44th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Post-race quotes
44th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
Nov. 17-20, 2011 – Final round of five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Post-race quotes PRO CARS & TRUCKS SCORE TROPHY TRUCK
ANDY MCMILLIN, No. 31 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle. Andy started and drove to Race Mile 200, Scott McMillin drove from RM 200 to RM 511 and Andy drove from RM 511 to the finish.) – We started 10th. At the Baja 500, Bryce (Menzies) started in front of me and put a spanking on me so I didn't want to let that happen in this race. I got a pretty quick pace off the starts and splashed fuel at mile 77 and by the time we got to the summit, I nerfed Larry Roeseler, got around Rob MacCachren, passed Curt LeDuc, Jesse Ashcraft. MacCachren got me back later in the summit and we were battling back and forth off his bumper until he pitted for fuel. Menzies was out front and I got by Kory Scheeler on the silt bed and I just started putting my pedal forward. I knew we were going to change drivers at Borrego and put my dad in so I wanted to get a couple of minutes on everyone just in case. Unfortunately, we had a three-and-a-half minute pit stop and we took off out of there in third and my dad had a flat tire. My dad did a great job on the San Felipe loop. We kept our pace and kept our position and Bryce was doing work out front and was running away with it. Luckily he had a little issue and we were able to make up time. I got back in the truck and Bryce pulled over for fuel and we got around them. That was the most intense race I've ever been a part of. I was 30 seconds to them and Bryce was 30 seconds to me on the beach. It was a freight-train free-for-all. It was such a blast. It was so much fun. I'm glad to win my second Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 with my dad. It means a lot.
CO-DRIVER SCOTT McMILLIN said: He (Andy McMillin) gave me the roughest part to drive; it kicked my butt. It's amazing that after almost 700 miles we are sitting here with three teams and any one of us could have won. My hat is off to them. They did a great job and made us a better competitor. Sal (Fish), you just keeping making this race tougher and harder and I was just squinching all the way around that 250 miles. For our family, this has been a tradition. This is the 35th year our family has been racing this. My brother's coming in, I've got my daughter out there and Mark's other son and my dad is looking down on us and taking care of us.
NICK VANDERWEY, No. 84 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle. Vanderwey shared driving duties with Curt LeDuc.) – What a race – holy moly. We started sixth and Curt (LeDuc) set an easy pace, wanted to take it easy and got over the summit and then he threw on the boosters and took off. I'm still catching my breath. This was something else. Thank goodness we got some fog in San Matias and at the Mike's turnoff, we practically had all of our lights off and saw McMillin's yellow light and made a beeline for it and by a miracle we got by him. It was all I could do to keep him behind me the rest of the way. It was ‘be careful what you wish for’ next time. It was intense racing. We hit so many rocks it was just unbelievable what these tires will take. This win goes to my brother John, the crew chief, the only one that doesn't get in the truck, but he put a great pitting plan together and that's what got us in front.
CO-DRIVER CURT LeDUC said: It started off muddy. These guys charged and everybody ran great up front. It was really a lot of fun to be part of this team and help these guys come from Class 8 all the way up to SCORE Trophy Truck and become a contender here.
BRYCE MENZIES, No. 70 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle. Menzies drove until mile 540 and Ricky Johnson drove from RM 540 to the finish.) – Everybody kept asking me if we were going to take it easy and go for the championship. Our game plan this whole year was if you win races, you come away with a championship. We started fourth and I just didn't feel it off the start so I was kind of cruising and we got to Borrego and one of our chase crews said Andy (McMillin) was six seconds behind us. He came up and was hitting me so we moved out of the way and let him go. I think we passed him back when they were changing drivers. We led from there on and at our fuel stop our jack broke and the tire didn't go on all the way and we lost some lug nuts. It was an awesome day. San Felipe was rough like no other. I was getting beaten up so badly it was horrible – that's why it is off-road racing. I want to thank Sal Fish for putting on these great races. I did 450 miles and didn't get a single flat and the tires looked brand new when I took them off. My hat's off to my whole crew and co-driver Pete Mortensen. To get a championship for him and I is just huge. To come away with that number-one plate for next year would be awesome and we'll come back and try and get that victory for the 1000. I've got to give it up to Andy and his dad for winning. That's a huge accomplishment and it's one of my dreams and goals. To see them up there doing that just drives me harder to bring it back next year.
