43rd ANNUAL TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000 Nov. 16-20, 2010 -- Final round of five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series Ensenada, Baja California, to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico Post-race quotes PRO CARS & ...
43rd ANNUAL TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000
Nov. 16-20, 2010 -- Final round of five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series
Ensenada, Baja California, to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
PRO CARS & TRUCKS
GUS VILDOSOLA, Jr., No. 21 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle. Gus Jr. started and drove the first 334 miles, Gus Sr. drove from Race Mile 334 to RM 559 and then Gus Jr. drove from RM 559 to the finish.) This race means a lot to me. Every time we go out and race, I say we have the privilege of representing Mexico because we're the only Mexican SCORE Trophy-Truck team. It's obviously an honor to finally be able to win a race for them and for all of our fans who have been supporting us for all these years. And it is especially great for my dad, as well. He bought this Trophy-Truck eight years ago with the dream to win a Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 overall and today we were able to fulfill that dream. Everybody knows this is not a one-person sport -- it's a team sport and we've got over 180 people down here supporting us. It just all fit together perfectly, I think. It's such a special day for Mexico with the bicentennial of the (Mexican) revolution and the centennial of Mexican independence, so everything just kind of fell into place and we're very happy about it. It's just perfect. We started second off the line and we were basically going to see what Roger's (Norman, the first starter) pace was and what his plan was for the day and then go from there. Roger had a pretty aggressive pace off the line and we just decided to sit back and pressure him. Roger got a flat a little south of San Felipe and we were able to get around him there and really never looked back. We got a nice little lead, a five-minute cushion, by the time we got to (race mile) 334 and I jumped out of the truck there for a breather and a sandwich and my dad jumped in and he did an excellent job and had an absolutely clean run. He took it down it down to San Ignacio and I jumped back in at San Ignacio with a nice lead, as well, and we just never looked back. We were able to set our own pace and not be pressured by anyone else. We knew this was a peninsula run and you weren't going to win it in 500 miles -- it was 1,061 (miles). We executed it perfectly and obviously we also had a little bit of luck on our side in this race.
CO-DRIVER GUS VILDOSOLA, Sr. said: I don't think you can imagine how proud I am of these guys on this team. Winning the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 was a childhood dream for me and it's a reality today. This was a very special race; a peninsula run, I think, is the best run that we ever have in the Baja 1000. Being the first Mexican team to win this overall has been a goal of ours for a very long time and it finally came true. It's a very special run because this is the bicentennial of our revolution and there is a special trophy by the Mexican government and the plan was for us to win it and we did it today. It's all thanks to you, the fans, and Javier (Valenzuela), who did an excellent job of prepping the truck, and everybody on this team.
ROBBY GORDON, No. 1 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle.) For some reason, we lost the GPS and I rolled it off the road and into the rocks and damaged the driveshaft. The guys did a pretty good job changing it. It took about 12 minutes to change it but I had to limp on it. By the time we got done changing it, we were at (race mile) 895 and 25 minutes down to (the Vildosola's No. 21 truck) physically and 20 minutes corrected and we were afraid they were going to beat us by about five minutes. But you know, it's Baja and like I said in the driver's meeting, 'don't beat yourself.' We'll just have to see what the tracker looks like, maybe they got busted speeding or something. Our guys did a wonderful job; they didn't put a wrench on the car all day long. I had a hard time passing guys. (Vildosola) had 18 minutes on me by the first 100 miles and we closed it in to five minutes and I think were three minutes behind them in Loreto and then I smoked the driveshaft off it. That's the way it goes. I thought we were going to pull it off with our very first race with Speed Energy but we came up just a little bit short. It was a good day, all in all. The fog was horrible -- really, really bad. We struggled. We had to go. They (the No. 21) were in a position where they could back off but we were in a position where we had to go. They ran really hard all day long so hats off to those guys and we'll do our homework a little bit more.
