The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 held its 46th annual motorsport competition across the Baja peninsula and over a most treacherous journey through the wild deserts and into the untamed mystique of Northern Mexico. Known as the world’s most arduous non-stop off road racing event, the Baja 1000 demands every ounce of courage that one could muster just to even take the green flag and start down the course at speed. Braver than most, BJ Baldwin, dominated Baja in a King Shock equipped Chevrolet Silverado Trophy Truck and crossed the finish line during the early hours of Saturday morning on November 16, 2013 to claim the overall victory. Baldwin completed the 883 mile event in just over 18 hours 36 minutes at an average speed of 47.5 MPH.
The winners of the top buggy divisions; Damien Jefferies of Class 1 and Brad Wilson in Class 10 also utilized King Off Road Racing Shocks to conquer the grueling terrain and earn the top finishing positions. In all, 10 different class-winning vehicles were outfitted with King Shocks. A notable statistic that outlines results in an event where only 125 out of 251 participants (just 49.8 percent of the field) were able to even complete the course within the designated set time of competition.
The super high-grade materials and quality construction used to manufacture all King Shocks suspension components makes all the difference where durability is the fundamental aspect in keeping your race moving forward. Maintaining an effort worthy of winning requires intense focus, physical agility and mental strength. Lasting through nearly a thousand miles of non-stop punishment will drain the most competent athlete’s endurance and willpower. A plush ride designed and finely tuned by experienced experts will allow the drivers to conserve precious energy while racing over the endless miles of rough uneven terrain.
In an exceptional feat of determination, combined with concentrated preparation, BJ Baldwin earned this latest victory by completing the entire event as a solo driver. “The truck can only take so much and your body can only take so much mentally and physically,” Baldwin illustrated the enormous challenge of iron manning the race. “… I just put this thing on the chip and let it eat up the bumps.” BJ has now captured 2 consecutive Baja 1000 wins, back-to-back SCORE Trophy Truck Championships, and the overall World Championship, all equipped with King Shocks.
The 2014 Baja 1000 marked a milestone turning point in this historic events legacy. Roger Norman, SCORE-International’s new promoter setup a challenging loop course that no doubt preludes a new chapter of where off road desert racing is headed. Starting in Ensenada, winding through rocky trails, opening up into the rough open desert, picking routes through endless silt beds, and ending back in Ensenada 883 miles later; Racing in Baja is now more difficult than ever.
Have you heard of Gus Vildosola and Gus Vildosola Jr? If so, it’s probably because you saw their name when they won the Baja 1000 in 2010. Well, they’ve done it again. In a time of 19 hours and 45 minutes, the Vildosola team, sponsored by Red Bull, won the Pro Car & Truck overall title. BJ Baldwin was second with a time of 20 hours and one minute. He was followed by team Weyhrich in third, Herbst/Arciero in fourth, and Dan & Mark McMillin in fifth. Last years winner, Andy & Scott McMillin, finished seventh.
Vildosola Jr said, “I drove really hard at the start (of the 2011 Tecate SCORE Baja 500) and it didn’t get me anywhere. At the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in 2010 I drove extremely smart and went really hard when I could and I just laid back when there was no visibility. I did the same thing this time and it ended up working out for us. ”
BJ Baldwind, who finished second, recapped what went wrong, “We had a couple of mishaps with our pits that cost us quite a bit of time. One of the fuel fillers was not working right. They had to change that and then on the very last fuel pit we had a similar problem with the fueling system. It was just stuff that we slipped up on and stuff we need to lace up for next year.” Another reminder that it’s key to stock your truck with quality products, otherwise it may cost you down the road.
All-in-all, just to finish the Baja 1000 is a milestone. It’s pretty amazing that the Vildosola team won in 2010 and 2012 and the Andy/Scott McMillin team won in 2009 and 2011. These two teams are quickly becoming the Michael Jordan and Larry Bird match-ups of 21st century off-road desert racing. Let’s see if Baldwin, Menzies and some of the other guys can de-throne them next year. For now, enjoy the accompishment of finishing one of the most grueling desert races in the world.
The SCORE Baja 1000 is the seaon-finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series and includes over 300 entries for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Drivers compete in 35 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in a race that spans Mexico’s magnificently mysterious Baja California peninsula. With the bone-jarring 1,121.55-mile course traveling on both sides of the peninsula, the world’s most famous desert race starts in Ensenada and finishes all the way down the peninsula in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
You may have read a recent SoCalTrucks.com article highlighting Andy and Scott McMillin’s win at this year’s Baja 1000. One thing you may have not realized is that BFGoodrich tires helped carry them to victory. This was the 25th time BFG tires have been on the winning vehicle. Not only that, BFG was also on 8 of the top 10 finishers. If it was one or two, then that would be a coincedence, but the fact that they are on 80% of the top 10 shows that BFG makes some tough, powerful tires.
Nick Vanderway was the only competitor to run 42″ BFG tires and he even through on some 20″ wheels. Pretty amazing to think that a 42/20 set-up can almost win the Baja 1000. It should also be noted that BFG won 14 of the Baja 1000 race classes in this year’s race. Pretty amazing…
SoCal SAYS: If a tire can stand up to the terrorizing Baja trails, then it can stand up to almost anything. Since BFG tires were on 8 of the 10 finishers at the Baja 1000, it’s pretty safe to say that they are consistently coming through in the clutch. We have always loved BFG, especially when the BFG Mud-Terrain and All-Terrain was the only real choice for most lifted truck owners. Competition has intensified with Toyo, Nitto, Pro-Comp, Interco and everyone else, but BFG is still putting out quality…evidenced by the 2011 Baja 1000.
Even though SoCalTrucks.com is not an off-road focused site, we still follow off-road racing and love pre-runners. As some of you may know, the Baja 1000 was held last weekend in Ensenada, Mexico (Baja). There are different classes of racers with the main focus on the 4wheel class featuring Trophy Trucks. Some of you may have seen them featured in the 2005 movie Dust to Glory. The 2011 winner in the 4wheel category was the McMillin Racing father and son team of Scott (51) and Andy (24). The team covered 700 miles in their Ford F-150 in a little under 15 hours. They averaged almost 47 MPH on the mean dirt roads of Baja.
This year’s SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 had 278 racers from more than 16 countries. What was surprising was that 56% of the entrants actually finished the race. That’s a pretty high percentage considering how challenging the race can be. This was McMillin Racing’s 2nd win at the Baja 1000 in the last three years, which is a testament to their determination and racing skill. Menzies Motorsports took 3rd, but secured the Overall SCORE points championship for the year. Other notbale finishes include 66 year-old Clyde Stacy in 5th and Jesse James in 7th.
After the race, Andy McMillin said, ““My dad did a great job on the San Felipe loop. We kept our pace and kept our position and Bryce (Menzies) was doing work out front and was running away with it. Luckily, he had a little issue and we were able to make up time. I got back in the truck and Bryce pulled over for fuel and we got around them. That was the most intense race I’ve ever been a part of. I was 30 seconds to them and Bryce was 30 seconds to me on the beach. It was a freight train free for all. It was such a blast. It was so much fun. I’m glad to win my second SCORE Baja 1000 with my dad. It means a lot.”
SoCal SAYS: These guys are modern day gladiators. Not to take anything away from NFL football stars or NASCAR, but these guys are racing off-road for 15 hours straight! Not on a field or a race track, but crazy off-road terrain. The fact that McMillin won this year is another feather in their cap. The whole McMillin team is talented and the 2011 SCORE Baja 1000 proved it. Congratulations.