CO-DRIVER RICKY JOHNSON said: Steve Menzies came to me earlier this year and said I have a goal for my son and that's to win the SCORE championship. I really didn't do anything but drive around following these guys (Andy McMillin) and I want to congratulate the McMillin family. It was awesome to be involved in that kind of race and it just says a lot for the guys who put together trucks like that. It is an honor to be back here.
MARK McMILLIN, No. 23 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle. Mark McMillin drove to mile 200, Daniel McMillin drove the San Felipe Loop and Hovey drove the final 260 miles to the finish.) – Co-driver Chuck Hovey said: What a great day for McMillin Racing. We had a great day. We had some motor issues with a lot of sputtering in San Felipe. It would clear up and we couldn't really figure out what it was and then I had alternators going bad so we ran four lights for the last 150 miles. It was a great day and we’re happy to be here.
CO-DRIVER DANIEL MCMILLIN said: Driving the SCORE Trophy Truck is a lot different than driving the Class 1. It was up the middle of the track instead of looking for lines like a buggy. The truck just goes through the holes bigger and better. This whole course is huge holes so with the truck, there is no comparison.
CLYDE STACY, No. 18 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle. Stacy drove the San Felipe loop and a section to the finish. Juan Carlos Lopez drove the rest of the race.) – We were having a good time with it. We didn't have any real problems and it was a good race overall.
JESSE JAMES, No. 54 (Sixth in class and seventh overall four-wheel vehicle. Jeff Geiser drove the San Felipe loop and James drove the remainder of the race.) – I proved I could run up front. It was a great day. It was an epic day with Tavo (Vildosola). We were back and forth in each other's dust, trading places three times. It was fun just being able to hang with him because he is so fast. We had a couple of little mistakes. We blew some turns and gave up a position. We had a couple of flats but other than that, this thing ran great until I rolled it about one mile from the finish. We hit mud and it was just like ice and spun it around and I tried to avoid hitting a tree and put it on the side. The truck was too pretty looking anyway. This truck does stuff that I'm amazed by. It thunders through and is a pleasure to drive. I've had a top 10 in every race I've run this year.
KEN LOSCH, No. 10 (Seventh in class and ninth overall four-wheel vehicle. Losch drove the start to Borrego and Tom Oliveria drove the San Felipe loop.) When you get this thing up to 70 or 80 miles per hour, you are piloting it and not driving it. Losing our reverse gear was a big problem. If we came into a corner and overshot it, we couldn't back up. We had to make sure we didn't overshoot one of those thousands and thousands of corners. We never got a flat. It wasn't a bad run considering we had no reverse and with a new driving style. When you’re pre-running, you see stuff but when you're (racing), you just give it the throttle and there's a thousand whoops and you just nail it, hold it and you're on top of it and across it like a magic carpet ride. I was, quite frankly, pinching myself. It's a great experience.
ROBBY GORDON, No. 77 (Eighth in class and 10th overall four-wheel vehicle.) We missed a turn at the 390-mile mark. We missed a turn on a fast graded road and it spiraled and we crashed it. We were running 130 before that so we probably hit the ground at 100 and it was a big one. I haven't crashed that hard in a long time. Literally two miles from the finish line, the drive shaft broke but I'm sure it broke because of the crash. The back of the truck moved over about three inches because of the crash so the drive shaft probably got jarred pretty hard.
TROY HERBST, No. 49 (Ninth in class. Troy Herbst drove to Ojos Negros and handed it over to Tim Herbst, who drove to Borrego. Arciero drove from Borrego to the finish) – Co-driver Ryan Arciero said: This team never gives up and that's why I love being a part of this program. You never know what is going to happen until you get to the finish line. Anything can happen and this course was so rough. This truck is a throwback to the Truggy because they wanted to commemorate The Shark and all the wins they had in the Truggy. I think we nailed it with the paint scheme. Our goal was to get it up front and get it here first but after the day we had today, we were just happy to get it to the finish line.
