Baja 500 Post-Race Quotes
Baja 500 Quotes
ANDY McMILLIN, No 31 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle. Andy McMillin started and drove to race mile 260 and his father, Scott McMillan, drove from mile 260 to the finish.) – It was a smooth day, no problems. I just kind of followed in the dust and waited for the dust to clear and waited for my opportunities to open up. Sooner or later, I was third truck on the road behind Jesse (Jones) and Robby (Gordon) and Robby went out with a tranny and I was behind Jesse, just trying to make up time on him and get my dad in a good position to capitalize on whatever mistake Jesse did make, if he made one. Jesse drove a stellar race up to where my dad passed him – I think he had a flat or some issue and he was pulled over. We’re starting to click as a team and I think we’re the team to beat if we’re having a good day – and we’ve been having a lot of good days lately.
SCOTT McMILLIN said: It’s great to be in Ensenada and Andy did a great job. We just make a good team because we love to drive together. He did all the work and he gave the truck to me and I think I was the second truck on the road and didn’t have much dust so I was able to run a clean run. I’m glad to hear that he was a little nervous (waiting at the finish line) because normally I’m waiting at the finish line for him and I hate it.
GUS VILDOSOLA JR., No. 21 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle. Vildosola drove the entire race.) We had a good pace going and by the time we got to where the driver change was programmed, I think I was eight minutes behind (Jesse) Jones and five minutes behind Andy (McMillin) so we decided if the horse is doing well, then don’t change it. Our biggest disadvantage here was starting 24th. Andy started in the top 10 and Jesse Jones started in the top 10 so going through that many cars in the beginning, I think, kind of wore us down a little bit and it allowed them to escape. Closing that gap on such good drivers and the McMillins and Jesse Jones is difficult but we did what we could but in the end, we’re in second place. We accomplished what we came down here for, which was to finish and finish at our own pace. We had a couple of bad-luck races in Laughlin and San Felipe, where we were doing very well and it’s nice to be at the finish line for a change.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 97 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle. Baldwin drove the entire race.) It could have gone much better. This truck just beat the heck out of me all day long. We didn’t have much test time and we couldn’t get the stiffness in the front end worked out of it. I knew it was going to be rough but I didn’t know it was going to be THAT rough. Everybody just left me in the bumps and once I got on the roads, I got them back but there weren’t enough roads for me to get all the way to the front. The nice part is that this thing can be fixed and it can be massaged and it’s going to be killer fast for the SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300 (in September). But for a truck that was kind of scraped together in the last 30 days and was barely even done, it did a great job.
ROGER NORMAN, No. 8 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle. Larry Roeseler started and drove to race mile 198 and Norman drove from mile 198 to the finish.) That’s awesome – I’m so happy to have a good finish after starting 37th. The dust was unbelievable and we just couldn’t get by it. We had a little down time – stopped for about 10 minutes – and (co-driver Larry Roeseler) had one flat tire. Besides that, there were really no issues. After my incident, I really wasn’t in the best of shape mentally so I wasn’t driving real fast. We were going up Mike’s Sky Ranch Road … and I hit a motorcycle. It was just a real bummer (but) I’m very, very happy to hear he’s OK, though.
NICK VANDERWEY, No. 84 (Fifth in class. Larry Vanderwey started and drove to mile 150; Curt LeDuc drove from mile 150 to mile 290 and Nick Vanderwey drove from mile 290 to the finish.) We started 34th for the day and we just had a lot of traffic. Larry cut the number of cars in front of him in half and Curt LeDuc got in with 24 and came in with 12 (ahead of him) and now we’re back in fifth. It really felt like the Class 8 days, starting in the back and just working through all those buggies – but in this case it was all SCORE Trophy-Trucks. The course was technical and there was a lot of traffic so that Class 8 experience really paid off. I had no rear brakes since the time I got in the truck. It made it very hard for those tight 90-degree turns out there. But it was a lot of fun and a great day.
RICK D. JOHNSON, No. 71 (Sixth in class. Bob Shepard started the race and drove to race mile 156 and Johnson drove it to the finish.) It was a lot of dust frustration all day. We had no problems — just being in the back and maybe not being aggressive enough. Other than just a lot of dust, we didn’t have a flat or any other problems today. It’s just hard being back there because you get caught up in traffic … but that’s the luck of the draw.
