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Even on Wind Tunnel, Robby Gordon made "Hungriest Driver" for winning the Baja 500!
On SPEED TV's SPEED Report the Baja 500 was mentioned, only because Robby won.
TNT TV-National TV during the Pocono NASCAR race, Mentions Robbys Baja 500 win
Would this press have occurred if BJ won?
Editorial note from Gary Newsome about the Baja 500 and the aftermath. Off-road desert racing is the neglected step child of motorsports in North America. Thank goodness we have Robby Gordon, simply for publicity purposes.
Back in the good ole' days, desert off-road motorsports was a gentlemens game, a race fans passion and a great marketing device.
What impact does all this have to do with the future of races and off-road as a past time?
See our next series of Special coverage Stories.
CURRENT SITUATION IN ENSENADA, BAJA MEXICO
Read the great story Heath wrote HERE
"Thanks to bajasafari.blogspot.com
for all of the outstanding coverage and info."
41st Baja 500
June 6, Ensenada, Mexico (432.51 miles)
OVERALL--Cars & Trucks
1. Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., Chevy CK1500, 8:35:49 (50.309mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
2. B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado, 8:40:34 (49.85mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
3. Roger Norman, Reno, Nev./Larry Roeseler, Alpine, Calif., Ford F-150, 8:41:34 (49.72mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
4. Robbie Pierce/Mike Julson, Santee, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 8:51:58 (48.78mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
5. Troy Herbst, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 8:52:14 (48.76mph (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
6. Brian Collins, Las Vegas/Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., Dodge Ram 1500, 8:59:26 (48.12mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
7. Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif., Ford F-150, 9:03:21 (47.76mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
8. Harley Letner/Kory Halopoff, Orange, Calif., Tatum-Chevy, 9:05:47 (47.54mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
9. Armin Schwarz, Germany/Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark), Jimco-BMW, 9:07:54
10. Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix/Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif./Michael Vanderwey, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado, 9:15:49 (46.69mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
11. Armin Kremer, Germany/Andreas Aigner, Austria, Jimco-Chevy, 9:29:39 (45.56) (Class 1)
12. Tim Herbst, Las Vegas, Smithuilt-Ford, 9:43:20 (44.49mph (Class 1)
13. Jason Voss/Rich Voss, Cupertino, Calif., Ford F-150, 9:51:16 (43.89mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
14. Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz., Ford F-150, 9:52:45 (43.78mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
15. Bobby Baldwin, Las Vegas/Jesse Jones, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado, 9:54:39 (43.64mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
16. Mike Lawrence, Banning, Calif./Blake Kirkpatrick, Hacienda Heights, Calif./, Lothringer-VW, 10:03:38 (42.99mph) (Class 10)
17. Josh Daniel, Canyon Lake, Calif./Mike Voyles, Temecula, Calif., Racer-Chevy, 10:05:43 (42.84mph) (Class 1)
18. Eric Duran/Hiram Duran, Tecate, Calif., Neth, Tecate, 10:16:18 (42.11mph) (Class 1-2/1600)
19. Arnoldo Ramirez/Misael Arambula, Ensenada, Mexico, Curry, 10:20:06 (41.85mph) (Class 1-2/1600)
20. Jerry Penhall, Costa Mesa, Calif./Dan Martin, Monrovia, Calif., Penhall-Chevy, 10:20:29 (41.82mph) (Class 1) End Results.
The Robby Gordon Baja 500 TOYO TIRES Storyline
Robby Gordon TOYO Tires Win Baja 500
Robby Gordon, driver of the #77 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 trophy truck, won the 41st running of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 500 this weekend while competing on 37X13.50R17 Toyo Open Country M/T®-R tires. Gordon finished this year’s punishing off-road race, which spanned 432.51-miles, in a time of 8:35:49… a 50.309-mph average speed.
With a remarkable first half of this year in off-road competition, Gordon is firmly leading the points in the 2009 SCORE-International desert series championship. He won the season-opener at the Laughlin Desert Challenge and then finished second at the San Felipe 250. In addition, he finished third overall in the 2009 Dakar® rally.
“I am really excited with the way that the Toyo Tires performed in the Baja 500,” commented Gordon. “We had zero flat tires and very good wear management. With a tire that performs like this, it is going to make it tough for the competition to beat us.”
“We congratulate Robby Gordon and his entire team for a fantastic win in this year’s Baja 500,” said Steve Hutchinson, vice president of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “He is truly a legendary driver in the sport of off-road racing, and we are proud that Toyo Tires helped to deliver yet another win.”
Together since 2005, Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires have won multiple races, including the 2006 Baja 1000. The Open Country® line of tires from Toyo Tires includes products such as the Open Country H/T for highway driving, Open Country A/T for all-terrain use, and the off-road capable Open Country M/T.
To learn more about Toyo Tires products and Robby Gordon, log on to www.toyotires.com. Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of replacement tires for high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks, buses and off-road and construction applications. End Robby Gordon Toyo Tires Stuff.
The Baja 500 2009 Storyline
Baja Mexico—NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon began his double duty race weekend with a sterling overall victory Saturday over defending race champion B.J. Baldwin in the
41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race in Ensenada, Mexico. Working his way up the field after starting sixth in the elapsed-time race, Gordon covered the rugged 432.51-mile desert course in a time of eight hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds, averaging 50.31 miles per hour in the No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500.
