Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody rode the JCR (Johnny Campbell Racing) Honda CRF450X to the overall motorcycle win in the the 43rd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
The Californians gave Honda its 14th win in a row, and 21st overall, by covering the 1061 miles from Ensenada to La Paz in 19:22:22 at an average speed of 54.87 mph. They also earned the Class 22 win.
The win was Norman’s fifth overall and fourth in this race, with Cody winning his third Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and second straight.
The race began with Norman in the saddle, handing off to Cody at mile 340 and riding until mile 733 before Norman took the controls to the finish.
“The fog was really thick for about 100 miles – it was as bad as I’ve seen it,” Norman said. “It really tested me and what I had. It took everything I could to keep the bike moving and keep my goggles clean and just keep going.
“I can’t say enough for my teammate Quinn (Cody), he did an amazing job. It was flawless. It has been a helluva long year, waking up every day thinking of this race. We finally made it and made all my dreams come true this year. We pretty much had a flawless day. Quinn got a rear flat tire and other than that we really didn’t have a problem all day long.”
Added Cody, “It went really well. I got the bike and our 8x team was right behind us. I kept it pinned through the whole Bay of L.A. section and all the way to San Ignacio. I just tried to keep it clean and smooth. We really didn’t have any problems. We made it quite a way without having to put the lights on.
“We ended up putting our lights on about 30 miles from San Juanico and from there it was clear sailing. We had a big lead by that time and then it was just control the race from there. I got one flat tire a couple miles from the pavement at Vizcaino but we had a guy that was right there at the pavement just for that and we did a wheel change. It was a minute and we were back going again.”
Second overall went to an eight-rider team that included boldfaced names Ricky Johnson and Troy Lee. Joining them on their Honda CRF450X were Louie Franco, Jeff Kaplan, Brett Helm, Bob Johnson, John Unger, and Scott Myers. The team finished in 22:32:17, about three hours and ten minutes behind the winners, while averaging 47.11 mph.
Third overall went to Class 30 winners Francisco Septien, Brian Pinard, Mike Johnson, Rex Cameron, and Noe Ibarra. The team finished five minutes out of second place in 22:37:03 at an average speed of 46:94 mph.
Septien, who rode three different legs, said, “I was just helping the other riders so they could rest a little bit. Everything went well, nobody crashed, the bike ran perfect and Brian (Pinard) did a good job on the bike. Two years ago, we also finished third overall.”
The overall win went to the father and son Vildolsalas, Gustavo, 28, and Gustavo Sr., 57, , the first Mexican nationals to win the Baja 1000. Driving the Red Bull Trophy Truck Ford F-150, the Mexicali natives covered the course in 19:00.04 hrs. at an average speed of 55.87 mph.
Of the 292 total starters, 197 finished.