"Toughest Baja 1000 Ever"

Baja 1000 Takes Its Toll On World Class Racers

Herbst & Shepard Victorious in Most Difficult Race in a Decade

Ensenada, Baja California - (November 21, 2005)

Often referred to as the "Grandaddy" of all off road races, the 2005 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 tested the world's toughest off-road racers as they battled a race course that veteran Baja racers have deemed "the toughest course in two decades."

A record setting 359 official entries tested the endurance of not only the SCORE staff, but the elite volunteer cadre that descended upon the Baja Peninsula to participate in the one and only, SCORE Tecate Baja 1000.

Officially, 342 starting racers took the starting line set on the Ensenada Malecon parked center stage in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Convention Center in downtown Ensenada, Baja California. A huge crowd of spectators not only lined the starting grid, but the dirt wash leading out of Ensenada was filled with thousands of dedicated race fans who arrived early in the morning for premium viewing.

Hundreds of professional and amatuer race teams prepared for the biggest race of the season held in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, which long has been regarded as a "mystic land" saddled with a tremendous harsh environment that has tested man and machine for decades. Not only is man and machine tested during the well-known Baja 1000, but often they are tested everyday somewhere and somehow on the Baja Peninsula. Some of the most remote regions on the peninsula have challenged the toughest of man and machine over centuries of existence, often times defeating the human spirit.

The beginning of the 2005 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 was a huge festive affair as the music pumped up the vibe of the start line and thousands of fans from across North America came to watch their favorite drivers charge from the starting line.

Heralding from 31 U.S. States, and 12 countries competing in 27 Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVS, the drivers and co-drivers each suited up for what later was determined to be one tough race.

The list of celebrities and who's who in professional motorsports were all in attendance including NASCAR driver and SCORE Baja racing champion - Robby Gordon, NASCAR driver Boris Said, 2004 Indy 500 Champion Buddy Rice, Monster Garage TV Personality Jesse James, Supercross Legend Travis Pastrana, Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdis, NASCAR Busch driver Michel Jourdain Jr., as well as 2005 SCORE Baja 500 Champion & Dust To Glory Movie Star Mouse McCoy, ESPN Sportscaster Cameron Steele, SCORE All-Time Leading Winner & 37 time Baja 1000 participant - Rod Hall and many more.

But when it came time to strap in the race car/truck or motorcycle the name behind the face all went away and common folk became equals with the super stars of the current millinium.

It was man versus man strapped to the most technlogically advanced machines built to date. Able to race at speeds up to 130 mile per hour across the some of the most challenging terrain in the world, off road desert racers have found a way to overcome bumps as tall as second grade children.

The 2005 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 708.8 mile race course was designed by a team of SCORE elite volunteers and the veteran BFGoodrich Motorsports Support team that has tread in the dirt of the Baja Peninsula for over 30 years. Designed to test the tough guys in off road racing, this difficult and challenging race course plied its way through steep and technical terrain of the infamous Summit before heading south along the Sea of Cortez and author John Steinbeck's seaside retreat of San Felipe, Baja California. The Summit area had not been used by SCORE in quite some time so a visit back to the old haunt for some was enlighting and others was just plain dreadful. Racers who successfully climbed 'The Summit' were then forced through very deep sand washes and challenging silt beds that claimed more than a handful of racers.

The brutal San Felipe section tested not only the endurance of some of these top athletes, but the latest in advanced technology applied to the off road racing industry. Once teams cleared San Felipe the obstacles strewn behind Mike's Sky Ranch tasked them with incredible patience as this was no place to make up time.

For many the race really began at RM 540 heading towards the Pacific Coast across the Valle Trinidad vineyard road headed to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. The jaunt back to the finish line covered familiar ground and followed nearly the same race course used earlier in the year at the Baja 500.

Early reports from our staffers were that motorcycle teams were respectfully slow as they made their way to the southern section of the race course. However, leading early was the Honda Red Rider team of Johnny Campbell, Steve Hengeveld and Mike Childress. Childress was a late addition to the team after his teammate and Baja 500 winning partner, Mouse McCoy was seriously injured when filiming a ATV television commercial in Whistler, British Columbia, earlier in the season. Childress has a long storied motorcycle career that peaked in early June when he and McCoy combined to upset the factory Honda Red Rider team with a huge victory that stunned the off road racing world. However, industry insiders were not stunned at all having known that Childress and McCoy are both top respected riders in off road desert racing.