ROGER NORMAN, No. 8 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle. Norman drove the entire race.) It was really fun. We got two flats but the main problem was that all of the lights on the front light bar came loose and every pit stop we tried to get them to tighten the lights so we could see but our radio wasn't working and they couldn't understand what we were trying to say. Finally, I had the co-driver after the third pit stop get out and tighten them but they kept coming loose so we just had really bad vision. It was hard to stay awake but with all the problems we had I think we did really good. If we would have had a few more things dialed in before the start of the race I think we would have had a better chance. The two flat tires took us about three minutes but it was the lights that really slowed us down. I'm really happy to be here (at the finish line). The fog was insane. The fog was so bad that you had to wipe your visor every two seconds in order to see and with all the sand, it just turned your lens into sandpaper and so finally I just drove the last 150 miles with everything up and just my glasses on and I just kept cleaning those.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 97 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle.) We had a few mechanical issues. We had a crank position sensor go bad twice and that cost us a lot of time. It cost us about 12 minutes in the beginning and had that not happened, we probably would have been three or four minutes in front of the leader and good to go. We are now on our second crank position sensor. We've got to figure out a way to reposition it so it will stay alive. The motor runs fine and we didn't have a single flat all day. We ran through the rocks really well and we didn't get a single flat so I'm very happy with our performance. I started third and I wasn't really trying to make time because in the Baja 1000, you've got to save your truck. I tried to save my truck all day and Chad (Ragland, co-driver) did a great job of saving the truck. We could take this thing to the drag races tonight and put on a show; it still runs great, it still has brakes and the shocks are great. We just wanted to keep it together so the last 300 miles we could go and fight for a win. We weren't able to do that because a few mechanical failures of parts that cost $20 on a half-a-million-dollar piece of equipment. It's a new truck and a work in progress so I'm very happy with its performance. We made some suspension changes but we've just got to get it together, go back to the drawing board and make the stuff that broke stronger. Hopefully we can get a Baja 1000 win next year and win a few races in the process of doing that. Getting second is the worst for me, when you are so close and get second. I want to gnash my teeth and pull my hair out. First is obviously the best, second the worst and third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh it gets better as it goes down (from second). But if I get fourth or fifth place, I have a lot more stories to tell later than if I got first.
GARY WEYRICH, No. 9 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle. Gary drove the first half of the race and his brother Mark drove the second half.) Co-rider Mark Weyrich said: It was the silty-ist race I have ever been in. The truck did all right but we got stuck twice in slow traffic early on and it put us out of touch with the lead group and we knew we couldn't catch them so we were just cruising it in. We got stuck in the fog with B.J. Baldwin and we got crossed up in the silt beds and he blew our lights out. They were all coated with fog and it smoked them out and stuck all the silt to us so we couldn't see for probably 40 miles. I got in at Vizcaino and my brother Gary drove to there. It was a great track. SCORE did a fantastic job and the locals were great all the way down. We had a lot of wonderful times on the way down. How many people get to do this? How many people get to finish one of these things? It's an achievement. We would sure like to be on the podium, though.
TROY HERBST, No. 49 (Sixth in class and seventh overall four-wheel vehicle.) It was the most technical course we've raced. Fog, silt ... you name it. Brian (Collins) drove to San Ignacio (approximately Race Mile 559) and then we got in. The fog was horrific but it is a beautiful night to be over at the beach right now. We did blow a turn and we had to sit and wait for a farmer to show up and then we had to negotiate a little after getting stuck in the silt. We were following Jesse (Jones) and (Andy) McMillan, two or three feet off each other's bumper, running without lights and letting the lead guy go and Jesse blew a turn so we all blew a turn together.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 20 (Seventh in class and eighth overall four-wheel vehicle.) I'm sure a lot of people say it but if you start in the back, you can't win this race. We got killed because of the dust. This race today, we had one flat tire and lost by two hours. We got by people from the beginning but once we got to Ojos Negros, it locked up with everybody going the same speed and we played follow the leader. I think if you look how they finished, it's how we started. If you take out the ones that broke, I think everybody finished in order almost. Will (Staats, co-driver) didn't have any problems in his sections. At mile 225 we had lost 20 minutes already. We had fog (during the race) and that didn't help either.
