Post-race quotes from the 2017 Baja 1000 –

Post-race quotes from the 2017 Baja 1000


November 18, 2017

50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000

Nov. 16-18, 2017 – 1,134.40 miles;

 Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Post-race quotes



CARLOS “APDALY” LOPEZ, No. 1 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Lopez started and drove to race mile 454. Juan C. Lopez drove to race mile 991. Lopez drove to the finish.) — It was a very rough race and the course was very dusty but we are here. Just before the sun set, the fog on the beach was very bad. We have been looking forward to this for a year and everything went as we planned it.  Next year we are going to try and win another championship. This win is significant to me because I’ve always dreamed about winning the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 and to win with my dad is amazing. Baja is family and my little brother is driving a Class 1 so my whole family is racing in the 1000. My mom was on the highway chasing for us.

CAMERON STEELE, No. 16 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Pat Dean started and drove to race mile 538. Steele drove to the finish.) — We are really proud of the effort that the whole team put in. It’s a family affair and we are 100 percent sponsored and friend funded and it is important to do a good job. Missing it by one or two tells us that we have the program to do it but we just have to get to that next step. Everybody just crushed it on the peninsula today. The longest non-stop desert race in the world is the real deal. The 80 miles of whups right at the end are pretty sadistic.

DAN McMILLIN, No. 23 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. McMillin started and drove to race mile 580. Gary Weyhrich drove to the finish.) — CO-DRIVER GARY WEYHRICH said:  Dan had one flat and I didn’t have any so that is pretty good to only have one flat in 1130 miles. In the fog, I had to back way down. I rolled the truck at the finish and we lost a few minutes there.

BILLY WILSON, No. 15 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Wilson drove to race mile 520. Chad Bunch drove to race mile 950. Wilson drove to the finish.) — We picked some good lines and made it through the silt. The last few hundred miles was zero visibility and constant wiping of the visor. This race is so competitive and everybody did their homework so we were racing each other more than the terrain. I had a little incident in the dust when I drove into a ditch and got pulled out with about 12 miles to go.

CHRIS MILLER, No. 40 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish.) — This is the first time I’ve ever driven this truck. It took me about 150 miles but I finally learned how to wheel this thing. It is different from my other truck and this thing absolutely rips. The toughest deal on this race was the fog. We went through eight towels wiping off our visors.

TROY HERBST, No. 91 (Sixth in class and sixth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Herbst shared driving duties with Brett Sourapas and his brother, Tim.) — It was a great race today. I really enjoy everybody in Baja sitting on the side of the track all the way down the peninsula cheering us on. It was a great event. We had a little transmission problem but everybody else had issues too so I’m happy to be here. We had a driveline come apart but luckily our chase guys were pretty close. It ended up being a decent day but just short of where we wanted to be.

LUKE McMILLIN, No. 83 (Seventh in class and seventh overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. McMillin drove to race mile 580. Larry Roeseler drove to the finish.) — We had a really good day going for us. We maintained our pace all day. We ended up getting the truck first on the road and gave to Larry. He increased the lead doing what Larry does best by staying steady and smooth. We got up to an 11-minute lead and bad luck struck again and somehow a shock came apart. It makes no sense because the limit straps were there. We got it fixed and we’re here. CO-DRIVER LARRY ROESELER said: Luke did a fantastic job. He was unbelievable. He was first on the road at race mile 580. I got in and were putting time on everybody, cruising and doing what I love to do. We led for another 300 miles. We had some brake issues and then we broke a shock. That was the major downfall. We came here to win this race and I wanted to make it number 14 for the 50th year so we are a little disappointed. It is a passion and it has been my life and without the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 my career wouldn’t be where it is today. It’s emotional and we were close.

BRYCE MENZIES, No. 7 (Eighth in class and ninth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Menzies shared driving duties with Jesse Jones and Pete Mortenson.) — CO-DRIVER PETE MORTENSON said:  We had a hell of day. We were battling for the lead and we stuck it into a ditch and broke our steering box about 100 miles from the finish. Jesse Jones got a little injured from that so I hopped in and brought it to the finish. It cost us about two hours. That was probably one of the most aggressive BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000s I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve done 10 now. I’m just happy to be here. We lost the hood at about race mile 180 chasing down Ricky Johnson (Larry Connor #6) on Puertocitos Road. He just stopped while we were doing 120 so it was just instant collide. It took the lights and the hood out right away. We had to fix all the lights at the next pit stop. I’ve never been in so much fog. It was wet and it was cold but you couldn’t keep the water off your shield. We must have been through 300 miles of whups four feet deep today.

CAMERON STEELE, No. 14 (Ninth in class and tenth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Bobby Pecoy started and drove to race mile 536. Greg Distefano drove to the finish.) — CO-DRIVER GREG DISTEFANO said: This was my first race ever in a SCORE Trophy Truck. We had an amazing trip and I wish we could just keep going. The truck had an alternator issue early on so we were about 100 miles down. This morning in San Javier there was a lot of moisture and I couldn’t see and my visor fogged up.


