SCORE MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 5, 2016
48th SCORE Baja 500
June 2-5, 2016—477.52 miles
Round 2 of four-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
PRO CARS & TRUCKS
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK
GUS VILDOSOLA JR., No. 21 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Vildosola drove the entire race.) – In the first 100 miles we were just navigating by instruments. We couldn’t see anything and we were behind a bunch of trucks. I knew I had to be very patient and thankfully I was. I wasn’t pushing hard in the dust and I was waiting for my moments. We had a couple of good ones and passed a couple of guys running and a couple of guys in the pits until finally we got in some clean air. The competition is amazing. Apdaly (Lopez, No. 1) started third, Rob (MacCachren, No. 11) started fourth and we started 13th and getting through the pack was difficult especially because the trucks in the (starting positions) tens, elevens and nines aren’t as fast as these guys so they held us up a little bit. We were able to get around them but after that the heat down in the desert was absolutely ridiculous. We survived the heat and I might be a little bit dehydrated and I’ve got a headache but we are good. We never got out of the truck and only stopped for 27-second pits three times. We had absolutely no issues and as a result of being a couple of pounds lighter we were able to push a little bit in the desert and make up time.
ROB MACCACHREN, No. 11 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. MacCachren drove the entire race.) — For the most part everything went pretty good. We really had to pay attention to our temperatures because our engine water was getting really hot. We had to take care of it and keep it under 240 degrees which is pretty extreme. I think we were all doing the same thing because it seemed like the pace dropped and we were all going slower. I caught up to Andy McMillin and at first I thought he was limping but I think he was just dealing with the temperature too. Once we got by Andy at Borrego we charged trying to catch up to Bryce Menzies. Finally, we saw Bryce but he was on his side after laying it over in a corner. He had the tow strap out and I hit the brakes and was thinking about pulling him over but I had to go and try and win the race. It was fantastic and a great course for SCORE. As far as SCORE Baja 500s go this was one of the toughest ones. Having temperatures over 120 degrees was very difficult.
CARLOS LOPEZ, No. 1 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Lopez drove the entire race.) — The weather was really hot around San Felipe. We had a clean race with a few communication problems. The truck ran perfectly but we had to take care of it because our water temperature was rising to 244 degrees.
TROY HERBST, No. 91 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Herbst shared driving duties with Ryan Arciero.) — CO-DRIVER RYAN ARCIERO said: That was a tough race. We had to be patient through San Felipe because it was so hot and we started seeing high temperatures in the engine. SCORE laid out an incredible course and this race isn’t for sissies. We are glad to be at the finish line. This truck was built in 50 days and we come here, do this, and we get it here to the finish line. When we could push we were pushing hard. We had a little issue with the engine because it was cutting out on us.
ANDY MCMILLIN, No. 31 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. McMillin drove the entire race.) — It was a pretty long day out there. Baja got me today. Big rocks and high temperatures. That’s how it goes sometimes. We had to run in the hottest part of the desert with a quarter to half mile of dust. It clogged our motor and the engine was getting too hot. The truck was overheating about mile 160 and we had to back it down. We really nursed it for the next 200 miles until we got to San Matias and Valle Trinidad when the heat subsided. Bryce (Menzies, No. 7) and Apdaly (Lopez, No. 1) were out front and they kind of checked out. I was still in front of Tavo (Vildosola No. 21) in San Felipe and I got two flats from hitting big rocks. It was a long day but I’m glad to be at the finish line.
BRYCE MENZIES, No. 7 (Sixth in class and sixth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish.) — Most of the challenge was the heat around San Felipe. We ran a really good race and slowed the pace down. We felt like we had a win coming but we went into a corner too hot and tipped it on its side. We got flipped over after about 30 minutes so it was a rough day but all in all it was okay. The truck was flawless and we had one flat tire coming back in but that was it.
