Ensenada to La Paz
Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody became part of motorsports history by capturing the overall motorcycle victory in the 43rd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif. and Cody, Buellton, Calif., the JCR / Honda Racing team stars, dominated the motorcycle portion of the race on their Honda CRF450X.
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 and second straight.
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 22
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.) says: "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 says: 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.) says: "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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 21
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.) says: 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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 20
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.) says: "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.) Says: "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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 30
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) says: "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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 40
LOUIE FRANCO, No. 404x (First in class and second overall motorcycle to finish.) Co-rider Jeff Kaplan says: "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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 50
JIM DIZNEY, No. 501x (First in class and seventh overall motorcycle to finish. Dizney shared riding duties with six other riders.) says: 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 says: "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."
PRO MOTORCYCLES – CLASS 60
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 says: 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."