SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal-December 2019

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 79 of 130

MUD THERAPY 4-Wheel Classes Go Through The Baja Gauntlet By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo With the sun came out over the city of Ensenada, Mexico the four-wheel classes were anxious to get out into the desert and race for a win. As the first of the Class 1 competitors left the starting line, it soon became obvious that the course wasn’t as dry as they thought. Out of the 12 starters in the class, only three would make it to the finish. Brad Wilson in the number 100 car was first off the starting line and was hoping to get another win since his first-place finish at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and take a class championship in the process. In his way was Mason Cullen in the number 105 car, and Brandon Bailey in the number 129 car who have both been close behind Wilson in points this season. Brendan Gaughan in the number 162 car started in seventh place behind the second Wilson team member Brian Wilson in their number 138 car. As the race progressed, the Weatherman began calling out car after car that had stopped or was reported to be out of the race. This included both Wilson teams, former class champion Shelby Reid, Morgan Langley, Rhys Millen, and others, leaving Cullen, Gaughan, and Bailey to go against each other and finish the race. In his first year in Class 1, Cullen, with his co-driver and dad Matt Cullen, were not able to keep the lead position, allowing Bailey and Gaughan to get ahead. Bailey had run into some problems earlier on the course and was pushing hard to the finish to catch up to Gaughan. “We had some issues early on that we had to overcome and we did and made up for the lost time. Then we had a flawless run after that until we had to change a steering rack,” said Bailey. Crossing the finish line first was Gaughan with co-drivers Buddy Feldkamp, and R.J. Anderson. “We won the freaking SCORE Baja 1000! My dad never won this race and I got my nephew Jake co-riding with me, and it means so much that he is here.” Behind Gaughan was Bailey with co-driver Jason Dudley. Cullen finished third and was happy with his teams’ performance. “There were a lot of exposed rocks and it was rougher than when we pre-ran it,” he said. “It’s always good to get a finish in the SCORE Baja 1000. It was a great rookie year for us. It’s cool to be able to finish the year off strong and come back next year.” The BaJa Boot Rides Again Class 2 was one that had many SCORE fans witnessing two brand-new purpose-built vehicles challenge the Baja desert. The SCG Baja Boot set foot on Baja soil after being driven to the race and finishing shortly before the course shut-off time and finishing first in class. “It was an emotional send-off,” said Jesse Glickenhaus. “We picked these audacious goals and put them in front of the public. We wanted to make a new version of the Baja Boot and race and drive it home. We had a lot of confidence in Darren Skilton and Armada Engineering and we never thought finishing the race would be easy. Darren was very clear about that from the beginning. Our goal was to simply finish and we accomplished that. We are very grateful for SCORE and the off-road community for all their help. We learned a lot in this race and we will go back and make improvements.” Ford’s Bronco R Gets Full Baja Treatment Although the launch of the Ford Bronco R was merely to celebrate the vehicle’s history and Rod Hall’s victory in 1969, the manufacturer intended to test what would be the factory engine and drivetrain. The vehicle ran into various issues that are typical in racing. They broke a skid plate that punctured a transmission line, broke a fabricated lower control arm, cooling fans didn’t work and by that time, it would take too long for the vehicle to get to the finish line before the course closure time. Nonetheless, Ford engineers got what they needed from the experience and will take what they’ve learned and return to put that knowledge into the actual production vehicle, just like they did with the Ford Raptor. Hammer Class Brings A Classic Matchup Two off-road rock-crawling families battled the Baja desert to make the Hammer Class another exciting race to watch go down. Champions Shannon Campbell and Casey Currie have honed their slow rock-crawling and fast desert racing skills, proving they can get through anything Baja can throw at them. With full four-wheel drive, solid-axle, rock-crawling battle vehicles, the two competitors laughed at the mud and continued to push forward. Ultimately Currie in the number 4402 Jeep Wrangler finished first in class with Casey’s brother Cody as co-driver, along with Aaron Quesada, Johnny Mallet, and Justin