SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - December 2018

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 63 of 112

The Four-Wheel Classes Ride Blind Dust was a big problem for the four-wheel classes, but the victors pulled through By Dan Sanchez Photos By Get Some Photo For the four-wheel class drivers that had to leave the starting line after the SCORE Trophy Trucks, they describe their experience with one word --- dust. With no wind and no moisture in the air, the dust kicked up by the vehicles in front of them remained afloat, leaving many racers driving blind in some spots. “We only saw 20 miles of this course,” said Brad Wilson of the number 153 Class 1 race vehicle. “Other than that we were sitting in dust all day.” With a course that had been roughed up by pre-running and the SCORE Trophy Trucks, Class 1 drivers had plenty of problems facing them right off the starting line. Many of the racers hit big rocks but managed to get around that and the dust to finish the race. After a hard day of battling each other and the course, it was the Cops team in the number 150 buggy that won the 51st SCORE Baja 1000 Class 1 division. Headed by Morgan Langley, the team consisted of Paul Keller and Mike Malloy in their ESM Chevy buggy. “The whole course was pretty rough but a few little things here and there, nothing major.” Said Malloy. “We just tried to stay smooth all day, keep it on four wheels, and bring it here in first place.” Following in second place was the number 129 Alumi Craft Chevy of Brandon Bailey, with co-drivers Larry Job, and veteran NASCAR race driver Brendan Gaughan. Third place in class went to Brad Wilson, with Justin Munyon, and Ronny Wilson in their number 153 Jimco Chevy. Although a third-place finish wasn’t what the Wilson team had hoped for, they did earn enough points to finish the 2018 season with a class championship. Big Upset In Class 10 While the rest of the world was expecting Broc Dickerson to win the SCORE Baja 1000 in Class 10, he and his team had mechanical problems preventing him from finishing the race. While that was very unfortunate for the young racer and his fans, it left the class wide open for the number 1063 car of Ruben and Gabriel Torres. The two ran hard passing vehicles early in the race and maintained their lead to win the class. “The whole entire time we were covered in dust due to passing other vehicles,” said Ruben Torres. “We ended up passing about 10 vehicles in the first 100 miles, and that led us to win the race.” Finishing behind Torres was Rafael Aguirre and the 1022 car co-driven by Adrian Alanis, Javier Robles, and Jorge Sauceda. “ It was a very difficult time from race mile 380 to 400, and around race mile 480,” said Aguirre. “It was a horrible cemetery of cars stuck in the silt. We have never experienced that and were stunned and shocked coming up on a bunch of cars with nowhere to go. We had a lot of luck and with some help of the chase trucks, we were able to get help out of the silt.” J.J. Schnarr and Roberto Romo were in the number 1062 car and managed to escape the silt bed pile-up and fix a broken suspension to finish third in class. “We escaped the silt bed situation, which was awesome,” said Schnarr. “Then we had three hours of downtime after wee tore a front arm off. But Romo found a welder and built a new arm.” Truck Classes Get A Beating For the rest of the truck classes, the Baja silt and dust seemingly took out half the field in the various classes, with only the most experienced surviving to finish first. In the Hammer Truck Unlimited class, it was Casey Currie and brother Cody in their number 4422 modified Jeep Wrangler who finished first. “We just had one incident in the silt when we ran into the back of a 1600 car,” said Casey Currie. “It damaged my front end and all my lights got ripped off, so we had to do some repairs. But overall it was an awesome day.” For Eduardo Ramirez in the number 809 Chevy C-10 Class 8 truck, they managed to get through a tough course to win the class. Ramirez was aided by co-drivers Ramiro Vasquez, Manuel Robles, and David Comacho. In the Heavy Metal class, Vincent Munoz won the class in the number 894 Ford Ranger co-driven by Roy Tomkins and Steven Yates. Class 7 winner Dan Chamlee in the number 700 Ford Ranger, had a more difficult time with the competition. He battled against 2017 class champion Jeff Proctor in the number 709 Honda Ridgeline, and Carlos Diaz in the number 711 Ford Raptor. In the end, Chamlee won the class adding 14 SCORE class championship to his career. For Proctor and his team, Alexander Rossi, Pat Dailey, and former Pro Moto Champion Johnny Campbell, they’re happy to