It's just that privateer teams are really not suppose to upstage the factory teams like Honda and KTM.

With the combination of three top riders combined on the Honda 1X team, there was little doubt by anyone in the industry that the triple threat would reign in Baja. Honda's Bruce Olgevie is well-known for his calculated strategic moves when it comes to winning the big Baja races and this was to be no different.

Finishing the 708.8 mile race course in 14 hours, 20 minutes and 30 seconds, the Honda Triple Threat team averaged 49.92 mph taking the win over Robby Bell, Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody riding the 4X moto.

The 2005 SCORE Tecate season series saw three different Baja winners this year, but the season series championship went to the Honda 1X team after they claimed victory in the final race of the season, the Baja 1000. Hengeveld commented, "Baja is Baja and you never konw how it's going to be out there. It was pretty good; we were about 30 minutes off what I thought we would finish. It was one of the toughest Baja races that I've raced in about 10 years. We pretty much prepare all year long for this race. The bike ran flawless, it's very reliable and we had no problems all day."

Johnny Campbell and Steve Hengeveld worked tremendously hard prior to the race prerunning for weeks since the opening and selecting the best lines on the course. Their hard work definitely paid off as they started from the middle of the pack in downtown Ensenada and rocketed to the front of the pack taking control of the race early.

Childress has been working hard towards this big win for a couple years after suffering through some tough times as he's made his climb up the ladder in the desert racing motorcycle ranks. A big crash last year sidelined him for a short time as he recovered, but his determination to be a Baja Champion shined big at this race after winning the Baja 1000 on the 1X Honda Factory Team.

In Class 21, Tim Morton once again armed himself with a group of young gun riders in search of clinching the Class 21 season championship. Morton's domination over the field of Class 21 riders throughout the 2005 season was overwhelmingly apparent as he won each of the 2005 Baja races with victories at the SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500 and the grand finale the SCORE Baja 1000 claiming his third season point championship after winning in 1994 and 1995. Morton said, "I am amazed; I can't remember a whole lot after Highway 1 at San Vicente. I have no idea. I really don't remember where I crashed but I think I might have crashed next to this Class 40 guy. I don't know if I passed him or I don't really remember so good for the last 15 miles. I think I just made it over a turn." Morton took the checkered flag in a bit of a daze, his nose still bloody from a fall somewhere near the end of the race.

Claiming the Class 25 ATV win was the Honda TRX450R ATV of Wayne Matlock/Chad Prull with a time of 18:06:53 averaging 39.13 mph only five miles an hour off the winning Trophy Truck average time. Prull commented, "When you pre-run it's not that bad, but it's so different on race day when you get that adrenaline going. I ran 80-85 percent, I never hit 100 percent but I kept it on the throttle." Class 25 had a total of 16 starting ATV's and only 9 teams completed the 708.8 mile race course.

The four-wheel vehicle divisions were led by SCORE Trophy Truck season points leader Bob Shepard driving the Geiser Brothers built SCORE Unlimited Production Trophy Truck. Shepard claimed top honors all season long scoring top ten finishes in each of the series races, but capturing victory at what has been described as one of toughest ever Baja 1000 races was especially sweet for the Arizona resident. Winning the Baja 1000 with a time of 15 hours, 48 minutes and 49 seconds averaging 44.82 miles per hour, Shepard applauded his entire crew for an outstanding performance at the finish line. Shepard drove a near flawless race in his 2005 Geiser Brothers built Chevy Trophy Truck beating the Flyin' Hawaiian - Alan Pflueger by a 8 minutes after completing the 708.8 mile course. Shepard explained, "The race went pretty good. We had a flat tire at the start of the day; I did that. It went pretty well to plan except I didn't plan to to do the whole race; we planned on Larry Ragland driving. I always have higher hopes, I wanted to win the overall, but it was great to win the championship. I've driven every mile the whole year, "True Grit." I've got a great crew unbelievable car builders, the best of everybody. My crew was fantastic, they were everywhere I needed them. It takes a good team to do this."