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 149 (First in class and sixth overall four-wheel vehicle.) – There was lots of water and mud and the car doesn't run when it gets wet. It runs on six cylinders. We steadily moved up as everybody started to break off and then it seemed to work out at the end. We knew we had to finish (to win the championship) but at end when we knew we could win, we went for it. We just took the risk and it turned out well. We won the championship and won the biggest race of the year. It was definitely a challenge and I'm looking forward to doing it next year. Maybe we'll go three in a row.
RONNY WILSON, No. 111 (Second in class and eighth overall four-wheel vehicle.) – We led it early and then we had a flat and throttle issues. We were down in Borrego for 20 minutes which kind of killed us. We chased Justin (Davis) all day. I think this is the seventh podium finish at the 1000 but we've never won it. I don't know what it is going to take to win one of these. We'll keep trying.
BRIAN PARKHOUSE, No. 114 (Third in class. Parkhouse started and drove to Race Mile 330 and Cody Parkhouse drove from RM 330 to the finish.) – I had one flat and it was a pretty clean run. We passed probably a half-dozen cars or more than that. At some point in time we paced it and then cracked a transaxle and started leaking oil. We stopped every 70 miles or so and put oil in it. The course wasn't anything I didn't expect. The San Felipe loop is really beat and I was happy to get out of it. The car worked really well and felt really good but the course was rough. We are pretty happy with a nice strong finish.
CO-DRIVER CODY PARKHOUSE said: We broke a transaxle and had to put gear oil in every 50 miles. We lost a ton of time. There's a lot of mud left over from the rain last weekend.
MARK HUTCHINS, No. 116 (Fourth in class. Mark Hutchins started and Christopher got in at mile 320) – Co-driver Christopher Hutchins said: Gnarly. The roughest 1000 I've seen by far. We lost a power steering pump and my dad had to do the last 60 miles of his section with no power steering. That put us down. It was the only problem we had. I'm looking forward to the peninsula run, that's for sure.
DAMEN JEFFERIES, No. 105 (Fifth in class.) – We lost our brakes and I tried to slow down, hit a rock and exploded a wheel. We had one caliper and we fixed it so we had one rear brake. We stopped at mile 458 and put the other one on. That was really it for down time but it was a killer. With one brake you've got to slow way down and you slide everywhere.
LUKE MCMILLIN, No. 1600 (First in class. Justin Smith drove the first 400 miles and McMillin drove the final 305 miles.) – No problems all day except for the oil cooler, which cost us about 20 minutes. It was just a great day. We started so much later than we thought but we are here first and that's all that matters.
CO-DRIVER JUSTIN SMITH said: A rock took out our oil cooler. We had some minor issues and about 20 minutes of down-time. Luke (McMillin) milked it and I milked it a little farther and we ended up changing out the oil cooler. We lost rear brakes early – around mile 300. We tried to bleed them but they never came back.
DANIEL LOPEZ, No. 1646 (Second in class. Lopez started and drove to Borrego, Adolfo Arambula drove to San Felipe and Ambrosio Gutierrez took it to the end) – Co-driver Ambrosio Gutierrez said: It was pretty rough. My neck is sore but it was fun and we had good weather. We had some problems with the car. We lost power and lost our brakes and the suspension got very soft so we were going all over the place. We didn't stop because we thought we would lose a lot of time.
ELISEO GARCIA, No. 1644 (Third in class. Garcia shared driving duties with Hector Sarabia.) Co-driver Hector Sarabia said: We had electrical problems. The car stopped twice and we lost 30 minutes. We didn't have any flat tires.
ARTURO VELAZCO, No. 1601 (Fourth in class. Velazco and Esteban Cruz split the driving.) – Co-driver Esteban Cruz said: It was a rough course. We had a couple of flats early on in the race and we were back in 10th place and we started picking up positions in the San Felipe loop. We were doing well near the end trying to catch up and we had our fuel pump base break. It was shorting out and the car was stalling. We thought it was a filter and then we thought it was a bunch of other things. We had to go through everything until we found the base was broken and we safety wired it to the chassis. It was a really beautiful course as always. It is always challenging and I'm just glad we are here at the finish line.