Battling closely the entire race with Las Vegas’ Baldwin and several other challengers, Gordon finally pulled away in the closing miles to post a narrow victory margin of four minutes, 45 seconds over Baldwin and his No. 1 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. With no time to celebrate his ninth career race win in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks, Gordon immediately flew back to the U.S. for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
Round 3 of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series, the second-oldest desert race in the world and part of the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, featured 267 starters competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. It will be held Thursday through Sunday in Ensenada, Mexico. Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 100,000 spectators enjoyed the world’s best desert racers in action at the 41st anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
Entries came from 25 U.S. States from Hawaii to Vermont along with the additional countries of Mexico, Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan and Portugal, Romania and South Africa.
With racing continuing in the elapsed-time race that had a 20-hour time limit until 7:12 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday, both the start and the finish line were located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. It was the second time in race history that the pre-race activities and the finish were all held on this historic boulevard. Mexican tourism officials estimated the race-day crowd spread out along the course at more than 100,000.
The total number of starters (267) was the 19th most in the 41-year history of the popular race. The starting list included 136 cars and trucks and 131 motorcycles and ATVs. There were an amazing total of 195 finishers, equaling 2008 as the third most finishers in the event’s 41-year history, for a race-record 73.0 percent finishing rate.
With two victories and a second in three races in 2009 SCORE Desert Series, the impressive victory was Gordon’s fifth class win, fourth overall victory and first win in this race since 2005.
“It was a very good run for us. We had a great race with B.J. (Baldwin) – some of the better racing we’ve ever had,” said Gordon, a second-generation desert racer. “We didn’t have radio communication with our team for the last 250 miles so it was really hard. We gave up a bunch of time, probably, not being able to use the true navigation. Still, we just paced it and kept it smooth. I had a couple of strategies in place. If I was close to him and I had enough gap, I was going to stop at (Race Mile) 80 and they were going to stop at 100. That gave me track position on everybody but Rob (MacCachren) and then Rob stopped at like 130 and that gave me track position on him. But, honestly, I just cruised most of the day. Once I was the first truck on the road, I knew they had to pass me to beat me and that would be hard to do.”
Third overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck was the team of Roger Norman, Reno, Nev./Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., whose first race together was a fifth overall in this race last year, finished just 1:25 behind Baldwin and 6:10 behind Gordon with a time of 8:41:59 in the No. 8 Roger Norman Racing Ford F-150.
With SCORE Trophy-Trucks claiming the first seven and eight of 10 overall 4-wheel vehicle finishing positions, the team of Robbie Pierce/Mike Julson, Santee, Calif., finished fourth overall, edging Las Vegas’ Troy Herbst by just 16 seconds. Pierce/Julson finished in 8:51:58 in the No. 35 MasterCraft Racing Chevy Silverado while Herbst completed the course in 8:52:14 in the new No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150.
Earning his fourth consecutive overall motorcycle victory was Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., who led his team on the No. 4x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. The defending SCORE Desert Series Class 22 point champion used his experience and the riding assistance of teammates Timmy Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif./Quinn Cody, Los Olivos, Calif. to overcome JCR teammates Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, both of San Clemente, Calif., completing the course in 8:30:03, averaging 50.88mph. It was the first overall win in this race for both Weigand and Cody.
Norman and his team had to overcome a crash and other mechanical issues to come from behind against their young teammates, finishing with a victory margin of just one minute, five seconds over the JCR Honda CRF450x of Udall/Kargola.
Riding the fastest ATV in the race for his second win of the season and second straight in this race was the team led by Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif. His co-riders this year were Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich./ Wes Miller, Fallbrook, Calif./Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif., on a TRX700XX. Matlock and his team finished in 9:36:23, finishing an impressive 10th overall among all motorcycle and ATV finishers.
Norman started and finished the race, riding a total of 269 miles. Cody rode the second section and Weigand the third leg.
“I put the bike in a comfortable spot and then my teammate (Quinn Cody) fell and messed the bike up pretty good near race mile 200. We got behind our teammates (Colton Udall) and we really had to work hard after we got behind them. The course was really good, I liked it and my part of the race was a lot of hard work but I had a very clean ride and I was able to bring home my fourth straight overall win in the SCORE Baja 500 which is something I had only dreamed of being able to do.
Finishing eighth overall while winning the unlimited Class 1 in a Chevy-powered Tatum open-wheel desert race car was third-generation desert racers Harley Letner and Kory Halopoff of Orange, Calif.
All German Motorsports finished second and third in Class 1 and ninth and 11th overall with three of the four drivers all experienced World Rally Championship drivers and the fourth a veteran SCORE desert racer.
Germany’s Armin Schwarz and Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. were second in Class 1, two minutes and 7 seconds behind Letner/Halopoff in a Jimco-BMW while Germany’s Armin Kremer and Austria’s Andrea Aigner were third, just under 20 minutes behind their teammates in a Jimco-Chevy.
Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif., earned his fourth straight Class 7 race win in this race in a Ford Ranger. It was also his second Class 7 race win in three 2009 SCORE races.
Also earning his fourth class win in this race was John Holmes, Olivenhain, Calif., who captured Class 7SX in a Ford Ranger. It was also his second SCORE Desert Series race win this year.
Mexico’s veteran SCORE desert racer Eric Solorzano picked up his seventh career race win in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 when he captured Class 11 in his stock VW sedan.
