SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal-December 2019

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

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Page 107 of 130

UNDEFEATED Justin Morgan and the 1x team ride to an 11th consecutive first-place finish By Dan Sanchez Photos By Get Some Photo Although the conditions at this year’s BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts changed the game plan for many of the four-wheel race teams, the motorcycle racers didn’t seem as phased with the changing course. Even without an injured Mark Samuels, Justin Morgan still had a race to win and asked Max Eddy Jr., Shane Esposito, and David Kamo to help him win. Starting before dawn on Saturday, November 23rd, Morgan headed out into the Baja desert and seemingly had no difficulty riding through the mud at a pace that remained well ahead of the SCORE Trophy Trucks that would jump onto the course later that morning. Morgan, Kamo, Esposito, and Max Eddy Jr. ran a flawless race, coming in first at the finish line to claim Morgan’s eleventh SCORE race win in a row. “I would never have thought I would have eleven wins like this,” said Morgan. “We lost a lot of races to learn how to win them, so it’s finally paying off.” The team ran an incredibly fast SCORE Baja 1000 pace, finishing it in 17 hours and 34 minutes, putting them sixth overall among all the competitors in this event. Their pace was so fast that the second place 66x team of Santiago Creel finished more than two hours after them. Creel and his team, however, were still happy with their effort despite co-rider Eric Yorba getting injured before the first 100 miles of the race. Creel had to step in but also had Mitchell Anderson, Brandon Prieto, Braxtan Gallan, and David Walsh co-riding. “Eric was injured around race mile 70, so I also had to ride his section to race mile 250 and was one of the reasons why we couldn’t fight for the finish,” said Creel. Finishing only three seconds behind them in third place was the 4x team of Ray Dal Saglio. The team almost didn’t make it to the race as Dal Salgio was recovering from an injury and had two other team riders also injured before the race and couldn’t make it. “Three days before the race I didn’t think we were even going to Baja,” said Dal Salgio. “We recruited our chase driver Jason Alosi to the team, along with Austin Miller, Kadin Guard, and Troy Vanscourt.” Without pre-running sections of the course, the team was limited with their crew and on a very tight budget, yet they felt confident they could run a good race. “I felt like everyone on the team was hurt but we pulled through and made it to the finish,” said Miller. Quintin Franco in the number 92x team finished in fourth with co-riders Travis Quist, Ajay Hatley, and Henry Wiles. While they celebrated the completion of a grueling race, many SCORE fans were waiting to see SCORE Pro Moto Champion Colton Udall’s return to Baja with his 5x team. Udall had just come back into the Pro Moto Unlimited division after several injuries kept him away from competition for a few years. He returned to the SCORE Baja 1000 with a team consisting of Forrest Minchinton, Nic Garvin, Derek Ausserbauer and Kevin Daniels. Fans cheered for the former champion’s team as they crossed the finish line in fifth place. CREEL WINS IN PRO MOTO LIMITED Although Creel’s Unlimited team took a second-place finish, his 100x Limited team finished first in class, ending a competitive season against the 120x team of Marco Pena. The 100x team finished with a time of 19:31:58 with co-riders Alejandro Sardi, Larry Serna, Sammy Mantalvan, and Javier Ibarra. “Sammy got us in a really good position in the race,” said Gallian. “When I got the bike it was a flawless ride for us. We just kept doing what we do. I got to hold the bike wide open on my section. Santiago and the whole Monkey Business crew put together a phenomenal bike and that’s why we won.” Behind them in second place was the 180x team of Fernando Beltran with David Zarate, Rodolfo Patron, Adan Garcia, and Marco Maclish. Despite a great season finishing first at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and first at the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 Pena and his team finished third in this race, with co-riders Mauro Herrera, Miguel Cardoves, and Brian Wiperman. Septien Regains Pro Moto 30 Dominance The 2019 SCORE season started badly for Francisco Septien, posting a DNF at the San Felipe 250, but he moved back to the top of Class 30 by winning the SCORE Baja 500 and Lucerna SCORE Baja 400. He and the 370x team again wanted to continue by finishing first in this race, but it began with team issues. “We had a rider withdraw three days before the