DAN MCMILLIN, No. 23 (Seventh in class and seventh overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. McMillin drove the entire race.) — (On racing Andy McMillin) He was down in the wash with a flat and then at Mike’s Sky Ranch he was five minutes behind me and I just wanted to keep the truck moving forward like we did all day. Toward the end he caught back up to us and got around me when I went off the road a little bit. The sun was right in my eyes and reached up to grab my sun visor and I went off the road a little bit. We had to back up and find our way out of that hole and he got around us. This was the toughest Baja 500 that I’ve ever been in. Usually we go to the coast and the truck gets to cool off. We were in the heat all day and we didn’t have a break at all.
BILLY WILSON, No. 15 (Eighth in class and eighth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish.) — We took it easy just to get to the finish line. I lost first gear around the summit but other than that we were good. Our goal was just to move forward, get to the finish line and get our points. Starting in 25th I was just hoping to get a top ten.
MARK POST, No. 3 (Ninth in class and tenth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Ed Herbst started to race mile 220. Mark Post drove to the finish.) — The desert is pretty beat up and there were hundreds of miles of whoops. The heat today was incredible and we showed 150 degrees across Laguna Salada as the ambient temperature in here. Going through San Felipe and down the backside of Diablo dry lake I’ve never felt that hot before. It really took something to get around it today.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 97 (Eleventh in class.) — CO-RIDER WILLIE VALDEZ said: B.J. got dehydrated, started cramping up and feeling nauseous so he got out at San Felipe. He wanted me to keep going so I jumped in the driver’s seat. I’ve been racing for over 30 years and this is one of the hottest races I’ve ever been in. The course was one of the toughest we’ve ever had and the heat was a big factor. There were lots of washes and lots of rocks so you have to tiptoe through that stuff.
RONNY WILSON, No. 138 (First in class and ninth overall four-wheel vehicle to finish. Wilson shared driving duties with Brian Wilson and Randy Wilson) — We started 15th and were the third car on the road in Borrego. We went down to San Felipe and Ronny got in the car and had a clean run and ended up catching Justin Davis (No. 185) right around mile 260. He was in the pits and we splashed fuel and came back out. We got around the 175 (Jaime Huerta Jr.) car in the Mike’s loop. We had Justin chasing us for the last 150 miles. He started second and we started 15th so we knew we had him on time. We drove a conservative pace to keep him behind us. We executed well. It was really hot and we tried to not overcook the shocks and torque converter.
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 185 (Second in class. Davis drove the entire race.) — We had one flat after the summit down in the wash. We tried to run down the Wilsons but we just couldn’t. Coming down the summit into San Felipe the temperatures were so hot and trying to stay hydrated was a challenge.
BRAD WILSON, No. 153 (Third in class. Wilson shared driving duties with Kyle Quinn.) — We had a really fun run with Brent Parkhouse at the end. We had a couple of issues but we had a really great time out there. We knew the heat was going to be an issue. It was really hot down in San Felipe and however well our cars are prepped sometimes you just can’t be ready for this heat. Everybody is back safe and we are happy.
BRENT PARKHOUSE, No. 128 (Fourth in class. Parkhouse shared driving duties with John Kohut.) — I’m really proud to be here. We had a flat and missed a turn but other than that this car ran great.
AL TORRES, No. 114 (Fifth in class. Torres shared driving duties with Alfredo Torres.) — There was a lot of dust and unfortunately it was tough to see. We gave it all we have and here we are.
TROPHY TRUCK SPEC
STEVEN EUGENIO, No. 207 (First in class. Eugenio shared driving duties with Larry Connor.) — CO-DRIVER LARRY CONNER said: We got behind some Class 1 cars so we were in the dust quite a bit and the engine temperature was really hot for the first 50 to 75 miles out of San Felipe. We would run for a while and then back it down so it didn’t get overheated. If we had kept running hard it would have blown up. We ran a lot more at night than we had originally anticipated. We were stuck in a bottleneck with about eight cars in front of us. Once we got through that around race mile 30 we were seventh and by race mile 85 we had passed everybody. After that it was just maintain and cruise and we ended up about 30 minutes ahead.
