ENSENADA, Mexico—Relishing in the euphoria of yet another record-setting performance, Roger Norman and Larry Roeseler enjoyed the well-earned fruits of their laborious journey by capturing the overall 4-wheel victories late Friday in the 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race.
Beating a deep and talented field of 347 starters that came from 29 U.S. States and 34 countries, Norman/Roeseler powered their way to the top of the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division in the No. 8 Norman Motorsports Ford F-150.
The world’s best known and most prestigious desert race started for the 34th time and finished for the 19th time in Ensenada, 65 miles south of the U.S border at San Diego.
As the final checkered flag dropped Saturday evening for the last of 227 official finishers in the 41st annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, it was obvious that another incredible and colorful chapter had been added to the legacy of this popular desert race in the magnificent Baja California, Mexico, peninsula.
The 347 starters are the most ever in race history for a ‘loop’ race and the third most of any race in the 41-year history of the event. The 227 finishers are also the third-most in event history. The finishing percentage this year was an impressive 65.4 percent.
Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., drove the first 400 miles and Norman, Reno, Nev., the final 231.35 as the daring duo mastered the Mexico’s magnificently mysterious northern part of the Baja peninsula to finish in a jubilant time of 12:40:33 at an average speed of 49.81mph in the No. 8 Norman Motorsports Ford F-150.
Roeseler’s overall win gave him a race-record 13 overall race wins, including three in the 4-wheel division to go along with his 10 on a motorcycle. It was also Roeseler’s 17 career class win in this race.
It was Roger Norman’s first win in this race. It was also the second straight win of the year for Roeseler/Norman, who first won the SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300 in September.
Roeseler now has three career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins while Norman has earned two. It was also Roeseler’s fifth straight class win in this race, having won the last for years driving with Troy Herbst in Class 1.
Winning the overall ATV and Class 25 victory was the team of Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif./Harold Goodman, Brownstown, Mich./Marc Spaeth, Ramona, Calif./West Miller, Fallbrook, Calif., with a championship time of 14:47:25, averaging 42.69mph in a Honda TRX700XX. The talented team swept all three SCORE Baja races this season to earn the season point title in their class.
“I got in the driver’s seat in the lead thanks to Larry and I just had to bring it home, but that is easier said than done,” said Norman, the Northern Nevada developer who owns the Crystal Bay Casino in North Lake Tahoe. “I took it easy and kept gaining a little ground on B.J. (Baldwin).”
“This is the toughest and greatest race in the world and we were racing against the greatest desert racers in the world. I knew we had to have a flawless day to win and we did. We had no flats; our BFG Tires were tougher than the Baja rocks. The only little thing is we went too strong off of a jump around Valle de Trinidad and our top lights came off so we stopped for about a minute and a half to put them back on and they were fine. We’re here and we have a team that won’t quit and we made it to the finish line with all the body parts.”
Said Roeseler regarding his continuing winning streak in this cherishe d race, “It was a fantastic day. I followed B.J. off the start. He started 30 seconds in front of us and Brian Collins was doing a heck of a job. It was exciting all the way down until we finally got by the field. We were first on the road and we kept that spot ever since. B.J. was keeping us honest. If he got back in front of us, then we would have had to have finished within 30 seconds of him.”
“Roger (Norman) did a heck of a job. He kept that five, six-minute lead all the way from when I gave him the five or six minutes. What a wonderful, wonderful race. I went all day today to the 400-mile marker with no flats and I’m pretty sure Roger went all the way to the finish with no flats, so we won the SCORE Baja 1000 with no flat tires. Winning Primm was a great race for us and great momentum for the team so coming to the 1000 with that momentum, for sure, got us going and with our pre-running and preparation, it all paid off.”
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