DONALD MOSS, No. 300 (First in class.) We had the steering linkage come loose and we stuffed it into a mound there and ruined a tire and lost the rear brakes, broke the leaf springs in the back. We had to take the calipers completely off to finish so we only had front brakes. This one was by far the toughest one that I've ever done. The summit was not as bad as some of that stuff coming into Borrego. There were cars stuck everywhere. Everything is just whooped out everywhere. Even the sandy washes that were fun and fast are whooped out now. We were in first gear in four-wheel drive in some of those and pulling hard.
JIM ANDERSON, No. 518 (First in class. Anderson started and drover to Borrego. Rick Boyer drove the San Felipe loop and Mike Belk drove to the finish.) – We had one flat. We actually had a stick go through the tire and it is still holding air; it is sticking out of the sidewall. We had a big lead of almost 25 miles for the whole race so we just cruised it in.
JEFFREY SMITH, No. 551 (First in class. Smith shared driving duties with Justin Herrmann.) – It was a great race – other than I left the (starting) line and I got stuck in a mud puddle. Two miles into the race and it was a dead stop. We had a whole bunch of people jump in there, knee-deep in mud, and push the car back. We also got stuck in the silt beds probably three times; they just come up on you in the middle of the night. We had a good time.
CO-DRIVER JUSTIN HERRMANN said: It went really well. This is our first time ever racing a vehicle down here. The last five years, we’ve raced motorcycles. Last year, I won the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 on a motorcycle. This will be my second win, just in a different class. The only reason we’re racing (the car) is my wife is pregnant and she can’t race it so we stole it to race. We figured we might have a shot at winning so we stole her car.
JOSH QUINTERO, No. 617 (First in class. Quintero started, Chris Taylor drove the San Felipe loop and Quintero drove to the finish.) – We broke a driveline right after check two and four where it heads to San Felipe. We lost about 15 minutes. We got stuck once but got ourselves out using the back-and-forth routine a thousand times. The course was brutal.
DAVE CASPINO, No. 600 (Second in class. Caspino drove the first half and Jason Ruane the other half) – We got a flat at mile 10, got stuck in the silt for 32 minutes, ran out of gas and that was 40 minutes. Jason (Ruane) drove the truck off Walker's corner 70 feet down to the bottom. That took two hours to get out so we had three hours of downtime but still got second. I can't blame anybody but myself and my co-driver for stupid mistakes. We broke two rims but we didn't have any flat tires. Last year I won every single race but they say when you win Driver of the Year, you are followed by a curse for the whole next year. Everybody who has ever won it has this curse and they just can't shake it. Knock on wood this is my last race of the year and I hope it is gone.
GAVIN SKILTON, No. 601 (Third in class. Skilton shared driving duties with Darren Skilton.) You gotta do what you gotta do to get to the finish line at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. We had our issues but we overcame them. I got stuck in the silt and all the body tabs broke off so we had to take the body off and do a little bit of welding work. We just ran her into the ground. That was a crazy race for sure.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (First in class.) We did all the silt beds and hill climbs and never got stuck but we did have a third member break and cooling fan failure. It was a completely different brand and style of fan and it turned out to be defective. We took a spare with us, kept going and the new one was fine. We just couldn't believe it (after having several fan failures in past races.) I get within 100 miles and I think we are home free and something breaks. The broken third member took about an hour and a half to repair.
KENT KROEKER, No. 801 (First in class. Kroeker drove the San Felipe loop and Alan Roach drove the remainder of the race.) – Co-driver Alan Roach said: It was really fun – rough, but it was a blast. We started to consume water out of the radiator but we topped it off in Ojos Negros and we were good to go. We had a little nerfing contest going on with Justin Matney for a while and it was close. I think they also had a radiator problem and lost some time. Our engine got wet in the water crossings and isn't running very well
CHRISTIAN HALL, No. 1008 (First in class. Jerry Penhall drove the first third, Mark Talla drove the San Felipe loop and Hall drove it to the finish) – We had an amazing night. We had one flat coming off the summit but other than that, we just drove her. We never slowed down to look behind us. In remembrance of my father Hank Hall, we spread his ashes across the course. I wouldn't be able to drive if he was around because he would kick me out of the seat.