NICK VANDERWEY, No. 84 (Eighth in class and ninth overall four-wheel vehicle.) We were doing well; we started in fifth, we moved up to fourth and we were right in third's dust through San Felipe. We got a flat right before Coco's (Corner) but unfortunately too far to drive to Coco's, so with that we lost a couple of positions and then you're in the dust. It took us a couple of miles to pass a quad -- that's how bad the hanging dust is. A good day though we were hoping for a lot better, that's for sure. That flat hurt us. The shocks are tired and the whole truck got used. It was fast out there but we just kind of fell off the pace. The fog is why everybody is getting spaced out at the end. We were on the pace; it was running good. On the long pulls, like the lake bed, the engine was getting a little hot so we had to back it off so that put us back a little bit.
MARK McMILLIN, No. 23 (10th in class and 11th overall four-wheel vehicle.) Co-driver Chuck Hovey said: We lost our radio because it got so wet. The truck was phenomenal but Mark and I decided to run semi-conservative and hope the race came to us but it didn't quite work out that way. We made it here (to the finish) and I'm really happy because my year hasn't been the best.
JESSE JONES, No. 54 (12th in class and won the season championship in SCORE Trophy-Truck.) We feel really good about the points. Obviously we've had a heck of good year and the points battle was really fun with Andy McMillan. It was really disappointing in the day. We came down here and prepared for this race and spent a month pre-running. We had worked our way up to fifth on the road and I went to bump another truck out of the way and I was trying to be gentle on him but when I hit him I bounced off of him and went through a tree. It spun me around and sent me out in the desert and it took us about an hour to dig out. It's kind of a bummer for it to end this way. We started the race 34th off the line and we battled all day long behind slower traffic and finally, at mile 900, our strategy was to go ahead and step up and try to get to the front. At that time we were running 11th on the road and by mile 950 we had worked our way up to fifth on the road so the strategy was coming along good. There was only one problem and that was me. We never really took the attitude 'let's go points racing;' we came out here and we wanted to win because to win the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 peninsula run is really something special and so that was our main focus. Halfway through the race we saw that we really weren't going to have the win. We were 100 miles behind at mile post 542 so the win was out of our reach so our focus was on the points. I would have loved to have raced head-to-head with Andy. One of the problems with starting so far back is less daylight. We ran about 50 miles more in the dark than the other teams did and the fog set in about 50 miles sooner on us. The fog is something really hard to explain when you look at the trucks and look at me, I'm not dirty because I was outside, I'm dirty because I got wet from the fog and the dust from the other trucks was sticking to me. It's a tough deal driving 60 or 70 miles an hour through terrain that at any time can turn your truck over. You really rely on the co-pilot's seat.
ANDY MCMILLIN, No. 31 (20th in class and lost the season SCORE Trophy-Truck championship to Jesse Jones. Andy shared driving duties with his father, Scott.) It was just one little issue that got us. It was a power steering return line from the cooler and it got a hole in it somehow. Just a freak accident. It happened right when we hit the pavement in the new section right before Nuevo Junction. We got about a quarter of a mile from the pavement and the steering started locking up. We didn't have another hose to put on. We had a similar thing happen to us in 2007. That's the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes it's your day and sometimes it's not. I think we were the last car on the road. I think all the Class 11 cars passed us. I'm more upset about not winning the race than not winning the championship. It just stinks that we had that one little issue -- no flat tires, nothing else the rest of the way down ... it was just a clean run. Just to think of what could have been, that's what brings us back and we love doing it.
STEVE APPLETON, No. 101 (First in class and sixth overall four-wheel vehicle.) Appleton shared driving duties with his brother, Chris.) We had no real problems but we had two flats, one with my brother in the car and one while I was in the car. It cost us about five minutes but other than that, we had a nice, clean run. It was wicked; the dust and the fog were unbelievable but everybody had to deal with the same thing so we feel pretty fortunate to start first and finish first and hopefully it will hold up. I drove about 825 miles and my brother drove the mid-section for about 260 and we had about a 20-minute lead going into it and he held it and might have expanded it a little bit toward the end. We had no mechanical problems; everything went great. We were a little bit bummed out starting the race (with an early flat) but we eventually go back in the lead. In the middle of the night the fog bank rolled in on the Pacific side and I'm not used to doing 80 miles an hour when I can't see the steering wheel. We pre-ran the course a lot so we knew it pretty well. It's particularly sweet because Chris and I won this in the (Baja Challenge) class in 2006 and we just won the Baja 500 in June.
