The 45th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 came to an official close this morning at 10 o'clock, November 17, and in what was a close race in the motorcycle division, the JCR Honda team of Colton Udall, Timmy Weigand and David Kamo came away with the victory.
It was a nip and tuck for much of the race between the Honda team and the Kawasaki team, made up of Robby Bell, Destry Abbott, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson, as well as the KTM team of Kurt Caselli, Ivan Ramirez, Mike Brown and Quinn Cody. For much of the time, the three teams were within 15 minutes of each other.
But things spread out quickly late in the race when Cody fell and broke his leg, and the Kawasaki bike ground to a stop with mechanical problems within the last 100 miles of the race.
The winning Honda team ended up taking the checkered flag a little over an hour ahead of the KTM team. And a little over an hour after that, the third-place Honda team, made up of Jim O'Neal, Shane Esposito, Ricky Brabec and Max Eddy, crossed the finish line, taking the Class 21 victory.
The Mark Samuels/Ian Young/Evan Kelly/Justin Jones Honda team finished fourth overall.
Udall rode from the start to El Crucero and Kamo rode from El Crucero to San Ignacio. Udall got back on the bike at San Ignacio and rode to Loreto, where Weigand finished out the race to LaPaz.
"In San Felipe, I passed for the lead and I kept pulling it out and then I gave the bike to David [Kamo]," said Udall. "He pretty much held it or pulled it out more and then we pitted and lost some time. I think he opened up the lead another three minutes. I got on the bike and lost a bunch of time because I only pre-ran my section three times.
"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," Udall said. "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."
"It helped us out being so far back from the start," Kamo said. "That way we can be the hunters. We can see what they are doing and they have to turn around and see where we are. It's a pretty big win for us, this being the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000."
"It was a great effort from everyone at JCR," said team captain Johnny Campbell. "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. It was a total team effort."
For the KTM team, Ramirez rode the start to Ojos Negros and Brown rode from Ojos Negros to Puertecitos. Ramirez got back on at Puertecitos and raced to Vizcaino. Quinn took over and Caselli got back on the bike when Quinn crashed and rode to the finish.
"My first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 was pretty eventful," Caselli said. "Obviously there was a lot of hype coming into this race between KTM and the Honda team and Kawasaki team as well. We did a lot of homework coming to this race. From the outside looking in, this was a big accomplishment for KTM, for myself and the team. We got the bike to the finish with no major issues besides some rider issues. Quinn Cody went down, and from what we know, has a broken femur. He was fine and just in a little pain but disappointed. It was obviously a big hit to the team.
"Ivan did a great job starting and we had a little technical problem early on and we fell back a little bit in the dust," Caselli said. "It's a long race and we didn't give up anywhere. I'm not disappointed at all. I'm very happy to be sitting right here in second place in my first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Honda brought a better program to the table and we are going to go home and do our homework."
"The first section went pretty good, but I was a little bit in the dust," said Ramirez. "I relaxed a little because I was kind of tight. I gave the bike to Mike Brown being second overall. We had some problems and then Honda and Kawasaki passed us. The whole day we've been behind Kawasaki and Honda. I got on the bike in Puertecitos again for my longest section to Vizcaino. It went pretty good."
This year's race ran down the length of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. The course was somewhat similar to 2010, but longer than the last time the race finished in La Paz, although the terrain has obviously changed significantly because of weather conditions and natural use. This year even more changes are occurring because of Hurricane Paul that came through the southern portion of the course several weeks ago.
The winning Honda team was not the first vehicle to the finish line, for the first time in quite a while, a four-wheel vehicle was first to the checkered flag, a truck driven by the father and son duo Gus Vildosola and Gus Vildosola Jr.
1. Colton Udall, San Clemente, Calif./Timmy Weigand, Valencia, Calif./David Kamo, Caldwell, Idaho, Honda CRF450X, 20:09:30, (55.64 mph) (Class 22)
2. Kurt Caselli, Murrieta, Calif./Ivan Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico/Mike Brown, Murrieta, Calif./Quinn Cody, Los Olivos, Calif., KTM 450SX-F, 21:12:50 (52.87 mph) (Class 22)
3. Jim O'Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Shane Esposito/./Ricky Brabec, Oak Hills, Calif.,/Max Eddy, Barstow, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 22:00:36 (50.96 mph) (Class 21)
4. Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif./Ian Young, San Clemente, Calif./Evan Kelly, Mojave, Calif./Justin Jones, Norco, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 22:32:35 (49.75 mph) (Class 22)
5. Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas/Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M./Jason Trubey, Henderson, Nev./Ben Brinkley, Bothell, Wash./Clint Braun, Henderson, Nev., Honda CRF450X, 22:47:24 (49.21 mph) (Class 30)
6. Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico/Roberto Villalobos, Tecate, Mexico/David Zarate, Los Cabos, Mexico/Adam Neuwirth, Malibu, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 23:30:39 (47.70 mph) (Class 21)
7. Francisco Arredondo, Guatemala/Pal Anders, Norway/Ryan Dudek/Matt Karlsen, USA, Honda CRF450X, 23:39:02 (47.42 mph) (Class 30)
8. Warren Strange/Vernon Strange/Jake Smith, Australia, Honda CRF450X,23:41:39 (47.33 mph) (Class 22)
9. A.J. Stewart, Jamul, Calif./Justin Morgan, Alpine, Calif./Corey Freeman, Fallbrook, Calif./Kevin Johnson, Boulder City, Nev., Honda CRF450Xm 24:21:31 (46.04 mph) (Class 22)
10. Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif./Ron Wilson, Encinitas, Calif./Scott Dunlavey, Lafayette, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 25:14:10 (44.44 mph) (Class 40)
CLASS 20 (450cc or less)-1. Chad Broughton/Paul Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif./Eric Pucelik, Santa Cruz, Calif./Nick Owens, Scotts Valley, Calif., Honda CRF250X, 29:47:41 (37.64 mph); 2. Yoshiaki Noda/Eiji Sugiyama/Yoshiyuki Imai, Japan/Yuichiro Horikawa, China, Honda CRF250L, 34:50:01; 3. Megumi Shiono/Katsuhisa Mikami/Takehito Suzuki/Hiroyuki Watanabe, Japan, Honda CRF250L, 43:50:37. (3 Starters, 3 Finishers)
CLASS 21 (450cc or less)-1. Jim O'Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Shane Esposito/./Ricky Brabec, Oak Hills, Calif.,/Max Eddy, Barstow, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 22:00:36 (50.96 mph); 2. Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico/Roberto Villalobos, Tecate, Mexico/David Zarate, Los Cabos, Mexico/Adam Neuwirth, Malibu, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 23:30:39; 3. Ulises Fierro, Tijuana, Mexico/Marco Higuera, Ensenada, Mexico/Michael Valenzuela, Tijuana, Mexico/Ricardo Munoz, Ensenada, Mexico/Kyle Abney, Albuquerque, N.M., Honda CRF450X, 26:27:27; 4. Chris Warwick, Australia, Honda CRF450X, 42:43:37. (7 Starters, 4 Finishers)
CLASS 30 (Riders over 30 years old)-1. Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas/Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M./Jason Trubey, Henderson, Nev./Ben Brinkley, Bothell, Wash./Clint Braun, Henderson, Nev., Honda CRF450X, 22:47:24 (49.21 mph); 2. Francisco Arredondo, Guatemala/Pal Anders, Norway/Ryan Dudek/Matt Karlsen, USA, Honda CRF450X, 23:39:02; 3. Jose Rivas/Guillermo Gomez/Juan Azanza, Guadalajara, Mexico/Rodrigo Alvarez, Tepatitlan, Mexico, KTM 450EXC, 35:29:09. (7 Starters, 3 Finishers)
CLASS 40 (Riders over 40 years old)-1. Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif./Ron Wilson, Encinitas, Calif./Scott Dunlavey, Lafayette, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 25:14:10 (44.44 mph); 2. Mike Barnhill/John Griffin, 46, Julian, Calif./Tex Mitchel, Temecula, Calif./Giovanni Spinali, Julian, Calif./Fred Willert, Coronado, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 25:43:28; 3. Robert Creemers/Pete Herd/Sean Clark/Kevin Archer, New Zealand, Honda CRF450X, 26:25:20; 4. Steve Sanders, Bonita, Calif./Bill Witt/Steven Fuller, Henderson, Nev./Todd Abratowski, Boulder City, Nev., Honda CRF450X, 27:09:49; 5. Mike Prunty/Sterlyn Rigsby, Temecula, Calif./Lester Lehigh, Bishop, Calif./Ken Hansing, Tehachepi, Calif./Colie Potter, Borrego Springs, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 29:21:07; 6. Lloyd Andrew, Australia, KTM EXC-W, 29:31:41; 7. Oscar Fazz, Yuma, Ariz./Randy Harman, Peoria, Ariz./Lonnie Pearce, San Antonio, Texas/Mike Langley, Yuma, Ariz., Kawasaki KX450F, 36:12:03; 8. Gary Sparks, Page, Ariz/Kelly Oldroyd, Brian Head, Utah, Honda XR650, 37:32:08; 9. Chris Shortt, Larkspur, Colo./Dane La Fontaine, San Diego/George Pennington, Palmer Lake, Colo/Kevin Dean, Post Falls, Idaho, Husqvarna TXC510, 38:11:46. (10 Starters, 9 Finishers)
CLASS 50 (Riders over 50 years old)-1. Marc Prince, Malibu, Calif./Eric McKenna, Loomis, Calif./Doug Smith, Upland, Calif./Dave Potts, Burbank, Calif./Charlie Marshal, Carmichael, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 27:01:24 (41.50 mph); 2. Robert Smith/Tony Allen/Craig Murray/Tom Irgansen/Guy Laycraft, Canada, KTM EXC500, 31:24:39; 3.. Mark Jerman, Lancaster, Calif./Joe Bolton, Corona, Calif./Mark Vanscourt, Norco, Calif./Steve Buckley, Calabasas, Calif./Earl Roberts, Mexicali, Mexico, Honda CRF450X, 33:17:50. (4 Starters, 3 Finishers)
CLASS 60 (Riders over 60 years old)-1. Al Perrett, Canada/Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif./Mark Force/Guy Wilson, Bakersfield, Calif./Art More, Sun City, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 37:48:57 (29.66 mph). (2 Starters, 1 Finisher)