Continued from part 1 Class 8 801 Nick Vanderwey (1st Place): We had a great day. No problems. One flat tire up north. The highlight is right now. Hour after hour when you keep beating it down, you just don't know how lucky you are to get away.
Continued from part 1
801 Nick Vanderwey (1st Place): We had a great day. No problems. One flat tire up north. The highlight is right now. Hour after hour when you keep beating it down, you just don't know how lucky you are to get away. You're so exhausted that the emotions just run in short spurts; jubilation, excitement. All the prep, all the time, all the SCORE people -- it's unbelievable. The people down by the beach with the flags were incredible. They were waving us on.
Co-driver, Larry Vanderwey: We were just keeping it together. I'll tell you what -- you had to hope it wasn't your turn, your mile, your bush, your tree. And like we said, we just slipped through Baja's fingers today. It's incredible to be standing here with an in-tact truck with no problems. It's unbelievable. This is the original. This is the one you always want. Nick Vanderwey and Mike Vanderwey went to San Ignacio. Then Paul Dennis and myself went from San Ignacio to here.
No. 1000 John Cooley (3rd Place)
Co-driver, Chris Harrold: This is the first time coming to the finish line! Around here it was starting to get a little like San Felipe where they're jumping out in front of the car but for the most part, the spectators were awesome. They were cheering us on, no booby traps, pointing us in the right direction. It was a lot of fun. It was great.
Hopefully, I was really taking care of everything. The biggest problem we had was being able to see because we got blasted with mud, then we got all the silt and it was foggy. So we had to flip our shields up and the backsides of the shields got wet, then the front sides, then all the dirt coming off the car with the silt was just sticking in there. It was horrible. I'm trying to leave the shield up but the silt was getting in my eyes.
No. 1200 Tim Noe (1st Place): I drove the first 375 miles from the start to Bahia de Los Angeles. Tommy Watson went from Bahia de Los Angeles to Loreto. Gary Arnold went from Loreto to the finish. We had no problems at all. We made it the whole day with no problems at all. We were really out there just to finish the race because we only needed to get in eighth place to win the points championship for the third year in a row. So we just started going for it. For about the first twenty miles, we were conservative. But then it was full-on racing. We stick to our plan which is no plan!
It hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure it will when I walk around the corner. Gary Arnold brought it in. I started it. He wanted me to bring it the last fifty miles. I told him I'm tired, I've done my job for the day!
Probably the biggest challenge for me was Frog Canyon in the mud. I'm not sure about the other guys. I'm sure we all have stories we're not telling what we did wrong, you know -- a few mistakes. 2004 was about the same as this year. 2005 was a loop race so it was totally different. I like coming down here. They should have this one every year. It's a challenge. You know, the beautiful Mexico where we get to get away with everything we do. It's fun down here.
No. 861 Josh Hall (1st Place): Darn it! I wanted to do it in less that 24 hours.
Co-driver, Thad Stump: We had one problem that lasted about an hour and a half. We have something that resembles a disintegrated rag floating around in our fuel cell. So it's warming up the strainers. We cleaned the pumps and strainers out one time. Now we can alternate fuel pumps and we can run on one fuel pump for about an hour until it gets plugged then we can switch to the other one. While that one's running, the other one shakes itself free and all the lint and crap falls off the sieve. So we just go back and forth.
No. 762 Rod Hall (Third Place)
Only racer to have raced in either a car or truck in all 39 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races. Hall also has the most class wins in the event with 18.
I put it on its side 12 miles into the race and cost us four hours of daytime. The toughest SCORE Baja 1000 ever, I thought I would never get out of the silt beds near El Datil, race marker 925.
No. 236 Rick L. Johnson (1st Place): Jimmy Nuckles went second at Loreto. From there, Jimmy brought it home. But not before he got stuck with first place. We pulled our truck out and then we pulled Creagan out. It was actually a credible today for the entire Toyota Tundra Protruck number 236. We had a long race at the end with a lot of troubles but that's what 1000 is about. There are a lot of unforeseen things. With Dane Cordone and Jimmy Nuckles and myself, when we're co-drivers, we're able to soldier on and bring it in to the finish. Hopefully in first place. This is the second time with the Baja 1000 into La Paz. This is sweet. Anytime you finish the Baja 1000, it's sweet. Last year we lost it by a minute and 45 seconds. We finished second and lost the championship to Jimmy Nuckles who ended up beating us. So to bring down here in first place with Jimmy is an incredible feat. It's very exciting. Hopefully this will get us right into the points depending on how Tavo finishes. If he finishes, it will be a very tight points race.
