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Baja 1000 Drama the Saga continues....

posted Dec 3, 2012, 12:26 PM by Guest Editor   [ updated Dec 3, 2012, 12:27 PM ]
 The 2012 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 rules-violations-finger-pointing drama continues! As it appears was the stripping of the temporary gained title as Baja 2012 champion of Vildosola Racing and relegation to 8th overall rank after
issued penalty for clear, by video recorded, rules violations was applied just the beginning!
Was the protest by BJ Baldwin against Vildosola for "equal rule enforcement" - while BJ protested only one of 3 rule infractions, a) pitting on the highway, b) pitting a moving vehicle and c) endangering spectators - was opening
the lid of Pandoras box a crack did Vildosola racing now pry it full open!

o-tone Vildosola Racing Facebook - "Hi everyone, I just got this video from a fan where we can clearly see BJ Baldwin DOES NOT STOP at checkpoint 7 of the Baja 1000. This is an infraction to SCORE'S rule GL11 that states all vehicles are required to come to a complete stop at the stop sign at physical checkpoints. Penalization is disqualification... should we protest??? Cheating is cheating! Rules are rules."

So Vildosola Racing is not certain if they should protest and ask their fan-base on what to do! That does not real reflect professionalism one expect from a team with with a Red Bull athlete representing that brand.
To me it looks more like media retaliation from that team after intentionally violating a rule with the intent of saving time and gaining a competitive advantage and topping that with a lied about it like a little child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. This indicates at the least missing strength of character that a team-leader or -principal should display.

But let's put moral and ethical correct behavior beside for the moment and concentrate on facts. (Videos in sidebar)

My assessment on the various situations are only based on the only online source I have regarding rules, enforcement and connected penalties and that one is supposedly outdated. However, I cant imagine them rules are taken out without replacement by similar regulations.

BJ Baldwin blew the checkpoint barely slowing down, so by equal rule enforcement as demanded by Baldwin - and by obsolete rules which probably similar in new version - this it either 60 minutes penalty or DQ.

Tavo Vildosola blew the checkpoint, semi-stopping 50-70 meters PAST the check-point, not at the check-point so equal either 60 minutes penalty or DQ.

Blew check-point and continue or blew and stop in distance. Neither entered the check-point at a reasonable and safe speed (GL11). So one rule or another is violated by both.

In addition the video shows Trophy Truck #9 / Weyrich and Trophy Truck #94 Strobel pitting which appears less as the 100' required by the rulebook which was listed as either illegal stationary pit (One position penalty) or pitting in a restricted area (DQ penalty)

I do not believe SCORE will apply any of the rules and it will boil down - if there is a protest filed and accepted after all - to the catch all rule of  "Penalties and/or fines levied at the discretion of the Race Director".

So what's the essence of the aftermath from this years Baja 1000?
Negative points first:
  • Baja 1000 and the Off-Road Racing sport with SCORE appear in the media - and social media does have influence on opinion building - in a lime light that will shy any future potential corporate race- or series-sponsor away!
  • Statements like "one of the world’s greatest motorsports treasures" are a farce! World greatest motorsports treasure organizing bodies react swift and decisive to clear evidence! This is one of the things that makes them "world greatest". Paris-Dakar (in off-road) or Daytona 500, Indy 500, Monaco GP or 24 hr. of Le Mans are events with similar history yet Baja 1000 is light-years away from being in the same ball-park!! Events as ongoing just increase the speed this race will fade into a insiders-only south-west USA club championship run in Mexico! Do some about it!! Urgent!
  • Racial slurs, America vs Mexico statements, social media bashing, hate speech directed to either race team, drivers or their sponsors, threats of teams and team members for the next race by a large number of people indicate a hooligan style sub-culture in the off-road surrounding which will not only turn of sponsors but local and visiting spectators and reflect badly on the area (Baja) way past the race!
  • The 2012 Baja 1000 overall 4wheel victory is tarnished! It will be remembered as a 5-ring rules-infraction circus no matter who will be declared winner.
APW International Shipping 7

Positive points:
  • Rules will be obeyed much more by the racers as they understand now that if there are xxxxx spectators along the race-course xxxxx minus 200 will have a cell-phone with recording capabilities! Rule violations will reduce significantly.
  • The organizing body learns from situation and may break crusted habits like have a winner ceremony 1 day after the race. Let's a have a finisher celebration based on arrival and give a fair time span to evaluate incoming material as video footage before declaring a winner. In the worst case scenario you have to strip a culprit of his finisher pin if he gets DQ's but the winner will be THE winner of the Baja 1000 and can cherish that achievement with his team and supporters not getting a second- or third-hand trophy.
  • Some folks will understand being a hard-core supporter of a team or individual racer and being objective can get along and racial slurs have no place in any sport. In particular if it's an "endangered species" like off-road racing!!
Sorry for my Spanglish and thanks for letting me publish my 2 cents worth here. ~Memin P.

Memin P. is a travel coordinator with a professional incentive and group travel authority and off-road fan.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Memin P.
Feel free to mail in your opinion and tell us why we should publish it.

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