Mike Brown helping propel his Factoyr KTM team to second overall among motorcycles in the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
The Red Bull Mexican Logistics father/son team of Gus Vildosola Sr. and Gus Vildosola Jr. have repeated their 2010 Baja 1000 overall win, giving a Mexican national team the overall title for only the second time in the history of the race. They clinched the fastest time among all vehicles, motorcycles included, by running the1,121-mile course in less than 20 hours, beating the two-wheeled riders to the finish line for the second time in the past three contests. The Vildosola duo's win marks only the ninth time in 45 years that a four-wheeled vehicle has bested a motorcycle in overall time.
"It was tough going at the beginning and there were a lot of trucks in front of us," said Vildosola Jr. "Getting around them was a little difficult but our plan was to be in 10th place by Puertecitos. We were actually in 10th place at the goat trail. We decided to take it easy from there on down and try to conserve the SCORE Trophy Truck through San Felipe.
"By Puertecitos we were running in the top seven. We just had a good, smart race. There has been a noise coming from the SCORE Trophy Truck for the last 400 miles and I was praying to get to the finish line."
Colton Udall, Timmy Weigand and David Kamo posted the top time among motorcycle teams on the Honda CRF450X, trailing Vildosola by over 15 minutes at the finish.
Team owner Johnny Campbell weighed in on the victory:
"It was a great effort from everyone at JCR. The guys rode hard but smart out there. I never had to get on the bike this time. It was a tough race with strong competition this year. (David) Pearson got close to us when Colton (Udall) was riding. But we were able to pull away. Timmy (Weigand) rode the bike in from Loreto. He is smart and a great finisher. We could feel OX out there with us again this year. His memory is always with us. It is always special to win the 1000. You prepare for everything possible. The overall speed was a little faster than I thought. I thought it would be around 52 miles per hour average, but I think we were close to 55 or so. I don’t think the fog was as bad this year. I think we had a solid rider lineup this year. Everyone seems to get along so well. It was a total team effort."
The Honda trio averaged 55.64 mph and moved into the adjusted lead close to mile 100. Udall led the way early and and by mile 150 had taken the physical lead as well. He continued to push, building a gap of over eight minutes on the field before turning the bike over to Kamo. Close to three-hundred nearly flawless miles later, Udall once again took the reins as night began to fall. He passed back to Kamo once more and then, 170 miles later it was up to Weigand to hold the front to the end. Though the three riders put in an impressive run, there was no shortage of incident, as is unavoidable in such a grueling contest as the Baja 1000.
Udall commented on some of the trials he faced during his legs of the race: "We serviced our bike four or five times and changed tires. We had multiple rear wheels that were bald with no knobs. This course just ripped it all up, it was a very tough course. The section through San Felipe was probably one of the gnarliest workouts I ever had in my life. My whole body was locking up. I was just done. It was nice to get to the paved section after that. The race was awesome. The only thing out of the ordinary was that I crashed at about race mile 14. It was super dusty this morning and I made a lot of mistakes. The speed of some of the racers in front of me was just a hair off my pace and they just ruined me."
Coming in over an hour behind was the Factory FMF/Bonanza Plumbing/KTM Team of Kurt Caselli, Ivan Ramierez, Mike Brown and Quinn Cody.
“We are glad to finish on the podium, but we are all pretty bummed that we couldn’t get closer to battle for the win,” said Caselli.
The KTM team ran into all manner of difficulty over the course of the event, including early mechanical issues and crashes. Cody suffered the worst effects after taking the reins from Caselli during the late-night hours. He rode without incident for 200 miles, and then just 12 miles before the checkpoint, Cody crashed hard, breaking his femur. Caselli had to rush to the scene to take over and over 45 minutes later was up and running.
“We are very sad that Quinn crashed,” said Caselli. “He was riding really well and is a strong member of this team. We are grateful that he received help and will be treated by the best doctors. Unfortunately, crashing and injury is part of racing. We wish him a speedy recovery and we are thankful we were still able to finish the race with a strong bike that helped us earn a 2nd place result.”
There were 298 official starters across all classes, marking the 11th-highest number of starting contestants in the 45 year history of the race. 174 racers notched official finishing times, also the 11th-highest record in 45 years.