race, which left us to ride more miles each for our sections,” said Septien. “We didn’t pre-run that section so we got lost and it cost us some time.” The 370x team was left with Shane Esposito and Ricardo Villalobos and managed to finish first in class, despite Septien recovering from a broken leg. “Francisco broke his leg at the SCORE Baja 400 and just got his cast off last week. He had to put in 170 miles,” said Esposito. “I crashed and hit my head pretty good, but just picked it up and kept going and paced myself. I lost the front-end at high speed and went headfirst into the ground, but nothing was broken, I just got a face full of dirt.” Santiago Creel’s 360x team finished second with co-riders Kevin Murphy, Carlos Casas, Homero Diaz, and class champions Jim O’Neal (who also ran on a Pro Moto 50 team) and Massimo Mangini. “There were plenty of close calls…it’s Baja,” said Carlos Casas. “If you don’t have close calls you aren’t pushing it, but we didn’t have any crashes and had a good race.” Finishing in third place was Jano Manotya and his 325x team consisting of Alberto Ruiz, Rene Magana, Bryce Stavron, Kyle Kishner, and Jessy Canepa. “This is our fourth year in the SCORE series but first in the 30 class,” said Montoya. “There are a lot of fast riders in this class and we are having a great time.” Pro Moto 40 and 50 Teams Finish 100 Percent All of the teams in the Pro Moto 40 and Pro Moto 50 classes finished the grueling race this year. Leading the Pro Moto 40 finishers was the 444x team of Jason Trubey with Chad Thornton, Paul Luce, Steve Tichenor, David Gass, Collie Potter, and Stephen Berger. The rain made the course better in some areas but the standing water was difficult,” said Trubey. “The bike was covered in mud for the first two hundred miles. We built a brand new bike so we can make sure to get to the finish. We put it on cruise control and rode our race. Towards the end of my section, the course was the best racecourse I’ve ever driven and the new trail that was cut after the rains were nice wet dirt and I could have ridden over it three more times. It was about as epic as it gets. I appreciate SCORE’s efforts to put on a great race with a different course. We have had a blast this year.” Finishing second in Pro Moto 40 was Mauricio Santana’s 437x team which consisted of co-riders Patrick Goeters, Luis Farrell, Manuel Andreu, and Patrick Reyes. Finishing third in class was the 424x team of William St. Laurent with co-riders Daniel White Dary West, Shelby Dunson Glenn Peroni and Kirk Russell. For Jeff Kaplan’s 555x Pro Moto 50 team, the race started very rough, with one team member getting injured. “Lou Franco who started for us crashed hard and broke four ribs and punctured his lung,” said Kaplan. “So when we got to race mile 70, we were the very last bike, and about an hour down from our competition. But we caught back up, got in the lead and then in the second to last pit we didn’t get all the fuel in the tank so we ended up running out of gas. It was a long day but some of the best conditions we’ve ever raced in.” Kaplan along with Franco and co-riders Davis Hesperia, Mike Johnson, Brian Campbell, and Kevin Ward were rewarded for their efforts by finishing first in class. Less than a minute behind them was the 500x team of Giovanni Spinali who at the start of the race was attempting to have a perfect season until they experienced mechanical issues. “We had an awesome run to about race mile 330, with almost an hour lead on our competition,” said Spinalli. “Then our clutch started acting up and we had to pull one out of another bike. That took about 45 minutes and they [Franco] caught us and passed.” A FIRST TIMER WINS PRO MOTO IRONMAN Truly one of the toughest classes in all of SCORE Baja racing is the Pro Moto Ironman class. Requiring highly skilled riding combined with an athletic capability and most importantly, the mental capacity to stay focused, it was surprising to witness a first-time Ironman competitor win the class. Arthur Babcock stepped away from his desk job to win the class in the 705x Honda CRF450x. Babcock sprinted from the starting line and had an hour lead ahead of Mike Skurkis who later had problems and DNF’d. Finishing two hours behind Babcock in second place was Tanner Janesky on the 775x KTM 500 EXC, followed by Shane Moss on the 749x KTM 500 EXC. “The last 400 miles were tough,” said Moss. “It got so cold in the morning there was ice on the ground and I had to stop at a campfire just to keep warm, then I sat in a car to warm up. It took forever to do the last 100 miles. I just had nothing more to give. I was done. I was happy to make it to the finish line.” SJ SCORE Pro Moto Finishers

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