CO-DRIVER CHRIS APPLETON said: I drove the middle portion of the race in the dark and had a perfect run with no issues whatsoever. I had a flat the last half mile and pulled into the pits. By the time Steve handed me the car, the race was pretty sorted out so I didn't have a lot of traffic. I've got to thank SCORE: Their course was fabulous, the markings excellent and there was no issue whatsoever with getting lost anywhere. We are a little concerned now because we do race Class 1 now and we're up front so we are concerned with people doing malicious things to the course. I saw none of it. No booby traps for us and the people up and down the peninsula were fabulous. There is not much more beautiful than seeing the Pacific on that side as the sun rises. It was spectacular and the course was just great.
DANIEL MCMILLIN, No. 103 (Second in class.) The only problem was that I basically put the whole car under water ... but we had no flat tires. Everything was perfect, a great day. I went from the start to Vizcaino and then Steve Sourapas drove from there to north of Loreto but he was feeling sick so Gary Arnold drove it the rest of the way. Sourapas is okay, he's just got a little bug or something. CO-DRIVER GARY ARNOLD said: We ran really well. They changed one tire in the pit and I didn't even know it was flat. I had no power steering the final 20 miles and my arms are fried.
NICK JOHNSON, No. 120 (Third in class. Johnson shared driving duties with James DeGaine and Earl Desiderio.) It was an awesome race. The car ran great. We haven't had any brakes for the last 400 miles. We were running a top speed of 77 miles an hour because the motor is having issues but besides that, we're here (at the finish) and we're happy.
KORY HALOPOFF, No. 102 (11th in class. Halopoff shared riding duties with Harley Letner and Ron Brant. Halopoff and Letner clinched the season championship in Class 1.) Co-rider Harley Letner said: The main deal for us was to just cross the finish line because crossing the finish line clinched our championship. We broke an A-arm bolt and it just now finally broke completely in half. We've been driving for about 800 miles and the fastest I think I went today was about 60 miles an hour. We got stuck in San Felipe when Kory was fueling up and somebody hooked a rope around his bumper and just took off. He didn't tighten up the slack and ripped the whole bumper off which had our lights on it. Without the lights you can't see anything and Kory slid into a rock and bent the A-arm bolt. We milked it in the whole way. Down by the beach section in the woods we were doing 18 miles an hour for two and a half hours. Being the class champion is awesome. It hasn't quite sunk in yet but I know it is going to and it's pretty epic.
ARTURO VELAZCO, No. 1604 (First in class. Velazco shared driving duties with Abel Velazco and Esteban Cruz.) I'm tired. It was a long race and it was a good race. We blew up the tranny and we had to change it. We were ahead of everybody but we lost time blowing up the tranny. We lost about an hour and a half but we managed to come back -- we came back strong. We're happy we made it.
ARNOLDO RAMIREZ, No. 1647 (Second in class. Ramirez shared driving duties with Misael Arambula and Eli Yee.) We are pretty happy with second. For us, it is like a miracle to catch all the guys because we were very far back.
DANIEL LOPEZ, No. 1649 (Third in class. Lopez shared driving duties with Adolfo Arambula and Ambrosio Gutierrez.) Co-driver Ambrosio Gutierrez said: We got two flat tires. The last part of the course was very technical. We had all kind of terrain; we had grooves, we had sand and we had a lot of dust at the beginning and a lot of rocks. We had fun. We had a little failure at low RPMs but because we ran at high RPMs it wasn't a problem for us.