The tracking unit helped us tremendously. We were able to have somebody sit at home and tell us how our truck was doing. The tracking unit is absolutely incredible. Anybody who didn't run one lost out. It's a great product and just from a safety standpoint, allows us to keep track of our vehicle.
No. 203 Dave Creagan (2nd Place): They helped us when we got stuck because they called right away to see if we were okay. It was very good. The minute we stopped, they were already talking to us. The dirt was the biggest challenge. It was an awesome race but I've got to say the Mexican people out there cheering for you in the desert are the best. It's awesome. SCORE did a really good job marking the course. It was a really good race. The truck worked good and those guys in front of us really are number one are great people, too. We got stuck and they pulled us out. He deserves it.
The race was hard on equipment. You know, it's a tough race! Obviously, there are not a lot of Trophy-Trucks here. I don't know what the attrition rate is here but it's got to be pretty serious.
[What did you think as you came upon the finish line?] Oh thank God I didn't blow it!
Micron Baja Challenge
BC 16 Steve Appleton (1st Place): No mechanicals, no flats, and never got lost. The two of us were in the car the whole time. We only got out twice to change drivers. Other than that, I've been sitting here for 24 hours. I don't want to sit in this seat for a couple of months! I think I'm going to go ride my motorcycle for a while. I have more of dirt bike background. It's kind of hard sitting in a seat for 24 hours. Neither one of us have driven cars before. It was perfect weather. Wasn't too cold, never got foggy. We never got stuck one place. We couldn't have done it better. No flats, nothing. Not one mechanical.
When you get a Trophy-Truck running by you, you wish you had one of those. That will be our campaign next year, probably - or a Class 1. We probably will.
I started 16th. I was in 3rd place at San Felipe and 1st place at Bahia de Los Angeles, and we never looked back. We're like an old married couple. Our intercom didn't work. We didn't have one argument. We didn't talk to each other the whole time. Hand signals. That's it. We didn't talk to each other. It was great being with my brother. It's definitely an honor and a privilege.
BC 14 Eustaquio Escandon, Sr. (2nd Place)
Co-driver, Steve Hilbert: This is my third Baja 1000. I've done it twice in a car and once on a dirt bike in the 2000. I drove the last third, from just north of Loreto down to here. The first two sessions were Jaime Zunzunegui and Eustaquio Escandon in the first session; then Clark, the co-driver here and Richard Wadehouse were the second drivers.
I liked this course. It was really fast. It was not as technical and rocky. But that's a relative term in Baja. It's a beautiful road. But you can't at the view -- not while you're racing.
We lost the motor and the transmission. It barely made it down the road here. I don't know what's wrong, but you have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to get it from second to third or third to second.
We were stuck and a Protruck hit us. We didn't get any serious damage, but the front of his Protruck pretty bad. We were real stuck. But he almost got me out. He moved me forward five feet just by hitting me.
Note: Tommy Cope was the driver of the truck that hit BC 14
No. 1x Steve Hengeveld (1st Place in class, First overall finisher): We didn't come here to get second, we came here to win and that's what we did tonight. I didn't have any problems I just kept riding and I don't' think they had any problems either. The new sections were really hard but that's what Baja is about. It's not supposed to be easy, it's supposed to be technical and that's what we had here today. We all had our tough sections and it's just a really good, tough course. This is my 5th Baja 1000 in a row and we made history tonight so I want to thank my other two riders Quinn Cody and Mike Childress. It takes a team to do this and we did it tonight. All the Mexican people, thanks for cheering us on, letting us race here, and really supporting us.
We look forward to seeing you out on the track. This is the best race in the world! We have a good team, we worked really hard. We made history tonight to win the first Baja 1000 for the 450x and for breaking Johnny Campbell's win-streak and continuing mine with five in a row.
I got on the bike at mile 700 and the bike still ran flawlessly, like it's brand new to the finish line. That stuff was bad! Dude, I saw a full on accident right in front of me on the highway. I had to hit the breaks or I was going to get caught up in it!
Co-driver, Mike Childress: I have the best two teammates here tonight. We all did our jobs. We all came here and accomplished what we needed to. Thanks for letting us tear up their peninsula here this whole day, all the people were awesome. It's great to see and hear them here, screaming and yelling. It really makes you feel good.
