SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal-December 2019

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

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Page 119 of 130

FROM DESK JOB TO IRONMAN WINNER Arthur Babcock stunned fans and racers by winning the Pro Moto Ironman class By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo For a guy who says he has a “serious desk job” and isn’t a full-time racer, Arthur Babcock demonstrated a mastery of motorcycle desert racing by winning the Pro Moto Ironman division at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The 33-year old from Las Vegas, Nevada says he started racing snowmobiles as a kid, rising to the level where he was backed by Polaris. “I then became a professional mountain bike downhill racer and did that for five to six years,” said Babcock. “I stayed in the shadows of motorcycle racing and did some events here and there. Eventually, in 2012 and 2013, I did a few desert races and over the last three years I raced the SCORE Baja 1000 in the Pro Moto Unlimited class with my friend, 4x Pikes Peak motorcycle winner Carlin Dunne.” Dunne introduced Babcock into SCORE Baja racing, but unfortunately, his career ended with a crash during the 2019 running of Pikes Peak that cost him his life. It was a situation that left Babcock stunned, but also inspired him to compete in this year’s SCORE Baja 1000. “Back in 2017 Carlin had somehow heard of me, and asked if I would join his Pro Moto Unlimited team for the SCORE Baja 1000,” said Babcock. “That’s when my Baja story started. The team also included off-road moto and endurance racer, Steve Hatch. We had a great time and we finished sixth. In 2018, we raced again as the 55x team but didn’t finish due to mechanical problems. 2019 was supposed to be our year, but Carlin’s death at Pikes Peak happened in July. Steve also got injured in another accident so it ended the team.” Undeterred, Babcock felt it was important to honor Dunne by racing at the 2019 SCORE Baja 1000, but since he was alone, he decided to enter into the Ironman division. “It was around mid-September and I did it all on a whim,” said Babcock. “I informed Carlin’s mom and she liked the idea and I felt it was the right thing to do. Steve was still recovering but helped tremendously by putting up the race bike and prepped it.” Babcock had never run an Ironman race, and as most SCORE fans know, it’s not a feat for anyone who is undertrained or not in prime shape. “My only saving grace is that I ride a lot of mountain and dirt bikes in and around Las Vegas,” said Babcock. “There’s endless desert riding her and I can keep up my fitness level doing that.” Once he got to Baja, Babcock felt comfortable with the course. “After pre-running, I realized that with my experience in Enduro racing, I was happy with the course, except for the San Felipe ‘whoops’ and some of the rough sections. It seemed fun until the rains came, then I was terrified,” he said. “But the muddy conditions are something I’m used to so it ended up helping me out.” Babcock was going against some very tough competition, including Mike Skurkis, who was the class points leader at the time of the race. “My goal was to get a huge lead,” said Babcock. “I’m a strong starter and I knew I could get a good start for the first 100-plus miles. I wanted at least an hour lead over Mike Skurkis around race mile 500. That’s when I started having some electrical problems and by race mile 620 my lights started to go out. I wondered if I was dreaming as both my spot and floodlights were getting dimmer and thought I was hallucinating.” Fortunately, Babcock was able to pit around that time and the team tried finding the loose connections. “We tore the bike apart trying to find where the problem was and couldn’t find anything,” said Babcock. “Then the bike wouldn’t start, so we had to jump-start if from a car battery at the pit. We still couldn’t get the lights to work. I ended up leaving the pit and headed up the summit section with half a flood-light.” Babcock headed into a remote pit to look at the lighting problems again, but with a good lead, he decided to forego it an ride it in the way it was. “At this point, the course was a slow speed section so it wasn’t so bad, but by race mile 640, I lost almost all light and could only see about 20-feet in front of me as I headed to Ojos Negros,” he said. “Skurkis had closed the gap and was only 10 minutes behind me, so one of my teammates gave me a headlamp and said to keep going. I did and limped it in. About 15-20 miles before the finish, the Ampudia SCORE Trophy Truck blew by me and that was quite exciting. I finally made it to the finish line and was overjoyed.” Babcock had completed one of the toughest courses in SCORE Baja 1000 history and won the first SCORE Pro Moto Ironman race he had ever entered. “The thing about Baja is that you sometimes have the magic that comes with certain races that you were meant to win,” he says. “I believed that because I did this for Carin, it was meant to be. He attempted the SCORE Baja 1000 in 2016 and couldn’t finish it then. So we finished it for him. It’s was an honor for me to race for him and to finish with such tough competition. I could not have done it, however, without the help of Steve, Sara, Cael, and Eva Hatch, as well as my girlfriend Sharron and my friends that supported me before and during the race. These include Brian, Jesse, Jeff, Ryan, Joe, Tom and of course Romie Gallardo.” With such a tremendous display of riding skill, SCORE fans want to see more of what Babcock can do, but he says he’s uncertain of what he’s going to do next year, and immediately jumped back to work on Monday after the race. “We might go it again if we can get some support,” he says. “I’ve been racing my whole life and I’ll never stop.” SJ

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