driving duties with Don Chase and Ryan Plowman.) CO-DRIVER DON CHASE said: Ryan (Plowman) got stuck for about two hours in the silt. Travis (Chase) had two flats in San Felipe but only one spare. That kind of slowed it down. He had one flat and then 20 miles later, before he got to our pit he had another. We had a sticking throttle, flat tires and stuck in the silt but I had no problems at all, but the young guys struggled day and night.
ARTURO VELAZCO, No. 1604 (First in class. Velazco shared driving duties with Abel Velazco and Steve Cruz.) — We had a good race but we lost at least 20 minutes in the Loreto wash. It took us 20 minutes to dry everything off and get the car started back up again. We also won the last peninsula run. Winning it again was exciting. Better than the first time.
ROBERTO RABAGO, No. 1611 (Second in class. Rabago shared driving duties with Francisco Reynozo and Alonzo Angulo.) — The dust was really bad. I can’t complain about the course. Sometimes you can put the pedal down all the way and sometimes you can’t because it is too rough and you have to take care of the truck. The first thing in trying to win is to try and make it to the finish. For me, second place is the first loser. Nothing is better than first place. It is a brand new car and I’ve been racing for 15 years and this is the first time I’ve raced in SCORE under my name.
HIRAM DURAN, No. 1605 (Third in class. Duran shared driving duties with Eric Duran and Evan Duran.) — We had a lot of problems. We got hit by a Class 1 car at race mile 120 and we had to replace the belts and we lost about 30 minutes. We were running third physical and then we moved to eighth or ninth. Right at the end my battery came loose and the car stopped. I had to send my co-pilot running to get help so somebody could push us and get us back on.
DONALD MOSS, No. 3 (First in class. Moss shared driving duties with Ken Moss and Dave Grundman.) — It took us a little over 36 hours with all of the breakdowns. It took an hour each to fix the two spindles we broke and we changed a leaf spring south of Ciudad Constitucion. We had a good four hours of down time. This is our tenth championship in the SCORE series and we’re pretty happy about that. This is our fourth Toyota Milestone Award. We are somewhere around 40 wins with the same truck. This is the same truck we’ve been racing since 2000. It’s got a zillion miles on it. We’ve got a good group of people and that’s what really makes it all happen. We were worried about finishing and worried about finishing in time. We had three other competitors in the class and we were behind them for a time. They had bigger problems than we did. When we were running we were keeping a good pace.
SANDY HALL, No. 501 (First in class. Hall shared driving duties with Chris Hall, Brian Jefferies and Andreas Tomba) In the last 100 miles we had some transmission problems. The car was locked in one gear. We were really in a battle with car 502 (Drew Belk) the entire length of the race. The lead changed hands probably three times and for the last 100 miles there were only three miles that separated the cars. They ended up breaking down about 40 miles outside of town.
EDUARDO LAGUNA, No. 619 (First in class. Laguna drove start to Bahia de Los Angeles. Abdali Lopez drove to Loreto. Laguna drove to the finish.) We only had one flat tire and a failure with the total position sensor and a coil. We lost about an hour.
RODOLFO IRIBE, No. 839 (First in class. Iribe shared driving duties with John Zambie and Mark Newham.) — We’ve won every race this year so I just wanted to bring it in for the finish. It was a special request from Clyde Stacy that I bring it in to the finish. We had one alternator that we had to replace and one belt. By the time we got to Ojos Negros we were in first place so we just brought it in nice and easy to the finish. We had a really good setup and a full team from RPM Racing. We had everything laid out properly, but luckily we didn’t need anything. Everything came out okay. The roughest part of the course was south of San Felipe. That is the hardest part. Everything can go wrong there so you have to be very careful and pick your way through it. You can’t go too fast or you’ll end the race right there.
LEE BANNING, No. 1048 (First in class. Banning shared driving duties with Corey Bowyer, Rick Graff and Lee Banning, Jr.) — CO-DRIVER LEE BANNING JR. said: We planned to start at the back and work our way forward and have a clean run. It’s two Tecate SCORE Baja 1000’s in a row for us in Score Lites and then this year in a brand new car we built ourselves. Everybody just did everything they could and kept going forward. They handed me the car in the lead and I just tried not to screw up. I had one flat but I don’t know if anybody else did. Other than that it was just a flawless day.
