In one of the most bizarre finishes I have seen in over 30 years of Baja racing, Rod Hall finished second in the Stock-Mini Class, clinching his third consecutive SCORE Desert Points Championship in the Stock Mini Class and qualifying for a share in the Toyota Milestone Awards for the 2008 season. Rod's friend and partner Mike Winkel was at the wheel of the #760 H3 SUV when the truck took the checkered flag.
What made this finish so unusual was the fact that Gavin Skilton, in the #779 Honda Ridgeline and Ryan Millen, in the #762 Toyota FJ Criuser, had been locked in a battle for the class lead during the entire race. As they entered the final 10 mile dash to the finish, fully an hour and a half in front of the apparent 3rd place winning #760 H3, Millen apparently hit a large boulder, resulting in a devestating crash and ripping the entire front end off the Toyota which brought it to a halt five miles from the finish. Skilton, now thinking he was on easy street, almost immediatly got buried up to his doors in a mound of silt just a few feet from Millen. Both vehicles remained in place, motionless, for almost an hour as the HUMMER H3 moved closer to the finish and the win. After an hour of race traffic coming by, all unwilling to stop and lend a hand, the #862 Dodge came by on his way to a second place finish in the Stock-Full Class. Driver Kent Kroeker agreed to tow Gavin Skilton free from the silt that restrained him, allowing the Honda to take their first SCORE Baja 1000 win. Millen was finally being towed out of the area, as Mike Winkel passed him by for the unlikely second place finish. It just goes to show you that, as Yogi Berra once said, "It isn't over til it's over".
Meanwhile, Josh Hall in the #863 H2 SUT broke another front suspension part (tie rod) back at RM 520 or thereabouts but got back in the race to finish third in the Stock-Full Class. Twenty four hours and forty nine minutes after they began the odyssey that was the 2008 Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000, Josh Hall, Sam Cothrun and Team HUMMER overcame most every obsticle that Off-road racing could throw at them to bring the #863 Team HUMMER H2 SUT home for the Checkered flag.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Team Owner, Rod Hall, a happy 71st birthday and to congratulate everyone at Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER for a great performance.
Good day from the 41st Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000.
George R. Thompson
Rod Hall Racing