Winning the Stock Full class performance driving instructor and cancer survivor Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., who drove the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Lexus LX570. It was the first Lexus SUV to ever compete in a SCORE desert race.
Brothers Gavin and Darren Skilton both won their classes, finishing early Sunday morning in Ensenada.
Remaining unbeaten this season with his third race win in the Stock Mini class was Gavin Skilton, Anaheim, Calif., in a Honda Ridgeline. Darren Skilton, Orange, Calif., picked up his fourth class win in this race and first since 2000 by winning Class 3 in a Jeep Wrangler.
Also winning his third race of the season was Kevin Carr, San Diego, who won for the second straight year in this race in Class 5 in his unlimited VW Baja Bug.
Among the other four-wheel vehicle class winners were: Eric Duran, Tecate, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600, Neth-VW) Rodrigo Ampudia Jr., San Diego (Class 8, Ford F-150), Robert Pickering, Las Vegas, (Class 6, Ford Ranger), Alonso Angulo, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, VW Baja Bug), Mike Lawrence, Banning, Calif. (Class 10, Lothringer-VW), Lee Banning, Laveen, Ariz. (SCORE Lite, Foddrill-VW), Daniel Reyes, Calexico, Calif. (Class 9, Mayoral-VW) and Rob Kittleson, Palm Springs, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150).
Earning his 13th career class win in this race and 12th in the last nine years, Jim O’Neal won Class 50 (riders over 50 years old) on a Honda CRF450X. O’Neal’s co-riders in Class 50 were Andy Kirker, Santa Ana, Calif./Dan Dawson, Agua Dulce, Calif./Tim Withers, Pepeekeo, Hawaii/Craig Adams, San Clemente, Calif. It was Adams fourth class win in this race and the team was 12th overall among motorcycle and ATV finishers. It was also the team’s second straight class win this season.
O’Neal was also rider of record for a Class 30 (riders over 30) team that finished fourth in class.
Veteran SCORE desert racer Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif., earned his 13th career class win in this race as well, leading a team to victory in Class 60 (riders over 60) on a Honda CRF450X. His teammates in the special racing class were Bill Nichols, Phoenix/Mark Force, Bakersfield, Calif./Dave Olen, Morongo, Calif.
Finishing a surprising fourth overall among motorcycles and ATVs and winning Class 21 was the Shane Esposito-led team on a Kawasaki KX450F. Esposito, Lake Elsinore, Calif., teamed with Brian Pinard, Sun City, Calif./Franciso Septien, Ensenada/Brent Harden, Menifee, Calif.
In Class 40 (riders over 40), Scott Myers, Menifee, Calif., led the talented team of Brett Helm, Poway, Calif./Lou Franco, Sherman Oaks, Calif./Jeff Kaplan, San Diego/Rick Johnson, Trabuco Canyon. They rode a Honda CRF450X to sixth overall among the motorcycle and ATV racers.
Mike Johnson, El Paso Texas and co-rider Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M, captured Class 30 for the second straight race on a Honda CRF450X, finishing 11th overall among motorcycles and ATVs.
In the closest class race of the day, Hector Castillo, Calexico, Calif., won Class 20 for the second straight race on a Honda CRF250X, narrowly edging the team led by Jesus Rios, also of Calexico, by just one second.
In ATV Class 24, Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif., won for the second straight race this season, leading his team on a Honda TRX450R. His teammates were Steve Abrego, Covina, Calif./Dave Scott, Belen, N.M./Andy Lagzdins, Baltimore.
Among the 65 Sportsman racers who competed in six classes, the fastest four-wheel vehicle was again Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif. (SPT Car, Homebuilt-Chevy) while the fastest sportsman motorcycle time was turned in by the team led by Enrique Guerro, Ensenada, Mexico (SPT M/C>250cc, Kawasaki KX450F.
Included in nearly $400,000 in contingency posting and the cash purse for the race, Sunoco Race Fuels, the official race fuel of SCORE, posted a special US$5,000 cash contingency bonus for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner.
For the second straight year and just the second time in the 41-year history of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race, the colorful pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and Contingency, the start and finish line was all located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. It was the second time in race history that both the pre-race activities and the finish were held on this historic boulevard.
This popular SCORE summer race began in 1969 and SCORE began its enduring run with it on July 26, 1974. This year was the 36th anniversary of the first SCORE race in Baja.
In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. The awards are being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 24th consecutive year. End storyline.
RIVIERA RACING BAJA 500 2009 REPORT
June 12, 2008 - The 41st edition of the SCORE Baja 500 kicked off under beautiful sunny skies along the downtown waterfront of Ensenada, Baja California. Greeting housands of fans was ROCKSTAR Energy Drink athlete, Rob MacCachren, as he stood dressed for battle among the desert warriors.
The sense of the calm before the storm was present as the world's top off road racers gathered along Mexico's Pacific Coast for the 2009 SCORE Baja 500, a race that many consider only second in toughness to the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 desert race.
MacCachren and Mark Post arrived to the start line with the #3 ROCKSTAR Energy gloss black trophy truck with one goal in mind...to finish first in a race that has long eluded the two veteran racers. In the 2008 version of this race, the dynamic racing duo combined their driving skills for a near flawless run that saw them fall short of victory by a mere 7 seconds.
