SCORE Journal


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

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Page 78 of 101

THE CRAWL TO THE FINISH Only The Lucky And Skilled Survive The SCORE BaJa 1000 By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Isaac Flores, Cindy Clark, and Ariana Medrano Photos by Get Some Photo By the time the four-wheel car and truck classes start the 55th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, the course had already changed dramatically from the SCORE Trophy Trucks and Class 1 Buggies racing ahead of them. While this added to the difficulty of the course, exposing rocks and changing lines they had already mapped out, the remaining classes also had to deal with areas of large rocks that many had not encountered before. This led to more bottlenecks in some areas, especially up the Summit, and some rocky areas that broke other vehicles on the course. Out in front was the Class 7 vehicles where the Honda Factory Race team of Jeff Proctor in the No. 709 Honda Ridgeline, was challenged by 16-time Class Champion Dan Chamlee in the No. 700 Ford Ranger, and Scott Brady in the No. 703 Ford Raptor. With the horsepower advantage, Proctor and his team started and pushed to gain a large lead, but soon had to slow down for the obstacles the course had in store for them. “The Summit was single track, gnarly, and like a train of vehicles going through there,” said Proctor. “We had to be careful because there was a lot of dust and you couldn’t see your lines. There was a truck flipped over upside down in a valley, and we had rocky hill climbs and pounding whoops. We are just happy to be here. We got on our side at one point but flipped back up. Perseverance is the key. I’m stepping back from driving duties after this, so this is bittersweet, going out on top at the SCORE Baja 1000. I want to thank my navigator, Gatlin. This guy was on point all day long and got us here. They put in all the work to make us drivers look good. Our Honda team is a red army of great team members.” Chamlee was catching up to Proctor but around race mile 100, he hit a rock that caused serious damage to the truck. “We had a major break – driver error,” said Chamlee. “I hit a big rock and broke the end of the A-arm off. We were at race mile 100, which is a really hard place to get to for the crew. It was a feat to get the Super Duty in there because it was a boulder crawl. But we welded it back up and it held up fine. Probably stronger now.” The time it took Chamlee to make the repairs allowed Brady to pass and continue at a good pace. “The course was incredible,” said Brady. “More rock crawling than I have ever seen in a SCORE race before. They did a great job. The Summit was crazy. We had some issues getting through there. I got stuck on a big rock and had to get towed. It is always fun. It just adds to the adventure. We had power steering issues all night – a blown power steering hose. An oil hose went bad. One flat tire. Self-inflicted. Not the tire’s fault. My fault. We worked for this one” By the time the racers reached the finish line, Proctor had crossed it first to take the class win. Brady finished more than six hours later but Chamlee had been pouring it on the course to catch up and finish in third only 13 minutes after Brady. The podium finish for Chamlee, however, gave him more than enough points to secure his 17th Class Championship. SCORE LITES Only two of the five starters in SCORE Lites were able to finish the brutal course. These small VW-powered two-seaters had a struggle to survive the technical course, but Miguel Cortez in the No. 1205 car finished first in class. Behind him was the No. 1211 car of Oscar R. Alvarez who took an official second place. “We’re really happy to be here and be done,” said Cortez. “It was a really difficult and long race and a complicated course in all aspects, right from the beginning. We won’t even talk about San Felipe and the end which was very technical. We had a few problems with our front suspension and got a flat three times. We were really lucky that we were able to resolve all of the problems that came up.” CLASS ½ 1600 If there was ever a class that exemplified the perseverance and fortitude to win, it would be Class ½-1600. A fierce battle for the class and championship took place in this race, especially among Eli Yee and Martin Rangle who were very close in points going into the SCORE Baja 1000. Despite the challenging course, each of these racers