I started the race this morning and I rode the first 333 miles to El Pasero. Quinn Cody rode to mile 724 and Steve rode from there to the finish. I passed everybody by the time I got to mile 45. Our other teammate, our other 450x team, hit a booby trap in the dust and crashed. I stopped to make sure he was all right and stayed with him for a few minutes. Then I inherited the lead at mile 45 and never looked back. It's nice having a wide-open course. I mean the course was a rough one this year. The hurricanes and weather have done some damage this year, but our 450x got us to the finish with zero problems.
Our time was about right - I guessed it at 19 hours, so it's a little quicker. But when Sal did the course, he definitely challenged us a little more going to La Paz -- it's a lot tighter - but that's what we're here for.
Co-driver, Cody Quinn: I wasn't really worried about getting caught. I just had to adjust my style. I was trying to be conservative because we had a big lead and I didn't want to make any mistakes. That didn't really work for me so I decided to pick it up my and ride my normal pace and get comfortable on the bike and everything went flawless. No issues the whole ride. I've been pre-running -- I went over my whole section six times and I had it pretty much wired, so it was just like I expected except our race bike was about 10 miles per hour faster than my pre-runner so there was maybe a little bit of backing out of the throttle here and there. Other than that, everything went perfect. We made it, got our lights on right in time and basically did what we expected and everything went really well.
No. 6x Robby Bell (2nd Place): I hit a booby trap around mile marker 40 or 42 something. It was just like a 2-foot tall curb or square or something that some guys built. I was behind 2x still. And he hit it and went down and then I was in his dust and I had no chance. I hit it. I cartwheeled and broke my chest protector off and lost my fanny pack. But the bike was totally straight. At first I was a little dingy and I started going backwards on the course. Then I saw Mikey coming so I got straightened out. So I got going straight again. It broke my goggles when I crashed so I rode with no goggles to Pit One. Once I got goggles, they duct taped my visor straight. Then I slowly picked it up as I felt better. I kept it pretty close, like within 10 or 12 minutes to Mikey. Until just after Puertecitos, I got a rear flat and had to ride with a flat for like 20 or 22 miles. So I lost tons of time there. We got the flat changed. When we got going again, I was like 45 minutes behind. I gave it back to Kendall at altrazera. Then we met him at Vizcaino, at the highway, and we heard he broke his hand. So I had to get back on the bike and ride from Vizcaino all the way to race mile 724. I had no idea where I was going and it was at night and it was kind of sketchy at times, so I had to ask for directions a couple of times, but I got it back to Johnny in one piece.
I knew it was at least 45 minutes, or close to an hour as soon as I got back on the bike. I wanted to keep the streak going for Johnny, the goals had to change and I tried to make it a Honda 1-2, and finish the race to get the 1x plate. I just played it safe, made sure I didn't get lost, didn't go down, didn't have any problems and give the bike to Johnny in one piece so we could finish the race. Co-driver, Steve Hilbert: The first long silt bed, I got crossed up in and I started going sideways. Then, I missed a turn, east of Ciudad Constitution on a really fast road and I looked down at something. The road kept going straight but we veered off at the last twisty section before 17, and I said 'whoa, there are no markings!' I came out good, though. My tires are just a little low in the back.
My team did what they were supposed to do. I'm very proud. We got delayed by a couple of patches on a flat tire. I got the bike about 7:50 pm and had about 325 miles to go. That was probably the toughest part of the course because it's at night and it was demanding -- really technical. So at that point in the race I decided to bring it in because we were so far down that it's hard to make up that much time. So I paced myself. I was on the bike for a lot of hours. I just rode it in and I'm happy to be here. The 450x is a phenomenal machine. I was so pleased with the way it worked. It was really fast, light and easy handling -- all the rocks, turns and elevation changes in my section. The 450x was an awesome machine. It takes a lot less effort than other bikes I've ridden.
Robby Bell rode from the start to mile 333. Kendall Norman was supposed to ride from 333 to 724 but he got off and hurt his hand. Robby had to get on somewhere near San Ignacio and ride the second half of his leg. So he brought it down to me at Checkpoint 7, mile 724.5 and I got on there and went to La Paz. I don't know any details [about Kendall's hand] because I heard everything third-hand information. Something happened early in the race -- Robby hit a booby trap just outside Ojos Negros, so right away we had a problem. I'm glad Robby's here -- he was able to get back on the bike because he went down pretty hard. I guess Mikey had to pick him up, so we're fortunate.
Continued in part 3