SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - DECEMBER 2017

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

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Page 52 of 132

THE COMPETITION GETS TOUGH More Competitors Make It Harder For Buggy And Four-Wheel Class Leaders By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo The 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 had a record number of 405 competitors, of which more than half finished the race. For the buggy and four-wheel class points leaders heading into this race, the added completion meant more traffic, more dust, and more things to go wrong. In Class 1 for example, Jon Walker from Guam, drove the number 189 Kreger Chevy and swooped in to win the class over class leader Brad Wilson who finished second. Walker and his co-drivers Joe Black, Jim Reos, and Joey Black, had a pretty good race, experiencing a flat and rear brake failure that cost them some time but managed to hold off Wilson who only had two days to pre-run the course. Wilson was the class points leader heading into this race, and despite his second place finish, has a good chance to win the class championship. Wilson was aided by co-drivers Ronny Wilson, and Justin Munyon. Finishing third in Class 1 was Al Torres in the number 114 car, who had never made a peninsula run and had transmission and brake problems. “This was my first time trying this peninsula run and it feels great to finish it,” said Torres. Following Torres in the number 148 car was Wilson teammates Brian and Randy Wilson, with Kyle Quinn. They finished in fourth place after suffering through an accident that ripped out the passenger side shock and broke the lower A-arm. According to Quinn, it took the team about four hours for the part and make repairs to get them back into the race. Reid Swoops In For A Win Most SCORE fans thought they would see Broc Dickerson finish first in Class 10 to have an undefeated season. Cody Reid, however, who had been battling Dickerson all season, pulled out a grand victory at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. With 33 competitors in this class, the traffic and dust were tremendous, but Reid pulled off a flawless run. “We took off fourth and I think we were leading the race by mile 100 and we never looked back.” Dickerson finished in eighth place, but may still have enough points to pull out a class championship once all the numbers are tallied. Finishing second in Class 10 was Clay Lawrence in the number 1002 car, with co-drivers Mark Dobson and Daniel Hernandez. Following in third place was Justin Davis and Larry Cobb in the number 1085 car. Currie Hammers It Home The SCORE Hammer Truck Unlimited Class was one that was watched very closely at this year’s 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. The competition was stiff with experienced rock-crawling competitors such as Shannon Campbell, Casey Currie, 4Wheel Parts CEO Greg Adler, King Of The Hammers president Dave Cole, and other teams that totaled up to seven vehicles in the field for this race. Considering these were four-wheel drive vehicles that are already built to be tossed among rocks, and accelerate across lake beds at high-speed, more than half the field survived to finish the race. In the end, it was Casey Currie, aided by Cody Currie and Aaron Quesada co-driving the 4422 Jeep bodied Magpul race truck, came from the back of the class. The team had to battle dust, rocks and having to pass many competitors to get and stay out in front for the win. “We had a wiring gremlin that set us back about two hours,” said Currie. “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.” Finishing in second place in the class was David Cole in their Trent Fab Chevy, with co-drivers Andre McLaughlin, J.T. Taylor, Derek Baker, and Lee O’Donnell. Greg Adler finished in third place, with co-drivers Brian Kirby, Justin Bodewitz, and Dillon Cochran in the number 4410 Trent Fab Chevy. Open Wheel Classes See Large Team Participation Class 3000 had six teams that had an average of five or more drivers. Nonetheless, Baja took out about half the field leaving the 3010 team of Reid Rutherford to win the class. Aiding Rutherford was Steve Rudd, Benn Vernadakis, David Caspino, Robert Johnson and Travis Kettle. In second place was the 3006 vehicle of Bill Bayes, Nic Bayes, Rob Thomasson, Steve Thomasson, Luke James and John James. In third place was the 3044 team of Phillip Casey and Quinn Wilson. Baja Challenge Class Finishes At 100 Percent The Baja Challenge class was one of the largest in recent history. With many people wanting to drive in the 50th anniversary of this iconic race, 12 teams with close to 80 participants, including many from different countries, also included SCORE CEO Roger Norman and his family, as well as four-time Ironman winner Mark Stahl. What’s more astonishing is that the Baja Challenge class continued its streak of a 100-percent finishing rate, with all vehicles finishing the race safely and with a lot of organization and effort from the BC team. Winning the class is not an easy task, but the BC1 car driven by Brian Finch, Bill Weber, Bob Bower, Lance Clifford, Kyle Tucker, Lawrence McRae, and Brad Lovell finished first. They were followed by the BC2 car driven by Jeff Smith, Nathan Smith, Jesse Nemec, Chris Evans, Darryl Becker, and Don Kennedy. Finishing in third was the