EDUARDO MEJIA, No. 1010 (Second in class. Jeff Johnson, John McInnis III, Rick Skelton, Jessi Combs and Patrick McIntyre also drove.) – We were pretty stacked with six drivers and we wanted to make sure that we had everybody in the best position they could be. We had a few issues during the race. We blew a CV gasket on the back of the car and it spews a lot of transmission fluid. We thought we had a tire going down and stopped in another pit to change the tire only to discover that we were leaking power steering fluid. We refilled it and the next crew of drivers ran into the same issue. It was a great day.
JOHN LANGLEY, No. 1002 (Third in class.) Co-driver Morgan Langley said: We were a little impatient coming in and it was messy. It was a tough race and we had fun. We had no rear brakes so we couldn't go as fast as maybe we wanted to. Halfway through our run, the shocks were pretty much cooked. Other than that, we took it easy and had fun.
LEE BANNING, No. 1248 (First in class. Lee Banning Sr. started and drove to Race Mile 195. Rick Graf took over and drove to RM 495 and Lee Banning Jr. finished) – Co-driver Lee Banning Jr. said: That was a marathon. My section was fun and I think everybody had a good time. No issues and I think we had one flat all day and did the tire change when I got in. We started late and we planned 15 hours. We had a clean run and we started almost last so as long as the IRC tracking checks out we should be winner, winner, chicken dinner. When they gave me the car it was out front and I kept it there. Rick got the lead and I held it there. It was a good day.
ZAK LANGLEY, No. 1204 (Second in class. Langley shared driving duties with Bernie Carr.) – I'm pretty happy with a second place considering the problems we had out there. We had a pretty good run and I handed the car over to Paul Keller and he lost power steering. He did the whole San Felipe loop with no power steering. We got it back to Borrego, changed the power steering pump, changed the servo and changed the ramp and still nothing so it must be something in the line. Bernie Carr just had to get in and drive with no power steering too. To get second with no power steering for two-thirds of the race, I think we are pretty happy. It was rough out there. We've run some of that same grain a lot but because of the rain a lot of the soft stuff after the big unlimited classes went through it just got deep and nasty. It was a great course though.
STEVEN LISA, No. 1201 (Third in class. Steven Lisa and Davy Jones drove the first half and Anthony Lisa drove the second half.) – Co-driver Anthony Lisa said: Aside from jetting issues and the fact that San Felipe was so rough, we broke a rear spring, it was about as drama free as the Baja 1000 can be.
JESSICA MCMILLIN, No. 1331 (First in class.) It was a really long day – a long two days, but it was so much fun. I'm so glad to be at the finish line. For a second there, I didn't think we were going to make it all the way here but here we are. We were going pretty fast in third gear and came over a rise and there was a water hole we didn't have marked on the GPS so I tried to avoid it and there was a tree. I wasn't going to make it around the tree in time so I punched it and straightened myself out before the water. I hit the water and just my side was dipped in the water at first and we were going along it pretty good until we started hydroplaning. We broke something in the rear about 30 miles after we rolled it over. I'm always learning from my brother and my dad. I love racing with my family.
TONY MIGLINI, No. 402 (First in class. Miglini drove approx 200 miles, then Mike Shatynski drove the San Felipe loop and Jason Hart drove to the finish.) – It was brutal out there. Our whole goal was to finish and we kept having to change our strategy throughout the whole race as different things happened. The other two guys were way faster than us and we just stayed our course and as they started having problems we just started pushing it and going faster. We set a solid pace and maintained our lead for the last 100 miles. We couldn't be happier. It's just insane out there. We got the lead close to Borrego. It got a little dicey at the end but it was good. We had a power steering problem early when we wore a hole in a hose and had to make a field repair that took us a little bit. The car ran great and we finally got it dialed in. Tough race, tons of fun and it was our first 1000 and our first win of the year. PRO MOTORCYCLES CLASS 22
KENDALL NORMAN, No. 1x (First in class and first overall motorcycle. Norman rode the first 207 miles. Quinn Cody rode 200 miles. Logan Holladay rode 120 miles. Kendall Norman rode the last 160 miles to the finish.) – It was a rough morning for me. I crashed the bike about 20 miles in but everything was alright and I started finding my rhythm, got down the road and I was really excited to get through Borrego and the road crossing. My first stint was almost over and I hit the biggest mound ever and just sent it at 70 miles per hour and took the biggest digger. I don't know how I popped up so quickly but everything seemed okay though I was pretty banged up. I kept the bike going, got it to the pit and had to do a few repairs on it. Quinn (Cody) pinned it hard and did a really good job and so did Logan (Holladay.) I got back on in the meadow in Valle de Trinidad and took her home at night. It was a really tough day. Baja had its moments with me today. It didn't make it easy. We had a challenger on the Kawasaki with my former teammate Robby Bell. They were there all day. They fought hard and kept us honest. It's going to be tough in the years to come in Baja. It sounds like there's going to be a lot more competition and it's going to elevate the sport and what we have to do to come down here and be successful. It's good for the sport, good for Baja and exciting for all the fans too.