BRYCE MENZIES, No. 70 (Seventh in class. Menzies started and drove to race mile 360 and Larry Job drove to the finish.) Larry Job said: My teammate, Bryce, did a fantastic job for his first Tecate SCORE Baja 500. He got a little tired and I got in at Santo Tomas and didn’t do anything stupid and here we are with a good finish for the Menzies Motorsports desert program. The first time I drove it was when I got in it at Santo Tomas. It was a great truck.
ROBBY GORDON, No. 1 (12th in class. Gordon drove the entire race.) – We broke a transmission on Mike’s Sky Ranch Road. I haven’t broken a transmission in years. It’s a disappointment. The guys did a good job and we got it changed in about an hour and a half and I think that’s what we got beat by. I was the second car on the road and on the Mike’s Road we were maybe 15 seconds behind (the leader at the time) and unfortunately it broke. That’s kind of the way it goes, though. We’re obviously working hard but it’s kind of one of those years. Last year we couldn’t do anything wrong and this year we can’t do anything right. It’s always fun to come down here and race and we had a good time.
STEVE APPPLETON, No. 101 (First in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Appleton started and drove to race mile 220 and Mike Julson drove from mile 220 to the finish.) – It feels great. Mike (Julson) did a great job. I drove the first half and the car, from Jimco, was working awesome. It was a race to the finish. (Ronnie) Wilson, when (Julson) came into the last pit, they were within one minute of each other and Wilson was taking fuel and he only took one can and took off as soon as Mike was about to pass him and they raced all the way to the finish. Mike passed him somewhere when they got into town. It was awesome – a lot of fun.
RONNY WILSON, No. 117 (Second in class. John Herder started and drove to race mile 200 and Wilson drove from mile 200 to the finish.) About five miles (from the finish), we made a wrong turn and lost over a minute. It would have been a heck of a shortcut; the locals kind of cleared the way for us – the kids are holding the (course) markers the wrong way. We knew it wasn’t right so we turned around, went back and found the course and that’s when Mike (Julson) got by us. It’s just another Baja race.
KORY HALOPOFF, No. 108 (Third in class. Halopoff started and drove to race mile 260 and Harley Letner drove from mile 260 to the finish.) Harley had one flat and we had one bad pit stop at (race mile) 95 that put us back a little back. Then, towards (race mile) 170 or 180, the car shut off and I couldn’t figure it out. I don’t know exactly what it was but I switched to the second fuel pump and it ran great from then on. It was pretty rough, dusty … it was a really tough course compared to other years. It was dustier and rockier.
BRIAN WILSON, No. 1606 (First in class. Wilson started and drove to race mile 210 and Sammy Ehrenberg drove from mile 210 to the finish.) I got one flat tire – actually, it wasn’t a flat tire; I blew the rim out. I got the lead about 50 miles into and we kept it all the way. I gave it to (Ehrenberg) in first place and he brought it around. Besides my mistake, blowing the wheel apart, it was an awesome day. At one pint, they said we had a 23-minute lead and then about mile marker 170 or 180, we ran out of water in the car and I got dehydrated so we cruised and lost some of the lead, but (Ehrenberg) was able to get in the car and keep the lead the entire way.
STEVEN EUGENIO, No. 1203 (First in class. Eugenio started and drove to race mile 290 and Adam Pfankuch drove from mile 290 to the finish.) I was by all the (Class) 10 cars by Ojos and just cruised it from there. I gave the car to Adam and he brought it in with no problems. This is my second win in Baja – I don’t know how many Adam has. We’re going to be back all next year doing it again. We’ll have an all-new car and an all-new team.
KENDALL NORMAN, No. 1x (First in class and first overall motorcycle to finish. Norman started and drove to race mile 95; Quinn Cody drove from RM 95 to RM 200 and Norman rode from RM 200 to the finish.) I got the physical lead before I left the wash. There was one bike in front of me and I was able to get him and then I had really clean air. We didn’t have a single problem all day – which is pretty darn amazing considering how tough and gnarly this course is. I’m just really tired but it feels to be here in one piece and then to get my fourth Baja 500 win. When things are going good it seems like things just keep going good. Our JCR Honda was unreal out there – we didn’t miss a beat. I can’t say enough about my team; I wouldn’t be here without them. There was a lot of traffic, a lot of spectators – pretty much every obstacle imaginable but I dealt with it today.