GUSTAVO VILDOSOLA SR., No. 21L (First in class.) — The 50th anniversary was a big deal for us. CO-DRIVER RODRIGO AMPUDIA SR. said: It is a pleasure to be on a bi-national team and a great family team and to win this race together. CO-DRIVER SCOTT BAILEY said: It is exciting to have two Mexican nationals and two gringos down here teamed up. For us to be able to do it like we did is pretty incredible.


JON WALKER, No. 189 (First in class. Walker shared driving duties with Joey Black.) — This was long and tough. Driving in clouds is always tough. We had a flat and we had to change a set of back brakes. The last 100 miles was pretty nerve wracking.

BRAD WILSON, No. 153 (Second in class.) — We had some issues around race mile 950 so it put us back. There was so much more silt than I would have imagined and I pre-ran only two days ago.

AL TORRES, No. 114 (Third in class.) – This was my first time trying this peninsula run and it feels great to finish it. It was pretty tough in the fog so it slowed us down a bit. The hardest thing is to try and keep pace and not break. Over that many miles you’re not going to win it in the first half. You’ve got to go a consistent pace the whole way to win this thing. We had transmission problems. The gears were sticking and the throttle was sticking so we had to limp it so we didn’t get the throttle stuck all the way open.

BRIAN WILSON, No. 138 (Fourth in class. Wilson drove the start to race mile 540. Randy Wilson drove to race mile 720. Kyle Quinn drove to the finish.) — CO-DRIVER KYLE QUINN said: Around mile 810 I came around a corner and slid off hitting a pretty square face, ripped the shock apart on the passenger’s side and broke the lower A arm into two pieces. We were down for three or four hours waiting for a part to come in.

MATT CULLEN, No. 105 (Fifth in class.) — CO-DRIVER CHUCK SACKS said: We’ve attempted to finish this race for the last several years and we finally put one together today. It took us all day but it was worth every minute of it. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The bumps are growing and growing. Between pre-running and today it was a whole different course out there. We had some flat tires on the start and that held us up. CO-RIDER GREG RYAN said: There was a lot going on out there and we overshot a turn and kind of dealt with that along with a lot of pileups. It was rough but we made it.


CODY REID, No. 1068 (First in class and eighth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Adam Pfankuch drove to race mile 290. Brian Bowles drove to race mile 550. Sammy Ehrenberg drove to race mile 835. Reid drove to the finish.) — It was a flawless run and we didn’t have any problems. The fog and silt was a challenge because it turned to mud and literally it was lights out. It blacked out our lights while we were still in the dark. It blacked out my visor and glasses so I had to drive without my glasses which isn’t a good thing. We took off fourth and I think we were leading the race by mile 100 and we never looked back. We never even took the spare tire out. CO-DRIVER SAMMY EHRENBERG said: We put kind of a dream team together. All the guys that have raced against each other for years came together and raced with each other this time. It was a very challenging course. This was my seventh peninsula run. It was a flawless day and we put the car in front. The first open-wheel buggy across the line and it is a Class 10.

CLAY LAWRENCE, No. 1002 (Second in class.) — This was an absolutely fantastic race and this is my first finish in the real Baja. I couldn’t be happier. To not have it on my bucket list anymore is a little bit sad but I love that box being ticked. To actually finish in a fine way and have a real result out of it just adds to it. This is my first track-position finish on the podium.

JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 1085 (Third in class.) — We are a little worn out. We had to earn the finish on this one. We had a last-minute driver change and he never even drove the car before. I got in at race mile 400 and was cruising along and we had a power steering pump go out. We changed it before the next pit and lost one again. We were battling and caught back up until we were second and then we lost an axle. We were still in the mix until we lost an alternator with about 100 miles to go. I think the whole car is pretty much junk. No oil pressure and the steering is about done but we are here and that’s all that matters. The fog was so bad that it was like rain pouring down our visors and then our Parker pumper went out so we couldn’t defog our helmets. It was one of the hardest nights of racing I’ve had.

T.J. TULS, No. 1090 (Fourth in class. Tuls shared driving duties with Corey Keysar and Todd Tuls.) — We had a great time and a great day. We lost the power steering pump about 60 miles ago. It was a tough course and makes the U.S. races seem pretty easy.

GEORGE MARSH, No. 1070 (Sixth in class.) — CO-DRIVER RANDY ELLIS said: Everything went really well. It was just one big, long car crash with and end at the end.

LUKE ERCEG, No. 1050 (Eleventh in class.) — CO-DRIVER CHRIS WESTERN said: This is an all Australian team and we brought it home so it was absolutely awesome. The best thing about coming over here now compared to a couple of years ago is that the whole off-road racing community in Australia is watching us live. They’re in their seats feeling exactly what we are feeling. Every year you see improvements and the biggest thing is the communication. My mates and family can be home and pretty much ride with us.