CO-RIDER QUINN CODY said: It went well. I had most of the San Felipe loop and all the sand washes. I got on at just north of Borrego at mile 207 and then rode back into San Felipe and it was just really rough down there. It was probably the roughest 200 miles I've ever ridden in my life. It's a lot of big sand washes, cross-grain whoops and a lot of just squareage whoops from all the pre-runners. There have been two races down there already this year and this is third one. My section was the roughest 1000 I've ridden. Kendall had a crash right past Borrego and bent the bars pretty good and bent up a radiator and blew out the steering dampener but other than that I got the bike and we fixed it a little bit. The bars were good enough to run and so I just ran the bars and Logan got on in San Felipe and did a great job in his section and brought it back to Kendall for the last part. It's pretty cool, we definitely have to try and keep it up. It's 15 straight now for Honda so it is pretty exciting. Kendall (Norman) brought me the bike and it was bent to hell and so it took some of the pressure off me because I didn't have to worry about hurting the bike. I got going and got used to the new handlebar bend we were running. I rode just north of Borrego all the way through San Felipe through all the sand washes and back into San Felipe and that section is just beat. It's probably the roughest 200 miles I've ever ridden in my life. It is so rough from all the pre-runners and races they've had down here the last few years. I just put everything I had out there and brought the bike back in and gave it to Logan (Holladay.) He got on, did an amazing job and here we are.
CO-RIDER LOGAN HOLLADAY said: I rode from mile 396 to Valley de Trinidad. I had no problems at all. Kendall (Norman) went down in Borrego and bent the handlebars a bit. So it was a little tougher to ride the bike at times. The levers were bent a bit too. It felt a little funny. Quinn (Cody) gave me the bike beat up from his 200 mile section and the suspension was all blown out and soft. I started my section and did about 10 miles of fire roads and went head on with a couple Federale trucks at 100 miles an hour and passed them on their side. I got through that and just started pounding whoops all the way through San Felipe and got some really bad arm-pump because I had no time to warm them up before San Felipe. I just got straight into the whoops. I made it through that section – hit everything I was looking for. Never went down once, never missed a shift, made it through all the hoops, made it to Mike's and killed it through the fire roads until I gave it back to Kendall. It was a flawless section, but a painful one too. But overall, it was good ride and a great race. I lost the GPS on the bike, but my dad tracked me and that helped. He (Kendall Norman) brought it in for the win and I thought it was an amazing day in Baja. The Baja 1000, first overall and my first time.
JCR HONDA TEAM OWNER JOHNNY CAMPBELL (No. 1x) said: It was a long day. It was really rough and I was happy to be in the air and not on the ground or riding the bike because it was really rough. All the guys did a really good job and it was a tough race. It was very, very rough. We split it up pretty good between three guys and it has been a long day for these guys. He (Kendall Norman) crossed the road at Borrego and he got on an awkward line, then he spun out in a doughnut and laid it down. It wasn't like a horrendous crash but it was uncharacteristic of him. The pit crews changed a few things at the next pit and the bike was fine. It's not over until it's over but for the last 14 years it's been really good. I've been stoked because I've been on a lot of the winning teams as a rider but now as a team manager and owner I've gotten to be on that part of it too. This championship is for Ox (the late Jeff Kargola), as Colton (Udall) said. We really miss him.
