Mexican Father & Son Rule Baja
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.
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 and Cody, the JCR/Honda Racing team stars, dominated the motorcycle portion of the race on their Honda CRF450X and brothers Steve and Chris Appleton withstood the challenge and conquered the Baja in the unlimited class 1 in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
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 four-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 four-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.
Defending SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion and NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Robby Gordon 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 four-wheel vehicles and among SCORE Trophy-Trucks was a battle between a pair of Nevada racers — Roger Norman and B.J. Baldwin. Norman 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.
“This race means a lot to me and my family,” Vildisola, Jr. said. “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.”
With 292 starters leaving the Ensenada starting line Thursday morning, competitors from 37 states and 19 countries are battling in the rugged 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.
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.