LA PAZ, Mexico—For the second time in three years, Mexico’s father and son race team of Gus Vildosola and Gus Vildosola Jr have etched their names again on the granite history of the world’s most legendary desert race along with the team of Colton Udall/Timmy Weigand/David Kamo who added their names to motorsports history by capturing the overall 4wheel and 2wheel victories in the 1121.55-mile 45th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race down Mexico’s mysteriously magical Baja Califonria Peninsula from Ensenada to La Paz. The season-finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series ended Saturday.
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 the granddaddy of all desert racing 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.
Udall, San Clemente, Calif./Weigand, Valencia, Calif./Kamo, Caldwell gutted out a tough, hard-fought race against the elements as well as factory-supported team from KTM and Kawasaki, recording a team of 20:09:30 on their JCR Honda Honda CRF450X while averaging 55.64mph.
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 1:30 p.m. PST on Saturday afternoon.
As the finish line in La Paz closed Saturday morning at 10:01:30 a.m. PST with for 174 official finishers in the 45th 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 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 298 official starters represented the third highest number in the 19 years it has finished in La Paz and it is the 11th highest total in the 45-year history of the race. The 174 official finishers represents the sixth-highest number in the 19 years it has finished in La Paz and it is the 11th-highest total in the entire 45-year history of the event.
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.
ATV WINNER & QUICK FACTS
Winning the overall ATV and Class 25 titles was the team led by Josh Fredericks, Moapa, Nev. 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, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Jarred McLure, Kasaka, Pa. and Colin Webster, Las Vegas.
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 1000 in the last 27 years, including the last six straight.
In earning his first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race win, Udall and his teammates Weigand and Kamo gave Honda its 23rd overall motorcycle victory including its 16th consecutive 2-wheel triumph in the 45-year history of this event. It was the second overall win in this race for Weigand and also the first for Kamo.
In the battle of car and truck manufacturers, Ford has increased its lead among 4-wheel vehicles with its 16th overall engine win and as a chassis with its 14th overall win.
Finishing second overall, also faster motorcycles was Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin, earning his third second in the three 2012 SCORE Baja races in the No. 97 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado, 15:59 behind the Vildosolas, but still averaging an impressive 56.03mph.
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 4-wheel vehicles and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Brothers Mark and Gary Weyhrich, troutdale, Ore., was the No. 9 TSCO Motorsports Ford F-150 (20:14:18, 55.39mph) 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, Foothill Ranch, Calif. and Las Vegas’ Tim Herbst (20:37:46, 55.37mph).
Completing the top five with a fifth among the 4-wheel vehicles and in SCORE Trophy Truck was San Diego’s Dan McMillin in the No. 23 McMillin Homes Ford F-150 (20:38:25, 54.34mph).
The popular second and third generation McMillin racing family had three vehicles finished in the top nine overall 4-wheel vehicles as Andy McMillin and his father Scott, who had won this race two of the last three years, finished seventh in SCORE Trophy Truck and overall in the No. 31 McMillin Realty Ford F-150 and the youngest member of the family race team, Luke McMillin, just 19, won the unlimited Class 1 for the third consecutive race in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheeled desert race car. Luke McMillin’s father Mark McMillin and his late grandfather Corky McMillin are both former multi-time SCORE race champions.
This year is the 38th time in the first 45 years of the storied race that it started in Ensenada and it is the 19th time it finished in La Paz.
It’s the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a racer. Since 1967, the legendary race has been run over the awe-inspiring Baja California peninsula.
The race started on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in front of the iconic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada. The adventure finished on the outskirts of La Paz on Highway 1 near the Grand Plaza Hotel, race headquarters for the southern half of the event.
Following his team’s overall victory, which included defeating a large field of 33 SCORE Trophy Trucks, Vildosola Jr said, “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. We decided to take it easy from there on down and try to conserve the truck through San Felipe. This is a new (driver’s) suit that I put on at race mile 785 and it looks like it went 1000 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.”
“We actually spent some time looking at some video of the start from the SCORE Baja 500 from 2011 in preparation. I drove really hard at the start (of the 2011 SCORE Baja 500) and it didn’t get my anywhere. At the SCORE Baja 1000 in 2010 I drove extremely smart and went really hard when I could and I just laid back when there was no visibility. I did the same thing this time and it ended up working out for us. We passed about five trucks before Ojos Negros and we were 10th place. By Puertecitos we were running in the top seven. We just had a good, smart race.”