The annual running of the SCORE Baja 500 is to many the pinnacle of off-road racing, a fast and furious battle over hard trails and soft sand that brings together some of the greatest racing talents on the globe. This includes four of the most prominent off-road racers in America today, including Tavo Vildosola, Robby Gordon, BJ Baldwin and Andy McMillin. Driving for Team Toyo Tires, these four racers brought their best to the Baja 500, but was their best good enough?
Spoiler alert, yes it was, with Vildosola bringing home the Trophy Truck Class trophy for Team Toyo, and the above video celebrates the team’s hard-earned victory, even if everybody didn’t quite make it across the finish line.
As Vildosola notes, something as simple as a flat tire can knock you out of the Baja 500, and the race comes down to mechanical reliability just as much as driver skill. Suspension components and the tires take a brunt of the beating, but just about anything that can go wrong will go wrong out in the wilds of Baja California. As McMillin notes, the challenge of the Baja 500 is knowing when to go 100%, and when to back off the throttle despite knowing that the clock is always running.
Completing the 500-mile race in eight hours and 20 minutes, Vildosola narrowly eked out a win by about three minutes over Rob MacCachren. Andy McMillin also put in a strong showing with a fifth-place finish, finishing the course in eight hours and 45 minutes, and BJ Baldwin placed 11th after nine hours and 48 minutes of racing. Robby Gordon ended his race early with a DNF, but Vildosola’s “perfect day” let him ride home victorious, one of just a few winners of this legendary race.