After Protest, BJ Baldwin Declared Baja 1000 Winner by SCORE
In a battle waged for over 1100 miles down the Baja Peninsula, it was Gustavo Vildosola who crossed the finish line first in La Paz to earn the team’s second Baja 1000 victory at the 45th running of the world famous off-road race. Father Gustavo Vildosola Sr. and son “Tavo” were the first Mexican nationals to ever win the race two years ago during the last peninsula run, and after a tight race with BJ Baldwin this year, the father-and-son team were able to earn another victory for Mexico.
“This was a much, much stronger battle than 2010,” Vildosola Sr. said at the finish. “In 2010 we started second and took the lead right after San Felipe, but this one was a little more difficult. We had to drive really hard starting from 25th.”
The Vildosolas finished the race in 19 hours, 45 minutes, with an average speed of 56.787 mph. BJ Baldwin, who led for a good portion of the race, finished just 15 minutes and 59 seconds behind the Vildosolas on corrected time with a final time of 20 hours and 59 seconds. What’s most impressive is both trucks finished ahead of the overall motorcycle winner Colton Udall, who completed the race in 20 hours, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. This is only the ninth time in the 45-year history of the race that a Trophy Truck (or trucks) has finished faster than the lead bike.
After the race, Tavo said it came down to careful planning and a solid gameplan that helped the team earn the victory.
“We actually spent some time looking at some video of the start from the Baja 500 from 2011 in preparation,” Tavo said after the race. “I drove really hard at the start (of the 2011 Baja 500) and it didn't get my anywhere. At the 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. There has been a noise coming from the truck for the last 400 miles and I was praying to get to the finish line.”
Although Baldwin was unable to earn the overall victory at the 1000, his second-place finish did seal up the Trophy Truck Championship in SCORE for 2012.
As mentioned, Udall on the 1x bike earned the pro motorcycle win, beating out the KTM 5x bike of Kurt Caselli. Jim O’Neal earned the overall victory on an ATV for his win in Class 21, while Mike Johnson finished with the win in Class 30 (30 or older motorcycles).
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