Baja 1000: Race report

Post/MacCachren/Renezeder Win 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Overall in No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150 in Wild SCORE Trophy-Truck Battle Roeseler Takes 16th SCORE Baja 1000 Class win; Bell/Campbell,/Hengeveld,/Norman Win Motorcycle...

Post/MacCachren/Renezeder Win 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Overall in No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150 in Wild SCORE Trophy-Truck Battle

Roeseler Takes 16th SCORE Baja 1000 Class win; Bell/Campbell,/Hengeveld,/Norman Win Motorcycle Overall

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico -- Mark Post of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., capped off a sensational 2007 SCORE Desert Series Wednesday by driving his Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck to the overall victory in the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races. Only 30 vehicles had completed the course in the first 32 hours of the grueling 1,296.39-mile race. With a 53-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race that started early Tuesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, racing will continue until the course closes officially at 6 p.m. (PST) Thursday.

Post, 49, teamed with veteran drivers Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas and Carl Renezeder of Laguna Beach, Calif., to record the fastest overall speed in a four-wheel vehicle on down the length of the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico. Post's Riviera Racing No. 3 Ford averaged 51.13 miles per hour in covering the distance in 25 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds despite rain and dust throughout the distance.

The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 win for Post was his third victory on the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series and helped him clinch his first and MacCachren's second SCORE Trophy-Truck season point championship. Entering the legendary granddaddy of all desert racing, Post/MacCachren held a slim one-point margin and five drivers had a shot at claiming the coveted point title. They beat a near-record field of 424 starters from a SCORE-record 44 U.S. States and a SCORE-record 19 countries. They are competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.

The SCORE Trophy-Truck division displayed a sensational battle with Post, Garron Cadiente of Mesa, Ariz., Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Jr., of Mexicali, Mexico, and Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas, all within minutes of each other before several of the contenders experienced mechanical difficulties on their machines. In the end, Post and Vildosola, seeking to become the first Mexican team to win the SCPRE Baja 1000 overall, ran minutes apart at the 1,200-mile mark. However, Vildosola's Ford had two flat tires in the last 90 miles and was relegated to second overall and second in the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.

Vildosola's time in the No. 4 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 was 25:32:20 for an average speed of 50.76mph and splitting driving with his son Gustavo Jr., were the highest finish Mexican nationals in the race.

"We had very little mechanical error on the truck this year," said Post. " We had three SCORE wins this year. To win the overall SCORE Baja 1000 in the SCORE Trophy-Truck is a dream come true. The entire team did a flawless job. This is very exciting for Riviera Racing."

"This has allowed me to do what I want to do, to do what I love doing, come here and win the 40th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000," said MacCachren. "I have never had the overall win and I finally got that done. In the middle of the night, there are fires all along the course and thousands of people up all night and it really keeps you motivated, you see everyone yelling out there. One thing I learned about Baja is up and down the Peninsula, there's always someone nearby. We didn't have any flat tires at all."

Defending race winner Robby Gordon of Charlotte, N.C., charged back from early problems with the No. 71 Chevy CK1500 to place third in the SCORE Trophy-Truck category and fifth overall among four-wheel vehicles. Gordon had to run an early portion of the course in the dark with just a handheld portable lamp for vision. But the Nextel Cup team owner/driver fought his way back to compete the event with a finishing time of 27:12:14.

"Just when you thought you couldn't top the unusual in Baja, we topped it," said Gordon, whose second driver was Dale Ebberts, Canyon Lake, Calif. "When we stopped at the first pit stop, the crew (part of the Nextel Cup crew) thought we didn't need lights in the next section. They were wrong. We had to borrow a portable lamp to see. We used a handheld portable lamp through that section (early in the race). By the time we got through that section, we were way back with the Class 10 car. You talk about giving one way, that's what we did today."

In the highly-competitive Class 1 division for unlimited open-wheel desert race cars, Larry Roeseler of Hesperia, Calif., continued his incredible SCORE Baja 1000 performance with Las Vegas' Troy Herbst for their fourth consecutive Class 1 win, an event record for the category. The Class 1 race win was Roeseler's 16th class win in the 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races dating back to 1967.

Teaming with Troy Herbst since 2001, Roeseler drove the No. 100 Terrible Herbst Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheel machine to time of 26:30:10 for the third overall position. In fact, the Herbst vehicle also set a SCORE record Wednesday by claiming the car's 23rd Class 1 race victory, the most in this class in SCORE history. The incredible racing machine is racing its final races in the 11 years since it debuted in 1997. At some point in 2008, the vehicle will be retired to permanent display at the Terrible Herbst Motorsports race shop in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The team led by Steve Strobel of Clarks, Neb., placed second in Class 1 and fourth overall in 26:46:44. Sixth overall and third in Class 1 was the three-brother team led by Ronny Wilson of Long Beach, Calif. in a time of 27:50:35.

"One heck of a race," said Roeseler, a SCORE Baja 1000 with wins on motorcycles as well as in cars. "We literally came through the pack and were third physically (overall). The car was fantastic. With the little bit of rain, there were mudholes all over the place. But minimal dust. We lost pressure with our (gear) shifter. We broke a shock. Troy brought the car home to the finish. It's always an incredible feeling to finish the SCORE Baja 1000. It was an incredible journey today."

Herbst credited Roeseler with another great drive.

"We are really happy to be here," Herbst said. We had no flats today. Larry Roeseler started the day and did a heck of job." Robby Bell of Murrieta, Calif., won the motorcycle overall title Wednesday in capturing Class 22 (250cc engines or larger) aboard the No. 1x factory Honda CRF450X. Bell, 21, co-rode with SCORE Baja 1000 veteran Johnny Campbell of San Clemente, Calif., Steve Hengeveld of Hesperia, Calif., and Kendall Norman of Santa Barbara, Calif., in a time of 24:15:50 for an average speed of 53.43 mph.

Bell, the primary rider for the winning two-wheel team, took his first SCORE Baja 1000 crown but Campbell won his 10th overall SCORE Baja 1000 championship and Hengeveld won his seventh SCORE Baja 1000 overall (including six straight) and 10th class win.

"The course got a little bit of rain and made it a lot safer off the start," said Bell. "We had the best team and the best bike. We tried not to make any mistakes and get in the lead. We wanted clean air. My teammates did an awesome job."

Hengeveld and Campbell's overall SCORE Baja 1000 titles put them in historic company with racers like Roeseler.

"It was like a blackout through the fog all the way to Santa Rita and it was really difficult," said Hengeveld. "You don't know where the livestock is and the lights don't pick them up. It was one of the most hectic times of the ride and then it cleared up again. I got going on the pace, and I just tried to ride as smooth as possible to bring it in safely without any mistakes. The bike ran flawless. The Honda CRF450x is an awesome machine. Without the engineers at Japan, American Honda and Precision concepts, we wouldn't be here today. This my 10th SCORE Baja 1000 win and it feels so good."

-credit: score international

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