JOHN LANGLEY, No. 250 (First in class. Kash Vessels started and drove to race mile 340. Steve Hengeveld drove to race mile 840. Langley drove to the finish.) — This was one of my dreams to win the 50th. I’ve got the best guys driving with me and they did a fabulous job. It is incredible at my age to beat all of these kids. Without the help of Steve Hengeveld and Kash Vessels I don’t know that I would be here. All I had to do was take the last 300 miles and get it here. Some idiot rolled my car while I was driving it. I got stuck in the silt in a blown turn. I’ve got to thank all the local fans who helped us get on our feet. The biggest battle was the course. I got into the car in a great position with guys seven or eight minutes behind us and then we gained on them. CO-DRIVER STEVE HENGEVELD said: We set our goals and came out and accomplished them and that’s what makes a good team. CO-DRIVER KASH VESSELS said: They flipped the start and the Class 10 cars started in front of the spec trucks this race. I’ve been the Class 10 car guy complaining about the spec trucks being in the way so it was interesting to be on the other side of the coin. Fighting through the Class 10 cars and the dust was probably the most difficult thing. The Stella was amazing because I never had to touch a single car and everybody moved over. Winning the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 feels great to me because I have four second-place Baja 1000 point-to-point finishes and haven’t gotten the win quite yet so to get it finally is huge to me.

BRYCE SWAIM, No. 242 (Second in class.) — This truck is just an animal and takes whatever you want to throw at it. We put the truck on its hood for a couple of minutes but thanks to a couple of locals we got it back on its wheels and came through. We were close to the leader and lost some time there.

ALEX GONZALES, No. 296 (Third in class.) — The race was everything. Rocks, bumps, soft-sand silt and everything you could ever imagine all packed into one race. The dust was lingering and it was very hard to see. I’m happy with our entire race. The transmission started getting hot about 50 miles from the finish so we started cruising. It feels amazing to finish this race with my father and my best friend.

WILLIAM HEDRICK, No. 295 (Fourth in class.) — It was awesome. It was a great course and we had a great start. We started in twelfth and I got the car into sixth. We struggled a little bit and got stuck a couple of times. After a car went by you could see the dust for 15 minutes afterward. It was pretty bad especially at night. We had a flat and got stuck twice which cost us about an hour. We got off the road to fix the flat in a really soft spot and we didn’t notice it, fixed the flat, tried to get out and got stuck. CO-DRIVER GARRETT McCOURT said: I came here for a blue hat. We went out there and drove as fast as we could safely. We got squirrely and went off the side of a cliff so they threw me in the driver’s seat and I brought it into the pit the best I could. We overshot the corner and slid down it sideways and an entire tree came inside the truck. I had to get out of the truck and pull the tree out. It was my first time in the truck and I’ve never been a part of anything like this. It was my first BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.

LEE BANNING, No. 255 (Fifth in class. Banning shared driving duties with Steve Melton, Rick Graf and Lee Banning, Jr.) — CO-DRIVER LEE BANNING JR. said: We had the last 300 miles from Loreto to the finish and it was rough. I’ve been doing this for ten years and that’s the roughest course I’ve ever been on. We had a lot of fun. The truck is loose and worn out but that’s to be expected on a long run. It is awesome to finish the 50th and out of 11 Baja 1000s we’ve finished 10 of them.

CHELSEA MAGNESS, No. 232 (Thirteenth in class.) – CO-DRIVER GARY MAGNESS said:  We had fuel pump issues early on at about mile 50 and then we broke a shock. We would have been done in San Ignacio but a Trophy Spec team from La Paz loaned us a shock. We struggled but we are here.


CASEY CURRIE, No. 4422 (First in class.) — We had a wiring gremlin that set us back about two hours but I’m stoked to be here. We started last and had an epic battle from the beginning. It was fun passing everyone in the first couple hundred miles and setting the pace.

DAVID COLE, No. 4454 (Second in class.) — It was fantastic. We just drove 1100 miles through Baja so how could it be any better? The silt wasn’t bad because we have four-wheel drive so we went right through it. That’s where we passed a lot of people. I like the silt. We thought we had an alternator going away but it was just a problem at idle and once we got back up to speed we were fine. We lost a fan relay and put a new one in about 100 miles ago and drove in.


DAVID WESTHEM, No. 801 (First in class. Westhem shared driving duties with John Swift and Randy Salmont.) — It was a full-team effort. I had to come back to do the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. I won the 20th in Class 8 when I was a rookie. Then I won the 30th so I had to come back for the 50th. What a great race and great course. It was the toughest off-road race I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in 150 or 200. It’s all about keeping the car together and preparation. We had a little trouble off the start and had a problem with a shift cable so we were the last vehicle to leave Ensenada.

NOAH OSTANIK, No. 844 (Second in class.) — I can’t thank my guys enough and the people that get us here. It has been an amazing run and to finish it. This big girl here (truck) is getting retired. This is her last run after 12 years of racing in the SCORE series because we are stepping up to Trophy Truck Spec next year.

CLASS 1/2-1600

ROBERTO ROMO, No. 1601 (First in class. Romo shared driving duties with Luis Martines, Cesar Fiscal and Francisco Villa Gomes.) — We did a really good job in the last few miles. We are really happy.

ADOLFO ARAMBULA, No. 1650 (Second in class.) — It was a pretty rough race. Just to finish here is awesome.