Both Post and MacCachren congratulated 2008 victor, B.J. Baldwin, but not before the two vowed to rage war against the competition in 2009.
Hundreds of hours of preparation by an army of Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR volunteers set in motion a race that won't likely be forgotten for many years.
The #3 Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR was slated to leave the starting line in second position, following a rookie in the first slot. MacCachren was tapped for increased duty after team owner/driver, Mark Post, fell sick to flu-like symptoms mere days before the race.
Post explained at the start line, "I'm on the road to feeling better, but being sick for the past three days and holed up inside Hotel Coral, under the care of a doctor has forced me to watch this one from the sideline. I don't feel physically strong enough to compete at the level that we need to compete at to win this race. Rob can get this done and we hope the stars align so we can put this Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR trophy truck in the winner's circle."
In the meantime, MacCachren was being mobbed by hundreds of fans surrounding the famous championship race truck. After signing autographs and posing for picture-after-picture with throngs of Riviera Racing / ROCKSTAR Energy fans, MacCachren made his way to the truck door and climbed into his "speeding office chair."
MacCachren and Post are no strangers to the rigors of battling in the desert of the Baja Peninsula. In 2007, the racing duo scored the most prestigious off road racing victory in the history of SCORE. Racing the length of the Baja Peninsula, they were crowned the overall winners of the 1296-mile point-to-point SCORE Baja 1000, the longest Baja 1000 in the 40-year history of the race.
Decades of experience and rooms full of trophies could not predict the unfortunate outcome of this year's SCORE Baja 500. It was early in the race when MacCachren skated around the rookie who left the line first. With MacCachren in perfectly clean air and the #3 trophy truck on a mission, it was an alternator that burped the first signs of a troubled day.
Rob MacCachren was putting the Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR trophy through the paces at speed when co-driver, Kelly Courie, noticed the gauges showing low voltage. The two racers talked their way through the issue and backed down the speed, cruising at a comfortable pace, advising the crew of the initial problems. When they reached race mile 205, they swapped out the alternator putting them behind in time, but only a mere 6 minutes behind the leaders as they passed the crew working on swapping out the ineffective part.
With the alternator replaced and back in the hunt, MacCachren rallied north up the San Matias Wash and turned West speeding down the race course towards Mike Sky Ranch when the engine temperatures spiked. MacCachren felt the lifeless motor go south as they were relegated to limping the race truck into the next pit. Crew Chief, Jim Blackmore, made the call to end the race for Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR race team as they suffered mechanical issues with the engine that could not be resolved during the race.
MacCachren later discussed, "Any time we don't finish a race, it's unfortunate. It's been a long run since we experienced a race-ending mechanical failure. Riviera Racing's crew does a phenomenal job preparing this Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR race truck. Our problems started with a bad alternator and then escalated from there. You can never count out the Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR trophy truck. Our plan is to be in the hunt for the season championship at the season ending race, the Baja 1000. We've got a great group of talented team members, as well as dedicated marketing partners that make this program one of the best. This Riviera Racing/ROCKSTAR trophy truck will return even stronger than before."
The SCORE Baja 500 race was won by General Tires sponsored, Rick Johnson, with a winning time of 9:08:21. Official results were released 5 days after the race and numerous teams were assessed time penalties for a variety of racing infractions. Of the 21 SCORE Trophy Truck teams entered in this year's extravaganza, only five teams, including Riviera Racing, were not penalized for racing infractions.
Riviera Racing will race the #3 ROCKSTAR Energy sponsored race truck at the SCORE Primm 300 on September 12, 2009 in Primm, Nevada. The SCORE Primm 300 is the 4th of 5 races that make up the 2009 SCORE Desert racing series." End Riviera Press Piece.
BIG TIME BAJA 500 QUOTES
Cars and trucks
ROBBY GORDON, No. 77 (First in class and first overall four-wheel vehicle, driving solo.) It was a very good run for us. We had a great race with B.J. (Baldwin) -- some of the better racing we've ever had. We didn't have communication for the last 250 miles so it was really hard. We gave up a bunch of time, probably, not being able to use the true navigation. Still, we just paced it and kept it smooth. I had a couple of strategies in place. If I was close to him and I had enough of a gap, I was going to stop at (Race Mile) 80 and they were going to stop at 100. That gave me track position on everybody but Rob (MacCachren) and then Rob stopped at like 130 and that gave me track position on him. But, honestly, I just cruised most of the day. Once I was the first truck on the road, I knew they had to pass me to beat me and that would be hard to do.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 1 (Second in class and second overall four-wheel vehicle, driving solo.) We broke a brake line and that hurt us as we were trying to chase down Robby (Gordon).We didn't have front brakes the last 70 miles. I was focused on (Brian) Collins, (Rob) MacCachren and mostly, Robby.I think Robby is the fastest guy out here. If he doesn't have any issues, he is tough to beat. He had a perfect day and we had some issues.We actually had some motor issues right from the start.It would run strong on the top end and the bottom. We didn't have any mid-range with the engine.I passed Robby on the beach but, about 20 miles later, I clipped a rock and had a flat tire and broke a brake line.I didn't think the tire would go down, but it came apart later.Robby got back around me and I followed him into the finish.Hats off to Robby today.Robby is a bad ass. I totally look up to him. I have been watching him race since I was a kid.It is great to race against him.I have beaten him before and we are fastest enough to beat him. We just didn't have enough today.