LUKE McMILLIN, No. 1648 (Fourth in class. McMillin also clinched the Class 1-2/1600 season championship. McMillin shared driving duties with Andrew DeVercelly and Adam Pfankuch.) It was a great race. I can't believe we're here because it's been such a long drive. Two days of racing is crazy. We were doing well in first or second place and we lost a tranny at milepost 83. It put us down for about an hour and forty minutes. The championship is what we came for at the beginning of the season with the new car. We wanted to collect some wins but we got top fives all year and we got the championship by 32 points. Personally, I like wins but the championship is awesome and shows how good we have been all season. I love the championship. I'll take it.
DONALD MOSS, No. 300 (First in class. Moss shared driving duties with Ken Moss.) It was a tough trip. Everything was going pretty well until just after Bahia of L.A. and the front driveshaft came apart and knocked a corner off the transmission case so we had a big hole in it blowing oil out. We ended up gluing a peso over the hole and it's not leaking now. We didn't have four-wheel drive after that but the transmission was okay.
CODY KELLOGG, No. 501 (Second in class. Kellogg shared driving duties with Rick Wilcoxson, Troy Johnson, James Goodnight and Carlos Rubio.) It was pretty amazing. It was about the most uneventful day you can get going 1000 miles including the motor quitting, we rolled it over and we got some flats. It was awesome, we were flying. It was close here at the end. We had some suspension problems. We were just running real harsh so we slowed it down a little bit and Kevin Carr (No. 500, the class winner) was coming up fast so we had to pick it back up. This was just a blast. I've slept two hours in the last two days and I'm ready for more.
DAVID CASPINO, No. 619 (First in class. Caspino shared driving duties with Jason Ruane.) It was good. I did my pre-running homework and passed everybody by the time I got to Ojos Negros and gave the car to Jason Ruane with a 100-mile lead and he kept the lead the whole way. It was a piece of cake. We won all five races this year including the Laughlin Leap -- I think we are on a roll. I drove to mile 543 because (my crew) lied to me and said they would be at mile 341 and they weren't. Problems were just the fog at night and we lost our radio in Frog Creek from the water. The reason why we are here is because we didn't have any problems but everybody else out there did, it looks like. Eleven hundred miles and no flats -- unbelievable.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (First in class. Dan Chamlee shared driving duties with his son, Thomas Chamlee.) We did all right. We had some problems. I laid the truck on its side, broke a suspension link, the GPS didn't work almost the entire time and the clutch packed up with silt so you had to speed shift it because it wouldn't release. We came to a stop and had to shut the motor off and restart it but we won. What can you say? How can you have a bad first place? It was still a Friday win and not a Saturday win.
CLYDE STACY, No. 800 (First in class. Stacy shared driving duties with Justin Matney.) We had a few little problems but nothing really bad. We ran one set of tires all the way through and to do that is great. The course was really good; it was fast in places and in other places it was real technical. We got stuck a couple times and took a wrong turn and had to double back. Our day and night was good so we can't complain. I like the loop (race in Ensenada) but this is just a great race. You get to see the whole peninsula and it's a beautiful place.
JON WALKER, No 1005 (Second in class.) We rolled the car around mile marker 420 or 430 and tore the light bar off. The course got rough and I've beaten myself right down. That's just about everything I got in me there.
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 1201 (First in class. Davis shared driving duties with Daniel Folts and Francisco Villagomez.) Co-driver Francisco Villagomez said: I had a small crash with a tree and Justin had one flat tire. We had a very good race -- the only problem was I hit a tree going off course. That and the one flat for Justin were the only problems. The course was very hard -- a lot of rocks and a lot of water.
LEE BANNING SR., No. 1206 (Second in class. Banning Sr. shared driving duties with Rick Boyer, Rick Graff and Lee Banning Jr.) Co-driver Lee Banning Jr. said: It was a good race and it was fun. We got stuck in a wash for an hour but other than that, it has been pretty much straight on. The course was good, we had a little bit of everything, had some silt, had some fast roads, had 35 miles of sand whoops.
HECTOR GARCIA, No. 1213 (Third in class. Garcia shared driving duties with Roberto Encinas, Roberto Encinas Jr. and Carlos Gomez.) Co-Driver Roberto Encinas Jr. said: The course had a lot of silt and a lot of rocks. We had five flat tires and one wheel came off and passed us.