KEVIN CARR, No. 511 (First in class.) — We had some electrical issues that put us down for a while. Toward the end I kept hearing something banging back there in the transmission but we made it.

JOSE LOPEZ, No. 509 (Second in class.) — I was driving through the dust and hit a big cactus.


AL HOGAN, No. 726 (First in class. Hogan shared driving duties with Dr. Macrae Glass, Dave Baesken and Zach Sizelove.) — CO-DRIVER ZACH SIZELOVE said: They put an alternator on it kind of early and when I got in at Loreto it had a little bit of a fuel issue so they put a carburetor on it. The silt was gnarly. This was my first BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 and it was unbelievable. I had no clue.

JEFF PROCTOR, No. 709 (Second in class.) — Coming out of town on the start all the cars in front of us were stacked up in 30-second intervals so we were working through lots of slower traffic. We finally got some clean air when we got to Ojos Negros. Overall we were just working our plan and taking it easy on the equipment. We got to race mile 160 and we split a driveshaft in the deep sand and that put us back. Knowing the attrition rate and how hard it is to finish this race it is a very special accomplishment. CO-DRIVER JOHNNY CAMPBELL said: I’ve never raced a truck this far before so it was a good experience for me. I came down with my brother and pre-ran for the week. We tried to make good decisions in the silt. In the big whups we had to slow down and try to catch back up. Finishing any Baja 1000 is a big deal because it is hard to drive off road for 1000 miles. You know you’re going to have some hardships along the way. I was blessed to come down here and ride again, this time on four wheels instead of two wheels. The 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 was a personal goal so I wanted to participate in some capacity.


FREDDIE WILLERT, No. 1206 (First in class. Willert shared driving duties with Tex Mitchell, Stan Potter and Dan Worley.) — It was one of the roughest courses I’ve ever seen. Coming into Loreto I had the fan belt come off and that was it. The silt was incredibly deep and it made for a really tough race. There were a lot of rocks down by Loreto and it was the toughest section I’ve ever driven. CO-DRIVER DAN WORLEY said: I just maintained in my section. I just cruised because I didn’t want to hurt the car. We had to deal with a hub and I lost about 40 minutes but I think we had about a five-hour lead.

RAFAEL AGUIRRE, No. 1222 (Second in class.) — The silt at mile 520 was a cemetery for the cars. I spent five hours crossing 60 miles.


JOHN MAINE, No. 8001 (First in class.) — We put this together in 40 days, building four chase trucks and prepping this Jeep. We hope to be back for the 60th and one or two in between.

CLASS 3000

REID RUTHERFORD, No. 3010 (First in class.) — It went really good and I’m really happy. The man above watched us the whole way. We got stuck once but we didn’t have any flats.

BILL BAYES, No. 3006 (Second in class.) — It was dusty and silty but a hell of a lot of fun.

PHILLIP CASEY, No. 3044 (Third in class.) — This is hard work but we had good fun. A massive thanks to the Mexican people because they’ve made it for us from the pre-run to the people clapping along the course. It is an unbelievable feeling.


BRANDON SCHUELER, No. 2919 (First in class. Pat Stone started and drove to race mile 388. Matt Park drove to race mile 750. Schueler drove to the finish.) — The race was phenomenal. Everyone was super polite and got out of the way and we got out of the way of everybody trying to pass us. Everything went really smooth.

JUSTIN ELENBURG, No. 2977 (Second in class.) — We had a fueling mishap. We tell our crew that they need to be safe so they missed one stop by 10 minutes because they were driving the speed limit. We hit the fog which covered everything in water, caused our radio to be intermittent and our battery gauges to go out. We hit the silt and the lights didn’t come back on. Luckily the factory lights didn’t get covered so we drove with the factory lights until we found some spectators and asked them to clean the lights for us.

MIKE CAFRO, No. 2975 (Third in class. Cafro split driving duties with Jamie Kirkpatrick.) — It was the most brutal Baja I’ve ever done. We had a good race going and at about mile 800 we had a few issues that set us back. This is the most whups I’ve dealt with in my 25 years of racing down here.

DEREK MURRAY, No. 2917 (Fourth in class.) — At race mile 70 the car caught on fire while we were fueling. Four of our teammates got burned and one had to go back to the states for treatment. The whole car caught fire in the back so we had to replace the intercooler and a bunch of electrical components. We were running in the top four or five at that point and we dropped back to 23rd or 24th. It was a tough day right off the bat. We decided to keep pushing and the car did well all day. It was flawless until about 180 miles out when the steering rack blew out where it attaches to the frame. We had to jerry-rig it to hold the steering rack onto the frame. It blew out again and we used a tie-down to hold it in for the last 100 miles. The car was perfect but Baja got the best of us so it is awesome to get here. Overcoming those obstacles is what makes desert racing so amazing.

WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 2971 (Fifth in class.) — Things were going good in the beginning and then around mile 75 it started going south. We started losing front axles on the car. We lost three front axles before San Felipe. Before Gonzaga Bay we decided to change a lower A arm which was causing the problem. When we got to Gonzaga Bay my chase truck wasn’t there so I took the A arm off myself and waited for them to arrive. Unbeknownst to me my chase truck was stuck in the sand at the last pit. We waited for two and a half hours. We got back on the road and didn’t have any other problems.


DAN FRESH, No. 1939 (First in class.) — We started off like we always do with a really fast pace trying to put some time on everybody. We got caught down in San Felipe by a couple of cars but stayed tried and true. We kept a good fast pace through the first 400 miles and then backed it off until we could get some intel and find out where we were actually at. After that we raced for the win and went as fast as could to bring it home in first. The car was flawless.

DODGE POELMAN, No. 1962. (Second in class.) CO-DRIVER RYAN POELMAN said: It was an unbelievable experience and I’m super grateful to have done it with my son. Hopefully he will start racing some bigger trucks but he will have to figure out a job to start paying for some of that stuff.

DON WHITTINGTON, No. 1998 (Third in class.) — CO-DRIVER LARRY RAGLAND said:  Everything went well. It was fun but we are a little limited by speed. The silt was pretty bad and I don’t think we would have made it without four-wheel drive. That’s a big advantage.

PAUL HODGE, No. 1970 (Eighth in class.) CO-DRIVER LAIRD HAMILTON (Famous world surfer) said: It was monumental. I’ve done a lot of different things but that was definitely a unique one. I’m honored to have done it. Our hub came off at race mile 17 and our tire rolled all the way down a giant gulch and we couldn’t find it for an hour and a half.


EARL BERG, No. 1888 (First in class.) — The run started off with a blown gear box two nights before race day. It improved from there to wrecked parts and wrecked tires. I had an awesome pit crew putting everything back together. Our goal wasn’t to get to the finish line but to the start line. I just couldn’t be happier than sitting here today. It is a lifelong dream.


JASON VANDENBORN, No. 1377 (First in class.) — Everything went really well. We did it on our own and it was just Kendall Ballentine and myself. It was a long haul. Right from the leaving the line until the time that we just pulled in here there wasn’t a dull moment.

CLASS 5-1600

GUSTAVO AVINA, No. 578 (First in class.) — We had a lot of fun all the way down to La Paz. We had to overcome some issues and there was tough competition but we were able to pull it through.

GUY SAVEDRA, No. 569 (Second in class.) — We dedicated this race to my father and former SCORE tech director Art Savedra who passed away four months ago. I had a tremendous team and a number of people who came forth for sponsorship. We had about four flat tires and an alternator issue but fortunately we caught that in the pit and changed it. There was so much silt our throttle cable was getting stuck for the last 120 miles.

OREANY ROJAS, No. 572 (Third in class.) — The race was very difficult and we didn’t have any brakes for the last few miles.


DONALD MOSS, No. 302 (First in class.) — The fog and dust in the middle section during the night was the slowest and toughest part. Our goal was to be here for the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. We were here for the 40th and coincidentally this is our 50th class win. CO-DRIVER KEN MOSS said: We’ve had 13 Baja 1000 wins all in this truck since 2000.


BRIAN FINCH, No. BC1 (First in class.) — CO-DRIVER BOB BOWER said: It was amazing. You don’t win this thing alone. It took everyone. When we had our little heart-to-heart before we all split out into our parts of the desert we said we have all have a choice. You can be 14 percent of the win or if you don’t think your way through it you can be 100 percent of the loss. What was really pleasing to see was the big teams, that are known for hauling butt on the highway, driving 55 and taking care of business to get down the peninsula. The course was a such a great mix that challenged you mentally.

JEFF SMITH, No. BC2 (Second in class.) — CO-DRIVER DARRYL BECKER said: It was tough. The silt beds were bad and we lost a tire about 30 miles out. It was a mess but we are here.

ANTONIO MARMOLEJO, No. BC7 (Third in class.) — The course was very technical which I really like. The BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 is the most exciting race in the world and it was special to finish the 50th anniversary race. The traditions, people and landscapes of Baja are so special.

MIKE BRODEUR, No. BC4 (Fourth in class.) — We lost a left rear tire. I don’t know what happened but the lug nuts just fell off. The seat broke and the jack was stuck behind the seat so we couldn’t get to the jack. We tried to stop people on the way in to see if we could borrow a jack.


ROD HALL, No. 8101 (First in class.) — There aren’t a lot of racers in this class but it only takes two guys to have a good race. We’ve had a good race all day and half the night. Hopefully this is my last one and I think that every good time comes to an end. I’m going to be 80 years old and I’m worn out. I’m not quite like the Hummer that you can put new tires on and be ready to roll. It has been a good run and the best part of Baja is the people down here. It is important to me for my last race to have a win in the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. CO-DRIVER CHAD HALL said: I made a front valving change on the shocks to try and absorb the bigger bumps and make the smaller bumps smoother. I went out and tested the truck and I accomplished that but I made it too soft. We kind of struggled all day. CO-DRIVER FRANK DEANGELO said: I drove a little over 500 miles and almost everywhere we went it was chewed up. I kept thinking that it has never been chewed up like this before. I realized that we started all the way in the back and there were over 400 entries so no wonder it was chewed up. We came down and mapped it and there were 40 miles of whups by Constitucion and now there is like 90 miles of them. It was so slow and so painful. We took it easy and cruised through it because we had a pretty good lead.