Finishing in third position behind the Flyin' Hawaiian was Tim & Ed Herbst driving the #19 Terrible Herbst Ford. However, Alan Pflueger ran his newly sponsored Monster Energy drink Chevy Silvarado to a second place finish with a time of 15:56:08. The SCORE Unlimited Production Trophy Truck Class had 30 starters and 17 teams finished the difficult and challenging race course.

NASCAR's Robby Gordon battled head-to-head with the best in the field before he headed to Homestead Speedway for the final race in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Robby Gordon's Saturday race was only one of two races that he had on the schedule this weekend. Gordon's double-duty racing efforts also had him racing at the Homestead, Florida race. Gordon announced at the 2005 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada that he had swapped off road tire companies just prior to the Baja 1000 opting for the big sponsorship dollars offered by Toyo Tires versus the one and only BFGoodrich Tire Company.

The name Ragland is synonomous with Baja off road racing. However, in this year's Baja 1000 race, the first name is what's different about the driver of record who captured the fourth spot in the elite Trophy Truck division. Chad Ragland, the son of Baja racing champion - Larry Ragland, pushed his Chevy Trophy Truck to the limits before turning over the driver seat to his Dad, Larry who brought the truck across the finish line. This was only the second time this season that Chad Ragland entered a SCORE race after finishing in 10th place at this season's Baja 500.

In Class 1, the Terrible Herbst legacy continues as the overall winners of last year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 took to the Baja Peninsula with victory on their mind from the very beginning. Troy Herbst put together a fantastic run before giving the Class 1 car affectionately named, "The Truggy," to Baja Champion - Larry Roeseler who drove the second half of the race before claiming back-to-back Baja 1000 victories. The overall victory also sealed the deal for tire manufacturer, BFGoodrich, who claimed their 20th consecutive win at the Baja 1000 as the Terrible Herbst Truggy crossed the line as the overall winner.

This win marks Roeseler's 14th class victory and 12th overall title in his storied career as one of the top off road desert racers in the world. Roeseler later said, "This year he gave me the car in fourth physically. I just tried to stay consistent, no mistakes. If we have to go, we can go, that's what makes us such a great team. This car here is amazing. We went the whole race with no flat tires, competing with great racers. This car has won more races than any car, it's incredible."

The Terrible Herbst Truggy finished the race 45 minutes and 20 seconds faster than the fastest trophy truck piloted by Bob Shepard.

Finishing second to the Terrible Herbst was Mark McMillin, the 2005 SCORE Class 1 points leader, who came across the line with a time of 15:57:57. McMillin Racing is synonomous with Baja off road racing and after the 2005 SCORE Tecate Primm 300, family patriarch Corky McMillin passed away after he was hospitalized when he suffered a heart attack while racing the Primm race. Mark McMillin averaged 44.39 mph in his second place finish and captured the SCORE Class 1 Championship with a close finish in front of third place finisher Damen Jeffries.

Defending Class 1 SCORE Champions John Marking and Tom Geviss did not race in the 2005 Baja 1000 as Marking recently sold his winning Class 1 car after winning the 2005 CORR Nissan Championships held in Chula Vista, California in early October. While at that race, Marking suffered an injury to his left hand that has sidelined his racing efforts.

However, Top Gun Co-Driver Tom "Turbo Tom" Geviss was in action at the 2005 Baja 1000 co-driving for the #54 SCORE Trophy Truck belonging to Monster Garage TV Host - Jesse James. The Monster Garage television show spent 7 full days with off road racing's elite fabricators building a SCORE legal trophy truck for the television show. Consulting Producer for Monster Garage - Marty Fiolka hand picked Geviss for co-driving duties as well as his stint at the Project Manager in the build of the #54 Monster Garage Trophy Truck. Geviss has been involved in off road desert racing since the Riverside Raceway days. His accomplishments as a member of the prestigious Nelson & Nelson Race team and his duties on the FOX Racing Shox team are only a few of the championships he's been a part of in the past 25 years.

In Class 1/2 1600 - SCORE rookie Caleb Gaddis drove his Curry-built 1/2 1600 to victory capturing the SCORE Season Point's Championship. Gaddis, El Centro, California, and Charlie Watters, San Diego, California combined to bring the TWG car to the line in 19:28:37 averaging a whopping 36.39 mph.