Marquand. “The course was brutal. All the puddles, in the beginning, made for a long day,” said Currie. “Parts of the course were chewed up but we made it through. We had no issues. This is my third time finishing first in the SCORE Baja 1000. I love it down here. It’s freaking home to us.” Campbell wasn’t so lucky and had mechanical issues that forced his team to stop but after making repairs he charged to Ensenada to finish second in class. Campbell shared co-driving duties with family members Wayland and Bailey Campbell, Brian Kirby, Ryan Miller, and Bryan Crofts. Warren Comes Out On Top In Class 10 The battle of the buggies for Class 10 supremacy had been between Cody Reid, Chase Warren and Hiram Duran throughout the 2019 SCORE Season. But the Baja mud wasn’t good to these vehicles, many of them reporting having brakes overheating from being coated with mud. Others had electrical problems from the wet conditions and only half of the field would finish the race. Reid was one of the unfortunate and dropped out after he had been leading the race. This put Duran out in front after Warren pitted for mechanical issues early on the course. “We lost the power steering around race mile 50 and got down about 40 minutes behind in our class,” said Warren. By the time they got the car to me we around race mile 340, we were right behind third on road. We took it from there and put the hammer down.” Warren and co-driver Adam Pfankuch managed to get back into the lead and pushed the number 1008 car to the finish line and were first in class. Behind them finishing second was Eliseo Garcia in the number 1075 car, co-driven by Javier Montoya Jr, Javier Montoya Sr, and Adrian Villasenor. “This was an awesome race,” said Garcia. “This was the first race for this car built by RaceCo/Jamie Campbell and it was perfect. We are fired up and will be racing the SCORE 2020 season.” In third place was Jeremy and Justin Davis in the number 1085 car co-driven by Larry Jobs and Tyler Peterson. The team kept pushing despite also having brake problems, but managed to get the vehicle onto the podium. We were having a good solid day at the start. Then we lost the rear calipers due to overheating from all the mud on them,” said Davis. “It cost us about an hour. Then we got in a bottleneck and sat there for almost another hour which put us two hours behind. I knew we had to keep the car going because I knew people would drop out and we had a chance.” Duran finished fourth with his family of co-drivers Evan Duran, Eric Duran, Eric Fernando Duran, Evan Duran Jr, and Edwin Carrillo in the number 1016 car. “We were doing good at until race mile 580, then we had brake problems,” said Hiram Duran. Somehow we caught a big piece of wire near race mile 630 that wrapped around the tire and cost us an hour and a half. But we made it to the finish.” Chevy vs Ford vs Honda In Class 7 2018 Class Champion Dan Chamlee, also known as “Mr. Consistency” continued to put forth his champion-winning ways at this year’s SCORE Baja 1000. As a grass-roots racer, he started the race facing the stiff competition of the Honda factory-backed team of Jeff Proctor, which had Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi as one of the drivers. Chamlee left the starting line first in his number 700 Ford Ranger, but it didn’t’ take the Honda team with Rossi behind the wheel to catch up after leaving third behind the number 710 Chevrolet Colorado of Mike Shaffer. With Indy-Car Honda power behind it, the number 709 Ridgeline quickly took the lead with Rossi behind the wheel. About 90-miles into the course, Rossi hit a crest and landed off-center, causing the Ridgeline to roll-over on its side. After getting the car back upright, the team headed to their scheduled pit where the vehicle was examined and the team got back into the race. By race mile 250, however, team owner Jeff Proctor reportedly decided the vehicle and conditions weren’t safe so their SCORE Baja 1000 was over. With extreme patience and caution, Chamlee and Shaffer continued competing on the course. Both teams were cautious after hearing about Rossi’s roll-over and ultimately Shaffer emerged at the finish line first. “The first couple hundred miles was probably the hardest but it was that hard for everyone,” said Shaffer. “The important thing is we came out on top. We tried to pace ourselves and not hurt the car.” Chamlee finished second but through his consistency throughout the season, he was already well in front in points towards earning his 15th Class 7 championship. VW-Powered Classes Feel The Brunt Of Baja If the SCORE Trophy Trucks and Class 1 vehicles had a hard time in the mud, the course was even more brutal for the VW-powered classes. Nevertheless, the most determined of the field managed to push through and finish