ROGER NORMAN, co-driver No. 8 (Third in class and third overall four-wheel with Larry Roeseler.) We stopped four times to fix the shock and we finally lost it completely. The truck got hard to handle and the brakes didn't work as well either. It was tough with no left front shock.But we managed to bring it in and take third.It was battle today, a very hard drive.We were right in the thick of things for the lead.Fortunately, we had no flat tires today.We had some tough steering issues with the broken shock.Larry had some steering problems too. I took me a long time to get used to the truck when I jumped in it.But considering the problems today, we'll take third and get ready for Primm.
LARRY ROESELER, No. 8 (Third in class with Roger Norman.) Well, starting 13th with this competitive field, I knew I had my work cut out for me.I got through a couple of guys early and, of course, the dust was bad. I had to be patient early, but I knew the front-runners might then get away from me.I lost three or four minutes in the early stages but I made that back up by the time I got to 200 miles. I was third on the road and in the hunt. When I got the driver change at mile 260, we were ahead on corrected time. We did fuel and a driver change and, when Roger left, we had a 15-second lead on corrected time.Roger drove great today.On the beach, he lost a shock hose and lost all of the oil.That took six or seven minutes and that was the difference.Roger is getting better with each race.He is aggressive and he wants to win.He has made a major commitment to the sport and it is great to have him in off-road racing.Our team planning and strategy has been working for us.It worked at Primm and at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000and we were on track here to win again. We are very proud of our performance today.
ROBBIE PIERCE, No. 35 (Fourth in class and fourth overall four-wheel vehicle. Co-driver Mike Julson drove the first 225 miles and Pierce drove the final 207.5 miles.) We had a good day. We felt like we stepped it up a notch today. We had a good start off the eighth today and had a little trouble when (Greg) Nunley got crossed up at Race Mile 8 or whenever it was. We ended up clipping him when we came down the hill. But what a great day. We had one flat but we were running fourth or fifth all day long. We just couldn't reel in Robby or Baldwin or Larry. We're really happy with fourth. That's the next step. Before you can win one, you've got to start knocking on the door and that's where we are.
TROY HERBST, No. 19 (Fifth in class and fifth overall four-wheel vehicle, driving solo.) It was a really tough course. You've got to get back in shape in this stuff and the truck ran good all day long. To go 500 miles in this thing with no breakdowns just proves that we can go. It was (this truck's) second race. It took a little while to get it to go, to see the speed again. These (other drivers) have stepped it up a huge notch; they're not waiting for the very end anymore, it's a full-on race. We tried to stay close to these guys but we just missed our marks. But the truck was perfect to make it all the way.
BRIAN COLLINS, No. 12 (Sixth in class. Collins drove the first 225 miles and co-driver Chuck Hovey drove the final 207.5 miles.) We had some problems today. We just stayed in line with everybody -- everything was running really tight. We got a flat, broke the air jack and then broke the manual jack. I think Chuck got one flat tire, too. I'd liked to have done better than sixth, but it is what it is. We finished and a lot of guys didn't finish.
RICK D. JOHNSON, No. 71 (Seventh in class.) We caught up the tangle right off the start, maybe mile 20.People were going every which way.I had to actually back up and drive around the mess. Then I got stuck behind some slower trucks for about 180 miles.They were not on pace but I couldn't get around.Our truck was good all day but getting stuck behind slower trucks let the front-runners just get away.One of the first 10 trucks got stuck in the road and it was just mayhem.It was absolute mayhem for 20 minutes out there.It was unbelievable but we finally got through it.But the slower trucks hurt us.It's tough when you start back in the behind.We just had a bad draw for the start. Hopefully, we can get a better draw for the next race."
HARLEY LETNER, No. 114 (First in class. Co-driver Kory Halopoff drove the first 225 miles and Letner drove the final 207.5 miles.) Kory lost brakes at about mile 70 and at the driver change I said, 'You want to change them?' He said, 'No, you'll figure out how to drive it.' We were nursing the brakes the whole time but really didn't have any other problems. No flats ... we just did a rear tire change when we changed drivers. That was about it.
ARMIN SCHWARZ, No. 102 (Second in class with Martin Christensen. Schwarz drove the first 262 miles and Christensen drove the final 170.5 miles.) The team had first or second from the start. It was a good run.We had no real problems. We had one flat and we changed it quickly.No other problems, though. The car was fantastic today.We were a little bit unlucky with the dust.We got stuck behind some slower Trophy Trucks. You need some patience in the car.I think I was swearing too much under the helmet.
ARMIN KREMER, No. 110 (Third in class with Andreas Aigner.) We had some problems, but not too much. Just minor things. Everything was fine and we drove really, really good. It was Andreas' first time driving in Baja and he did a really good job.
TIM HERBST, No. 106 (Fourth in class driving solo.) We got out of the car too much. We got a couple of flats, we got stuck and then Pistol Pete (Sohren) turtled it and we got stuck behind him. We just got out of the car too much.