MARC VAN TASSELL, No. 8155 (Second in class.) — CO-DRIVER KURT WILLIAMS said: It was fantastic. We had a great race with a couple of problems along the way. We lost a wheel and some wheel studs which left us stranded for about four hours.

CLASS 1700

MARK MURRELL, No. 1788 (First in class.) – We’ve tried this numerous times but this is the first time we’ve made it. We finished it and won it. We love it and we couldn’t feel any better right now.


PANCHO BIO, No. 1118 (First in class.) – The race course was really silty and chewed up. The big cars really tear up the course so it is tough for us to get through it. I’ve been racing for 35 years and this is probably my eighth BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. Winning the 50th anniversary in a Class 11 is special and sharing it with my kids is an extra bonus.

DENNIS HOLLENBECK, No. 1121 (Second in class. Hollenbeck shared driving duties with Armando Salazar, Brian Crosson, Kailen Hill and Paul Harte.) — Obviously the race was long for us in Class 11 but it was a wonderful race. We had our ups and we had our downs but we kept plugging away. There were hills, silt, sand and water crossings. You name it and it had it all. We finished with all four fenders and this is the first race we’ve finished with all four fenders. CO-DRIVER KAILEN HILL said: We had some problems with the steering box and couldn’t get it to turn left hardly at all. With that and reverse not working, every time we made a wrong turn or a sharp hairpin one or two of us had to get out and push it backwards to get going. We had so much play in the steering that you could turn it almost a full crank either way before it would actually turn. We would go through the silt beds and it would grab and just be locked left. Eventually we made the decision to change out the steering box which cost us an hour or two.



RICARDO RODRIGUEZ, No. 1504 (First in class.) — Everybody worked hard to finish the race and we are very happy to be here in La Paz.


YUVAL SHARON, No. 1802 (First in class. Sharon drove solo.) — This race started in Israel for us. We came all the way here on a 16-hour flight and we built the car in Phoenix. We drove 21 hours to pre-run and we went back to Phoenix to fix the vehicle. Just this month we drove about 11,000 kilometers on the road and 3,000 kilometers off road. You need to find crazy people for this race because it is really difficult. I’ve done it three times before with some friends but we always had troubles so this time I decided to do it by myself.



FRANCISCO ARREDONDO, No. 45x – (First in class and first overall motorcycle to finish. Francisco Arredondo started. Shane Esposito rode from Ensenada to San Felipe. Ty Davis rode to El Crucero. Max Eddy rode to Vizcaino. Davis rode to north of Loreto. Eddy rode for 30 miles to Loreto. Justin Morgan rode from Loreto to the finish.) — I rolled off the start. I knew it was going to be a tough day and I rode most of my miles on the 44x (Justin Morgan) bike. We knew it was going to be a fight for us. It is really special, the 50th anniversary, and we really gave it all to try and win. We tried to stick to our plan the whole time and were surprised in some places where we made up time. We had some problems with the transmission at the end which made us worried. We didn’t know if the bike was going to hold up from Loreto to the finish and Justin had to adjust his riding at the end. We knew it was going to be a fight and we had a good lead but that changed. CO-RIDER JUSTIN MORGAN said: I had a lot of issues with the transmission on this bike. I’m surprised it actually finished. We didn’t really get out of fourth (gear) too much coming in after Santa Rita. It (the transmission) was pretty much toast and making a bunch of noise so that was my main issue. It was a really gnarly course and I’m tired after being on the bike for six hours. I left it all out there for sure. CO-RIDER MAX EDDY said: It was a long race and anything can happen. In 2014 we won this race in the last 300 miles and that is kind of the same thing they (Mark Samuels 1x) did today. They made a difference in the last 300 miles. At one point today we had a 27-minute lead and to come up three or four minutes short at the finish line is a huge bummer for us. We put a lot of effort and time into our program. It is good to be here and healthy.