ROB REINERTSON, No. 1334 (First in class. Reinertson shared driving duties with Bob Neth and Rob Clouser.) Co-driver Bob Neth said: Rob Clouser got stuck in the silt for three hours and got out finally but we were still in second at three hours behind. We caught the truck in front of us on the beach. The course was rough -- very technical -- at least the part I drove. I heard some of the upper part was pretty fast but the part over by Loreto was like driving through a tunnel: twisty, turning, uphill, downhill. Well, it was fun except I can't see over the hood so you're kind of just guessing and looking at the bushes every time I turned right but I made it.
JOHN McINNIS III, No. BC2 (First in class. McInnis III shared driving duties with John McInnis Jr., Rick Skelton and Todd Clement.) Co-driver Todd Clement said: The race was perfect and we had a good time. We lost a radiator cap but we found it and we lost an alternator bolt but we found that and welded it in. Nobody got stuck and nobody got any flats. It was a really nice Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
KENDALL NORMAN, No. 1x (First in class and first overall motorcycle to finish. Norman started and drove to Race Mile 340; Quinn Cody drove from RM 340 to RM 733 and Norman rode from RM 733 to the finish.) The fog was really thick for about 100 miles -- it was as bad as I've seen it. It really tested me and what I had. It took everything I could to keep the bike moving and keep my goggles clean and just keep going. I can't say enough for my teammate Quinn, he did an amazing job. It was flawless. It has been a helluva long year, waking up every day thinking of this race. We finally made it and made all my dreams come true this year. We pretty much had a flawless day. Quinn got a rear flat tire and other than that we really didn't have a problem all day long. That was our strategy: Ride within ourselves, where we are not going to make mistakes. You really can't screw up in this race. You've got to have this perfect race. Man, this is the toughest single day of off-road racing in the world and to win five? I can't even fathom it.
Off the start, there were a lot of spectators. Our competition (the 7x bike) was on point -- they were really riding good in the morning and they were there waiting for me to make a mistake. I just did the best I could. For a second, the KTM 7x actually ended up passing me on the highway when I pitted but when they pitted I was able to pass them back. I kept the rhythm going and got the bike to Quinn and he did an amazing job on his section.
CO-RIDER QUINN CODY said: It went really well. I got the bike and our 8x team was right behind us. I kept it pinned through the whole Bay of L.A. section and all the way to San Ignacio. I just tried to keep it clean and smooth. We really didn't have any problems. We made it quite a way without having to put the lights on. We ended up putting our lights on about 30 miles from San Juanico and from there it was clear sailing. We had a big lead by that time and then it was just control the race from there. I got one flat tire a couple miles from the pavement at Vizcaino but we had a guy that was right there at the pavement just for that and we did a wheel change. It was a minute and we were back going again. They said we were stupid for doing it with just two guys but we managed to pull it off. I feel great. It was really no different than any other one. The course was good, it was really fast. We were ahead of our ETA all day -- 10 to 15 minutes ahead so we were probably averaging about 60 all day and then we got into the fog in Ciudad Insurgentes and that slowed the average down quite a bit because you just couldn't see through that. That's when Kendall was on the bike so he had to back it off a bit.
A.J. STEWART, No. 3x (Second in class and fifth overall motorcycle to finish. Stewart shared riding duties with Bryce Stavron, Kevin Johnson, Jesse Sharp and Craig Smith.) We had a muffler blow up but other than that, we had zero issues. The course was fast, a little silty, and a lot of rocks in it. This was my first peninsula run so I didn't know what to expect. I'm ready to do it again. We didn't really have any battles in our class. The 1x got out to an early lead and I saw the 8x down near San Javier and other than that, I didn't see anyone else in our class.