COLTON UDALL, No. 12x (Second in class and second overall motorcycle to finish. Udall started and rode to race mile 96; Jeff Kargola rode from mile 96 to 260 and Udall rode from mile 260 to the finish.) – We had a real quick tire change that helped us pass (third-place bike No. 10x). It probably took them a minute to change the tire whereas is took us about 30 seconds. It was really rough out there, it was really long and it took it out of me. We got whooped by the ‘A’ team (teammate Kendall Norman) and I’m kind of bummed about that, but congratulations to them.
ROBERT UNDERWOOD, No. 10x (Third in class and third overall motorcycle to finish. Ivan Ramirez started and rode to race mile 100. David Pearson rode from mile 100 to 200. Ramirez rode from mile 200 to 260. Pearson rode from mile 260 to 290. Underwood rode from mile 290 to 370 and Ramirez rode from mile 370 to the finish.) I was in the dust and I kept on telling myself that anyone can finish second down here to Honda so I wanted to win. I was riding over my head, I guess, and hit a rock and went through a barbed-wired fence. My knee hurts real bad – I think I tore some stuff up in there.
SOL SALTZMAN, No. 101x (First in class. Saltzman shared riding duties with Matthew Carlson, Pete Schmidtmann, Bill Boyer and Ryan Kudla.) It was awesome out there. The only problem I had was losing my muffler – that, and my rear tire (which was chewed up). That explains why I was sliding everywhere on the way (to the finish line).
JASON TRUBEY, No. 151x (First in class. Trubey shared riding duties with Carl Maasberg, Jermey Purvines and Ron Purvines.) It was an up and down day. We had some issues, a crash, but the bike ran perfectly all day. We’re trying to figure out what we have to do to make that thing last for 1,000 miles for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. It’s a little tired right now so we’ve got some logistical issues to work out before the next race. We would have liked to have had a better overall finish … but two wins in a row in our class is pretty good.
FRANCISCO SEPTIEN, No. 305x (First in class and fourth overall motorcycle to finish. Septien shared riding duties with Shane Esposito and Brian Pinard.) I think that the luck was on our side this day because (the other riders in the class) were running pretty fast. I haven’t gone through the summit in a couple of years so it was like new to me. I’m not that good in the rocks but I couldn’t do it without Shane.
LOUIE FRANCO, No. 407x (First in class and fifth overall motorcycle to finish. Franco shared riding duties with Ricky Johnson, Brett Helm, Jeff Kaplan and Scott Myers.) It was rough, dusty and miserable but all my boys did their job and we got the thing to the finish and nobody flipped it. Everybody had a prefect ride. I did the best I could because it was so dusty and I couldn’t see anything and I didn’t want to throw it away. The track wasn’t nasty but you just couldn’t see because of all of the dust.
JIM O’NEAL, No. 500x (First in class. O’Neal shared riding duties with Andy Kirker, Doug Heil, Jeff Kaplan and Steve Willis.) Andy Kirker said: I wear contact lenses and one of them fell out and I could hardly see so I was struggling. But this Honda ran great all day. I wasn’t scheduled to the finish; I was supposed to give up the bike earlier but they weren’t ready for the change and they waved me on. I fell once. The rear tire was down to the cords and I was sliding everywhere; I ended up sliding into a ditch. But the whole package is really all about getting across the finish line first and that’s what we did.
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 1a (First in class and first overall ATV to finish. Matlock started and rode to race mile 77. Josh Caster rode from mile 77 to mile 200; Matlock rode from 200 to 250; Wes Miller rode from mile 250 to 402; and Matlock rode from mile 402 to the finish.) The race was really good. It was definitely a challenging course. We had some problems in the beginning of the course and had some slip-ups in the pits. After that, we put our heads down and everybody did their job and here we are. It was a pretty beat-up course this time but it was fun. I’d like to thank all of my teammates for getting the quad back up there and working hard and got us up into first place.
ROBERTO VILLALOBOS, No. 117a (First in class and fifth overall ATV to finish. Villalobos shared riding duties with Jorge Acosta.) Jorge Acosta said: When Roberto was out there around race mile 160 or 170, he passed every single (Class 24 ATV) but then he fell and we had a little problem with the suspension. We got that fixed and had no other problems. The engine worked great. This is my first SCORE win in Baja and it feels good. (Were you surprised you were able to start 17th and still win?) I obviously know Roberto is a good rider and I have a good bike and I don’t think I ride bad at all.