CAM THIERIOT, No. 1001 (Second in class. Kash Vessels drove to Vizcaino. Thieriot drove to Loreto. Andy Grider drove to the finish.) CO-DRIVER KASH VESSELS said: Cam got stuck in the silt, which cost us the most time. The car was finished five days before the race. It had 36 miles of test time total. It was right out of the box.
DEAN GRIZZLE, No. 1004 (Third in class. Grizzle shared driving duties with Karl Scanlan, Blake Slater and Clint .) – CO-DRIVER KARL SCANLAN said: We broke two wheels and got stuck off of the start a little bit. We rolled it at race mile 1050.
OTONIEL HUERTA, No. 1248 (First in class. Huerta drove start to mile 350. Danny Arreola drove to mile 488 and Jaime Huerta drove to the finish.) — We broke the left shock at race mile 350 and then the suspension wasn’t holding pressure. We got stuck and lost about 25 minutes. In the last 250 miles we made up about 20 minutes.
BRENT PARKHOUSE, No. 1204 (Second in class. Parkhouse shared driving duties with Jim Moulton and Brian Burgess.) — We each had one flat but other than that, everything went great. The car got stuck in the silt once but other than that it was gas and go all day.
GEOVANY ALUCANO, No. 1103 (First in class. Jose Antonio Alucano, Humberto Huertado, Mario Vasquez and Ernesto Martinez shared driving duties) — We ran the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 two years ago and didn’t finish the race but it left me with a taste for the sport. The whole two days on the course was the adventure of a lifetime. We were hit by a SCORE Trophy Truck early in the race, but other than that, the car performed well.
CHELSEA MAGNESS, No. 1350 (First in class. Magness drove start to Bahia de Los Angeles., Steve Knudson drove to Loreto and Todd Burt drove to the finish.) – CO-DRIVER TODD BURT said: We had a really clean day. Three flat tires all day and that’s all we had. Everybody kind of knocked it back a notch because all we had to do was run it into the finish. If we finished we won our class. We’ve been saying it for 20 years, slower is faster in many cases. We backed off a little bit and probably, overall, ran just as fast as we ever would have because we didn’t have any mistakes. We never got stuck and never got lost.
BILLY WILSON, No. 724 (First in class. Wilson drove start to mile 580. Zack McKinley drove to mile 930. Wilson drove to the finish.) — I didn’t have any flats but my co-driver Zack (McKinley) had a few. I went off of a cliff in a chase truck and flipped over last night.
CLYDE STACY, No. 219. (First in class. Nick Baumgartner, Mike Powell and Steven Arlia shared driving duties.) CO-DRIVER NICK BAUMGARTNER said: I’m an Olympic snowboarder from the U.S. and an X-Games gold medal snowboarder. The axle came out while we were going through a gate and it clipped the gate and bent the axle. We tried to bring it in on one tire and it finally quit on us. The other axle pushed through so we had no traction to go anywhere. We called a buddy that lives in Ensenada. He came in and called a bunch of locals and they all came together and rallied. Twenty miles an hour we got down here on the freeway. We’ve got a rag and some zip ties holding it to the rim. We drove it in from near checkpoint 8. I’m amazed at the passion these people have for the sport. Our Mexican friends came in and made it happen. I think the motor is about to blow up and I don’t think the transmission is very happy with us. This is the first time I’ve driven in this and I can tell you now that I’m hooked.
BUD BRUTSMAN, No. BC2 (First in class. Brutsman shared driving duties with Brad Lovell, Roger Lovell, Luke Wilwert, Michael Crawford and Kyle Tucker.) — The day started out really, really well. We had a good game plan to run smart and clean. When we hit pit one we were tied for first place. We blew a CV joint and we didn’t really have all of the right replacement parts. We pieced one together and it put us down about an hour.