knew they had to finish to clinch the class championship, but in the end, Yee in the No. 1616 prevailed and crossed the finish line first. “I’d like to thank my whole family and Victor Romo for my motor. I’d like to thank SCORE for putting on a great event. We have won three SCORE Baja 1000’s and this year we’ve won the SCORE Baja 400, SCORE Baja 500, and the SCORE Baja 1000. It’s been going really well for us this year and we’d like to continue winning more races. This has been one of the most difficult races we’ve had but we won first place again. Thank you to everyone who supports us and to our sponsors and Yokohama Tires.” Rangel and his team in the No. 1626 car, still pushed hard for the win but finished about two hours behind Yee in second place. “The course was really, really rough for the car,” said Rangel. “Usually when the SCORE Baja 1000 starts and ends in Ensenada it’s a rough course for cars, drivers, and everyone. The section I drove, I think, is the most complicated part of the course. I went through the San Felipe desert and crossed over to the Pacific, through Mike’s. The car did really well there weren’t any big mechanical issues or any flats. I got stuck in a bottleneck in Meling for about an hour and forty minutes. There were cars from other classes that were stuck and we just had to wait. That was our biggest complication.” Finishing third in class was the No. 1606 car of Matt Willert. “Definitely a difficult course,” said Willert. “We had a distributor go out around race mile 16 and had to get towed backward to a better spot to work on it and got put on our roof while getting towed. So that put us behind. It was a smooth race after that.” JOHNSON FINISHES FIRST IN HAMMER TRUCK Cole Johnson racing his SXOR Chevy was the lone finisher in the SCORE Hammer Class. Although challenged by Kent Fults in the No. 4444 vehicle, Johnson managed to finish the course under the time limit in 32:22:56. “We were pretty surprised at the course. Our pre-running notes had labels for mini KOH’s [King of the Hammers] for the rocks,” said Johnson. “There was a big boulder at race mile 110 blocking the entire race course. We made it through but I don’t know how anyone else did. Every time we came up on something gnarly we were like a Volkswagen bug made it through and we would stare at each other in awe. I have no idea how.” With the win, Johnson is confident to try entering the 2023 SCORE season. “We are thinking about running the full series next year,” he said. “We have another vehicle we are thinking about using for that. I was to thank RCD and Maxima transmissions, BFGoodrich tires, Baja Designs, and to my friends and family. My brother and I had a heart-to-heart moment in the car about eighty miles from the finish line about how much we cherish this moment of us being here getting it done.” CLASS 5 AND 5-1600 SURVIVORS Out of six teams competing in Class 5, only Ramon Fernandez survived to win the race in this class, proving how difficult the course was for these Baja Bugs. “The course was a bit difficult,” said Fernandez. “It was only 830 miles but it was complicated. The area in San Felipe was really washed out and our co-driver Mikey Sullivan was the one that had to drive through it. He doesn’t have a lot of experience with this, but he’s doing really well behind the wheel. We had a few complications before the race and we needed to change our alternator, but during the race, we had no problems. No flats or any mechanical issues.” Cesar Omar Iniguez also managed to survive the brutal course to finish first in Class 5-1600. In the No. 553 car, he and co-driver Ruben OG had lots of problems getting through the course, but managed to finish the race before the time ran out and crossed the finish line with a time of 34:01:28. “Today was one of the days we thought would go easy but we almost didn’t make it to the finish in the allotted time,” said Ruben OG. “The summit wasn’t a problem for our small car. It fits in those tight spots. We just needed a little help in the washes and around Mike’s. We got stuck there four times but we had help getting unstuck. We are ready to rock and roll next year.” ORMHOF Inductee Frank DeAngelo Wins In BC Class Driving the BC1 car in the SCORE Baja Challenge class, was ORMHOF Inductee Frank De Angelo. On his team were Ultra-4 Champion Jason Scherer, Pirate 4x4 founder Lance Clifford, John Williams, and Brian Finch. The team crossed the finish line first to win the class. “I got to tell you, this