SCORE has accepted a protest from #21 Gustavo Vildosola, Jr. against #97 BJ Baldwin for failure to stop at Checkpoint 7.
A video does in fact indicate that #97 failed to stop at the checkpoint. This video also indicates that #21 failed to stop at the checkpoint. A different video taken at the checkpoint indicates that a Motorcycle and a third Trophy Truck also failed to stop, and four other Trophy Trucks made hard sliding sudden stops. The first twelve motorcycles and the first two Trophy Trucks came through the checkpoint in darkness between the hours of 12:00AM and 6:00AM.
All of the eight 2012 SCORE Baja 1000 Stop Checkpoints were instructed to place the following large rectangular signage on the race course: CHECKPOINT 1/4 MILE – CHECKPOINT 200 YARDS – CHECKPOINT STOP.
If the checkpoint crews did not have all of the required signage prior to their departure for the race, SCORE would make arrangements to provide the signs. To supplement this signage, the checkpoints were also instructed to hold a long or short reach stop sign and wave flags, preferably on opposite sides of the designated stopping point.
SCORE has determined that due to a serious miscommunication between SCORE and the checkpoint captain, the checkpoint did not have any of the large rectangular signs or a handheld stop sign. The checkpoint captain believed that the signs would be delivered to the checkpoint location, while SCORE was under the impression that the checkpoint captain was in possession of the signs and would have his crew transport them to the checkpoint location. The checkpoint captain was traveling to Baja Sur via commercial airline and was therefore not in a position to transport the signs himself.
The checkpoint crew did have two smaller square stop signs, yellow flags and flashlight wands. The flashlight wands were used during darkness and the yellow flags were used after sunrise. The small stop signs were placed on light stands at the designated stopping point. All of the checkpoint workers and their vehicles were located on the driver’s left side near one of the light stands. The other light stand was placed across the course approximately 30 feet away from the checkpoint workers and surrounded by a group of spectators.
The #97 and #21 were the only Trophy Trucks to come through the checkpoint during darkness, and as mentioned above, both of these vehicles failed to stop at the checkpoint.
Even in daylight, a third Trophy Truck which failed to stop seemed to be under the impression that the checkpoint workers were pit flaggers waving him into his pit, so he failed to stop at the checkpoint, but immediately and smoothly turned left into his pit and stopped.
This situation was further complicated by the fact that the designated stopping location of the checkpoint was approximately 700 feet before the location indicated on the course gps file.
It is also important to note that the checkpoint captain did not file a protest against any of the race vehicles that failed to stop, and did not mention the checkpoint stopping situation to SCORE officials even though he had the opportunity to do so at race headquarters in La Paz.
SCORE concludes that the checkpoint was not properly identified or made visible enough for #97 to be held accountable in darkness to the checkpoint stop rule, so the protest is hereby denied and dismissed.
SCORE further deems that the time to file a competitor against competitor protest for issues arising from the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 has expired, so no further protests will be accepted, reviewed or acknowledged.