COLTON UDALL, No. 1x (First in class and first overall motorcycle to finish. Colton Udall rode from the start to El Crucero. David Kamo rode from El Crucero to San Ignacio. Udall rode from San Ignacio to Loreto. Timmy Weigand rode from Loreto to the finish.) – In San Felipe I passed for the lead and I kept pulling it out and then I gave the bike to David (Kamo.) He pretty much held it or pulled it out more and then we pitted and lost some time. The I think he opened up the lead another three minutes. I got on the bike and lost a bunch of time because I only pre-ran my section three times. We serviced our bike four or five times and changed tires. We had multiple rear wheels that were bald with no knobs. This course just ripped it all up, it was a very tough course. The section through San Felipe was probably one of the gnarliest workouts I ever had in my life. My whole body was locking up. I was just done. It was nice to get to the paved section after that. The race was awesome. The only thing out of the ordinary was that I crashed at about race mile 14. It was super dusty this morning and I made a lot of mistakes. The speed of some of the racers in front of me was just a hair off my pace and they just ruined me. CO-RIDER DAVID KAMO said: It helped us out being so far back from the start. That way we can be the hunters. We can see what they are doing and they have to turn around and see where we are. I think that helped us out. It helped Colton push a little bit harder. My stretches went by really fast. There were lots of cows and lots of cars and lots of people. Donkeys, horses, everything. Some were on the trail and some just stood there because we were going by so fast that they didn’t move. It couldn’t have gone any better. It’s a pretty big win for us, this being the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. CO-RIDER TIMMY WEIGAND said: We’ve been coming to Baja for years and years. We have three amazing teammates and we are the underdogs every race. We weren’t the big guys to win and we don’t have a star-studded bunch of riders but we’ve been down here and we have a great mentor in Johnny (Campbell) and a great bike in Honda. We’ve won this race before so we expected to do the same. TEAM OWNER JOHNNY CAMPBELL said: It was a great effort from everyone at JCR. The guys rode hard but smart out there. I never had to get on the bike this time. It was a tough race with strong competition this year. (David) Pearson got close to us when Colton (Udall) was riding. But we were able to pull away. Timmy (Weigand) rode the bike in from Loreto. He is smart and a great finisher. We could feel OX out there with us again this year. His memory is always with us. It is always special to win the 1000. You prepare for everything possible. The overall speed was a little faster than I thought. I thought it would be around 52 miles per hour average, but I think we were close to 55 or so. I don’t think the fog was as bad this year. I think we had a solid rider lineup this year. Everyone seems to get along so well. It was a total team effort.
KURT CASELLI, No. 5x (Second in class and second overall motorcycle. Ivan Ramirez rode the start to Ojos Negros. Mike Brown rode from Ojos Negros to Puertecitos. Ramirez rode from Puertecitos to Vizcaino. Quinn Cody from Vizcaino to Ciudad Constitucion. Kurt Caselli rode to the finish.) – He said: My first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 was pretty eventful. Obviously there was a lot of hype coming into this race between KTM and the Honda team and Kawasaki team as well. We did a lot of homework coming to this race. From the outside looking in, this was a big accomplishment for KTM, for myself and the team. We got the bike to the finish with no major issues besides some rider issues. Quinn Cody went down, and from what we know has a broken femur. He was fine and just in a little pain but disappointed. It was obviously a big hit to the team. Ivan did a great job starting and we had a little technical problem early on and we fell back a little bit in the dust. It’s a long race and we didn’t give up anywhere. I’m not disappointed at all. I’m very happy to be sitting right here in second place in my first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. I have no regrets and this was a good race for us. Honda brought a better program to the table and we are going to go home and do our homework. CO-RIDER IVAN RAMIREZ said: The first section went pretty good but I was a little bit in the dust. I relaxed a little because I was kind of tight. I gave the bike to Mike Brown being second overall. We had some problems and then Honda and Kawasaki passed us. The whole day we’ve been behind Kawasaki and Honda. I got on the bike in Puertecitos again for my longest section to Vizcaino. It went pretty good.
CHRIS RIDGWAY, No. 2x (Sixth in class. Ridgway shared riding duties with Mario Panagiotopoulis and Jim Wazny,) There were three of us. Three people, three legs. We had a rear wheel come apart. We lost a sprocket and had to replace a wheel out on the trail. Mario (Panagiotopoulis) milked it to the next Honda pit and they put a new wheel on it and after that we had some minor maintenance stuff to do but the bike ran perfect as usual for a Honda.
