SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - JAN 2019

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

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Page 61 of 92

51st SCORE BaJa 1000 A Race With Unexpected Results Leads To An Exciting Season Finish By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo When the racers came to Ensenada to take on the 51st SCORE Baja 1000, many of them were there to win, but in the end, they were not prepared for what would transpire and be the final outcome of the race and the season. One of the biggest surprises of the race was the fact that the 7x team of Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels, and Justin Jones finished first overall, beating the time of the fastest SCORE Trophy Truck across the finish line. That accomplishment wasn’t an easy task as the best of SCORE Trophy Truck racers and champions were out in force. Even though the motorcycles left the starting line six and a half hours before the Trophy Trucks, they had to be faster than the Trophy Truck “dream-teams” such as Ricky Jonson and Larry Connor who qualified first, Rob MacCachren and Jason Voss, Andy McMillin and Tavo Vildosola Jr., and Apdaly Lopez and his dad Juan Carlos Lopez. Other top Trophy Truck racers like Luke McMillin, Ryan Arciero, and Cameron Steele are also very fast and, but the 7x team managed to have one of their fastest, technically perfect, and safest SCORE Baja 1000 races. While the7x team relished winning the race overall, they finished up a perfect season to also win the Pro Moto Unlimited Championship with a commanding victory. Yet, the 7x team’s performance was only one of the highlights of this phenomenal race. Battling his way along the 806.76-mile course, Cameron Steele would have the most spectacular races of his SCORE Trophy Truck career, challenging Rob MacCachren for the physical lead, but crossing the finish line behind him. In a stunning twist, MacCachren was assessed penalties from a questionable passing situation on a highway section of the course, leaving Cameron Steele with the fastest time to become the SCORE Trophy Truck winner. Considering Steele ran a fast race and moved his way up to the front after starting in 12th place, it was a well-earned victory that he and his team had been wanting for more than a decade. For MacCachren, the second place finish still earned him a 2018 SCORE Trophy Truck Championship, and despite the outcome, he demonstrated what it means to be a true hero of the sport of off-road racing and accepted the decision. Within the Trophy Truck Legends class, Gus Vildosola Sr. had won the last two race, but the team of Armin Schwarz, Clyde Stacy, and Todd Riley started first in class and kept the lead the entire race to win it. There was also a battle for the win and a SCORE Trophy Truck Spec championship on the line between Bryce Swaim and William Hedrick Jr. Up to this point, both drivers were so close in points that it was a do-or-die situation. Crossing the finish line first was Swaim who took the race win and with a nine-point lead, Trophy Truck Spec Championship too. In the open wheel classes, the Cops Racing team with Morgan Langley behind the wheel of the number 150 buggy finished first, upsetting the third-place finisher Brad Wilson, who still managed to earn enough points to win the class championship. Class 10 competition was also tough, leaving Broc Dickerson again out with mechanical problems and the number 1063 car of Ruben and Gabriel Torres as the winners. Todd and Matt Winslow also celebrated their fifth place finish as they earned enough points for the class championship. Class 7 racer Dan Chamlee didn’t win a race the entire 2018 SCORE season until the SCORE Baja 1000 which also ended up allowing him to win his 14th Class Championship. It was the same for the Baja-e class winner Raul Rodriguez Jr. who stunned SCORE fans by becoming the first battery-powered vehicle to finish and win a SCORE Baja 1000 in the new class. Viry Felix again demonstrated why she was the Ensenada, hometown hero by sweeping the last three races of the SCORE season with a win in Class 11 and earning the class championship in the process. Within the Pro Moto classes, several teams, along with the 7x Pro Moto Unlimited team, also had a perfect season and rode to a race victory and a class championship. These included Guy Laycraft in Pro Moto 60, Giovanni Spinali in Pro Moto 50, and Jano Montoya in Pro Moto 40. There was also no change to Said Sanchez dominating in Pro Quad. He had said he would win a back-to-back championship and did so winning the race and earning the respect of his peers. Perhaps the toughest race within the Pro Moto classes was the Ironman class, where Francisco Septiein won his third race of the season and clinched the Pro Moto Ironman Championship in the process. Pro UTV racers once again squared-off for yet another tough competition. This time, it was Wayne Matlock who came out victorious, and beat out Rhys Millen for the win and a Pro UTV FI class championship. Kristen Matlock’s problems persisted during the SCORE Baja 1000. Mechanical problems kept her from finishing the race and left the race open for Tyler Backus in the 1902 Polaris to win the Pro UTV NA class. Problems also plagued Jesus Mendez Jr. in the Pro UTV Unlimited class, who didn’t finish the race and left the win open for Kreis Werth in the number 1899 Can-AM X3 to take. The upset for Mendez Jr. wasn’t all bad, as he had earned enough points all season to win the championship. Once the 51st SCORE Baja 1000 was over, racers immediately began planning for the 2019 season which will surely bring out some new champions and challenges that makes the SCORE World Desert Championship the best off-road racing venue in the world. SJ

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