SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - July 2019

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

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Page 51 of 91

The BaJa Educator Off-Road Motorsports and AMA Hall-of-Famer Chris Haines Gives People The BaJa Experience By Dan Sanchez Photos by Dan Sanchez Since the early days of Baja racing, motorcyclists dominated races like the SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000, producing many talented individuals who made history there. American Motorcycle Association Hall-of-Fame and Off-Road Motorsports Hall-of-Fame Inductee Chris Haines, is one of those motorcyclists who made a name for himself as a racer and bike builder but also introduced and mentored many motorcyclists who would go on to conquer the Baja desert and become champions. Haines also earned the AMA Motorcycle Association Golden Wrench Award four-times, during his 40-years of riding and racing in Baja. From working at a lawnmower repair shop in New Jersey at age 15 to building Speedway motocross bikes for Suzuki and Honda, Haines’ career included working for AMA Motorcycle Hall-of-Fame Inductees such as Bruce Penhall and Tony DiStefano. “I got injured racing Speedway after I came back from the military, so I began building bikes for a while…lots of bikes,” said Haines. After success with Suzuki, Haines was asked to join American Honda, where he spent 10 years at Honda Racing Corporation working with racers on the motocross side. “It was then that AMA Motorcycle Hall-of-Fame and Baja off-road motorcycle racing pioneer Bruce Ogilvie, came around and asked us for help with parts for his Baja racing team,” said Haines. Haines had liked the idea of racing in Baja and would ultimately begin riding again and teamed up with friend and AMA Hall-of-Fame Inductee Jack Johnson. “We had been riding in Baja for fun but thought it would be great to race it.” Over the years, Haines earned three SCORE Baja 500 class wins and 15 SCORE Baja 1000 class wins, as well as a SCORE Class 40 and Class 50 Championships. Haines and Johnson teamed up with AMA Motorcycle Hall-of-Fame Legend Malcolm Smith, to win the Vet Class at the SCORE Baja 2000, and again in 2014 at the SCORE Baja 1000 to honor Smith in his last Baja race, winning the Pro Moto 50 class. Haines eventually began a tour company to share with others the beauty and thrill of riding in Baja. “The tours would eventually compel someone to compete in SCORE and eventually, these same people wanted me to build their bikes to race,” said Haines. Some of the latest teams Haines has assisted with are SCORE Pro Moto Ironman racer Larry Janesky and 2017 SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited Champion Francisco Arredondo. “Both these guys came to us, and we made a turn-key racing team for them,” said Haines. “That’s now a part of my business too. We take a lot of pride in working with individuals who are not familiar with SCORE events and educate them. We love to see them grow as racing individuals. Arredondo, for example, came to us 10-years ago, then became the 2017 overall Pro Moto Champion. We’re very proud of that.” Along with a knack at building racing motorcycles, Haines also applied his knowledge of the sport and the machines and became very good at turning out SCORE motorcycle racers. “I like the logistics part of it and dealing with people and personalities,” says Haines. “Identifying their potential and elevating their game is fantastic. I like the camaraderie of it and SCORE events. It’s a challenge, every race is different. Figuring it out and having it all come together is what’s fun for me now.” With decades of stories of his days prepping bikes, teams, and racing in SCORE, Haines has two very memorable moments. “One is racing and winning our class with Malcolm and Johnson at the SCORE Baja 2000,” said Haines. “The other is when I first met Roger Norman who would eventually come to own SCORE International. We met around ‘96 when my wife became good friends with Roger’s wife Elise Norman. I helped Roger with a previous race in Nevada, and I knew a guy that had a pretty good Class 2 buggy that we could race. Roger and I teamed up and we both drove half of the race. We finished fourth in class, and that’s where Roger got the bug.” SJ

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