A First At The Baja 1000
When father-and-son racers Gustavo Vildosola Jr. and Sr. drove their Ford F-150 Trophy Truck through 1,061 miles of grueling Baja terrain between Ensenada and La Paz in just over 19 hours, they earned several spots in the Tecate-SCORE Baja 1000 record books.
Not only did they win First Place among the four-wheeled entries, but they were faster than the winning JCR/Honda motorcycle team of Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody, the first four-wheeled entry to do so in a full-peninsula race since 1973. The Vildosolas are also the first Mexican national team to earn an overall win in the race's 43-year history. And the Vildosola victory gave BFGoodrich its 24th overall four-wheel victory in the 1000.
"This race means a lot to me and my family," said Gus Jr. after the race. "Every time we go out and race, I say we have the privilege of representing Mexico because we're the only Mexican SCORE Trophy Truck team. It's obviously an honor to finally be able to win a race for them and for all of our fans who have been supporting us for all these years. And it is especially great for my dad, as well. He bought this SCORE Trophy Truck eight years ago with the dream to win a Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 overall, and today we were able to fulfill that dream."
EcoBoost Survives Baja
The Vildosolas weren't the only Ford truck drivers with something to celebrate in La Paz. Mike McCarthy, Robbie McCarthy, and Greg Crowther drove Ford's EcoBoost-powered F-150 race truck all the way to the finish line in 38 hours 20 minutes, "and the engine never missed a beat," Mike said. "It took a beating and kept right on going."
Ford has been torture-testing this particular EcoBoost engine ever since engineers plucked it randomly off of Ford's assembly line months ago. First it was put into a stock F-150 and traveled to Oregon, where it worked as a log skidder. Next, the truck towed 11,300 pounds at high speeds around a NASCAR track in Florida before towing up steep grades in Arizona against competitive trucks. After its stint in Arizona the engine was installed in the race truck.
You can learn more about this testing program at www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/f150/2011/experiencef150.
Hall's Streak Continues
Rod Hall continues to be the only racer to have competed in every Baja 1000 since the race began 43 years ago. In November, at age 72, Hall drove his team's new Chevy Silverado international rally truck across the finish line after sharing driving duties with his sons Josh and Chad. Their finish, 24th in the Trophy Truck class, wasn't among the family's best (the Halls have earned 33 class wins at the 1000), but it wasn't unexpected given that the truck was finished just three weeks prior to the race.
"We encountered issues that we fully expected, given limited testing before the race," said Chad, himself an eight-time Baja 1000 class winner. "We have additional tuning and work to do, but our goal was to reach the finish line, and we accomplished that."
The Chevy is a 4x4, maybe the only one in the Trophy Truck class. That choice makes more sense when you learn that the Halls plan to enter the Silverado in a number of international rallies, including the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Australasian Safari Rally, and the Dakar.
You Think You're Cold?
Arctic Trucks, an outfitter based in Reykjavik, Iceland, specializes in equipping 4x4s for some of the most extreme conditions on earth. How extreme? A recent expedition used Arctic Trucks-built Toyota Hiluxes to reach the South Pole, where temperatures were a balmy -49 degrees F. This marks the third year in a row that Arctic Trucks Toyotas have been used on South Pole expeditions. Currently a fleet of 12 Toyotas is down there, including a 6x6, and Arctic also provides drivers and mechanics to support the vehicles. You can follow their expeditions (three are scheduled for the South Pole this year) at www.arctictrucks-expeditions.com.