finish in second place and luckily avoid a serious accident. “Alex sent the truck over that jump in Ojos Negros and was lucky he was high enough to clear a vehicle on the race course,” said Proctor. “We are happy that everyone is safe and no one got hurt.” In the Pro Truck Class, Cody Swanty with Rory Ward in the number 1350 Dodge Ram finished first, as did Mark Van Tassell, Dave Connors, Ryan Kakaya, and Kurt Williams in the number 8155 Toyota Land Cruiser within the Stock Full Class. Miguel Sandoval and his team of Mario Moreno and Oscar Solniza, finished first in the 7SX class in their Ford Ranger, in honor of their friend Carlos. “It was all the dream to race this,” said Sandoval. “We lost Carlos in 2015 during the race, fighting for the win. His dream was to start the SCORE Baja 1000 and get to the finish line. What better way to honor him.” The famous black, number 302 Moss Ford Bronco finished first in Class 3 adding to more than 40-class wins for the Moss brothers Donald and Ken Moss. They were aided by with co-driver Dave Grundman and Dan Thunborg. Within the Baja Bug classes, the crowds cheered as their Ensenada hometown hero Viry Felix finished first in Class 11. Felix has won the last two races and adds the SCORE Baja 1000 win to a great season. “We had only one problem with a shock, but other than that everything was perfect,” said Felix. “There was a lot of silt that got other class 11 cars stuck but we got through.” Felix had the help of co-drivers Cisco Bio, Adrian Guerrero, and Roberto Robles. Finishing second in Class 11 was Mario Vazquez, with Kent Thygerson and Keith Langford in the number 1113 “Pochito” bug. In third place was 2017 class champion Dennis Hollenbeck in the number 1100 bug, who co-drove with Armando Salazar, Dave Forrest, Kevin Schlect, Luis Vazquez, and Paul Nauleau. “It’s been a points battle all season with Viry. She’s a great competitor,” said Hollenbeck. “This is our first Ensenada finish, despite having issues during the race. I laid it over on its side, I got stuck a few times, and I recently had a heart attack, so I didn’t get to race the way I wanted to race.” In Class 5-1600 the SCORE Baja 1000 race was against two competitors, Luis Herrera in the number 577 car, and Ruben Garcia in the number 569 car. Having to battle the dust, silt, and a well-beaten course, these two managed to finish the race, with Herrera finishing first. “We know the difficulties when you are in a limited class following a large number of unlimited cars,” said co-driver Daniel Gutierrez. “So going through some terrain for these limited classes, it is really hard. Our plan was to keep the car moving, which we did and we continued to make up time. And that’s where we became finishers.” Co-driving with Herrera and Gutierrez were Ernie Negrette and Dave Simpson. Garcia finished second with the help of co-drivers Guy Savedra, Steven Fuentes, Mark Winston, and Ruben Garcia Jr. Buggy Classes Breeze Through The Silt One of the advantages of the lighter-weight buggies is that they can more easily handle deep silt. But it still takes some driving talent to get through it at speed. For the Class 1/2-1600 racers, they know how to handle their vehicles in any terrain and with seven competitors during the SCORE Baja 1000, the competition was tough. For Bruce Yee who came off of a disappointing DNF at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Desert Challenge, the SCORE Baja 1000 would lead him and the team to victory in the class. Yee, teamed up with Angel Barajas and Jose Robles in the 1614 car to take on the desert and the competition. “We started second and got in the lead in Ojos Negros,” said Yee. “We took it all the way to San Felipe in first place, then had a problem with the suspension and fell back to second. Then I handed it off to Jose and we took over the lead again, and Angel took it home.” Only two seconds behind Yee was the 1618 car of Ernesto Arambula, Elizandro Yee, and Alonso Angulo, who finished in second place. Finishing third in class was Christopher, Kevin and Neri Sanchez in the number 1621 car, co-driven by Fernie Padilla, Ernesto Martinez and Ruben Hernandez. SCORE Lites saw the number 1206 car of Freddie Willert cross the finish line first in class. Willert was aided by co-drivers Tex Mitchell and Stan Porter. Finishing second in class was the number 1258 car of Jeremy David, Chad Cummings, and Bud Ward. Within the Sportsman Buggy Class, Diane Gianelli in the number 1577 car finished first with teammates Julie Boyer, Josh Thurman, Kelley Deloach and Kyla, and Kyle Cox. The First Electric Car Finishes The SCORE Baja 1000 For the first time in SCORE Baja 1000 history, an