ERIC DURAN, No. 1647 (First in class with brother Hiram.) It was pretty close on time for the win. It was a good race. We had only one flat tire today. We had to change a wheel that was bent but the tire was okay. We are going for the points and I was really trying to keep it together for the distance. We ran pretty hard and just stayed with 1605 car since he started well ahead of us. J CLASS 5
KEVIN CARR, No. 500 (First in class with Perry McNeil. McNeil drove first 220 miles with Carr finishing up.) Perry ran the first 220 miles and he said it was very rough. Perry left me with a great car and wonderful position. We were running well because we were in front of all of the 1600s and all of the 1200s. I think we had one Class 10 car in front of me. I made a couple of mistakes on the coast run. The starter went out and I stalled the car. We got a lot of spectators to push us and we kept going. Going up the hill from the beach, I made a right hand turn and got stuck in a ditch. We got more people to help us. I ran pretty conservatively from there. We never saw any other Class 5 cars from that point. It feels great to win our third race in the row.
ALONSO ANGULO, No. 551 (First in class with co-driver Mario Reynoso. Angulo drove the first 100 miles and the final 182 miles and Reynoso drove a 150-mile leg.) It's a long day. The closest car (in Class 5/1600) was about a half an hour behind us, which is nice. In the morning, 10 or 15 miles (from the start), we had a flat tire but that was the only problem we had.
ROBERT PICKERING, No. 604 (First in class with Mike Childress. Pickering drove the first 200 miles and Childress drove the final 232.5 miles.) This is incredible. This is our first SCORE race and our first season and just our fifth race ever. The only problem we had was we could not keep a jack in the truck. We lost three jacks during the race. For some reason, they kept flying off. We had two flats during the race and with no jack, it was tough. The locals were great. The second time around, they picked the truck up and changed the tire for us while they were holding it up. Other than that, it was an event-free race.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (First in class driving solo.) We were been running out of gas every couple of seconds for the last 20 miles. It just kept sputtering and then it would catch again and go. Our radio wasn't transmitting so we couldn't call for a splash of gas at Ojos (Negros, near Race Mile 400) so we thought we would have plenty but it turned out we didn't. But we didn't have any flats. This is four Baja 500 wins in a row for us and first race, first place on a new truck. We wanted this race but we were afraid to ask for us because this is a new truck and you never know about any bugs and stuff. This is great.
RODRIGO AMPUDIA JR., No. 801 (First in class with Rodrigo Ampudia Sr.) It was an awesome day for us. I started in second and move into first. We had some issues with overheating and we had to stop for a couple of minutes around mile 160. We got going again at Borrego and we were 11 minutes behind the leader. I was able to pressure the leader and he hit a rock and went off the course. We had to make three stops due to the transmission overheating a bit, but the truck ran to the finish. The BFG tires were great today. We ran a little more conservative at the end. But, overall, it was a good day for our team.
MIKE LAWRENCE, No. 1000 (First in class with Blake Kirkpatrick.) We really didn't have any problems today. It was pretty smooth. It was really hot on the other side of the mountains. The silt was deep in several spots. We went with a different shaving pattern on the BFG tires. We just shaved the sides of the tires. The car was just bogging down in the silt. The competition seemed to get a lot of flats and we didn't have any today. It was a great run for us.
LEE BANNING, No. 1202 (First in class with his son, Lee Jr.) The first 200 miles were really rough out there. I picked to run the first sections and it took me about three hours to recover from the pounding. Lee Jr. jumped in the car after Borrego and it was much smoother for him. We never had a flat all day long. We had a very clean race for us. We put new rear tires at the driver change and just dumped to fuel loads. We ran hard but we let a lot of guys go by and it hurt them. We finished second here last year and we had some engine problems in the 1000 that cost us the championship. So this is exciting to win the Baja 500.
KENDALL NORMAN, No. 4x (First in class and first overall vehicle. Norman rode the first and fourth legs and rode a total of 269 miles. Quinn Cody rode the second leg and Tim Weigand rode the third leg.) I put the bike in a comfortable spot and then my teammate (Quinn Cody) fell and messed the bike up pretty good (near Race Mile 200). I guess they had to change the ignition cover and something happened to our decompression system on the bike and so we made a pit stop and changed the rear wheel and I couldn't start it. We had to bump start it and lost another three minutes after I passed (the 15x bike) back. That was around Santo Tomas so it's just been one helluva lot of hard work. The course was really good; I liked it. I had a pretty darn clean ride.
QUINN CODY, co-rider No. 4x: Our race started out very well.I was trying to get through my section and make clean lines.A quarter-mile before Borrego, I hit a rock and it landed right on the ignition cover.It put a one-inch by three-inch hole in the cover and all of the oil dumped out instantly. But we had a pit within a quarter mile, and I rode into it.And the crew guys just ripped the ignition cover off and changed everything.They got us back out within a minute of the 15x bike.Kendall (Norman) just pulled off a miracle in the last 30 miles.The guys on the 15x did an amazing job today. They really gave us a race today.
TIM WEIGAND, co-rider No. 4x: Our race was filled with a lot of excitement and drama.We broke an ignition case and we got behind.Quinn pulled out a good lead and we needed that extra time to fix some of our mishaps today. I rode my little section and then Kendall just put his head down and hammered it to the finish.Colton (Udall) and Ox (Jeff Kargola) rode a great race on the 15x too.They were so close to a win -- just over a minute difference after 500 miles. Our team (Johnny Campbell Racing) finished 1-2 today and it doesn't matter who wins. The course was smoother than in recent years due to the rain that came down in the winter.It was a fun race for our entire team.