SHANE ESPOSITO, No. 11x (Second in class and second overall motorcycle. Esposito shared riding duties with Robby Bell, Bobby Garrison, David Pearson and Steve Hengeveld.) – We wanted to win but we had some problems with the lights but we did what we could to get to the finish with them.
CO-RIDER ROBBY BELL said: I wasn't nervous and the weather was really nice so I knew there wouldn't be much dust. I had a good clean run off the start. I got by a few guys pretty quickly and the two Hondas and us were going pretty fast all day. We were so close to the 1x bike all day – all the way until nightfall – and then we just had a little issue. That's all it takes in Baja.
COLTON UDALL, No. 0x (Third in class and third overall motorcycle. Udall rode the start to mile 92. David Kamo rode to mile 215. Udall rode to 329. Timmy Weigand rode to the finish) – We didn’t really have any problems today. We just rode steady and had a great race. I had my smarter, more mature teammate Timmy (Weigand) telling me to slow down and ride consistent. Hopefully the points fall as we think and we collect the championship trophy in a few days. And rest is history. This race was for Ox today. We have all of Ox’s friends here and it is a tribute to him. Ox helped us win this championship this year. We talked about our approach a lot during pre-running. I broke my hand two weeks ago so I didn't get to do the number of miles I wanted to do. There was a championship on my shoulders and all I could do was mess that up so riding a smooth and perfect race was what we were going to do. If the championship is there, why push it? I want to thank Timmy, David (Kamo), our sponsors, everyone at JCR and my family. Dave was quite a workhorse for us today. He rode in some tough spots today but the bike never touched the ground. It is still in great shape for the next race.
CO-RIDER TIMMY WEIGAND said: I was just riding and having a blast. I guess I am a night guy now, so they wanted me to ride with the lights. To touch on Ox, he was out there with us all day long. Our hats are off to him. Colton Udall gave the bike to me to bring it to the finish. I wanted to get it here for him and the championship.
TREVOR INSLEY, No. 105x (First in class and fourth overall motorcycle. Insley shared riding duties with Ryan Kudla, Morgan Crawford, Bill Gilbert, Matt Carlson and Dennis Green.) – Keeping fresh guys on the bike is a strategy that has worked all year. We've got a good quality group. Everybody did their part. We knew we had to beat the 104x bike (Adam Neuwirth) and we also knew that it was a long race. We knew that our bike was built right and we knew we had a good strategy keeping fresh guys on the bike. They had fewer riders and were doing more mileage. We knew we were going to have the advantage from that standpoint. Our motto is we'll worry about us and do what we do and see how it turns out.
CO-RIDER RYAN KUDLA said: We were just having a blast out there. We were really cooking. We were already the fifth or sixth bike by the time we got to mile 91 and unfortunately for them (the 104x) they had problems. We just kept going at a nice steady pace. We got lucky that we didn't have any sun this morning because it was foggy. The wash was really wet and you had to just pick your line through it. I guess he (Neuwirth) went down in the wash and we were pretty much nose to tail all the way through the start. Morgan Crawford said we are going to celebrate tonight. Everybody came through and we rocked it. Some of the course reminded me of the Lucerne Valley. I thought I was back at home just tearing it up. I just kept it wide open. San Felipe back to Borrego was like riding in Lucerne, a little single track, whoops and rocks. Matt Carlson said after doing the San Felipe section that my hands paid the price. I'll be nursing them for the next week or so. Ian Crawford said I knew I had a little bit of breathing room and I just cruised it around the crossover and power-slid the roads and kept it on two wheels. I had a lot of fun.
MIKE JOHNSON, No. 30x (First in class and sixth overall motorcycle. Johnson shared riding duties with Brian Pinard, Rex Cameron, Francisco Septien, Chuck Dempsey and Scott Myers.) – It went really well today and it's gone well all year long. It was pretty much a smooth ride but when Rex (Cameron) brought it in after the lake bed in San Felipe, he had chunked all the knobs so that was a little issue when I got on the bike. We did all right, it was a good day. I'm back from having a broken back at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 so I'm ecstatic to be here and happy to be in winner's circle. It was a feat just to get here in the condition I was in. We only had three riders so we put the feelers out and everyone came through.
