In what turned out to be one of the toughest 500's ever, where nearly half of the competitors failed to finish, Tavo Vildosola bested a fast field in his Toyo Tires Ford to take home the overall win.
With even this rugged 500 being nearly a sprint for the Trophy Trucks, Vildosola beat second place finisher Rob MacCachren by only three minutes with Carlos Apdaly Lopez only two minutes behind Mac. In fact, the top five Trophy Trucks finished within 25 minutes of one another as Troy Herbst and Andy McMillin came home in fourth and fifth respectively.
The first non Trophy Truck finisher was Honda factory rider and Pro Moto Unlimited class winner rider Colton Udall in ninth place overall, with Ronnie Wilson hot on his heels in his Class 1 winning Jimco buggy placing tenth. Other notables were Trophy Truck Spec winner Steve Eugenio in at 16th overall, Javier Robles Jr. winning Pro Quads and 17th overall.
The UTV classes were again some of the largest, with them being split into “Forced Induction” and non-turbo. Wayne Matlock took the turbo class while Justin Lambert came home in second place only 10-minutes behind. Both drivers were in Polaris RZR's. For the nons it was Alonso Lopez besting John Estrada in their RZR's while Kristen Matlock rounded out the top three.
Thirty classes left Ensenada on the looping course. Once the competitors left Ensenada, they traveled south-east for 100 miles until the first checkpoint, when they turned north and ran counter-clockwise south down to San Felipe on the Bay side of the pennisula. Just south of San Felipe, they circled north and headed back to Ensenada.
As stated, nearly half of all competitors failed to finish. The Sportsman classes were especially hard hit as not one of the Class 1400 Sportsman Unlimited Trucks or Sportsman Moto riders managed to finish at all. It was a tough day on a lot of fronts.
As you may already know, the 2016 Baja 500 was marred by the deaths of one spectator and two motorcyclists. The spectator was hit when a truck over-shot a corner, and the bike riders succumbed to heat related issues out on the course. The temperature reached nearly 120 degrees, and many competitors dropped out simply due to it.
There has been much speculation about all three of these tragedies, and we won't go into it any further other than to say we agree that things need to be looked at in regards to safety for all, be it better crowd control or improved medi-vac response. Baja racing by its very nature is hard. That's why we do it. But there needs to be as many safety protocols in place as possible. People's lives are at stake.
Let's put this race behind us and get on with the rest of the season. There's a lot of good, hard, fun racing in our future, and we're sure that SCORE is working hard to make the upcoming races as good as possible for everyone.
3-Carlos Apdaly Lopez
TROPHY TRUCK SPEC
PRO UTV FORCED INDUCTION
PRO MOTO UNLIMITED
PRO MOTO LIMITED