Baja 1000: Post-race quote, part 1
November 15-18, 2006 Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, BC Sur Mexico Final round of the six-race 2006 SCORE Desert Series Post-Race Quotes Pro Cars & Trucks SCORE Trophy-Truck 83 Andy McMillin ...
November 15-18, 2006 Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, BC Sur Mexico
Final round of the six-race 2006 SCORE Desert Series
Pro Cars & Trucks
83 Andy McMillin (1st Place in class, 1st overall 4-wheel vehicle): Oh my God! No problems all day -- not a single mishap all day. No flat tires, nothing. It was a perfect day. Robby gave me the lead first, physically and I just had to drive it. Mark post was behind us and he was only four minutes behind us and I guess he got stuck in that section up before Loreto, so we had like 15 or 20 minutes on them by the time we hit the highway at 8:50. So we just had to cruise it in.
I definitely think that's what won the race for us is the fact that...I knew Robby could drive the whole 1000 miles, so as far as he could go and how fresh he could be the whole way through, that was going to be key. So when the course started to get rough, that's where I would get in and that's where I would be a fresh driver and just do my thing. And I think it paid off in the long run, definitely.
It wasn't that bad. The whole way, we only passed about six or seven bikes. Not bad at all. We finished a lot faster than I thought we would. I thought it would be about 22, 23 hours, definitely. I was not expecting to finish in sunlight.
My grandfather was with me all day in the truck and I asked him to keep me safe and not let me have any problems and he was listening to me. Now everyone in the family helps Daniel. Daniel's next. Hopefully! Hopefully today!
I would much rather win this race than all the others combined. This is the granddaddy of all races - the Baja 1000 in La Paz! How many people get the chance to witness this...since I was a baby, I've been coming down for pre-runs and stuff. I've been coming to La Paz all my life. I went out on the '95 1000 pre-run, '98 1000 pre-run, Baja 2000 pre-run, I rode with my dad in '02, then I drove in '04, now here I am in '06 in the winner's circle! It feels great! Seriously, I was starting to weep when I turned onto the pavement when I saw my dad with his hand out the window...
97 B.J. Baldwin (2nd Place): I'm kind of tired, actually. We did pretty good. We played it safe and pretty conservative all day. I think we ended up second. I shared the driving with Tommy Bradley. They drove it from San Ignacio to Loreto and they did a great job. Going slow and taking it easy was the most challenging part of the course because you kind of have to baby your car until finish and then go racing if you need to. I was just trying to get to the end and trying to get the championship.
We got one flat. They kind of had a little booby trap coming down from Valle de Trinidad. Right on top of the cattle guard, there was a big rock and if I was just to drive over it, it would knock my driveline out. So I tried to go to the right of it, and my truck wouldn't knock over the post, so we just backed up and tried to jump over it. And we cleared it, but Brian Collins was right behind me and we took his trans-pan out. We had some problems with the light bar and some intercom and radio issues but nothing major. We had a pretty clean day. I've never been down this far. I liked the course a lot. It was a lot of fun -- a lot more challenging!
My dad actually had a mechanical failure on his truck. The water pump blew and he lost his motor. He was actually right behind me. He was making time on me and just lost the water pump.
Tommy Bradley is a fantastic driver. He just took care of his section. I got most of my advice from Larry Ragland. He helped me out tremendously. I pre-ran with him most of the time I was down here and he helped me out a lot. He's five-time Baja 1000 champion. My time goal was about 20 hours. I'm a little late -- by about a minute twenty-five!
The part that I only pre-ran once, I was concerned about because I had a hard time with my pre-runner. It was a section of silt about 10 miles long and I had kind of a rough time with pre-runner with it, but I just blew through it without a problem. It's a lot different vehicle than my pre-runner. I did run into fog about 80 miles south of Loreto.
39 Ron Whitton (3rd Place): We made it! We had one problem on the highway. I was just going down the highway...almost as soon as we got in the car we got a flat. So I just changed it the last couple of minutes. Then in San Juanico, the guys didn't have the pit where it was supposed to and I couldn't' find my pit. I had to turn around on the course and I couldn't find my pit. I finally got in contact with them. They were farther down the road. We missed probably 15 minutes there. Then coming in, one of the silt beds, I saw a whole bunch of trucks stuck. There were about four trucks and a quad stuck. I barely missed a quad, hit a bush, went to the right, and ran over some cactuses. I saw on the GPS where the course interlinked.
I had a good battle with my dad up by Loreto. He had to fuel. That's when I passed him and never saw him again. I'd rather have a flat than get stuck for two hours. I was just being careful and straddled the cactuses and drove through them...and here I am! I'm just glad to get a good finish.
I got in at San Ignacio, about mile marker 530. I've never driven this strip before. I had 500 miles to get used to it and it handled really well! This truck works a lot better than my dad's for the bumps.
12 Brian Collins (4th Place): Co-driver, Chad Ragland: I'm in here because my dad got sick. I don't really know why because I didn't have time to talk to him. He just requested a driver change at race mile 850. So I got out of the car at 550 from number 80. Danny Anderson got in for me. Then I got on the highway to race mile 850 and got in for my dad in the number 12 car. So Danny Anderson is still in the car I started in. And I finished this one. And the reason I'm here is the guy next to me, Billy Gherke, one of the owners of Absolute Racing.
I want to thank Mexico and all the fans. It means a lot to me. You guys are awesome. I love racing down here. The people cheered me on. I had no bad incidences out there at all. The fans were great and I'm very excited to be here in La Paz. I want you guys to know I appreciate you guys having us. I do this for pleasure and this is where I choose to come.
[As Chad drives away] I don't know how to start this car. It's always been running when I got in!