electric vehicle finished in the new Baja-e class. As a testament to battery powered vehicle technology, Raul Rodriguez Jr., and Molly VerMeer, along with co-drivers Raul Rodriguez Sr., Jesus Mendoza, and Erik Galindo successfully finished the race to add their mark in the SCORE record books. “We wanted to get this car out here to see how it runs,” said Raul Rodriguez Jr. “At one point the battery stalled a little bit and one completely died on us. One of our guys was able to charge them quick enough so we finished with two battery packs.” “It’s great to see what this car can do,” says co-driver and engineer Moly VerMeer. “It’s great to push it to its limits. It was rocky out there, and the logistics of the pit stops was challenging. We had to change the batteries and continue all the monitoring. We are learning how to organize as a team and learning how the technology responds to off-road. It’s incredible to finish. It’s exciting. It’s the first electric vehicle to ever finish the SCORE Baja 1000. It was a lot of work but the team came together and we learned a lot of things to make improvement for the next one.” Baja Challenge Class Finishes 100 Percent One of the greatest successes in SCORE’s history is the Baja Challenge class that has a near 100-percent finish rate throughout its history in SCORE. The class allows individuals to come in and participate in a SCORE race under the supervision of Wide Open Baja instructors and experienced personnel. At the SCORE Baja 1000 this year, the BC1 car headed by Larry McRae won the class. The team, which included Kyle Tucker, Lance Clifford, Mike Johnson, Brian Finch, and Brad Lovell, were part of a military veteran team that was being filmed for an upcoming documentary film that is being produced by Justin Roberts of Echo Bravo Productions, with BCII and Dana Brown. The BC4 team, headed by SCORE Special Advisor Digital Media, Ed Muncey and SCORE CEO/President Roger Norman, also had veterans on the team and were a part of the filming effort who all finished in second place. Racing Heals Hidden Wounds Film Producer Justin Roberts hopes to showcase how teamwork and adrenaline in Baja racing helps veterans heal By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some photo “I’ve been living in a military bubble and had no experience in the racing world,” says Echo Bravo Production CEO Justin Roberts. As a film producer focused on the military, Roberts was interested when a friend called and told him there were military veterans running in a race called the SCORE Baja 1000. “I wanted to check it out and was intrigued at the dynamic there,” said Roberts. “Veterans are using the race to process what they’ve been through and to find the brotherhood that is lacking in their lives after returning from war.” According to Roberts, it’s extremely difficult for military veterans to get back into society after having the stimulus of being in high-adrenaline, fighting situations for a long time. “This is something that can compare to the adrenaline from combat and gives them that surge that they’re needing, but in a safe way.” Robert’s last film, No Greater Love, (italic) dealt with combat in Afghanistan. He filmed on the front lines and during the largest battles in the war, capturing it and the military personnel going through it. After that experience, he realized that military veterans need to transition back into civilian life and saw that teams like Warrior Built, were doing just that through racing. “I drove down with Nick Hamm, president of Warrior Built, and he introduced me to the world of SCORE Baja racing,” said Roberts. “The race itself had so much energy, the military-like planning, the brotherhood of competitors helping each other as a team, the pre-race tension, feat, and anticipation. You can see it in their eyes at the starting line. I was caught off-guard at how familiar everything was, in relation to being in the military.” In cooperation with BCII and with the help of executive producer Dana Brown, Roberts is hoping that once the film is put together, it will allow more veterans to learn about SCORE racing and how it can help them in the long run. “During the race we worked not only with the Warrior Built team, but also with the Baja Challenge teams, BC1 and BC4 as well as with motorcycle rider John Hodel, to capture some footage for the film,” said Roberts. “We want to tell the story about the race and these warriors. Many people underestimate the value that something like this can bring to veterans. I can see how it can help individuals crawl out of depression and help to become a way to move forward.”SJ

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