course was nothing like it was when we pre-ran,” said De Angelo. “It was way, way, way rougher and nasty. These guys come from all types of racing. I am honored to be with these guys.” “We started out with a conservative pace and then we had a flat tire and that kind of threw us off our game plan,” said co-driver Lance Clifford. “We decided to keep the conservative pace, but we were behind the course leaders by at least 30 miles. The plan then became to get the car to the last two drivers, Jason and myself, and then we can figure out where we were. At pit four we were still way behind and we decided we were either going to win, crash or break. So that’s what we did. We went flying by them and never looked back.” Finishing second was the BC3 team of Bud Pecoy followed by the BC4 team of Edward Muncey. The third-place finish for Muncey gave him enough points to win the Class Championship, and he has been able to be on the podium for every race this season. TRUCK CLASSES BATTLE IT OUT Several battles for the class championship took place in the truck classes, but the racers knew they had to cross the finish line to earn any of the season points at all. With only a few points separating several of the challengers in these classes, it was a tough battle against each other and the course. In Class 7SX Armando Duron in the No. 740 Ford Ranger, beat out Dario Serrano to win the class. Serrano in the No. 744 Ford Ranger finished the course to take second place, however, the difficult and technical course took its toll on both racers, as they finished late but ahead of the time limit. “These SCORE races seem to be, for lack of a better word, really brutal,” said Duron. “It’s incredible every time it’s more difficult. That’s just part of it. That’s why you race Baja. It was difficult, but we dominated it. We had no big issues or any flats. I’ve been running the same tires for about two years now. I’ve been racing for almost 40 years and I’ve always run BFGoodrich tires.” In the Sock Mid-Size Class, all eyes were on the Ford Ranger Raptor to see if they would finish the race. Not only did they finish in the vehicle’s first real test in the SCORE Baja 1000, but considering the truck was mostly stock, it finished well ahead of the time limit in 26:21:40. “I can’t tell you how rough the course was,” said Brad Lovell driver of record for the team. “I have spent a lot of time racing King of the Hammers and this course was reminiscent of that. It took a lot of patience in a lot of areas. We ran it smoothly and smartly in our Ford Ranger. The truck was amazing the whole time. The biggest issue we had was a broken light mount. We pulled into the BFGoodrich pits and welded it up. We are on the same set of BFGoodrich tires we started with.” Mark Tassell completed the course to win in SCORE Stock Full in the No. 8155 Toyota Land Cruiser. “It was a rough course,” said Tassell. “I couldn’t believe how many times I hit the front of the car, the back of the car, and I can hear the antenna hitting the top of the car. We didn’t lose any tires. No major mechanical issues. Some minor brake linkage issues, but we got that resolved. We are glad to be here. We hope to be back. This is our third win and eighth finish.” In Class 3000/Trophy Lite, Joshua Cobb in the No. 6066 Trophy Lite Chevy, finished taking the class win with co-drivers Lance Fenton and Kevin Madsen. “Both of my co-drivers are a couple of road race guys that have turned off-road,” said Cobb. “They started us off and handed me the truck and I took it to the finish. The course was unbelievably hard. We got lost at the summit. Took the wrong line. The washes were smooth but you could tell 500 vehicles had been on them. There were several opportunities to get flat tires. We only ended up with one. Thank you to SCORE for putting this on. We love doing this down here. We are excited for the next SCORE Baja 1000.” FLEMATE WINS IN CLASS 11 Although Class 11 vehicles had a slightly different course, avoiding some of the hard rock climbing areas, these Baja Bugs still had a tough time. Oliver Flemate with co-drivers Antonio Espinoza and Ana Paulu Flemate, all from Ensenada, Mexico, was the only team out of five to complete the course and finish to take the class win. OFFICIAL FINISHERS  CLASS 7  (unlimited, six-cylinder, production appearing trucks or SUVs)--(6 Starters, 3 Finishers) 1. 709 Jeff Proctor, 44, Glendora, CA/Richard Glaszckak, 46, Oceanside, CA/Chip Prescott, 58, Fallbrook, CA, Honda Ridgeline, 21:42:57, (38.14 MPH) 2. 