MARK SAMUELS, No. 1x (Second in class and second overall motorcycle to finish. Colton Udall started and rode to race mile 110. Justin Jones rode from race mile 110 to 303. Udall rode from race mile 303 to 524. Mark Samuels rode from race mile 524 to 785. Ryan Penhall rode from race mile 785 to 935. Ian Young rode to the finish.) — We had a pretty slow start this morning because Colton had an issue that set us back a little bit. It was a little nerve wracking but Colton worked really hard when he got the transponder back on there. We were like 30 minutes back really early into the race. The 45x team was riding really good. It was hard to make time up on them and it was a pretty wild race. We kept chipping away at the lead. I’m really happy. CO-RIDER RYAN PENHALL said: The ride was great and all of my teammates kicked ass. Ian brought it in to the finish and he is a whup monster. They (Francisco Arredondo 45x) were leading by about 20 minutes at one time and we just kept pulling it in. We all kept saying “keep charging.” We had a good race. CO-RIDER COLTON UDALL said: This day made a huge change for the good when my brother Ian got on the bike. We had some good riding and Mark did a really good job. Our tracker broke off at race mile 95 and we had to duct tape it. It took us forever to get the thing back together. Justin Jones ripped his section and I was able to just match their pace. CO-RIDER IAN YOUNG said: I’ve dreamed about this my whole life. Colton is one of the strongest people I’ve met. He hurt his back this year and I watched him completely rebuild himself from zero back up to where he is now. Colton sat in my bedroom for three months and barely got out of bed. When he did it was because I made him get up, hop in my van and go listen to some reggae music around San Clemente. He hurt himself on December 15 and spent two weeks in the hospital. In March he went back to his home and started working. The guy looks like he is 75 sometimes and then he hops on a motorcycle and goes pretty dang good. Just to get one more opportunity to race the motorcycle with him on this peninsula means a lot to me. It is a dream come true. I do want to say congratulations to Francisco Arredondo’s team. They honestly worked their butt off and led this race all day long. They led it for over 1050 miles and I just led it for the last 75 with are the most important miles to lead.

RAY DAL SOGLIO, No. 3x (Third in class and third overall motorcycle to finish. Dal Soglio shared riding duties with Derek Ausserbauer, Arik Swain, Bryce Oxley and Travis Frohlich.) — It feels good to be here and I rode like a mad man. I got the bike in fourth place and 20 minutes down and rode like a mad man until I got it into third. The whups were gnarly and I just kept pushing through and I kept seeing more and more dust. Sure enough I saw them (the third place motorcycle) pulled over and never saw them again. I want to dedicate the race to my sister Dana because I had quite a few sketchy moments but I made it through them all and I have her to thank for that. The Honda is just the ultimate bike down here. This is probably the straightest and best running bike I was ever handed at a 1000-mile race. I’ve got to thank my teammates for not crashing it. CO-RIDER BRYCE OXLEY said: Ray is a solid choice to finish the race because he is strong and has a lot of experience on this 3x bike. Baja pit three to Loreto was silty, rocky, whoopy and really gnarly. Coming into Loreto it was really rocky as it always is but it seems like there isn’t a lot of dirt out there right now. With the sun going down at that time of day it made it really difficult so I had to be on my toes more so than during pre-running. A lot of people don’t understand that we are doing this seven, eight, nine or 10 times before the race to get these sections down. Every time there is some room for error that we try to avoid and that goes for every team and every rider. The cows and horses are crazy and there isn’t a way to pre-run for them. The silt just gets deeper and deeper. I pre-ran this two days ago and had a line that I thought was going to work but it wasn’t the line that worked on race day. Baja is the gnarliest racing there is and I’m happy to be here and a part of it. CO-RIDER TRAVIS FROHLICH said: We changed some riders so I had only ridden my first section a few times before I raced it. I made a few mistakes, got off track and got  lost a little bit. I got back on course and was able to go a little quicker.

JUSTIN MORGAN, No. 44x (Fourth in class and fourth overall motorcycle to finish. Grant Stately started and rode to race mile 340. Brad Millikan rode to race mile 540. Troy Vanscourt rode to race mile 660. Francisco Arredondo rode to race mile 840. Vanscourt rode to race mile 1040. Tommy Harris rode to the finish.) — CO-RIDER TOMMY HARRIS said: That was an exciting ride. I was feeling really good but I had some issues with the bike and I had to bust out the tool belt. Unfortunately, my buddy Ray (Dal Soglio) got by me. I pulled up my bootstraps and tried to send it but I got sketchy a few times and it just wasn’t in the cards for us today. I felt like it was a good showing for the first run of the 44x bike. We had a sprocket and chain issue but I’m not really sure what it was. We changed out everything we could. CO-RIDER GRANT STATELY said: It was a long stretch right off the bat. Riding seven hours with six of them being at night through San Felipe was brutal. I was dreading my section the whole time because I knew it was going to be painful. In part of my section before Valle Trinidad I missed a turn and got lost. I didn’t pre-run that section at night so I didn’t plan very well there. CO-RIDER TOMMY HARRIS said: I got on the bike earlier today at Vizcaino and rode that section through the sand whups and over to San Ignacio. It was a really fun section and I just held it wide-open through that sand. I had a really good ride with no issues but for one little bobble but I was able to keep the bike upright. I got a good mix of Baja with sand washes, whups and water crossing. It kept me on my toes and it was really fun.


SANTIAGO CREEL, No. 160x (First in class. Creel shared riding duties with Alberto Heredia, Massimo Mangini, Larry Serna, Gerry Rojas and Eric Rene Mangana.) — CO-RIDER ERIC RENE MANGANA said: Trying to keep the bike running was a challenge. We lost three hours with electrical problems. The lights kept going off. We had to ride 200 miles with a stock light. We do it at a hobby but finishing the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 is a pride thing for us.

