La Paz Mexico
Etching their names on the granite history of the world’s most legendary desert race, Mexico’s son and father desert racers Gustavo Vildosola Jr. and Sr., along with the team of Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody became part of motorsports history by capturing the overall 2-wheel and 4-wheel victories in the 43rd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races.
The 1061.69-mile 43rd edition of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race down Mexico’s mysteriously magical Baja Peninsula ran from Ensenada from La Paz. The season finale of the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series ended 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, Calif., 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.
After complete review of the data tracking devices used by each vehicle in the race and with time penalties assessed accordingly for course deviations and/or speeding on the brief pavement sections used as part of the race course, the results were declared official by SCORE International officials at 3:30 p.m. PST on Saturday afternoon.
As the finish line in La Paz closed Saturday morning at 10:02 a.m. PST for 201 official finishers in the 43rd annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, it was obvious that another memorable and colorful chapter had been added to the legacy of this popular desert race in the magnificent Baja California peninsula.
With 292 starters leaving the Ensenada starting line Thursday morning, competitors from 37 states and 19 countries battled the rugged terrain in cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in 33 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes.
Massive crowds reaching nearly 250,000 lined the historic Baja peninsula to gain a glimpse of the competitors. Vehicles left the start line in 30-second intervals and all vehicles had 45 hours to become official finishers of the race.
The 292 official 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. The 197 official finishers represents the third-highest number in the 18 years it has finished in La Paz and it is the fifth-highest total in the entire 43-year history of the event.
The finishing percentage this year was an amazing 67.5 percent considering the extremely dusty, bone-crushingly rocky and sometimes foggy conditions and the unique ruggedness of the course.
Winning the overall ATV and Class 24 title was the team led by Brandon Brown, Umatilla, Ore., who covered the course on a Honda TRX450R in 24:54:08, averaging 42.63 mph. His co-riders were Jorie Williams, Longview, Wash./Mike Kelley III, Edgewood, Wash./Kenny Sanford, Tacoma, Wash./Nick Nelson, Tehachapi, Calif.
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 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 and just the seventh time in the entire history of the event.
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 and second straight.
In the battle of car and truck manufacturers, Ford has increased its lead among four-wheel vehicles with its 14th overall engine win and as a chassiss with its12th overall winner.
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.
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."
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."
For this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 it was the 36th time in the first 43 years of the storied race that it started in Ensenada and it the 18th time it finished in La Paz.
Pulling off a rarity of double class wins in this year’s race, Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., pulled of class wins in both Class 8 with Justin Matney, Bristol Tenn., in a Chevy Silverado and Class 9 with Michael Poweel, Bristol, Va., along with Jorge De La Torre, Ensenada, Mexico, in a Mayoral-VW.
With his win in this race in Class 6 in a Ford Ranger, David Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif. also pulled off a rare feat in SCORE Desert racing by going undefeated in all five races this season. His second driver in this race was Jason Ruane, Lancaster, Calif.
Dan Chamlee and Tom Chamless of Carpenteria, Calif., won Class 7 for the fourth time in the last five years in this race and it was also their fourth class win of this year in their Ford Ranger.
Also earning his fourth Stock Full victory of the season was Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., in a Lexus LX570.
A pair of racers from Ensenada, Mexico, each won for the third time this season, Elias Hanna in Class 7SX a Ford Ranger and Gustavo Avina in Class 5/1600 in a VW Baja Bug.
In winning Class 3 in a Ford Bronco, Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif., won his seventh career class win in this race with help from his brother Ken Moss, Marysville, Calif., and Dave Grudsman, Elgrove, Calif. After sitting out the first three races this year, the Moss brothers ended the years with two consecutive wins in Class 3.
Gavin Skilton, Anaheim, Calif. (Great Britain), and Andy Grider, Los Olivos, won the Stock Mini Class in a Honda Ridgeline. For Skilton, it was his fourth class win in this race also his second class win this season in the SCORE Desert Series.
Other car and truck class winners in this year’s race included Arturo Velazco/Abel Velazco, Banning, Calif., (Class 1-2/1600, Curry-VW), Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif./Daniel Folts, La Habra, Calif./Francisco Villagomez, San Jose del Cabo (SCORE Lite, Seagrove-VW), Sergio Salgado, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 10, Jimco-Honda), Robert Reinertson, Woodside, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150), Matt Cullen, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 11, VW Sedan), Jim Riley, Ladera Ranch, Calif. (Class 7-2, TrophyLite-Chevy), John McInnis III, Gulf Shores, Ala. (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Eric Filar, Lake Elsinore, Calif. (Class 17, Jeep Wrangler), Mike McCarthy, Wickenburg, Ariz., (Stock Engine Truck Class, Ford F-150) and Jason LaFortune, Upland, Calif. (Class 4, TMR-Chevy).
Among the age group motorcycle class winners, Mexico’s Francisco Septien (Class 30) and USA’s Lou Franco (Class 40) led their respective teams to perfect 3-0 win marks in SCORE Baja racing this season with their respective victories. It was the fifth consecutive class victory in this race for Septien while Franco’s squad also finished second overall among motorcycles and Septien’s third. Both teams rode the popular Honda CRF450X motorcycles.
In Class 60 motorcycles for riders over 60, Bill Nichols, Peoria, Ariz., led his to and earned his seventh class win in this race while one of his co-riders, Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif., picked up his eighth career Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race win. Their team also rode a Honda CRF450X.
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.
This race also featured the prestigious Sal Fish SCORE IronRider awards presented to each motorcycle or ATV rider who completed the course within the time limit while riding solo.
20 individuals officially declared that they were attempting to complete the course riding solo and 11 of them finished within the time limit to earn the special award.
The fastest solo rider was Gabriel Williams, Provo, Utah, who rode in Class 22 for open motorcycles, finishing six out of seven finishers in the class that had 11 starters in a penalty-free time of 27:37:10 on a Honda CRF450X.
The fastest Sportsman 4-wheel vehicle was led by driver of record Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif., (SPT Car, Homebuilt-Buick) while the fastest Sportsman Motorcycle team was led by Salvadaro Sainz, San Diego (SPT M/C>250cc).
Among the other finishers was the venerable Hall, Reno, Nev., the only individual who has now raced in all 43 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races.
The legendary Hall has a race-record 21 career class wins in this event and is the only driver to have competed every year (all in a car or truck class). Hall, who will turn 73 on Monday, finished 24th out of 32 starters as the second driver for his sons Josh and Chad Hall in SCORE Trophy-Truck in Rod Hall Racings new No. 61 Rod Hall Racing Chevy Silverado international rally truck. As a family, the Halls have 33 class wins in this race as Chad has eight and Josh has won his class four times.
This year was the 36th time in the first 43 years of the storied race that it started in Ensenada and it was the 18th time it has finished in La Paz.
In addition to the 37 U.S. States, racers competed from Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the US Territory of Guam.
In 2010, BFGoodrich Tires celebrated its 35th year as a major part of SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for three and a half decades, BFG has now been the tire of choice for 24 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including 24 of the last 25 years and a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005.
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 on Dec. 19 on the NBC Television Network. It will also air on a delayed basis outside of the U.S. on ESPN International.
It is being produced again by Aura360, SCORE’s electronic media partner, in association with SCORE.
In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes also raced to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season.
Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 25th consecutive year, a total of 13 drivers completed the total distance for the 2010 season which was 2,133.88 miles. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.
SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull-official energy drink.
Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, MasterCraft Safety, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
Additional sponsors in Baja are the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada and Secretary of Tourism of Baja California Sur.
For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE in Los Angeles at 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series at score-international.com.