Gustavo Vildosola Jr. and Sr. Win 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
It took 42 long years before a Mexican national citizen stood atop the podium in a Score Baja 1000 race, but that historic feat was accomplished this morning at the finish line of the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 when Gustavo Vildosola Jr. and Sr. earned the overall victory in La Paz.
After coming in a close second back in 2007 during the last peninsula run for the Baja 1000, the Vildosola family was able to take the monkey off their backs and bring home a Baja 1000 victory to an ecstatic crowd of fans. You could hear the relief in Gustavo Vildosola Sr.’s voice.
“Well it’s been a long time that we’ve been planning for this,” Vildosola senior said, while a crowd of fans chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” in the background. “It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. The Baja 1000, it is the granddaddy, and I’ve been trying to win this for a long time, and today was the day.
When asked how it felt to earn the historic win with his son, Sr. was beaming with his response.
“It’s just wonderful,” he said. “It’s hard to explain the feelings because we always spend [time] together pre-running, planning the race, just thinking and talking about it, and it’s just great, which I think is very difficult for a kid his age to spend this much time with his dad, and that’s just very special.”
Gustavo Jr., or “Tavo" explained after the race the team's gameplan.
“We started second off the line, which was an amazing starting position, and we were basically going to just see what Roger’s space was and what his plan was for the day and then go form there,” Tavo said. “He had a pretty aggressive pace off the line, and we decided to just sit back and pressure him.”
The Vildosola team, which had Rodrigo Ampudia on the team as a backup but didn’t need to use him and decided to maintain the rhythm of the father-son duo, was able to get past Roger Norman, who was first off the line, after a few hundred miles of racing. Once out front, the Vildosola team never looked back. The stiffest competition for the team later in the race came from Robby Gordon, who finished in second place 22 minutes, and 18 seconds behind the winners.
“We lost GPS and we were running blind, and I just drove it off the road and into the rocks,” Gordon said. “I thought we were going to pull it off with our very first race with Speed Energy, but we just came up a little bit short.”
Roger Norman, who solo-ed the race for the first time, finished in third place to round out the podium. BJ Baldwin, who co-drove with Chad Ragland, finished less than a minute behind Norman in fourth place. Gary Weyhrich, who stayed in the hunt for most of the race, finished fifth in Trophy Truck.
What’s even more impressive about the Vildosola’s win is they edged out motorcycle winners Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody for the fastest overall time by 1 minutes, 30 seconds. Believe it or not, there was also another Mexican national team that won at the Baja 1000 this year, as the 2a ATV of Felipe Velez earned the win ahead of the 1a vehicle of Wayne Matlock. Velez – who rode with teammates Malio Diaz, Carlos Lopez, Maro Gonzales and Stefano Caputo – finished over an hour and a half in front of Matlock and his team riders Harold Goodman, Josh Caster and Wes Miller.
In Class 1, Steven Appleton dominated the competition this year, finishing in seventh place overall. At one point, Appleton looked to have a serious shot at competing for the overall win, and the first-place finish at the 1000 was certainly an impressive ride.
The 43rd running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is the 18th time the race has finished in La Paz, and 292 official starters according to SCORE officials, this is the third-most entries when a race has finished in La Paz. Of the 43 years of the SCORE Baja 1000, this is the 11th most entries in the race.
Other class winners that have crossed the finish line at the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 include: