Since its beginning in 1967 the Baja 1000 has been characterized as the rawest, most unforgiving, in-your-face, off-road race on the planet. This year close to 300 entries from 20 countries and 40 U.S. states, with 41 Pro and 8 Sportsman classes, shared one common sentiment expressed by Wes Miller, "The course was definitely very tough this year. Most people called it the roughest 1000 in history."
Aldofo Arellano team's also won the San Felipe 250 and finished 2nd at the Baja 500, but their 1000 win with Wayne Matlock was a first.
Azteca Motorsports 4th place overall was the highest overall finish for a quad in SCORE history.
Miller was one-quarter of the Azteca Motorsports/Adelitas Racing team competing in Class 25 ATV's (450 cc and above). The team of Miller, Aldofo Arellano, Roberto Villalobos, and K&N's Wayne Matlock, won the 46th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 with a time of 21:55:23 and an average speed of 40.3 mph, to capture the overall ATV and Class 25 Open Pro ATV title. They rode their Rich Morel built engine to a remarkable 4th overall, out of all of the motorcycle and ATV competitors. It was the highest overall finish for a quad in SCORE history.
Adding to the significance of the team's extraordinary finish is clearly the fact that the Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races, put up greater resistance than ever this year. Every other year instead of running all the way to La Paz in Baja Sur, like in 2012, they run the loop. This year's loop course at 883 miles was the longest loop ever, with the racers leaving Ensenada for San Felipe along the Sea of Cortez, and racing back. The course included the usual arroyos, gullies, washes, mountains, and of course the infamous Baja silt. And to add yet another degree of difficulty, the race started at night, with the motorcycles and ATV's starting first at 11pm.
The first quad didn't leave until 12:30 PM, and as racers left Ensenada in heavy fog, Arellano pushed hard to close the gap on the number 10a as they worked through the slower motorcycles. Visibility was so bad at times that riders were limited to first and second gear at some points. Having an outstanding 2013 season, Arellano was up to the challenge. Arellano's team took also won at the San Felipe 250 and finished 2nd at the Baja 500.
Villalobos took over from Arellano 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 made a pass for the lead just before JCR Pit 3 on Laguna Salada at race mile 143.
Miller was the third rider up and he successfully finessed the quad through the mud and water crossings making sure not to get stuck. The number 9a came into the JCR pit at El Crucero at race mile 385 with an 11 minute lead on adjusted time, and Matlock took over next.
With a scheduled rear tire change and a fresh K&N Filter lid, Matlock left the pit six minutes ahead of the 10A quad. He picked his way through some of the worst silt beds ever seen, saying later that he kept telling himself; just keep moving forward no matter what, don't get stuck out here.
At mile 660 Matlock turned the quad back over to Miller. The seasoned off road racer continued to run a smart race, charging when he was able to run flat-out, and riding conservatively when it was called for, even when one of his lights failed. He rode it into Valle T at race mile 770, where they gave the entire quad a once over.
Villalobos rode the next section up the Goat Trial to El Alamo race mile 800, there he handed the quad back to Arellano. 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 dip into the night. 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 the win and 4th overall out of the bikes.