Vildosola Family Rules Baja 1,000 Again
LA PAZ, Mexico — For the second time in three years, Mexico’s father and son race team of Gus Vildosola and Gus Vildosola Jr. etched their names into the history books by scoring the four-wheel and overall victory in the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 Saturday.
Joining them as winners of the historic off-road event were the trio of Colton Udall, Timmy Weigand and David Kamo, who claimed the overall victory in the two-wheel class during the 1121.55-mile event.
Gustavo, 59, and Gustavo Jr, 30, of Mexicali, Mexico, repeated the history they made in this race in 2010 when they became the first Mexican national team to capture the overall title in their No. 21 Red Bull Vildosola Racing Ford F-150.
With Gustavo Jr. driving large starting and finishing sections of the course and his father Gus driving a small section in the center of the course, the dedicated pair covered the exasperating course in 19 hours and 45 minutes, averaging a strong 56.79 miles per hour.
The Vildosola team also recorded the fastest time on the course for all vehicles, including motorcycles, which have recorded the fastest time in 36 of the 45-year history of the race.
“It was tough going at the beginning and there were a lot of trucks in front of us. Getting around them was a little difficult but our plan was to be in 10th place by Puertecitos but we were actually in 10th place at the goat trail,” said Vildosola Jr. “We decided to take it easy from there on down and try to conserve the truck through San Felipe. This is a new (drivers) suit that I put on at race mile 785 and it looks like it went 1,000 miles. We went through the first 618 miles and I got out at San Ignacio. It was just an amazing race and I’m extremely proud of our guys and extremely proud of Javi (Valenzuela, the team’s riding mechanic.)
“We come down here and say that we represent Mexico and we went out and won another one for Mexico. We lost three or four minutes with a flat. We were behind B.J. (Baldwin) at that time and (Ryan) Arciero was behind us. I thought I lost it (the race) there because I was pushing hard to catch B.J. and we got the flat and all of a sudden at about race mile 1000 we saw him (Baldwin) so we chased after him and passed him. We got some clean air after that which was nice. I’m in love with the new truck. The truck is amazing and we drove by everyone today.”
Udall, Weigand and Caldwell gutted out a tough, hard-fought race against the elements as well as factory-supported teams from KTM and Kawasaki, recording a time of 20:09:30 on their JCR Honda Honda CRF450X while averaging 55.64mph.
“In San Felipe I passed for the lead and I kept pulling it out and then I gave the bike to David (Kamo),” Udall said. “He pretty much held it or pulled it out more and then we pitted and lost some time and then I think he opened up the lead another three minutes.
“I got on the bike and lost a bunch of time because I only pre-ran my section three times. We serviced our bike four or five times and changed tires. We had multiple rear wheels that were bald with no knobs. This course just ripped it all up, it was a very tough course. The section through San Felipe was probably one of the gnarliest workouts I ever had in my life. My whole body was locking up. I was just done.”
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 Int’l officials at 1:30 p.m. PST on Saturday afternoon.
With 298 starters leaving the Ensenada starting line Thursday morning, competitors from 34 states and 23 countries battled the rugged terrain in cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in 35 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes. Vehicles left the start line in 30-second intervals and all vehicles had 45 hours to become official finishers of the race.
The finishing percentage this year was a very solid 58.38 percent considering the extremely dusty, bone-crushingly rocky, sometimes soggy and wet and occasionally foggy conditions along with the unique ruggedness of the course.
Winning the overall ATV and Class 25 titles was the team led by Josh Fredericks. The Fredericks covered the course on a Can-Am DS450 in 27:03:99m averaging 41.46mph. Frederick’s co-riders on this adventure were Jermaine Warnia, Jarred McLure and Colin Webster.
The Vildosola victory also gave BFGoodrich Tires, celebrating its 37th year of SCORE Baja racing in 2012, its 26th overall 4-wheel victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 in the last 27 years, including the last six straight.
Finishing second overall, also faster than the motorcycles, was Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin in the No. 97 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado, 15:59 behind the Vildosolas.
Nine of the top 10 overall 4-wheel finishers in La Paz were from the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
Third overall among four-wheel vehicles and in SCORE Trophy Truck were brothers Mark and Gary Weyhrich, while fourth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was the No. 49 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 driven by driver of record Ryan Arciero and Tim Herbst.
Completing the top five with a fifth among the four-wheel vehicles and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Dan McMillin in the No. 23 McMillin Homes Ford F-150.
The venerable Rod Hall increased his race-record total career class wins to 22 in this event. Hall, who will turn 75 this coming Thursday (Nov. 22), won the Stock Mini class this yearin a Rod Hall Racing Hummer H3. Splitting the driving with his granddaughter Shelby Hall, and Damien Michelin, they finished their agonizing adventure in 39:43:37 with an average speed of 28.23 mph.
In addition to Rod Hall, several other drivers and riders added to their class win totals in this legendary race. Leading this group was Richard Jackson, who now has 13 class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 after riding on a Honda CRF450X with rider of record Al Perrett, who now has won four times in Class 60 for riders over 40 years old.
Another age group motorcycle racer, Jeff Kaplan, added to his SCORE Baja racing legacy by earning his 11 class win in this race with his triumph in Class 40 for riders over 40 years old on another Honda CRF450X. Legendary former supercross racer Ricky Johnson picked up his fourth SCORE Baja 1,000 class win as one of Kaplan’s co-riders.
With another talented team to assist, Jim O’Neal won Class 21 on a Honda CRF450X for his 11th class win in this race.
Winning for the ninth time was Donald Moss (Class 3, Ford Bronco), while winning his fourth was Mike Johnson (Class 30, Honda CRF450X).
With their class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000, five SCORE desert racers were undefeated in their respective classes in the 2012 SCORE Desert Series. Among the car and truck classes, their most recent victories, Moss (Class 3) and Rodolfo Iribe (Class 8, Chevy Silverado) won their respective classes in all five SCORE races this season. For motorcycles, winning all three of their SCORE Baja races were Johnson, Kaplan and Marc Prince (Class 50, Honda CRF450X).
With their victories in La Paz, car and truck class winners who earned four of five class wins for the season were Eduardo Laguna (Class 6, Chevy Colorado) and Clyde Stacy (Class 2, Mason-Chevy).
Among the other car and truck class winners in this year’s 45th anniversary event were twin brothers Aruturo and Abel Velazco (Class 1/2-1600, VBR-VW), Trevor Anderson (Class 5-1600), Sandy Hall (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), Guillermo Galvan (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Lee Banning (Class 10, Banning-Ford), Otoneil Huerta (SCORE Lites, Curry-VW), Chelsea Magness, (Ford F-150) and Joe Bacal (Stock Full, Lexus LX570).