COLTON UDALL, No. 15x (Second in class and second overall vehicle. Udall rode the first 100 miles, Jeff Kargola rode the next 100 miles, Udall took over and rode approximately 62 miles, Kargola got on the bike and rode approximately 110 miles and Udall rode the last 40 miles) We're happy with second place. This was my first Baja 500. I've got Baja experience but this was my first 500. It was really rough out there and on the way back in, it was super rough. The last 30 miles was absolutely nuts. I pretty much lost the race in the last 30 miles because I made two big mistakes and that's probably a minute right there. It's just not my time to win, really, right now. That's why I am where I am right now. I just rode as good as possible and so did my teammate. I wasn't fatigued all day because my stints weren't that long.
CONNOR PENHALL, No. 5x (Third in class with Chad Black, Cale Wallace and Matt Henderson.) I had a pretty clean ride. I tipped over in a corner but that was about it. Everyone rode well and we got third.
SHANE ESPOSITO, No. 106x (First in class. Esposito rode the first 80 and final 60 miles. Teammates Brian Pinard, Francisco Septien and Brent Harden shared riding duties.) We really had no issues. I had some close calls but nothing where I almost got off the bike. Someone told me we passed about 33 bikes out there. For all that dust and what I passed, I'm surprised we had no close calls, no problems.
HECTOR CASTILLO, No. 152x (First in class with David Gonzalez, Sergio Valenzuela and Arturo Contreras.) Co-rider David Gonzalez said: It was dusty and rocky out there but it was pretty fun. The motor, at the end, I think something happened to the valves. The motor didn't respond. I think a rider got lost, too. We were 30 minutes ahead of (the 151x team) at Borrego. I thought we had first place easy but we had the problems with the bike and it was real close.
MIKE JOHNSON, No. 303x (First in class with Rex Cameron.) The front and the back side of the course was really slippery. I had one mishap early and it was a smooth race after that.Just a lot of dust for the 40 miles.We ran a good steady pace.That was our plan and it paid off.That is the way we like to run the races.
SCOTT MYERS, No. 400x (First in class with Brett Helm, Lou Franco, Jeff Kaplan, Bob Johnson and Rick Johnson.) We ended up having some problems against the 404x guys.They were tough. Brett (Helm) had some real hard racing against them.hJeff) Kaplan was up by ten minutes but then he crashed and it bent a rotor.We weren't sure what exactly broke and we changed several things.I think we ran 30 miles with the front brakes.We finally changed the front wheel and it got better from there.They were two minutes ahead of us in San Vicente and Bob (Johnson) got on the bike and he passed them and put about a minute and a half on them.It was a great effort by our crew to get us back running.It was nice to race wheel-to-wheel with some guys in Class 40.
ANDY KIRKER, No. 500x (First in class with Jim O'Neal, Dan Dawson, Tim Withers and Craig Adams.) This was our fourth Baja 500 win in a row in Class 50.We ran into some serious cactus. This Scott Dunlavey/Berkeley Honda was a great bike.We just kept handing it off to each other and it kept running great.We hammered the bike all day long and it ran flawless.I think we are close to Top 10 overall in motorcycles with a bunch of 50-year-old-guys. We had a good battle with the 501x bike. We had the deck stacked against us with a lot of famous names like Danny LaPorte, Chuck Sun, Eric McKenna and Charlie Marshall. I got behind a quad on the beach and he was only going fourth gear speed. I was buried in dust through that section.It was tough.
RICHARD JACKSON, No. 609x (First in class, riding with Mark Force and Dave Olen.) It was real rough. The bike was set up a little too stiff for it and to make matters worse, going into Borrego, I had the front go away so it wouldn't hold the line so it was really a fight. We had to stop and change tires. Dave Olen gave me the bike with the lead and all I had to do was finish in front of the SCORE Trophy-Trucks.
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 1a (First in class in Wes Miller, Josh Caster, Harold Goodman Jr.) It was awesome today.No one made any mistakes all day. We got the quad over to Wes and he got us in the lead and we just took off from there.Once we got into the lead, we didn't see any other quads. There were just a bunch of motorcycles in our way.We had a good team of riders.It's always exciting to win in Baja.
CRAIG CHRISTY, No. 100a (First in class.) We had about a 30-minute lead starting about halfway through the race and we just kept it there and started trying to save the bike and that was it. I almost hit three outbound trucks in the last 20 miles. I almost did a header with a Class 7 truck that I guess just got going. Other than that, no close calls and no problems. It was an uneventful day. We had a flawless bike and never changed a tire. We just kept putting fuel in and going. End quotes.
More storyline from UTV Industry News:
Round three of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series and the second-oldest desert race in the world, featured 267 starters competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and ATVs. The 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 500 course was 432.51 miles long and started and ended in Ensenada. End Story.
Robby Gordon May Have Won The Baja 500
All the race results are provisional until Thursday, but, don't count on any changes. The race was so close today, that Robby Gordon or BJ Baldwin may have won this race. We are still waiting for the 'official' results. Drama 101, let it ride as long as possible.
If you were planning on building a race truck to contest the Baja 500, would you start with a full-size Lexus SUV? If you're Phoenix-based Joe Bacal of JTGrey Racing, there's no better starting point than an LX 570.
"It may seem unusual to race a large luxury SUV in the desert, but I've worked quite a bit with Lexus vehicles and frankly, I think I'll have an advantage," said Bacal. "Lexus SUVs are capable and extremely durable -- both key factors in successful off-road racing."
