Pre-SCORE-Baja-1000-11-19-15
Tomorrow morning, 242 race teams will embark on an epic off-road journey for the 2015 Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000. Covering more than 820 miles of treacherous terrain in Baja California, Mexico, the racers will begin and end their day at the start/finish line in Ensenada. Motorcycles and ATVs will begin the race at 6 a.m. with racers leaving in 30-second intervals, while the trucks, buggies and UTVs will leave five hours later at 11 a.m.

The unlimited Trophy Truck class will be first off the line at 11, and aside from the fame and the glory of taking home a SCORE Baja 1000 victory, there’s also a tight battle on the line for the class championship. Last year’s winner, Steven Eugenio, sits in fifth place in points but is essentially out of the running to defend his title this year, but he knows there’s still plenty on the line in tomorrow’s race.

“I’m here to win. I have nothing else to lose,” Eugenio said. “The championship is pretty much out. I had some bad misfortune at the last race and it would’ve put me in a couple points behind the leader, but now the main focus is to just to try and go win. I have never had the chance to worry solely about winning since I have been in Trophy Truck.”

Eugenio knows he will be tempted to push the limits, but he intends to keep the mindset to not push too hard.

“I have an extra gear that I can let out at times, but it’s just dangerous to the truck more than anything,” he said. “There are enough drivers out there now who can just drive them so fast that they can drive the truck to death, and this is a 1000-mile race and it can go bad in a hurry if you push too hard. [Teammate] Armin Schwarz is going to drive the first section and hopefully he brings me a really good truck somewhere remotely close to where I can still strike, and I’m just going to get in and go from there.”

Pre-Ricky-Johnson-SCORE-Baja-1000-11-19-15

Ricky Johnson

Ricky Johnson, who earned the pole during qualifying in Las Vegas for driver of record Justin Matney, joked about the names of his Mexican teammates being announced along with his, but of course the racing legend was the only team member on hand there to pick up the mic. “A whole bunch of Mexican names and one gringo shows up,” Johnson joked.

The racing legend, showing why he’s a true professional, went on to praise the sport, his competitors, and explain why he’s so excited to race tomorrow. “This class is so stacked, and from doing the TV, I’m not just a reporter, I’m a fan,” Johnson said. “Like I said, you guys are my heroes… so it’s awesome for me to get to go and race with you guys.”

Tavo Vildosola (left), Gustavo Vildosola Sr. (right)

Tavo Vildosola (left), Gustavo Vildosola Sr. (right)

The driver of record for the truck leaving the starting line second is Gustavo “Tavo” Vildosola Jr., who currently leads Trophy Truck points and looks to bring home history by winning the first Trophy Truck championship by a Mexican citizen. Along with addressing his fans and the national media in his native tongue, Tavo also noted just how tough this course is in certain sections this year.

“Roger, I want to thank you, it’s a hell of a racecourse,” Tavo said. “At the military ops site over there you must have put those C-130s that are over there under your command to drop rocks all over the course.”

Rob MacCachren (center), Andy McMillin (hidden behind flag)

Rob MacCachren (center), Andy McMillin (hidden behind flag)

Defending Baja 1000 winner Rob MacCachren will return with one of his teammates from last year in Andy McMillin. Although MacCachren noted that he planned to contact his other teammate from last year Jason Voss he was beat to the punch by Luke McMillin, who will partner will Voss for this year’s race. MacCachren noted there are plenty of teams capable of winning this race, and regardless of the potential championship being on the line tomorrow just the lure of winning another 1000 is constant motivation.

“There are a ton of teams out here that really want to win this, and the ones that have tasted the Baja 1000 win before, it’s a feeling like no other,” MacCachren said. “For me, I’ve raced for over 30 years and I’ve been down here in Baja racing a lot, and there’s nothing like winning that Baja 1000 whether you’re driving across the finish line or sitting there waiting for the truck to come, and when that happens it’s an incredible feeling.”

BJ Baldwin

BJ Baldwin

One of the few racers who will not partner with another driver for this year’s race is BJ Baldwin, who also looks to notch another Baja 1000 victory on his belt.

“This is my favorite time of year, it’s like my Christmas,” Baldwin said. “Win, lose or draw, it’s definitely a challenge in itself. Growing up I always followed Ivan Stewart and he iron-manned the races and he drove the whole way in all of his races, and I kind of aspire to be just a fraction of how tough he was. Doing the Baja 1000, especially in a competitive manner where you are really trying to finish first, is a very, very tough week. We’ve been able to do it twice, and we look forward to the opportunity this year to do it again.”

With 31 racers taking the line in the Trophy Truck class alone, we expect tomorrow will offer up some amazing off-road racing. Be sure to check back with Off-Road.com for updated coverage of tomorrow’s SCORE Baja 1000.

MORE SCORE BAJA 1000 COVERAGE
5 Minutes with Dust 2 Glory Director Dana Brown

Justin Matney Fastest at SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying

Honda Off-Road Team Tests Ridgeline for Baja 1000

TAGS:  , , , , , , ,

Leave a reply