Post’s Ford Trophy Truck wins overall title
Mark Post of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., capped off a sensational 2007 SCORE Desert Series Wednesday by driving his Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck to the overall victory in the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races. Only 30 vehicles had completed the course in the first 32 hours of the grueling 1,296.39-mile race. With a 53-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race that started early Tuesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, racing will continue until the course closes officially at 6 p.m. (PST) Thursday.
Post, 49, teamed with veteran drivers Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas and Carl Renezeder of Laguna Beach, Calif., to record the fastest overall speed in a four-wheel vehicle on down the length of the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico. Post’s Rivera Racing No. 3 Ford averaged 51.13 miles per hour in covering the distance in 25 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds despite rain and dust throughout the distance.
The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 win for Post was his third victory on the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series and helped him clinch his first and MacCachren’s second SCORE Trophy-Truck season point championship. Entering the legendary granddaddy of all desert racing, Post/MacCachren held a slim one-point margin and five drivers had a shot at claiming the coveted point title. They beat a near-record field of 424 starters from a SCORE-record 44 U.S. States and a SCORE-record 19 countries. They are competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.
The SCORE Trophy-Truck division displayed a sensational battle with Post, Garron Cadiente of Mesa, Ariz., Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Jr., of Mexicali, Mexico, and Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas, all within minutes of each other before several of the contenders experienced mechanical difficulties on their machines. In the end, Post and Vildosola, seeking to become the first Mexican team to win the SCPRE Baja 1000 overall, ran minutes apart at the 1,200-mile mark. However, Vildosola’s Ford had two flat tires in the last 90 miles and was relegated to second overall and second in the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.
Vildosola’s time in the No. 4 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 was 25:32:20 for an average speed of 50.76mph and splitting driving with his son Gustavo Jr., were the highest finish Mexican nationals in the race.
“We had very little mechanical error on the truck this year,” said Post. “We had three SCORE wins this year. To win the overall SCORE Baja 1000 in the SCORE Trophy-Truck is a dream come true. The entire team did a flawless job. This is very exciting for Riviera Racing.”
“This has allowed me to do what I want to do, to do what I love doing, come here and win the 40th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000,” said MacCachren. “I have never had the overall win and I finally got that done. In the middle of the night, there are fires all along the course and thousands of people up all night and it really keeps you motivated, you see everyone yelling out there. One thing I learned about Baja is up and down the Peninsula, there’s always someone nearby. We didn’t have any flat tires at all.”
Defending race winner Robby Gordon of Charlotte, N.C., charged back from early problems with the No. 71 Chevy CK1500 to place third in the SCORE Trophy-Truck category and fifth overall among four-wheel vehicles. Gordon had to run an early portion of the course in the dark with just a handheld portable lamp for vision. But the Nextel Cup team owner/driver fought his way back to compete the event with a finishing time of 27:12:14.
"Just when you thought you couldn't top the unusual in Baja, we topped it,” said Gordon, whose second driver was Dale Ebberts, Canyon Lake, Calif. “When we stopped at the first pit stop, the crew (part of the Nextel Cup crew) thought we didn't need lights in the next section. They were wrong. We had to borrow a portable lamp to see. We used a handheld portable lamp through that section (early in the race). By the time we got through that section, we were way back with the Class 10 car. You talk about giving one way, that's what we did today."
In the highly-competitive Class 1 division for unlimited open-wheel desert race cars, Larry Roeseler of Hesperia, Calif., continued his incredible SCORE Baja 1000 performance with Las Vegas’ Troy Herbst for their fourth consecutive Class 1 win, an event record for the category. The Class 1 race win was Roeseler’s 16th class win in the 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races dating back to 1967.
Teaming with Troy Herbst since 2001, Roeseler drove the No. 100 Terrible Herbst Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheel machine to time of 26:30:10 for the third overall position. In fact, the Herbst vehicle also set a SCORE record Wednesday by claiming the car’s 23rd Class 1 race victory, the most in this class in SCORE history. The incredible racing machine is racing its final races in the 11 years since it debuted in 1997. At some point in 2008, the vehicle will be retired to permanent display at the Terrible Herbst Motorsports race shop in Huntington Beach, Calif.
The Roeseler/Herbst team also won the second straight Class 1 SCORE season point championship together, earning Roesler his 13th SCORE season crown and Herbst his eighth. It was also Herbst’s six class win in the race, all recorded in the last eight years.
The team led by Steve Strobel of Clarks, Neb., placed second in Class 1 and fourth overall in 26:46:44. Sixth overall and third in Class 1 was the three-brother team led by Ronny Wilson of Long Beach, Calif. in a time of 27:50:35.
“One heck of a race,” said Roeseler, a SCORE Baja 1000 with wins on motorcycles as well as in cars. “We literally came through the pack and were third physically (overall). The car was fantastic. With the little bit of rain, there were mudholes all over the place. But minimal dust. We lost pressure with our (gear) shifter. We broke a shock. Troy brought the car home to the finish. It’s always an incredible feeling to finish the SCORE Baja 1000. It was an incredible journey today.”
TOP FINISHERS -- Four-Wheel Vehicles
(Primary Driver, Hometown, Vehicle, Hours, Minutes, Seconds)
1. Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Ford SCORE trophy-truck, 25:21.25 (SCORE trophy-truck winner)
2. Gus Vildosola Sr., Mexicali, Mexico, Ford SCORE trophy-truck, 25.32.20
3. Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif., Smithbuilt-Ford Class1 car, 26:30:10 (Class 1 winner)
4. Steve Strobel, Clarks, Neb., Jimco-Chevy Class 1 car, 26:46:44
5. Robby Gordon, Orange, Calif., Chevrolet SCORE trophy-truck, 27:12:14
TOP FINISHERS -- Motorcycles
(Primary Rider, Hometown, Vehicle, Hours, Minutes, Seconds)
1. Robby Bell, Sun City, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 24:15.50 (Class 22 winner)
2. Tim Morton, Escondido, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 25:24.25
3. Quinn Cody, Buellton, Calif., KTM 690, 25:56:00
4. Jim O'Neal, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 26:43:15
5. Gerardo Rojas, Mexico, Honda XR650R, 27:05:53