the race. Class 5 had the number 507 car of Greg Sullivan finish and win the class with co-drivers Miguel Pabloff, Russ Parker, and Jesus Marquez. “The first two hundred miles there was a lot of water on the course,” said Sullivan. “The last seventy miles we drove conservatively so we could take care of the car once we knew we were in the lead. This had been a lifelong dream, to win the SCORE Baja 1000.” Within the SCORE Lites class, only three competitors out of a field of 12 finished the race. In first place was the 1266 team of James Butler with Jason Shipman, Dough DeLong, Marshall Carlstrom, Andy Shipman, and Kent Fults. Freddie Willert in the number 1206 car finished second with co-drivers Stan Potter, Tex Mitchell, and Dan Worley. Finishing in third place was the 1229 car of Doug Satterfield, Miguel Viveros, Kevin Mack, Billy Reck, Sean Malaban, and Roger Noble. By the time the 1/2-1600 cars got onto the course, it had changed to the point where it was almost unrecognizable to what they had pre-run the week before. Out of a field of 12 competitors, only the 1609 car of J. David Ruvalcaba finished taking first place, followed by the number 1614 car of Bruce Yee who finished in second. Within the 5-1600 class, Ruben Garcia in the number 569 car was the only competitor to finish the race and ultimately got first place in class. “It was crazy after the rain,” said Garcia. “Our transmission guy did an awesome job and our engine was flawless. Our BFGoodrich tires were awesome as we finished on the same tires we started with. We had no issues, we just moved forward and kept going.” It was the same for the Class 11 vehicles in which Dennis Hollenbeck managed to get through the course to be the only finisher and take first place in class. The Bronco That Won Baja The Ford Bronco R wasn’t the only Bronco on the course at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. Don Moss and his team, Ken Moss, and Dave Grundman competed in Class 3 to win it, making it their 13th class win in the SCORE Baja 1000. “That was a tough and interesting race,” said Kevin Moss. There was a lot of water on the Pacific side, and we couldn’t go fast in some parts because it was so slippery. We had about twelve people that came down and supported us.” While the Baja Challenge class has a record for 100 percent finishes of everyone in the class, this race proved to be difficult even for them. Among this year’s winners was the BC1 team of Lance Clifford, who persevered despite fixing a bad clutch and finished first. “We had no flats but did lose a clutch,” said Clifford. “We got that fixed but it took three hours. We were down 60 miles so we had to go for it and put the hammer down. We kept it on the course and got lucky. It was great. Thank SCORE, Wide Open, and BFGoodrich for everything they did for us.” The BC6 team of Antonio Toledo finished second in class, followed by the BC2 team of Bud Pecoy who finished third. The BC5 team of Brent Tipps finished fourth, while the BC4 team of SCORE’s Ed Muncey finished in fifth place. At this year’s race, the number 724F Jeep Gladiator of Dave Cole was the winner in Class 7F. He teamed up with Bailey Cole and Doug Stewart who helped the team with his experience. “Doug Stewart stepped in with us in the last week,” said Cole. “He has six SCORE Baja 1000 wins so he has experience. We put him in the car first and experience won out. He delivered it to us first in class. My son drove his first SCORE Baja 1000. We worked on the car to repair some damage that shortened our lead but we still came out on top.” Finishing second in Class 7F was the number 714F Ford Ranger of Justin Park Gerardo Novelo wanted to drive this year’s SCORE Baja 1000, but for health reasons, he couldn’t. So he got James Murphy, Jose Castro, and Jesus Castro to drive the number 740 Nissan Frontier car to the team’s first and best win this entire season in Class 7SX. “We are very happy and very excited,” said Novelo. “I couldn’t race due to my health so I started the race, and then turned it over to my team. They drove the whole rest of the way. We lost two alternators but no flats. It was very difficult but I am very excited. I would like to thank SCORE International to promote the best off-road racing in the world.” Sportsman Manage To Get To The Finish Within the Sportsman classes, Juan Calderon in the number 1460 Ford Ranger managed to finish the grueling course and take the Sportsman Unlimited Truck to win. Brady Richard in the number 1559 Tatum-Chevy, also finished the race to win in the Sportsman Open Wheel Class. Both of these racers along with the rest of the finishers are extremely happy and proud to complete what is considered the toughest SCORE Baja 1000 race in decades. SJ

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