Taking on the Baja 1000 is a feat in itself, but for the teams in Class 11, the Baja 1000 means something completely different. This class does not feature any high-horsepower rigs, Class 11 is a stock VW bug class powered by a 1600cc Type 1 VW motor.
We had the chance to catch up with the no. 1103 of Perry Motorsports out of Ensenada, Baja California to see how the race went. The driver of record was Noe Gutierrez, who shared the driving duties with Cirilo Beltran, Sergio Fabela , and Jorge Maldonado. Navigating for the team was Norberto Ventura, Roy Rojas, Jesus Mejia, and JC Sarabia.
The terrain all the vehicles is difficult, but can be even worse in a stock VW. “We had to work harder on a couple climbs past Eréndira,” Roy Rojas said. “I had to get out of the car in the middle of the night and push. That’s where I thanked for Stella (SCORE‘s new tracker).”
“I’ve never felt that vulnerable after the car got traction and went uphill I was in the middle of a dust cloud, no lights, and standing in the pitch dark desert,” Rojas continued. “I knew there were a couple UTVs stopped right before a couple curves where I was.”
Something is bound to happen to a race vehicle after driving on the extreme terrain, but for the no. 1103 car they did not get a single flat the entire race. “The only repair we needed to do was a four-inch long weld at the skid plate bolting mounts,” Rojas said. “We slowed it down from Chinero to the finish, as we noticed the front suspension was showing the results of 600 miles of punishment.”
I can safely say all of us have items with Ivan Stewart’s autograph somewhere in our memorabilia. – RJ Rojas
The team came into the race only needing to finish the race in the 36-hour time limit to win the 2016 Class 11 SCORE Championship. “It was an overwhelming feeling watching the car as it crossed the finish line,” Rojas happily said. “It was our first year racing SCORE and we had just fulfilled one of our dreams. We were a bunch of locals, born and raised in Ensenada, who had just won the Baja 1000!”
The team crossed the finish line 31:56:52.738 after starting and as the only Class 11 to finish the race. Not only did they win the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000, but they just made their childhood dreams come true. The plans for next year are still up in the year, but we hope they can come out and defend their 2016 championship.