SOL SALTZMAN, No. 101x (First in class and fourth overall motorcycle to finish. Saltzman shared riding duties with Ryan Kudla, Matt Karlsen, Mike Blackman, Ricky Brabek and Doug Hendry.) When Matt gave me the bike, we were third overall. I crashed and messed up our lights at mile 500. Our next guy hit a cactus and messed up the lights even worse. We had to run some emergency lights to him out on the course. It was a close one all day. We had no issues today with the bike, just the lights. The course was fast -- really fast. No problems with the silt but a lot of fog and dust. It was the usual stuff. All of us went about 180 miles: Ryan Kudla started, then Matt Karlsen, and me, then Mike Blackman, then Ricky Bravick and Doug Hendry. Matt had us at third overall which was a tough order for me to fill.
JESUS RIOS, No. 150x (First in class and ninth overall motorcycle to finish. Rios shared riding duties with Joe Leal, Edgar Espinoza and Jonan Medrano.) It was very tough on the last section because the Trophy-Trucks caught us and it was very dusty. The problem in the morning was a lack of breeze; we had to ride with the goggles off. It was a very good race though. All the drivers got approximately 150 miles. I got the last 111. We fell and lost the rear fender. I fell down on the last section and crashed with a bush ... I think I hit it with the light. Other than that, it was a very nice ride and the bike was perfect. I have won four out of four Baja 1000s, two in this class and two in the sportsman class.
ANNA CODY, No. 153x (Second in class.) Something happened to the motor about 10 miles up the road (from the finish) and I had to push it the rest of the way. I had a feeling something was going on early when I stalled it and couldn't get it going again, but then it was just fine and then the two Trophy-Trucks went around me and all of a sudden it started popping. We did well. We were down about an hour behind everybody in our class but we ended up passing the leader and then the other guy got in front and we ended up second. We had some light issues, too, and we had to replace a battery.
FRANCISCO SEPTIEN, No. 306x (First in class and third overall motorcycle to finish. Septien shared riding duties with Brian Pinard, Mike Johnson, Rex Cameron and Noe Ibarra.) (On riding three different legs in the race) I was just helping the other riders so they could rest a little bit. Everything went well, nobody crashed, the bike ran perfect and Brian (Pinard) did a good job on the bike. Two years ago, we also finished third overall.
LOUIE FRANCO, No. 404x (First in class and second overall motorcycle to finish.) Co-rider Jeff Kaplan said: I had no goggles for two-thirds of the race. I got on by Ciudad Constitucion and it was just soup fog. It was terrible but I had GPS with me that just helped so much. Scott Myers started and did a great job -- I think he got us up to fourth or fifth overall. Louie Franco got on, then Troy Lee rode, and then a guy named John Unger rode to San Ignacio. Bob Johnson rode from San Ignacio to north of Laredo and Ricky Johnson rode from there to me on highway 22. The guys up north did a great job all day. Somebody tipped over and broke the lights. We had to take the lights apart and put new lights on which took quite awhile. We got water in the (unintelligble) hole because it won't run off the bottom of the bike. Scott Myers did a great job this morning and Louie did a great job. At Coco's I think we were only 20 minutes down. Rick Johnson said it was foggy at San Javier and where I got on at highway 22 it was like pea soup. I started off with goggles and I didn't even get a quarter mile before I pulled them off. I couldn't sit down because all the sand kicks up and gets in your eyes off the wheels. All night I stood up over the bars because every time I would sit down to rest I couldn't see. I got into the fog around Santa Rita. It's like pea soup fog. Really bad fog. Using GPS everytime I had a question I just looked down. Luckily my section didn't have a lot of different ways to go. Coming into Santa Rita I turned around and said oh no because he was right on me (refering to Francisco Septien). He was right on my for a while. I think I got him because I had a good line through the silt and he maybe had a bad line through the silt.
JIM DIZNEY, No. 501x (First in class and seventh overall motorcycle to finish. Dizney shared riding duties with six other riders.) This was my first Baja on a motorcycle. I have driven and won here in cars previously. We put together a strong team to go after Jim O'Neal's (500x) team in Class 50. Jim always takes some of the best riders for his team. This year, we wanted a strong effort to challenge his squad. We have guys from Northern and Southern California. We wanted to race Jim's team heads-up and see who would win. His team had some issues today but we ran a strong race and took the win. I'm happy for all of the seven guys we had ride for us.
