Historic Tecate SCORE Baja 2000 Monday notes

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (Nov. 13) - Johnny Campbell of San Clemente, Calif., and Dan Smith of Riverside, Calif., were the top finishers Monday in the most grueling desert race ever, the Tecate SCORE Baja 2000 presented by AutoZone,...

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (Nov. 13) - Johnny Campbell of San Clemente, Calif., and Dan Smith of Riverside, Calif., were the top finishers Monday in the most grueling desert race ever, the Tecate SCORE Baja 2000 presented by AutoZone, through the rugged desert terrain of the Baja California peninsula. Campbell, 29, and his three co-riders, Tim Staab, Craig Smith and Steve Hengeveld, traveled the 1,679.54-mile circuit in a record 30 hours, 54 minutes and 12 seconds to captured the overall motorcycle victory aboard a Honda XR650. Campbell's team averaged 54.348 miles per hour in the once-in-a-lifetime race which included 262 starters from 31 states. Washington, D.C. and 11 countries. Smith, 36, and his co-driver David Ashley, 43, also of Riverside, posted the best overall four-wheel vehicle time at the Cabo San Lucas finish line in their Duralast Ford F-150 truck at 32 hours, 15 minutes and 39 seconds. Smith and Ashley, who averaged 52.061 m.p.h. for the entire distance, outdueled defending five-time SCORE Baja 1000 champion Larry Ragland of Phoenix for the last 100 miles when Ragland's Chevy Trailblazer rolled near the last checkpoint marker on the course. "The bike is so durable," said Campbell after the endurance test. "I feel like it could go run this thing again. The nerves were the big thing for me. I didn't want to hit anything. All we had was one mechanical problem. We were in the pits for about 10 minutes. The weather was perfect, all the bad stuff was behind us. The hardest part was the start. It was freezing. I got wet and cold. This was the toughest SCORE race I've been in. Not just the length but the terrain." The victory was Campbell's fourth consecutive on the Baja circuit which usually runs for 1,000 miles. This year's contest was doubled for the new millenium and posed many more problems for the vehicles, drivers, riders and pit crews. Bruce Ogilvie of Fountain Valley, Calif., placed second overall in the motorcycle at 32:05:03 at a speed of 52.347 m.p.h.. Smith, a multi-time Baja winner in motorcycles, ran behind Ragland and early leader Ivan Stewart before taking over the four-wheel lead at the 1,000-mile mark. Smith and Ragland were as close as one minute apart with only 100 miles until the finish when Ragland's mount flipped. Ragland was able to finish in third overall in the four-wheel division with a speed of 50.910 m.p.h. in the Chevy Trailblazer he won this year's SCORE Baja 500 in June. Second overall among four-wheel vehicles was Troy Herbst of Las Vegas, who completed the distance in 51.127 m.ph in his Ford-powered Smithbuilt open-wheel desert race car.. Herbst's win clinched his fourth straight SCORE unlimited Class 1 point champion and his second overall SCORE point championship in the last three years. Sharing driving duties with Ragland was Brian Stewart, 36, of Long Beach, Calif. Stewart is the son of Ivan Stewart. Ragland had closed the gap with Smith/Ashley to 17 seconds before his accident. Driving the second half of the race for Herbst was 1994 SCORE Trophy-Truck season champion and current NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team owner Jim Smith of Orange, Calif. While only 12 vehicles had finished the world's longest and richest non-stop point-to-point desert race ever held by 8 p.m. (PST), the more than 200 vehicles still running have 80 hours (7:28 p.m. (PST) Wednesday) to become official finishers in the historic race.

score-international.com

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