SCORE Legends! | Bobby Ferro
Action photo Courtesy of Sandmasterracing.com
Portrait by Jack Wright/nMedia3.com
Anger is Power for the Desert Fox
Story by Larry Saavedra / Action photo Courtesy of sandmasterracing.com. Portrait by Jack Wright/nMedia3.com
Excerpted from SCORE's "Racing Into History - Vol.1 & Vol. 2"
Among many other SCORE championships, Bobby Ferro has won four SCORE Baja 500 races in his career. But his win at the event in 1972 was his most memorable even though he started nearly dead last.
As Ferro recalled, he was teamed with Johnny Johnson after being tapped to run one of two Sandmaster buggies for team owner Don Arnett. Having just won the ’71 SCORE Baja 500 Overall and the SCORE Baja 1000 driving solo, he was expecting to start the race in the morning during the coolest part of the day. That’s when Arnett broke the news that he’d be starting out of Ensenada late in the afternoon.
“He walked up to me and gave me number 293,” Ferro said. “Johnson was given number 171. There were only a couple hours of light left when I started out of Ensenada. As they say, anger is power.”
Ferro had no strategy, he simply wanted to prove his worth by any means necessary. “I was going balls out,” he said. “I was flat out going for broke and on the gas every second from start to finish. I didn’t know where I was, or what position I was in, day or night. I didn’t have any flats or mechanical issues.”
Even with zero downtime though, Ferro never let up. He managed to pass team after team without any radio communications with his crew, or helicopters guiding the way down to Rancho Chapala, then north to San Felipe and back to Ensenada. It was just Ferro, the buggy, and a bit of luck.
“I just followed the course from the year before,” he said. “I never followed anyone. I zipped by them and banged into them if they got in my way. There was no stopping to eat or drink. I was determined once the flag dropped. That’s how it was in the ‘70s. If I had to take a pee I did it right in my pants. It cost too much time to stop, except for fuel.”
Ferro drove with a vengeance, fighting the blinding rain and washed out dirt roads mile after mile. “I started so far back I never figured I’d win,” he said.
In the wee hours of the next morning SCORE officials could see driving lights coming their way at the finish line. It was Ferro in the Sandmaster. Still under the throttle Ferro took the checkered flag at 3:49 a.m. after driving continuously for 10 hours 56 minutes, faster than his ’71 Overall SCORE Baja 500 win of 11 hours 11 minutes.
“I remember my wife saying you won, you won!” said Ferro. “I later saw some pictures from that finish and I had a scrawl across my face.”
To the shock of his competitors Ferro chalked up another win against all odds. “Some people weren’t happy, but they sit around talking about winning and I just went out and did it,” he said. “It was easy in a sense. I just got there and ran the race. I didn’t want to sit around and talk about it.”
SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 50th Anniversary Books!
New books celebrating the SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 50th Anniversary. Racing into History Volumes 1 & 2
- Pictorial Celebrations of Both Races
- Capturing the Historic 50th Anniversary race weeks from set-up to the finish line.
- Massive 416 page & 432 page Commemorative Hardbound Books listing all entrants and finishers.
- Race History highlights of the SCORE Legends.
- Historic Vehicle Overview.
- Historical Reference with SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 statistics for the past 50 years.