The 45th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 ended in yet another history making run by the Mexican national team of; Gustavo (Tavo) Vildosola, Gustavo Vildosola Sr., and co-driver Javi Valenzula.
Repeating there last performance from the 2010 SCORE Baja 1000, Vildosola made the 1,121-mile trip from Ensenada Mexico to La Paz in just less than 19 hours and 45 minutes, once again beating the bikes to the finish line. Previous to the 2012 Baja 1000, Vildosola has been the only team to (in 2010) since the early ‘70’s to successfully outrun the bikes down the Baja peninsula.
Monster Energy Off Road Team member “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin put in a commanding effort, as he would complete all 1,121 miles without one single driver change. Baldwin and navigator John Nelson did everything they would in order to prepare for such task. Baldwin reached out to Baja legend Ivan “the Ironman” Stewart and Walker Evans to see if he would get any tips for completing 1,121 miles, solo.
“I knew we had a faster truck than Bryce (Menzies) and we attacked at the right time in San Felipe and were able to get into some clean air. We have three 2nd place finishes at the Baja 1000, we were so close this time but we are really hoping we clinched the championship” said Baldwin.
Off of the radar all day (literally) due to tracker issues, the brothers out of Oregon; Mark and Gary Weyhrich were fierce competition among the top 5 front-runners all race long. The brothers would pilot their Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck #9 to the finish for an astonishing 3rd place overall and 3rd in trophy truck.
Speaking of duo’s, Luke McMillin and Justin “Bean” Smith have been absolutely unstoppable. McMillin and Smith have won 5 out of the last 6 races they have entered including; SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000. At one point the duo put nearly 100 miles of distance between them and Justin Davis in the Speed Energy Geiser built truggy. McMillin and Smith would have finished by a larger margin but an unfortunate mechanical failure near the finish set the team back.
“The car just shut off, we had no idea what happened, we totally thought that could be the end of our day. My co-rider jumped out and was able to diagnose the problem right away and fortunately it only set us back about 15 minutes” said McMillin.
The unstoppable duo would go on to finish 9th over all and first in class 1, followed by Ronny Wilson and Justin Davis.
Notable mentions: Ryan Arciero and Troy Herbst drove the Terrible Herbst Trophy Truck number 49 all the way from the 32nd starting position to finish with a very respectable 4th place finish overall. Troy Herbst missed a turn late in the race (while leading on corrected time) and stuck the number 49 Trophy Truck in a hole and finally was able to get out after going down on time to the rest of the field.
Car 1048 of Lee Banning finished 16th overall and first in Class 10, beating out 27 Trophy Trucks and 20 Unlimited Class 1 racecars.
Another Baja 1000 in the books and another record broken by the Mexican national team; Vildosola. 2012 has been a benchmark year for some and a troublesome year for others. 2013 will bring the best drivers, the best vehicles and the best technology that this sport has ever seen. If 2013 is anything like 2012, it is without a doubt that 2013 will bring the best racing that we have ever seen.. Man vs. Machine vs. Baja.
Words by: Adam “Gunnslinger” Gunn
Photos by Jason Zindroski and Vincey Knakhal