CHAD BROUGHTON, No. 202 (Second in class.) — The whole race was a little rough and we got stuck in a bottleneck off the start. We had fuel filter issues and as soon as we got in the truck the transmission cooler stopped working so we had to come back to the pit and fix that. It was an hour of down time.
CRAIG CHRISTY, No. 220 (Third in class. Craig Christy shared driving duties with Steve Parks.) — Epic and super rough is an understatement for this race. We thought we were home free on the way back through Ojos Negros but there was more bad stuff. We kept is smooth and tried to avoid rocks but we still took a couple in the differential so it is leaky but it kept us going.
JEFF PROCTOR, No. 201 (First in class. Proctor shared driving duties with Jason LaFortune.) — We are stoked to be down here and we battled all day out there. Baja always throws everything it can possibly throw at us and we just fought all the way to the finish. We saw temperatures of 124 degrees on the dry lake bed. These turbos run super hot and we were doing everything we could to keep it cool and get to the finish.
PATRICK DAILEY, No. 1045 (First in class. Dailey shared driving duties with Travis Clarke.) — Travis won this race. All I had to do was pre-run back. We had such a big lead when I got in the car. The pits were perfect and our pre-running was perfect and we got around all of the tough spots.
RAFAEL NAVARRO IV, No. 1009 (Second in class. Navarro shared driving duties with Vic Bruckman.) — We started off gambling with the rear start. There was a bottleneck around race mile 23 and unfortunately the first place car was able to get through really fast which we weren’t expecting. After that we were trying to play catch up and take care of the car until the halfway point. That’s where the race really starts to begin. We just tried to manage the gap and manage the dust and conditions. It got pretty gnarly at the end of San Felipe with the dust. In San Matias we went from the dust to fog all the way in to Ensenada. The gap was too big to first so we just kind of cruised in.
CHIP PRESCOTT, No. 1032 (Third in class. Prescott drove the entire race.) — I feel like I want to get out and lay on the ground because I’m beat up. It is a sweet feeling that’s for sure. Our light bar didn’t work for a while and my co-driver hooked it up and got it working again. It was a rough day.
SERGIO SALGADO, No. 1088 (Fourth in class. Salgado shared driving duties with Ricardo Malo.) — It was hard going through the dust. At race mile 20 there was a huge line of cars so all of the guys in the back caught us. It was hot in the desert but Ricardo did a great job so we are here at the finish line. CO-DRIVER RICARDO MALO said: I’m ready to turn around and go for another lap.
AARON AMPUDIA, No. 836 (First in class. Ampudia shared driving duties with Alan Ampudia.) — The whole team did a really great job and the car was prepped perfectly. It was a perfect race and Alan gave me the car with a one-hour lead and I just brought it home. We didn’t have brakes for about 200 miles and we were in the dust for the whole race. It was tough but it was fun.
RAMON BIO, No.1616 (First in class. Bio shared driving duties with Cisco Bio.) — My brother is the one to thank for this finish. He drove it in and made up the most crucial time.
RUBEN SANUDO, No. 1606 (First in class. Sanudo shared driving duties with Roberto Romo.) — This was a very good race. We lost a clutch at race mile 27 but we are happy with the finish.
DALLAS LUTTRELL, No. 737 (First in class.) — It was a great race and all the pit crew guys were awesome out there. It was my first time in Baja and the course is a little rough. I will definitely be back because it was a fun time.
Pro UTV FI
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 2971 (First in class. Matlock drove the entire race.) — That was one tough and dusty course. We had a pretty good run and we had little clutch issues here and there but other than that the car was flawless. We got stuck in the bottleneck and went from first to eighth really quickly. It happens.
JUSTIN LAMBERT, No. 2918 (Second in class. Lambert shared driving duties with Victor Herrera.) — It was a heck of a day. We entered the forced induction class but this is actually a naturally aspirated car so we are down on power but to lead most of the pack all day long we are pretty proud.
CORY SAPPINGTON, No. 2904 (Third in class. Sappington shared driving duties with Scott Sappington.) — It was gnarly out there. Baja tried to beat us up but we beat Baja today. There was a huge bottleneck in the first 20 miles and it was chaos out there. We made a bunch of ground up by plowing bushes over and getting through that mess. Thank you to all of the fans. It makes it so special that you are out there cheering us on in the middle of the night.