BC7 team of Antonio Marmolejo, Eduardo Blanco, Ariel Jaton, Jesus Calleja, and Lara Gonzales. SCORE’s President and CEO Roger Norman drove the BC10 car with Ed Muncey, SCORE’s Special Advisor/Digital Media, Shawn Evans, and Don Roger Norman. The team finished in seventh place. VW Powered Vehicles Add Nostalgia It’s hard to think of the early days of the Baja 1000, without a VW Bug or VW powered vehicle in it. Since the race’s early days, these vehicles and powertrains were the popular way racers used to get from Ensenada to La Paz. For the 50th, there were approximately 63 VW powered vehicles competing in the race. The largest group were those competing in Class 1/2-1600 who had 20 vehicles start the race. While these vehicles had the most difficult time getting through traffic and going over the large bolder sections of the course, more than half the field finished the grueling race. The first across the finish line, however, was Roberto Romo in the 1601 car. Romo co-drove with Cesar Fiscal, Francisco Gomes, Ramon Perez, Luis Martinez, and Pedro Morquecho. Finishing in second place was the 1650 team of Adolfo Arambula, and Carlos Gabadon, who was followed by the 1622 car of Enrique Avalos. Out of a field of seven starters, Kevin Carr in the number 511 Baja Bug took the Class 5 win. Finishing in second place was the team in the number 509 car of Jose Luis Lopez. He shared driving duties with Felipe Rodriquez, Ignacio Cabrera, Armando Voehme, and Ivan Estrada. The SCORE Lites class was another that had a large turnout of 13 starters. Freddie Willert, teamed up with Tex Mitchell, Stan Potter, and Dan Worley in the 1206 car to win the class. They were followed by the 1222 car of Rafael Aguirre, Felipe Martinez, Hector Garza, and Adrian Alanis. In third place was the 1202 team of Matias Arjona III and Matias Arojna IV, along with co-driver Francisco Pena. In Class 5-1600, Gustavo Avina and co-drivers Faisal Diaz, Gabriel Avina, Erik Rivera, Eduardo Escobedo and Pablo Tapia, battled against 12 other competitors to win the class. In second place was the team of Guy Savedra, Bryan Johnson, Danny Sanchez, Steven Fuentes, Ruben Garcia and Ruben Garcia Jr. Finishing third in class was Oreany Rojas, Carlos Cazares, Abraham Villavicencio, and Baltazar Sigueros. The Dust 2 Glory documentary brought more attention to Class 11 vehicles (stock VW Bugs), which followed racer Dennis Hollenbeck, who finished in second place, and his quest to race for Mi Casa Esperanza (My Hopeful House), a home for victimized women and their children. While most Class 11 racers are all about finishing the race, the class is one of the most dedicated and takes a tough person to withstand the abuse of riding in these vehicles. At this year’s race, the class started out with an astounding 11 competitors and was ultimately won by the Bio family of Pancho, Cisco and Ramon Bio, with Pancho Guerrero in the number 1118 car. Finishing in second was Hollenbeck who co-drove with Armando Salizar, Luis Vasquez, Dave Forest, Greg Piraino, Kein Schlect, Chris Hodge, Brian Ceosson, Keilen Hill and Paul Harth. Truck Classes Run Close Across The Desert For those following Class 8 and Class 7 trucks, the race was tight for many of these competitors in both these classes. Class 8 winner David Westhem was only six seconds ahead of Class 7 winner Al Hogan. Westhem was driving the number 801 Chevy C1500 with John Swift, Tony McCormack, and Randy Salmont. Hogan in the number 726 Ford Ranger, co-drove with Bob Brunken, Macrae Glass, Dave Baesken, Chad Baesken and Jim Sizelove. Pro Truck Class winner Jason Vandenborn, finished the race in his Ford F-150 with Kendall Ballentine, giving a great win for the Canadian racers. Adding another legendary win to the 50th race, was the Moss Team in Class 3. The Moss Brothers are one of the longest running race teams in all of the Baja 1000’s history. This year Donald and Ken Moss drove their old Ford Bronco to yet another class win for the history books. The highlight of the Stock Full Class was watching Team Hall take home another class win, and put Rod Hall into the record books. Competing in his 50th Baja 1000, Hall teamed up with his son Austin Hall, Chriss Woo, and fellow Off-Road Hall of Fame inductee Frank DeAngelo in the 8101 Hummer H1 Alpha. “I think that every good time comes to an end,” said Rod Hall. “I’m going to be 80 years old and I’m worn out. 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 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.” Class 7SX was won by the Rodrigo Martinez family (dad 50, son 22 and second son 19 all named Rodrigo Martinez) with Francisco Verdugo in their Ford Ranger. Class 17 was won by Mark Murrell in the number 1788 Jeep Wrangler co-driven by Jason Hutter, Paul Blangsted, Shelby Bates, Jake Maness and Mark Gasham. The Vintage Trailblazer Class was set-up for 1982 and earlier racing vehicles. The team of Timothy Vail and Bobby Patton finished first, winning the class in a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. With an average speed of 24.63 mph, the team finished the race in 46:03:44. Sportsman Classes had the number 1504 Dimel VW finish first in Sportsman Buggy driven by Ricardo Rodriguez, Erick Ocegueda, Luis Magana and Gerardo Taluera. Sportsman UTV was on by Yuval Sharon from Israel in the number 1802 Yamaha YZX1000.

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