Baldwin beats Post/MacCachren For 4-wheel Overall victory at 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
Bell/Norman ride Honda CRF450X to 3-peat Overall Motorcycle
Driving the No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck, Baldwin, of Las Vegas, covered grueling desert race course in nine hours, 10 minutes, 47 seconds, averaging 48.06 miles per hour to win the closest overall 4-wheel vehicle finish in the 40-year history of the second oldest desert race in the world.
With racing continuing in the elapsed-time race that had a 20-hour time limit until 6:35 a.m. 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 first time in race history that the pre-race activities and the finish were held on this historic boulevard. Mexican tourism officials estimated the race-day crowd spread out along the course at more than 100,000.
Round 3 of the five-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, featured 289 starters, competing in 27 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs over the rugged 441.15-mile course. Entries came from 24 U.S. States from
“This win is massive. It is very important to me,” said Baldwin, the 2006 SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion. “I have a hand full of trophies, but what I don’t have is that Montezuma thing, the first overall in a SCORE Baja race. That’s what I always wanted.”
“The truck is hurt,” added
“For 60 miles I was stuck behind Ron (Whitton). We had a little bit faster pace than him, but I could get around him because of the dust. Every time we got close, I just didn’t want to take the chance.”
For Baldwin, who finished second to Post/MacCachren in the 2007 SCORE Trophy-Truck points, it was his third career SCORE Trophy-Truck win and his first in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. With a second and seventh place finish this season prior to this victory,
“Mark had some flat tires,” MacCachren added, But it doesn’t matter if you get them or not. Ultimately, it’s like a chess game. You’re cruising along trying to stay somewhere near the front of the pack and pick your battles at the end. The course was torn up a little bit.”
“I’d like to have made it here eight seconds faster,” said Post whose Riviera Racing team now has two second-place finishes in 2008 following a rare did-not-finish in the season opener. “I was 40 seconds behind B.J. when I gave the truck to Rob, so we got back on the pace. I had three flats otherwise we would have had a nice truck today. That was a heck of a run. It’s the SCORE Baja 500, a technical race. It’s just a great race.” Hoping for a 3-peat victory, Las Vegas’ Brian Collins came up a bit short, finishing third Overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck with new teammate Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., crossing the line 15 minutes behind
Earning a third consecutive overall motorcycle victory was the team of Robby Bell, Murrieta, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., on the No. 1x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. The defending
Riding the fastest ATV in the race for his second win of the season and first in this race was the team led by Wayne Matlock,
“It was just experience, just knowing not to get too excited with them (Penhall) riding with us,” said Bell, who won this year’s Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 with SCORE Baja legend Johnny Campbell while Norman was recovering from knee surgery. “We didn’t get too nervous. As soon as you start to worry about the team behind you, you start making mistakes. Around Valle de Trinidad (race mile 260) was the closest they got. I had to do a quick repair on the bike and they came in one second behind me. From there, we kind of kept pulling away.”
Luis Ramirez Jr. of Cabo San Lucas was the first Mexican national to win the unlimited Class 1 in this race, finishing fourth overall among 4-wheel vehicles in a Chevy-powered HMS open-wheel desert race car in 9:36:55. Fifth overall and fourth in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Roger Norman,
Venerable veteran Rod Hall,
With co-riders Brent Harden,
Defending Class 30 winner Scott Myers, Sun City, Calif., switched teams this year and beat last year’s lead rider Jim O’Neal while finishing an impressive third overall motorcycle in 9:13:46 on a Kawasaki KLX450. Myers co-riders this year where Shane Esposito, Rancho
Earning his 12th career class win in this race and 11th in the last eight years, another talented team led by O’Neal won Class 50 on a Honda CRF450X. O’Neal’s co-riders in Class 50 were Doug Heil, Monrovia, Calif./Andy Kirker, Santa Ana, Calif./Dan Dawson, Agua Dulce, Calif./Paul Needles, Westlake Village, Calif./Mike Sixberry, Bullhead City, Ariz./Craig Adams, San Clemente, Calif.
Staying undefeated in 2008 with their third straight win and their sixth class win in this race was the Moss Brothers Racing team, led by Donald Moss, who won Class 3 in a Ford Bronco.
Also winning for the second time this season were Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, Calif., (Class 1-2/1600, Mirage-VW), Jason Voss, Cupertino, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150) female driver Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif. (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger) and Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5, unlimited VW Baja Bug). Pfankuch, along with co-driver Steven Eugenio,
Winning their respective classes for the second straight year were: Jose Montoya,
Other 4-wheel vehicle class winners included: Jesus Gonzalez,
Among the motorcycle classes, two other teams won their respective classes for the second straight year: rider of record Carlos Casas, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 21, KTM 450CXF) and the team led by rider of record Brett Helm, Poway, Calif. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X).
Both reigning SCORE Class point champions, Casas' co-ride in Class 21 was Noe Ibarra, Tijuana, Mexico while Helm’s teammates in Class 40 were Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif./Jon Ortner, Santa
The team led by Donald Lewis of
Aura360, SCORE’s electronic media partner, filmed this year’s race to be televised in 22 countries on ESPN International while the domestic telecast is being finalized and will be announced shortly. Aura360 is also producing the exclusive Tecate SCORE Baja 500 40th anniversary DVD which will be available online at thebajaunlimited.com.
This race began in 1969 under the auspices of the old NORRA organization and SCORE began its enduring run on July 26, 1974. This year is the 35th anniversary of the first SCORE race in Baja.
Next on the 2008 SCORE event schedule is the SCORE Las Vegas Cup IV, a special non-points short-course race featuring the marquee SCORE Trophy-Trucks to be held on July 17-19 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Round 4 of the five-race 2008
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Sunoco Race Fuels -official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant, Red Bull--official energy drink and Bosch Power Tools-official power tool. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico,
Additional race sponsor for the 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 was Proturismo of Ensenada. For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its