CO-RIDER DOUG SMITH said: The fog was really bad from Santa Rita down to almost Conejo. I couldn't see; I couldn't wear goggles and had only one headlight, maybe third gear at 30 or 40. Everybody is saying this (the fog) is the worst they've seen in years and years. Our bike ran perfect all the way. For Jimmy Sones, the lights went out so he had to ride with his helmet light for about 20 minutes. We had a connection that went bad so it took about 5 or 10 minutes to fix but other than that, it was pretty much a perfect ride.
BILL NICHOLS, No. 619x (First in class. Nichols split riding duties with Richard Jackson, Mark Force, Guy Wilson and Al Perrett. Jackson rode the first 350 miles, Force, Wilson and Perrett split the middle 500 miles and Nichols rode the final 200 miles.) When I started, the fog was really heavy so it was just a constant battle to see anything. You were getting sand in your eyes because you couldn't wear your goggles so it was a struggle down through those sand whoops. Normally you'd be going faster through there and you can control it better. Once the fog cleared, then it was smooth going after that. I had plenty of bad silt beds to go through but we just kept plugging away, kept going. This is my eighth (Tecate SCORE Baja 1000) win.
CO-RIDER RICHARD JACKSON said: For me, the ride went well with one exception and that is the vent line plugged on the fuel system at Ojos Negros, which basically ran me out of gas. The engine just quit with no clue as to why. I was down for 15 to 20 minutes before I could figure that the fuel system had failed to deliver. After I got it going again, all of the quads were in front of me and all of the sportsmen were in front of me so I was back in a pack of a whole lot of really slow riders and a ton of dust. I ultimately picked it back up and passed a competitor in our class and settled in to a 350-mile pace, knowing that I've got to stay moving to get it to the next rider. It wasn't a blistering pass but it was enough to get the job done.
FELIPE VELEZ, No. 2a (First in class and second overall Pro ATV to finish. Velez shared riding duties with four other riders.) My riders are right here. My whole team, thanks to everybody, we did a good job the whole race. This is my first win of the Baja 1000. A long time working for it. This is probably my tenth time (running the race). We started first and we are here at the finish first. We never got passed.
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 1a (Second in class and third overall Pro ATV to finish. Matlock, who won the season championship in Class 25, shared riding duties with Harold Goodman, Josh Caster and Wes Miller.) We did well. Everybody did their part and we pulled through. We had four drivers and we split it up all over the place. I ended up doing three shifts. It was a good day but a long day. We smoked a clutch at mile 52 and that's what put us two hours behind. We were second until then and we started second so we were right in line. Stuff happens. We broke a foot peg off, too, so we had to stop and weld that on. Other than that, it was not bad. It was a good time, a good course, a lot of fun and a lot of work. A lot of silt, a lot of mud but that's Baja. Winning the season championship is really important to us and that's the main goal. I would really like to win a peninsula run; I've run four Baja 1000s but never a peninsula run. I've just got to do this for three more years, apparently.
BRANDON BROWN, No. 102a (First in class and first overall Pro ATV to finish. Brown shared riding duties with five other riders.) The start went pretty fair and then we lost a tire just before Ojos Negros and had to change that out then lost a rear shock at San Felipe and had to ride it about 110 or 120 miles and we got that changed out and everything was going good. We got up into second overall and came back from way the heck back and then lost first gear. There's not a lot of first-gear stuff except for what you pull out of the pits. It's just something that wears on you all day. One of our guys knocked one of our lights off just out of Loreto. We were a little underlit but all things considered, it was a pretty good day. I'm proud of everybody that works with my program because they were able to come back from adversity and I believe we won a championship out of it. We had six riders (and), logistically, it was split up as even as you can. I did the last 200 miles. The course was great. The last 200 hundred miles there is a little bit of everything, you get to beat the holy heck out of yourself for 40 miles of whoops down the beach and it's like fog that nobody would understand unless you are there trying to ride through it. That last little bit is extremely fast and a lot of fun because the locals love us out here. A couple of silt sections I pre-ran and I had a good line around them. There was going to be a lot of attrition there and we were praying that it wasn't going to be us.