PRO MOTO UNLIMITED
COLTON UDALL, No. 1x (First in class and first overall motorcycle to finish. Udall started and rode to race mile 100. Co-rider Mark Samuels rode over the summit to race mile 220. Udall rode to the finish.) — The heat was extreme. I’ve never really raced in anything hotter than that before in my life. I pretty much just raced 250 miles of 115-degree weather and my brain feels like it is cooked. The San Felipe section of the course is always the toughest and it was anything you could do to just get through the section in the heat. The most important thing about Baja is knowing the course really well. You have to prepare and you have to ride the course a bunch and that’s the only way you’ll be able to hold it wide open. For me (in preparing for long mileage) I just do a lot of cycling. It helps me think. I have a lot of time to train and it keeps my heart really strong. When your body starts breaking down then your mind controls it. As long as you don’t run into a ditch you can race Baja at the highest level if you’re fit. We had a really good race going on with the 45x bike (Francisco Arredondo.) They had a three-minute gap when I got on the bike and I pulled up alongside of Ryan Penhall (co-rider 45x) and we were racing down the whoops in 115-degree weather and they are the gnarliest whoops in Baja. He hit a rock or something and took a pretty bad digger so I had to turn around and help him out a little bit. In the SCORE Baja 500 the bikes usually win the overall but we’ve had some unfortunate stuff happen to us in the the last couple of races. It would be nice to win the overall with a $20,000 dirt bike that I built beat a $200,000 Trophy Truck. I would be pretty proud of that. We finally have something going that is really awesome and Mark Samuels and I built this. He rode an amazing race also. It feels really good to win and in some of the races I’m not so confident that we will win but in this one I’m for-sure confident. I started eighth off the line and just pounded through the dust. We had so much dust for what seemed like 100 miles. I’m really excited to be back here and it is a nice little cap off to all the work we put in. We were doing some pre-running and the whole team spent the night at the Ox (Jeff Kargola) memorial and this one is for him. All of my races are for Ox because I love the guy and I miss him. It is awesome that we get to smile with him looking down on us. CO-RIDER MARK SAMUELS said: I lost 30 seconds from Borrego until I got off the bike. It was hot and I was tired and I just wanted to get it to Colton and keep the ball rolling. The bike was strong especially in the heat. You can’t over abuse a 450x. We had a little bit of a cat and mouse game with the 45x. I got on about two minutes behind and I would suck up on them and then they would pull away a little bit. Me and Justin (Morgan, co-rider 45x) kept playing cat and mouse. It was a fun ride and by the time we got to Borrego and got off the bikes he was pretty worked and I was pretty worked.
FRANCISCO ARREDONDO, No. 45x (Second in class and second overall motorcycle to finish. Arredondo shared riding duties with Ryan Penhall, Shane Esposito, Roberto Villalobos, Justin Morgan and Kendall Norman.) — We are excited, but it has been a really long day because we had a few issues. We had some crashes and it’s not what we were planning for but we are here. I guess we take the points and keep working on it. Ryan Penhall had a crash around San Felipe and after that Roberto Villalobos had a bad crash and the bike is completely messed up.
KEVIN MURPHY, No. 37x (Third in class and third overall motorcycle to finish. Murphy shared riding duties with Morgan Crawford, Jordan Brandt and Cory Graffunder.) — We were trying to play it safe and really had our game plan ready. We had four riders today and we all executed correctly and didn’t make any mistakes. We had one little get-off at the start in the mud hole but after that we ran a clean race. CO-RIDER MORGAN CRAWFORD said: The start was flooded and I cruised through it until I came into a big lazy turn and I skated out on the rocks under the water. There was a berm right there and I hit it and then the front tire hit a sink hole and I went head first into the water. I got passed by five or six guys in that section while trying to get my goggles clean. By the time I got to the hills is was so dusty I was just stuck right where I was. The boys brought it home for us. It was my screw up but they handled it and made the finish happen.