703 Scott Brady, 55, Gerber, CA/ AJ Dennunzio, 50, Ballard, CA, Ford Raptor, 27:21:19 3. 700 Daniel Chamlee, 60, Montecito, CA, Ford Ranger, 27:34:52  SCORE LITES (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc) (5 Starters, 2 Finishers) 1. 1205 Miguel Cortez, 54, San Diego/Cesar Quirarte/Jessy Lopez/Abel Cesma,33, Rosarito, MX, Curry, 31:56:17, (25.93 MPH) 2. 1211 Oscar R. Alvarez, 46, McAllen, TX/Doug Satterfield, 45, San Diego/Adrian Guerrero, 36, Ensenada, MX, OSO, 35:58:05 CLASS 1/2-1600  (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc) (8 Starters, 7 Finishers) 1. 1616 Eli Yee, 48, Tijuana, MX/Angel Barajas, 45, Ensenada, MX/Miguel Arambula, 49, Ensenada, MX, PCR, 25:59:29, (31.87 MPH) 2. 1626 Martin Rangel, 41, Surprise, AZ/ Cesar Fiscal, 29, Mexicali, MX/Daniel Pacheco, 22, Mexicali, MX, Romo; 26:22:52 3. 1606 Matt Willert, 17, El Cajon, CA/Michael Goodrich, 32, Chula Vista, CA/Daniel Goodrich, 27, Chula Vista, CA, Bunderson; 28:06:37 4. 1655 Ted Baker, 55, Encinitas, CA/Tim Morton, 55, Escondido, CA/JP Cyr, 57, Milton, VT, Porter; 29:47:55 5. 1622 Nicola Ibarra, 22, San Diego/Adrian Ibarra, 18, San Diego/Nicolas Nunez, 22, San Diego/Angel, Belmonte, 39, San Diego, Romo; 30:09:27 6. 1631 Ramiro Escobedo, 55, Tijuana, MX/Jorge Sanchez Sr, 66, Mexicali, MX/Jorge Sanches Jr, 22, Mexicali, MX/Carlos Sainz, 27, Ensenada, MX/Gabriel Avina, 30, Ensenada, MX/Gustavo Avina, 27, Ensenada, MX, Curry; 34:49:39 7. 1666 Erik Rivera, 37, Ensenada, MX/Pablo Tapia, 38, Ensenada/Felipe Bernardino, 34, Ensenada, MX/Jorge Maldonado, 36, Ensenada, MX//Axl Sandoval, 29, Ensenada, MX, DeThomas; 34:57:51 HAMMER TRUCK UNLIMITED (2 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 4482 Cole Johnson, 22, Tremonton, UT/Sky Johnson, 26, Garland, UT/Brandon Johnson, 52, Tremonton, UT, SXOR-Chevy, 32:25:00, (25.55 MPH) CLASS 5  (Unlimited Baja Bugs, VW concept engines allowed) (6 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 507 Ramon Fernandez, 46, Ensenada, MX/Greg Sullivan, 59, Helena, Mont./Mike Sullivan, Helena, Mont., Penhall-Chevy; 26:42:31, (31.01 MPH)   CLASS 5/1600 (1600cc, water-cooled VW Baja Bugs) 1 Starters, 1 Finishers 1. 553 Cesar Omar Iniguez, 38, Mexicali, MX/Ruben OG, 44, Mexicali, MX/Miguel Estrada, 31, Mexicali, MX/Emilio Salcido, 47, Mexicali, MX, 34:01:28, (24.34 MPH)   BAJA CHALLENGE (Spec, Subaru-powered Baja Touring Cars equipped with BFGoodrich Tires) (7 Starters, 3 Finishers) 1. BC1 Frank DeAngelo, 65, Timmonsville, S.C./Lance Clifford, 50, Hurricane, UT/Jay Jakupca, 41, Easley, S.C./Jason Scherer, 46, Danville, CA/Kyle Tucker, 53, Sherrills Ford, N.C./John Williams, 45, Murray, UT/Brian Finch, 52, Hermitage, Tenn., 26:37:56, (31.10 MPH) 2. BC3 Bud Pecoy, 64, West Des Moines, IA/Jon Peed, 38, Vail, AZ/Jeffrey Mackiewicz, 54, Ottawa, Ill./Jordan Mackiewicz, 27, Romeoville, Ill./Michael Valentine, 63, Morris, Ill., 28:35:13 3. BC4 Edward Muncey, 51, San Diego/Roger Norman, 59, San Diego, 34:49:27   CLASS 7SX (2 or 4-wheel drive mini or mid-sized trucks) (2 Starters, 2 Finishers) 1. 740 Armando Duron, 59, San Diego/Israel Duron, 31, San Diego/Sergio Duron, 63, San Diego/ Pedro Duron, Mexicali, MX, Ford Ranger, 31:38:31, (21.99 MPH) 2. 744 Dario Serrano, 40, La Paz, MX/Jorge Serrano, 38, La Paz, MX/Raul Cota, 25, La Paz, MX/Brian Westerlund, 53, La Paz, Ford Ranger, 33:59:01   STOCK MID-SIZE  (Stock, mid-sized 2 or 4 Wheel Drive Trucks) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher) 1. 773 Brad Lovell, Colorado Springs, Colo./Curt LeDuc, 62, Cherry Valley, CA/Loren Healey, New MX/Andrew Brown, Australia/Jason Hutter, Snowmass, Colo., Ford Ranger Raptor, 26:21:40, (31.42 MPH)   STOCK FULL (Stock, Full-Sized 2WD or 4WD Truck, SUV) (2 Starters, 1 Finishers) 1. 8155 Mark C. Van Tassell, 50, Ely, Nev./Darren Webster, 55, Holladay, UT/Kurt Williams, 42, Sandy, UT/Ryan Nakaya, 49, Bountiful, UT/David Connors, 49, Brigham City, UT/Will Carroll, 44, Murphy, TX, Toyota Land Cruiser, 33:30:37, (24.72 MPH)   CLASS 3000/TROPHY LITE (2 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 6066 Joshua Cobb, 23, Wittman, AZ/Lance Fenton/Kevin Madsen, TrophyLite-Chevy, 33:48:20, (24.50 MPH)   CLASS 11 (stock VW sedans, safety modifications)— (6 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 1105 Oliver Flemate, 45, Ensenada, MX/Antonio Espinoza, Ensenada, MX/Ana Paulu Flemate, 16, Ensenada, Mexico, 26:05:36, (26.67 MPH)

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