Baja 1000 Unofficial
(LA PAZ, Mexico) – Son and father desert racers Gustavo Vildosola Jr., and Sr. made history early Friday morning along with Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody and the Appleton brothers who are all unofficial early winners of the 1061.69-mile 43rd edition of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race down Mexico’s mysteriously magical Baja Peninsula from Ensenada from La Paz.
The season finale of the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series continues until the course officially closes at 10:02 a.m. Saturday.
Gustavo Jr., 28, and Gustavo Sr., 57, of Mexicali, Mexico have become the first Mexican national team to capture the overall title in the "Granddaddy of all Desert Racing" in their No. 21 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck in the 43-year history of the world’s most famous desert race.
Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif. and Cody, Buellton, the JCR/Honda Racing team stars, dominated the motorcycle portion of the race on their Honda CRF450X and brothers Steve and Chris Appleton of Boise, Idaho, withstood the challenge and conquered the Baja in the unlimited class 1 in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
As desert adventurers continue to make it to the La Paz finish line, all results are unofficial pending the final review of data tracking devises each vehicle has for reviewing the actual route each has taken along with their speeds on the over 170-miles of paved roads that were required to run at a speed of under 60 miles per hour.
The Vildosolas came close to the overall victory in 2007 when they placed second to winners Mark Post and Rob MacCachren in the 40th anniversary event that finished in Cabo San Lucas.
In this year’s race, Gus Vildosola Jr. started and finished and Gus Sr. drove a section in the middle the grueling route. They finished with an unofficial overall time of 19 hours and four seconds, averaging 55.67 miles per hour, marking the first time a 4-wheel vehicle has recorded a faster time than the motorcycles since 1973 in a peninsula run to La Paz.
The Vildosola victory also have BFGoodrich Tires, celebrating its 35th year of SCORE Baja racing in 2010, its 24th overall 4-wheel victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including the last four straight.
Norman and Cody gave Honda its 21 overall motorcycle victory including its 14th consecutive triumph, after Norman drove the first and final sections and Cody the middle to a winning time of 19:22:22 with an average speed of 54.87mph.
It was the fifth overall career win for Norman and fourth straight in this race while Cody picked up his third career Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 overall motorcycle victory.
Norman crossed the finish line at approximately 1:53 a.m. PST Friday while Gus Jr. took the checkered flag at 6:30 a.m. Friday.
Steve Appleton also drove the first and the final sections and Chris Appleton the middle part to finish sixth overall among 4-wheel vehicles in addition to winning Class 1 for the second time this year after his win in June at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Their finishing time on Friday was 20:29:48.
Defending SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion and NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., was second overall 4-wheel vehicles and in SCORE Trophy-Truck, finishing unofficially 22:18 behind the Vildosolas in his No. 1 Chevy CK1500 SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Awaiting the finalization of the review of the ‘black boxes’ by SCORE officials, third and fourth overall in 4-wheel vehicles and among SCORE Trophy-Trucks was a battle between a pair of Nevada racers-Roger Norman and B.J. Baldwin. Norman, of Reno, appears to have finished 53 seconds ahead of Las Vegas’ Baldwin on elapsed time.
Norman drives the No. 8 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck while Baldwin teamed with Chad Ragland, Vista, Calif. in this race in the No. 97 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Following the extremely popular finish in Baja, Gus Vildosola Jr. commented, "This race means a lot to me and my family. 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 SCORE Trophy-Truck eight years 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 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 this race."
With 292 starters leaving the Ensenada starting line Thursday morning, competitors from 37 states and 19 countries are battling in the ruggeded terrain in cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in 33 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes.
Massive crowds reaching nearly 250,000 have lined the historic Baja peninsula to gain a glimpse of the competitors. Vehicles left the start line in 30-second intervals and all vehicles will have 45 vehicles to become official finishers of the race.
After his victorious march down the Baja Pensinsula, Kendall Norman stated, "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 very 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 desert racing in the world and to win five? I can’t even fathom it."
This year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is the 36th time in the first 43 years of the storied race that it started in Ensenada and it is the 18th time it is finishing in La Paz.
The 292 starters represents the third highest number in the 18 years it has finished in La Paz and it is the 11th highest total in the 43-year history of the race.
This year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the seventh consecutive year, airing at noon (PST) on Sunday, Dec. 19 on the NBC Television Network. It will also air on a delayed basis outside of the U.S. on ESPN International.
The post-race Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Survivor’s Celebration will be held during the SCORE Fiesta on the Malecon beachwalk in La Paz, which starts at 4 p.m. (PST) on Saturday. Many of the finishing vehicles will be on display and many of the racers will participate in the public fiesta.