PRO MOTO LIMITED
MARK WINKELMAN, No. 101x (First in class and fifth overall motorcycle to finish. Winkleman shared riding duties with Jim O’Neal, Max Eddy Jr., Austin Miller, Scott Myers and Grant Stanley.) — CO-RIDER SCOTT MYERS said: We got to the line and our bike wouldn’t start and we didn’t know what was going on. We got it fired up and it was just perfect all day. We had a good time. It was a blast and we had a lot of fun. We really just wanted to come down and have a great time. This is my 18th SCORE Baja 500 and it has been a good time and I love it. My forte has always been the start and because of my motocross background I’ve always done the start and been aggressive. The start was really difficult today. It was silty more than I’ve ever seen it. With more VCPs it is difficult for find creative lines and so it is more difficult than it ever was before.
PRO MOTO 40
JANO MONTOYA, No. 404x (First in class. Montoya shared riding duties with Francisco Septien, Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerrero, Stefano Caputo and Kirk Russell.) — The heat in San Felipe was just insane. Just going through the whoops took everything I had. I practiced last weekend in the tough sections and I just kept drinking water. I slowed my pace down a little bit so I could make it all the way to San Felipe because it was brutal out there. We had a good strategy and the bike was incredible. When I got to San Felipe the pit crew didn’t get the message that the race course changed overnight. I got there and there was nobody to pit me and I didn’t want to ride to Laguna Salada with no gas or water so it took me about 20 minutes to find them. I had passed a couple of guys on the way to San Felipe and while I was looking for my guys I had to wave goodbye to them. I was able to pass them back and bring it to the finish line.
MIKE JOHNSON, No. 455x (Second in class. Johnson shared riding duties with Rex Cameron, Jason Trubey and Tim Morton.) — CO-RIDER JASON TRUBEY said: The start was gnarly with the dust and we picked our way through that. One rider really got overheated going over the summit and came in about 20 minutes later than we thought he would. Our guy in San Felipe, Rex Cameron, did an amazing job and came in looking decent. He made up time taking us from third to first. Tim Morton wadded the bike up on the highway and we had to replace both radiators and the whole rear brake assembly. We were down for 45 minutes. It has been a long and brutal day.
PRO MOTO IRONMAN
KEVIN DANIELS, No. 706x (Third in class.) — This is one of the best courses I’ve ridden and I’ve Ironmanned a lot of courses down here. I’ve been sick and I was so dehydrated I had to stop about 10 times. It was hot and I just couldn’t keep anything in me. I couldn’t stay focused, I kept cramping up and I just couldn’t find a groove. When it cooled down coming back in I started riding decently. It was a hard course that was rocky, technical, beat up and the most fun I’ve had on a course down here.
PRO MOTO 50
MARK WINKELMAN, No. 507x (First in class. Winkelman shared riding duties with Jim O’Neal, Jeff Kaplan, Brian Campbell and Louie Franco.) — Jeff Kaplan did a great job and I think only one of our guys had a crash. We just kept it moving and it was fun. It was difficult because we started so far back and I rode about 80 miles in dust. Trying to get clean air was the hardest part. I’ve never started so far back. I passed about 19 guys but I was blind the whole way.
PRO MOTO 60
MARK HAWLEY, No. 625x (First in class. Hawley shared riding duties with Andy Kirker, Dennis Greene, Dennis McLaughlin and John Marshall.) — The heat was brutal out there and just beat the hell out of you. This is my first race but the rest of the team has the experience. I’ve been wanting to do this.
JAVIER ROBLES JR., No. 1a (First in class). Robles shared riding duties with Guadalupe Victoria, Josh Row, Felipe Velez, Jose Meza Velez and Julio Banda.) — CO-RIDER JOSH ROW said: Javier crashed off the start and we lost our GPS and little stuff like that but the bike was solid. It was gas and go the whole way and it was pretty smooth race. When I got the bike it was in first and I had no idea (that Javier had crashed) and wondered why the fenders were flapping. When I finally met up with Javier and he told me he crashed it all made sense.