Failing to finish the 2005 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 was defending champion - Rob MacCachren and his 2005 teammate, Bryan Freeman. At the finish line the buzz inside the circle of industry insiders was all about the whereabouts of MacCachren/Freeman 1/2 1600 car. Some insiders resorted to questioning finishing race car drivers about whether or not they had seen or passed MacCachren/Freeman in the final 100 miles of the race course.

Class 10 Winner Lobsam Yee powered his single-seat Jimco Class 10 to a big win here in Ensenada with Honda powered built by Ken Major at Major Performance. This win follows up the Baja 500 win he had earlier in the season using the same Major Performance power package. Finishing in second position was Alumicraft owner - John Cooley, who was in a close points battle with Travis Brookshire and Lobsam Yee for the season championship. Brookshire finished in third position to Cooley and Yee.

SCORE Baja Champion - Rod Hall, the winningest driver in SCORE history added yet class win to his storied off road racing career with a win in the Stock Mini class. This win is the 18th class win of his career and Hall has competed in every single Baja 1000 that has been held winning a title in five different decades. Hall turns 67 years old on November 22, 2005 commented after discovering that his sons finished 1-2 in the Stock Full Class, "I guess you could almost say it was a "Hall" of a race."

SCORE Lite winner Stan Potter claimed top honors with a solid run of 18:48:00 averaging 37.00 mph. Potter took the victory, however the stellar performance of David Scaroni in the Tom Watson/Tim Noe Class 12 car clinched the 2005 SCORE Tecate Season Series Championship for them. Scaroni made up an entire hour during his 180 mile stint to the finish line. Scaroni commented, "I pounded my BFGoodrich tires on every rock in the Baja desert today and had not one flat!" Scaroni splits driving time in the SMD Motorsports #27 trophy truck with his dad, Steve and brother, Matt.

Mexico's legendary off-road racing veteran Marco Nunez drove his white and orange 5/1600 car to a dominating victory over a huge class of 20 race cars racing in the Baja Bug class. Nunez out classed the field of 5/1600's with a time of 22:14:48 averaging 31.86 miles per hour over the 708.8 mile course. The next finisher was over an hour later and that was Mark McAnelly. Finishing in third position was the Reynoso brothers over Ensenada's legendary 5/1600 racing family, the Pabloffs.

Mike Pabloff - Ensenada, Baja California, put together a top rated team of Ensenada regulars and led the race by the halfway point, but a broken rocker arm sidelined the team for repairs at approximately race mile 535 after being the first to pit at the race mile 530. Nunez passed Pabloff at RM 535 and Nunez never looked back running strong to the finish line.

Pro Truck Winner Jimmy Knuckles battled with longtime rivals - Rick L. Johnson and Dane Cardone throughout the entire race. Knuckles ended up winning by a slight margin of only two minutes after the entire race strewn out over almost 19 hours. Both racers endured the harshest race conditions seen in a very long time. That's Baja racing at its toughest.

Defending Class 8 Champ - Todd Wylie finished second to Keith Fontana and Ron Lammer who drove their Chevy to a first place win over Wylie and his AZ Land team. Wylie has dominated Class 8 winning hands down throughout the season. Wylie finished almost an hour behind Fontana and Lammer who averaged 28.56 mph.

In Class 11 there were no finishers as in the 2005 SCORE Tecate Baja 500. For the second time in three years not one Class 11 was able to complete the course in the alotted time frame. Class 11 Champion - Eric Solazano told ORC staffers before the race that time was the biggest competition for them at this race. Leading off the line at warp speed was the #1149 Class 11 car driven by Dave and Robby Hendrickson of Murrieta, California. The jet black Class 11 was on a mission to conquer this Baja 1000 course but a crushed muffler and ripped skid plate ended their day after successfully conquering The Summit early in the race. However, the #1149 car powered itself from where they left the race course all the way back to Ensenada where they called it a day. Watch for this wiley Class 11 to be a big contender in the 2006 season.

The Baja 1000 is the crown jewel of off road desert racing and this year's challenge was second to none. The champions have been crowned and the race course is silent until another year when world class champions return to face the toughest terrain in off road racing, the Baja Peninsula.