MATT MILLER, No. 119x (Second in class.) — Starting at midnight changed everything on who the riders would be and when they would ride. We had to jump in the truck and drive after we rode. It was a big undertaking. CO-RIDER JOHN WEAR said: There are only three of us on the team so we all rode two legs. A lot of the other teams have five riders so I think we did pretty good. CO-RIDER PHIL SHUYLER said: This is my first 1000 and John’s first 1000 and we’ve never raced in Baja before so I would say we did damn good.


RYAN LIEBELT, No. 300x (First in class.) – CO-RIDER JUSTIN SCHULTZ said: Ryan started the race and we luckily drew the first position from our Tijuana Desert Challenge result. He gave us a solid lead. Unfortunately, one of our guys (Kris Kilbride) clipped something and went down and hit a cactus. We got Ryan back in there to get the bike to Greg Bardonnex. Greg started the comeback after being down an hour. He really charged hard. The lights got shattered on the crash so we had to go to a backup set which cost us another five minutes.

CHAD THORNTON, No. 333x (Second in class.) — CO-RIDER JASON TRUBEY said: We are a little tired after a long day and night. We had a lot of problems but everyone worked hard and did what they had to do to get the bike back in shape. We are much faster than our results show.


JANO MONTOYA, No. 400x (First in class. Montoya shared riding duties with Francisco Septien, Jeff Kawell and Kirk Russell.) — Every rider just did a great job. From the beginning we just kept pushing and pushing. I can’t say enough about my teammates because everybody put in a great effort and here we are. We knew we had a great team but there is a lot of good competition. To be in La Paz and with the 50th is just a dream come true for us. I pre-ran two weeks ago and it was fine, but today there is just silt everywhere. I think my clutch was just about to give out so I had to nurse it back to the finish line.

MIKE BARNHILL, No. 420x (Second in class.) — We had some down time that probably cost us first place.


ROBERT GATES, No. 549x (First in class.) — CO-RIDER DOUG SMITH said: This has been a long time coming. We put a team together all year and built a good bike. We got a second place in San Felipe and the Baja 500 so for the 1000 we had to bring it home first to win the championship. CO-RIDER JEFF KAPLAN said: It was really silty and the fog was the worst I’ve ever seen. In the last 200 miles I don’t think I had my goggles on for three-quarters of the time. We had a lighting issue that put us down for 20 minutes. We changed the rectifier and a few things. We don’t know what fixed it but it went away. It was some kind of short but nobody got by us.

ROBERT CREEMERS, No. 515x (Second in class.) — My goggles got too dirty in the silt and fog so I just had to come in without them. I’m paying for it now.


DONALD LEWIS, No. 609x (First in class.) — I was off for a couple of years recovering from some injuries. We have a wonderful team with a lot of good 60-year-old riders but I’m 74 so now I’m the old guy.


JEFF BENRUD, No. 715x (First in class.) — It was brutal. I was feeling really bad about halfway through then I ate a bunch of food and felt better. I got a good shot of adrenaline the last 80 miles with all of the Mexicans cheering me on and I knew I was in the lead. Lots of prayers to make sure I would get here. I’m kind of numb in an out-of-body experience now. This is the third year I’ve finished across the line first in the Ironman class but I’ve been penalized to second twice. The silt is tough for me. I’m short and fall down in silt and I hate silt. It is terrible. I was down seven or eight times in it.

MICHAEL SKURKIS, No. 729 (Second in class.) — I had a few issues but kept pushing forward just to bring it in. The course was unforgiving but the fans made it all worth it. You’re out there by yourself and you’re tired, you’re hungry, everything hurts, you’re cold, you’re wet and you come around a corner and there are thousands of fans cheering. It pumps you up and gets the adrenaline going.

JOSE CARRASCO, No. 721x (Third in class.) — We are so happy I’m almost speechless. We wanted to end the year on the best note but we had a few mechanical problems and then another issue where I fell asleep and fell into a cliff. Luckily nothing happened, I’m safe and the bike is good. It made us lose a lot of time. I couldn’t be happier with all the help my team gave me.



CODY SCHAFFER, No. 266x (First in class.) –We has a rough race. We had our second guy fall off six miles in and he dislocated his shoulder. Everybody had to toughen up and make it happen. The silt felt pretty endless this year.

ROY BUELNA, No. 286x (Second in class.) — It was a long race and very difficult but the team did a great job. It was hard to ride at night in the fog.

CASEY O’DONNELL, No. 201x (Third in class.) — The challenge at the beginning was the dust but once everybody spread out getting around the course became a challenge. The dust is a lot harder at night.


JUAN DOMINGUEZ, No. 109a (Second in class. Dominguez shared riding duties during the first 340 miles and last 340 miles with Javier Robles and Jose Contreras. Rusty Repass and Dan Webb shared riding duties in the middle 340 miles.) — We had a solid run and just had a little issue with a spark plug that cost us about an hour. Our goal was to finish and we didn’t quit. We prepped for this race and everything came out perfect. Our goal was to win the Baja 1000 because it is the biggest race of the year.

PRO Quads 


DON HIGBEE, No. 2a (Second in class.) — We never had to check up or look at anything. We got right through it with no problems at all.