Aldofo Arellano, Wes Miller, Wayne Matlock, and Roberto Villalobos win the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 on the Azteca Motorsports/Adelitas Racing Class 25 ATV
The 9a team of Aldofo Arellano, Wes Miller, Wayne Matlock, and Roberto Villalobos won the 2013 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000. They finished in a time of 21:55:23 with an average speed of 40.3 mph to capture the overall ATV and Class 25 Open Pro ATV win. They piloted their Rich Morel built engine to an astounding 4th overall out of all of the motorcycle and ATV competitors. This was the highest overall finish for a quad in SCORE history. This groundbreaking performance took place on what has been deemed the roughest and most difficult Baja 1000 ever. The course was extremely rocky and had mile after mile of Baja’s infamous silt beds. This led to only 116 of the 251 starters finishing the 883 mile trek for a 46.22 finishing rate.
Coming into the race, Aldofo Arellano and Javier Robles Jr. were tied in points for the SCORE Championship with a 1st and 2nd each in the previous rounds. Setting up the Baja 1000 as the tiebreaker for the #1 plate. Prior to the race, Arellano qualified 2nd on Wednesday in the hills outside Ojos Negros. Robles would leave the line first followed 2 minutes later by Arellano.
The motorcycles and ATV’s started at night for the first time, with the first bike leaving at 11:00 PM. The first quad didn’t leave until 12:30 PM. As the racers left Ensenada in heavy fog, Aldofo pushed hard to close the gap on the 10a of Robles as they worked through the slower motorcycles. Visibility in the fog was so bad that riders were limited to first and second gear at some points. Arellano and Robles kept pace with each other and quickly moved up in the pack. Through Ojos Negros at race mile 35, 9a was ahead by 30 seconds on adjusted time. Arellano and Robles Jr. continued to battle with 10a ahead by 10 seconds at the first rider change.
Roberto Villalobos took over at the Hwy 3 crossing at race mile 72 and headed into Los Pinos on his way to Saldania. Villalobos upped the pace and closed ground on the 10a machine. He closed the gap and made a pass for the physical lead just before JCR Pit 3 on Laguna Salada at race mile 143. Roberto continued to pull away, but got lost in the night after pulling over to check the air filter. He lost a few minutes trying to find his way back to the course and 10a was able to get by. Villalobos again made a push for the lead and caught back up to the 10a quad. Into El Chinero, 9a was in the dust of 10a and ahead about 1:30 on adjusted time.
Arellano got back on and gave chase to 10a. He closed up right on the other quad and in some big whoops heading into San Felipe, made the pass for the physical lead. At JCR Pit 5 at race mile 230, 9a had the lead by 5 minutes adjusted time. The sun was rising so they pulled the lights off in the pit. Aldofo continued to just south of the airport where Villalobos took over.
The quad raced down Old Puertocitos road with Roberto at the controls. He was able to open up another minute in this high speed rough section.
Wes Miller took over at race mile 252 where the course hit the pavement just north of Puertocitos with a little over a 5 minute adjusted lead. The next 55 miles were on asphalt with a 60 mph speed limit. Battling strong winds Miller held a steady pace and got to the dirt near Gonzaga Bay, passing the 27x bike in the process. The course was really fast from Gonzaga through Coco’s Corner all the way to Calamajue Wash. Wes finessed the quad through the mud and water crossings making sure not to get stuck. Pre-running, Miller had seen a dirt bike buried to the gas tank in a mud hole there. The 9a came into the JCR pit at El Crucero at race mile 385 with an 11 minute lead on adjusted time and Wayne Matlock took over.
With a scheduled rear tire change and a fresh K&N Filter lid, Matlock rode through the worst silt in the race on the way to Punta Blanco. Wayne got through clean and brought the quad in great condition.
Miller hopped back on at race mile 498 near the granite boulders and cactus of Catavina. The team wasn’t sure how big of a lead they had since there was no visual contact with the course since El Crucero. Wes rode smooth and consistent past the silt beds of Guayaqui and into the rockiest section of the race. He maintained their fast pace and the 9a was now in contention for a top 5 overall finish. In the high-speed rocks, Miller got a puncture in his left rear tire. Luckily since the team was using Tire Blocks, he was able to ride the next 20 miles without loosing much time. At El Arenoso at the JCR pit at race mile 567, Wes passed the Honda 450 back to Wayne.
At this point, the team started to get news that the 10a team was having problems and that they had a substantial lead. Matlock rode a fast but smart pace through another extremely rocky section of the course on his way to Colonia Vicente Guerrero. About 50 miles from race mile 660 and their scheduled rider change, Wayne got a flat right rear tire. Again with the use of Tire Blocks, he was able to keep up his speed.
Wes took control of the throttle with a 2 ½ hour lead and rode through another 60 mph pavement section through Guerrero and Camalu. Local traffic made things interesting for Miller as he tried to maintain 60 mph in the busy towns. Once on the highway, he opened it back up. The sun set as he speed down the high-speed sections to Colonet. After Colonet, the course ran backwards on this year’s previous Baja 500 course to Coyote Ranch, Mike’s Sky Ranch, and on to San Matias. The track was really torn up from the 500 and all the pre-running from the 1000. Knowing they had a huge lead, Miller took it easy and rode safe and conservative. There were several deep-water crossing, washouts, and deep silt beds that could instantly end a race. A faulty switch caused Wes to loose one of the HID lights. This limited his vision in the Baja night. Once through the toughest part of his last leg, Miller passed by Mike’s and thought he was home free to the rider change in Valle De Trinidad. As he raced down the high-speed roads out of the mountains, the quad started popping and running bad. It continued to worsen, so Miller started looking the quad over as he was riding. He finally noticed that the nuts on the header had backed off and the header had come out of the head. Wes pulled over to some spectators that had lights set up and tightened the one nut that was left and was able to get the header to re-seat. He rode it into Valle T race mile 770 where they put another nut on and gave the entire quad a once over.
Villalobos rode the next section up the Goat Trial to El Alamo race mile 800. Roberto brought it into Aldofo without any problems.
With only 83 miles to go, Arellano rode the final leg to the finish. Passing through Ojos Negros, it started to rain as the temperatures continued to drop in the night. As he made his way towards the checkers, the rain subsided and Aldofo could now see the lights of the city.
The entire team waited anxiously at the finish for the 9a quad. Finally the SCORE officials announced that a quad was about 10 minutes out. The crowd erupted as it came down the wash and turned on the pavement towards the finish. Arellano crossed the finish line in Ensenada just before 10:30 PM for 1st ATV and 4th overall out of the bikes.
The team would like to thank all to their crew and sponsors: the Arellano family, the Matlock family, Adelitas Bar Racing, Azteca Motorsports, Coldcock Whiskey, Maxxis Tires, DWT Wheels, Rich Morel Engines, FMF Racing, Roll Design, Elka Suspension, GoPro, Fly Racing, K&N Filters, Tire Blocks, JCR Pits, Pro Armor, Motion Pro, Precision Racing Products, Hinson Clutches, Scott Goggles, Galfer Brakes, LSR, Axcaliber Axles, Quad Tech, Rugged Radios, IMS, CV4, and DID.
Also on behalf of the team, our condolences to the family and friends of Kurt Caselli. RIP Kurt!