CO-RIDER SCOTT MYERS said: They've got some new stuff they've cut in out there on the course. It was a lot of fun and we kind of got a little lost in the beginning – not lost on the track, but got caught behind the 14x (A.J. Stewart). I decided to go for it and see if I could make up some time and I ended up getting them in the hills. Two miles later, I got up into the weeds and fell into a five-foot ditch. I was upside down and the lights came apart. I was screaming and five guys came over and helped me out of the ditch and off we went. It was crazy and seriously unreal.
JEFF KAPLAN, No. 400x (First in class and eighth overall motorcycle. Kaplan shared riding duties with Ron Wilson, Jeff Sheets, Brett Helm, Chuck Dempsey and Louie Franco.) – I had the second-hardest crash I've ever had in Baja while going over the summit. I never saw what I hit while going pretty fast in fourth gear and the next thing I knew my back wheel was in front of me. It is a pretty awesome feeling to win eight (Tecate SCORE Baja 1000s) in a row.
CO-RIDER LOUIE FRANCO said: My guys are awesome and this one's for Jeff (Kaplan). Jeff and I have been partners for eight years and this is his first championship. This is the best bike we've ever had; it never stops charging. Ron Wilson and I both had the flu when we started today and we are both feeling dead.
JIM O'NEAL, No. 500x -- (First in class. O’Neal shared riding duties with Andy Kirker, Dan Dawson, Steve Williams, Bob Johnson and Mark Winkleman.) Co-rider Andy Kirker said: It was challenging to find the finish because spectators are usually trying to direct you the wrong way but this time they were pointing the right way. You could see all of their campfires and it was a blast. No problems except for a booby trap I found in a mud hole. They built a big berm and then they backfilled with water making it about four feet deep. I went down in it. Everyone did their job and it was awesome. We took the lead at about the 30-mile mark. We were a rear start but I caught them all on the way up to Ojos Negros. I don't think they ever passed us back. I'm a little sore. I think I did a little too much pre-running and my wrists are sore. Some places on the course are really beat and others are really fun because of the rain and all the traction. It's like a motocross track out there.
RICHARD JACKSON, No. 619x (First in class. Jackson shared riding duties with Mark Force, Guy Wilson and Al Perrett.) – I missed a rider change coming back so I rode the last section and at first I was thinking 'Oh my gosh, no' and then I thought 'this is great, it is all wet and the sun is coming up.' I missed a gas pit and I stopped and asked two cops for gas but they didn't have anybody. There's nobody out there but one SCORE flagman that had a little gas can for his quad. I would have been stuck out there out of gas. PRO ATVs CLASS 25
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 1a (First in class and first overall ATV. Matlock shared riding duties with Josh Caster and Wes Miller.) – Everyone rode smart all day long. No mistakes and we didn't put a wrench on the bike - just gas-and-go and we only changed three tires over the whole course, which is unusual for us. The course was rough (but) that's what happens when you combine the San Felipe 250 and the Baja 500 together.
BRANDON BROWN, No. 100a -- (First in class and second overall ATV. Brown shared riding duties with Jorie Williams, Kenny Sanford, Richie Brown and Jamie Kirkpatrick.) It was a long day. We found a problem with the crank (Thursday) afternoon and we were up until 3 a.m. splitting cases and putting the bike back together and then got up at 4 a.m. It came out good. Jorie Williams made it into first by Ojos Negros but then lost his goggles and went back to second overall. We went back and forth with (Wayne) Matlock all day until a rock snuck up on Jamie Kirkpatrick and he wadded up the bike. Luckily it didn't hurt anything and he isn't in too bad of shape. We kept pressing on and lost brake toward the end. The bike is still running awesome which is amazing considering we had 30 seconds on it before it got loaded this morning. We want to come back and keep on trying to win races. This was by far the roughest and nastiest course I've seen so far.
CARL VELLA, No. 201a (First in class. Vella shared riding duties with Ryan Robey, Mike Penland and Rick Matteson.) – It was great. We had no problems at all and it was just wonderful. We were having fun all the way and grinning from ear to ear. It took us about 24 hours to finish but here we are.
President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club