NOTE: Chad had a little recorder around his neck on which he took notes during the pre-run. He says they helped him during his race run. This is his first time in the Baja 1000.
85 Todd Wyllie (5th Place): Co-driver, John Marking: These things are so soft. They're so easy to drive. You actually have to be careful because you get going fast on bumps and all the sudden, here comes Mr. Corner. We had some fuel system problems. I got in and tried to drive up that wash at Loreto. But I had to turn around and come back and do some work on the fuels pump. I got in at Loreto. They made me drive that nasty stuff. That's not right to make a buggy guy do that!
4 Gus Vildosola (9th Place): Co-driver, Rob MacCachren: No trouble. When I got in, I was four and a half hours behind the first car. That's all I know.
28 Alan Pflueger (14th Place): We had a great start. I think we were 29th and we just kept working our way up. We had an electrical problem. We pulled over at mile 250 and then we were physically fourth on the road. So it was a good day! It took us a while to figure it out but we just got going again and did what we could. The truck ran unbelievable. People were just cheering us on and we had a great day. We just had that one little hiccup that kind of threw a wrench in things. I think if that hadn't happened, we would have been home now.
121 Troy Herbst (1st Place): Co-driver, Larry Roesler: That was brutal! Do I look tired. I could go without some dust for a while! Troy did a good job but he broke his Achilles tendon about 4 months ago, and I know he had a hard time driving. I got in at Coco's Corner. I don't know what we were then, maybe 20th on the road. With the dust, traffic and water, it was seriously one of the toughest Baja 1000s I've ever done. I'm not exaggerating. It was brutal! This was really, really tough. I've won 12 and I think I've ridden about 30 of them. The fog really wasn't too bad. There was a little coming in. I saw the sun coming through and it made the last little part more fun, a little easier. It was mostly the dust and traffic. You can't come through the dust, especially at night. There was zero wind.
The car was fantastic. I had no flats. It was just gas and go at the pits. Everybody did a great job. You know, Troy and I won this overall the last two years and we did make it on the podium again and we won Class 1. Just to finish is a feat of its own.
I think Troy may have had one flat tire. But I tell you what, the terrain that we go through, I can't even believe the tires. It's pretty amazing what they go through. I had a wave of water come through the windshield and just fill the whole cab with water. The water was deep. And of course, you don't want to get stuck, but you don't want to charge it too hard because you'll suck water into the air cleaner and hydraulic the motor.
It's just really nerve racking. You do your homework pre-running and you know the good lines and the bad lines. With the 39" tires on this, you tend to think nothing is a problem, but the water was just deep. It was radical! But the car didn't miss a beat.
Troy Herbst ran the first half and Larry Rossler ran the second half of the race.
112 Mark Weyhrich (2nd Place): They backed into us at about 40 miles per hour! That's probably why they got stuck in the silt-- poetic justice. It looks like they tried to pass a motorcycle without letting him get out of the way and the guy dumped it and got stuck in the middle of the road, they hit the brakes and got stuck. That's what caused the whole grid at mile 844. We were following Herbst for about 80 miles. We thought we finally got him and he was backing up and he ran smack into us! I think they had their ignition off so it caught Kenny by surprise. We came up on it and jammed on the brakes. Then we saw his amber so we stopped and he punched it going backwards.
125 Richard Boyle (3rd Place): Co-driver, Ron Brant: We had an electrical problem. When we hit the pavement, it wouldn't run. It would start for a second and shut off for ten. Then start for a second. But we made it! I think there's a loose fuse. Otherwise, Nothing major. I don't know if Richard had any trouble. Richard Boyle started and went to San Ignacio. Then I got in. The biggest challenge was the handheld radio.
1649 Sammy Ehrenberg (1st Place): Co-driver, Shane Reed: Sammy Ehrenberg started and went to El Crucero. Then L.J. Kennedy went from El Crucero to San Ignacio. Wayne Lacher went from San Ignacio to Loreto. I went from Loreto to the finish.
Sammy got stuck at the wash and Cameron Steele showed him a little way to get through. Cameron's Trophy-Truck was broken down and he's a 1600 guy. Plus Cameron and Sammy were high school buddies, so that's why he got through. Other than that, we had no problems. No flats, no mechanicals. It's been a long time coming. We've been trying this for 20 years. We've got a lot of seconds and a lot of thirds, but never a first. To win our first at La Paz means a lot for our whole group. That's what I was thinking when I came up on the finish line.
1604 Brian Burgess (2nd Place): This is not my first La Paz finish. I finished third here two years ago. That course was a lot smoother. This was pretty bad. We race every race and we got our butt kicked from San Juanito to 855. We absolutely got our butts kicked! That's where it was absolutely brutal. Miles and miles of first gear rock turns. You wanted a break and you never got one. But now that I'm finished, I'm glad it was that rough. Out there, I wouldn't want it that rough, but I'm glad it was. The biggest challenge was not sinking in the deep water crossings, not flooding the motor out.
300 Donald Moss (1st Place): Co-driver, Kenneth Moss: It went pretty good today -- mostly yesterday. I had a good race up until the last 100 miles. We broke a track bar and lost all our turning system but we made it in on batteries. I was surprised about all the extra rough stuff. That section over by Loreto was fun. We got to go through the cactus fields.
Note: Donald Moss and Kenneth Moss alternated driving; they split the course in fourths.
Note: Class 3 champions since 2002
550 Marcos Nunez (1st Place): It took me one hour to change the clutch. No other problems. Only the clutch.
Co-driver, Norberto Rivera: Marcos Nunez started, then Edmundo Fernandez took over. We had a good race. Only we had to change the clutch at race mile 70. At the start of the race, there were about 21 1600s starting. The course is very difficult and hard on the body. I'm happy with the race. I'm happy being the champion again!
Continued in part 2