JIM O’NEAL, No. 104x (First in class and third overall motorcycle. O’Neal rode at the start and turned it over to Shane Esposito, who rode to San Felipe. Ricky Brabec and Max Eddy shared riding duties from San Felipe to finish. Eddy finished.) — CO-RIDER MAX EDDY said: Shane (Esposito) did an excellent job getting the bike to San Felipe and then Ricky (Brabec) and I pretty much took it from there. Shane got us up to fourth or fifth overall and then he got off at San Felipe. The course is super tough this year. There are a lot of miles and we had one chase truck all day that changed our tires and the Desert Assassins helped us out with a lot of the pits. I can’t say enough about my partners Ricky and Shane for doing a good job keeping the bike together and getting us here. All the elements get different at night. Of course you can’t see as well and then you’ve got the fog. It’s tough at night. I love riding at night so it kind of fits right in my pocket. It comes naturally to me. CO-RIDER RICKY BRABEC said: We kept it on two wheels and we are here safe. We did our section well. Max had more night sections than I did. He got on in the night both times and I rode all day. I only rode one night section but it’s tough. I don’t think anyone can do it at race speed.
JEFF KAPLAN, No. 400x (First in class. Ricky Johnson rode start to mile 150, Ron Wilson rode to El Crucero, Kaplan rode to Vizcaino. Wilson rode from Vizcaino to Loreto. Kaplan rode to the finish.) — We had a long day and we had a lot of problems. We had some light issues and we had a pipe issue. Ron (Wilson) went down once and Ricky (Johnson) went down once. It was a great course. We tried to do it the old way. Everybody’s been doing it with five guys and we were going to do it with two and at the last minute we couldn’t do it with two so we pulled Ricky Johnson in to do the start for us. Ricky tipped over once and broke a hand guard and then we had an exhaust pipe come apart and I don’t know why. We had to change that and we couldn’t get it off, so we ended up beating it off with a hammer. We had a light go out and when we went to put the lights on, they didn’t work. I picked up a set of lights at a pit. When I stopped to put them on they didn’t work. I had no fuses because I wasn’t planning on putting the lights on there so we had to get fuses out of trucks. It took us a half-hour or more to get the thing going. I ended up running the whole race with twisted wires because I had to cut them because the plugs wouldn’t work. I just twisted the wires together, taped them up and went all the way. CO-DRIVER RON WILSON said: This was a very difficult course. The section coming in to Loreto was 40 miles of rock crawl. The section was unbelievably challenging so we just kept going. Luckily the rest of our class had some issues also.
MARC PRINCE, No. 501x (First in class) — The lights went out around race mile 840 going down the sand wash. A wire shorted under the seat and I had no lights for about 15 miles. We got to the Honda pits and we took the seat off and found a wire that had shredded and we had to rewire it. The fog was really bad by Ciudad Insurgentes, so it was a little slow going over there, but once you got to Ciudad Constitucion, it cleared up and was good. CO-RIDER CHARLIE MARSHALL said: We had a little problem when we put our lights on and we were down for about 10 minutes. Other than that everything was good. The bike ran great and no tip overs. We had a good time.
JOSH FREDERICK, No. 6a (First in class. Frederick shared riding duties with Jeremie Warnia, Collin Webster and Jarred McLure.) I had some problems early on and had to fix some parts on the bike. We were about an hour back. We just kept plugging away, working on the bike and saving it. It ended up that they (other riders in the class) had some problems too. We capitalized on it and brought it home.
SHAWN ROBINS, No. 102a (Second in class. Robins shared riding duties with Landis Albright and Pedro Trango.) — We had some clutch problems and we had to rebuild it in El Crucero. Other than it was just minor things along the way. Typical Baja. The course was a little rougher this year.
THOMAS GRAVES, No. 1803 (Second in class. Graves and Rich Morel shared driving duties) – We broke a couple of drive belts which kind of grenaded the clutch. Rich (Morel) rebuilt the clutch and we got new belts on it. We changed a wheel out and readjusted the front end. It got hit by rocks so many times the spindle bolts came loose. CO-DRIVER RICH MOREL said: We didn’t pre-run the course because it would have cost a few thousand dollars just for the week. One, you lose work pay and two, you’ve got to pay for your fuel. You’ve got to pay for your bike or a Rhino to get in and pay for your hotel. By the time you are done pre-running and really getting the logistics out of it, you’re spend a few thousand dollars. If there was a part of the course we didn’t know too well, or feared, we would definitely come down and pre-run it. For the most part we know this area, I thought. All the stuff on the Pacific side that changed on the bottom end of the course I became aware of in the middle of the race. That I wish I would have pre-run.