Bacal would know, as he's no stranger to Lexus vehicles. Prior to starting JTGrey Performance Driving, a nationwide professional driving service, Bacal spent 17 years as a test and development driver for GM, Nissan and Toyota. During that time, he also trained with off-road legend Ivan Stewart and cut his teeth driving the Rubicon Trail and co-driving in the 2007 Baja 1000. While driving on the street paid the bills, Bacal's dream was to race off-road.
The catalyst that vaulted Bacal's dreams into reality was a battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After beating cancer, he signed up his caretakers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America as his sponsor and put together a team of off-road veterans to transform the luxurious LX 570 into a desert runner ready to take on the Baja Peninsula.
Bacal's LX 570 finished up desert testing last month and ran its first race at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico. Assuming the rig performs well, the team is planning a limited campaign in 2009 which will see the first-ever Lexus off-road race truck competing in three more "Best in the Desert" series races. Like "The Iron Man" himself, Bacal plans to drive every race solo. End prerss story.
Lexus Baja 500 Race Results:
Baja, Mexico, June 8, 2009 -- In a remarkable first for driver, team, vehicle and manufacturer, Joe Bacal and navigator Paul Williamsen took their freshly-built Cancer Treatment Centers of America JTGrey Racing Lexus LX 570 to a landmark maiden victory in the 41st annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 early Sunday. Their win in the Stock Full class* marks a world's first for Lexus and the culmination of a dream for Bacal and his new team.
"This is truly a dream come true," said Bacal. "The LX 570 was bulletproof and we went the entire distance without a tire change. I was tired at the end but not exhausted, which is something that two years ago was hard to imagine after my cancer ordeal."
Assisted by first-time navigator Williamsen and a new but well-organized team, Baja 500 rookie Bacal drove all 16 hours of his race without leaving the vehicle and with only brief stops for fuel and nourishment along the way. They moved the big LX into the class lead a little before the halfway point and were never headed again.
"Joe has a great ability to read the course and managed to steer clear of most of the bigger obstacles that this kind of trail constantly throws at you," said Williamsen. "But you can't dodge them all, so Joe's stamina and the durability of the Lexus and the BFGoodrich Tires were big factors."
Remarkably, the LX 570 had been completed just days before the race and was tested only briefly in Arizona before shipping to Ensenada for the race. But the big SUV responded well and the team's considerable efforts rewarded.
The dusty, rocky and alternately fast-slow Baja 500 course took its toll on many competitors. It crossed mountains, dry lake beds and even ran alongside the Pacific Ocean for several miles. It did manage to take a small bite out of the LX when an anti-roll bar link failed, but Bacal simply adjusted his driving to accommodate the degradation in handling and soldiered on. It proved to be a smart strategy.
Bacal and the JTGrey team look forward to their next race in late summer when they challenge the Vegas to Reno 1000 in the Best of the Desert series on August 19-23.
*Please Note: SCORE International has indicated that all results are provisional until final posting on Thursday of this week. End Race Results.
Mexican Military conduct a Narco-Crime Takedown at Contingency in Ensenada on Friday
CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY - Courtesia AFN
Robby Gordon Pumped, Primed and Poppin' to Punk Baja 500
Leader of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series points standings and four-time Baja 500 champion, Robby Gordon returns to Ensenada hoping to continue his dominance of the dirt in the 2009 season. Following his season-opening win in the Laughlin Desert Challenge and his second place finish in the San Felipe 250, Gordon has a 125-point lead heading into Saturday’s 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and is optimistic about his team’s chances especially after a successful pre-run last week.
On Saturday morning, Gordon and co-driver Andy Grider will climb into the No. 77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 for 432.51-miles of heart-pounding, ground-shaking racing action. The green flag will drop for the car and truck classes at approximately 10:00 a.m. local time. The duo of Gordon and Grider roll off sixth and will race their way towards the coveted Baja 500 title in front more than 100,000 spectators.
“After two impressive showings with the No. 77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Trophy Truck, it is our mission to win this year’s Baja 500 and continue increasing our points lead. It has been a great year so far for our team, and we can only hope that this momentum continues throughout the rest of the season,” commented Gordon.""
Ensenada policeman shot dead
4:07 p.m. June 4, 2009
""A municipal police officer assigned to a rural area east of the city of Ensenada was found shot to death late Wednesday, authorities said.
José Osvaldo Gomez, 42, was off duty when his body was discovered shortly after 10 p.m. off an unpaved road, on the Baja 500 2009 race course, near the community of Ojos Negros, a spokesman for the municipal police department said Thursday.
Investigators for the Baja California Attorney General's Office found casings from an automatic weapon near the officer's body, an AK-47, according to a statement. Gomez was the first municipal police officer killed this year in
Mike Wilson from
Another Report: "I parked in front of that same hotel and had a spare c-6 transmission stole out of the pickup in broad daylight. I was inside the hotel for about 20 minutes."
Another Report: "We had the same happen to us a couple years ago,they took our radio antenna and a bag of about 50 shirts we had just got made with our team logo and stuff."
Another Report: "Had about 10 chase vehicles outside the gate (to be 'WATCHED" by the paid guard but apparently $aid big brother$ were $leeping on the job?"
CHECK OUT OUR EARLY BAJA 500 2009 Reports: