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2019 Pro Moto Unlimited Champion Justin Morgan Morgan and the 1x team remain undefeated over two seasons By Mike Vieria Photos by Get Some Photo Justin Morgan repeated his winning ways by capturing the 2019 Championship in both Pro Moto Unlimited Class and Pro Moto Overall by riding a perfect season on the 1x Slam Life Racing (SLR) Honda CRF450X. He’s been on and led the winning team for the last three years running earning an amazing 11 straight SCORE race victories in a row. The 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250 saw Justin partner with team Mark Samuels and Justin Jones for the victory. “We started sixth off the line and I did the first hundred miles or so,” said Morgan. “I got the bike in the lead by around mile 15, and we basically had a really smooth race all the way through. I handed it off to Justin Jones, then he rode it out to Mark Samuels who rode over the summit and down to El Chinero. I got on there and rode to the finish for the win.” At the 51st SCORE Baja 500, a knee injury had sidelined Justin Jones, so only Morgan and Samuels shared the riding duties. “We started first on the road because of the win at San Felipe,” said Morgan. “I ran the first and last part of the race, and Mark ran the middle. It was really foggy in the morning, and some of our main competition had issues with the fog. We had a smooth race, but I had a crash-out in the desert about two-thirds of the way through the first section.” The bike wasn’t damaged but Morgan said he injured his hand really badly. “It’s actually still messed up,” he said. “But we ended up with a nice clean win at that race anyway.” During the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 Ricky Dietrich joined Justin and Mark for the ride. “I rode from the start to almost mile 200,” said Morgan. “We had a helicopter for about the first hour in daylight, but afterwards there was no safety net to know what was ahead. I backed it off a little bit and rode accordingly, just trying to take it smoothly. Mark rode really well up the coast, but then Ricky had a crash that actually knocked him out. He woke up to the sound of the second place bike’s helicopter over him, and was able to get going again to maintain the lead, and we managed to win by only six seconds.” Shortly before the 52nd BF Goodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Mark Samuels suffered two broken femurs in an accident. The team then had to scramble for riders as the race approached. “We had David Kamo locked in before all that happened,” said Morgan. “We also got Shane Esposito and Max Eddy Jr. to join us. I’ve known them for a long time and I really like racing with them. I knew they were going to be solid and that we had a really experienced team, so we got everything sorted out. By the time the 1000 came along, we had already done a ton of testing on the newly designed Honda CRF450X and were really confident in what the bike could do. We basically demonstrated a fairly perfect race. Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do and it went well. Max had a little spill, and we took our time straightening everything out on the bike at our main pit stop at the end of the lakebed. Then David Kamo brought it down to me, and I pretty much rode to the finish. Max gave me about a twenty mile break up at the top, because of the change in weather. I wanted to put some sleeves on my jacket, and grab a bite to eat. I had been on the bike for about five hours at that point. It was a long time. Everything went well, though.” Other than the minor repairs from the crash, Morgan said that the Honda didn’t need much attention. “We did change a clutch on the bike with about a hundred miles to go,” said Morgan. “We probably didn’t need to, but it was starting to slip a little bit and we had a big lead, so we thought it was a good idea. We were probably riding a little bit more aggressively than we needed to.” Over the course of the season, the same new Honda CRF450X was used for the 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250 and Lucerna SCORE Baja 400, while the 51st SCORE Baja 500 and 52nd BF Goodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts each saw their own dedicated bike used. “The raw speed of the bike just makes your job easier as a rider,” says Morgan. “I have to give a lot of credit to our long-time mechanic, Bobby Youngs. He’s really meticulous. He’s got a shop called San Diego Powerhouse and we couldn’t do it without him. The results speak for themselves.” “I’ve been working my whole life to get where I am now. Everything’s coming together, we’ve got a really solid team, chase drivers, pre-run drivers, and pit guys. Every part of the team is equally as important as the rest. It takes a really long time to organize everything and have it all come together. You’re going to have problems, but you have to know how to deal with them, and know that you’ve got the right people in the right place with the right parts. That takes a lot of effort to do, and it’s a little bit overlooked sometimes.” The team is still working on their plans for the 2020 season but will most certainly be back in Baja. “I want to thank SCORE for putting on such awesome races, and the people of Mexico for welcoming us with open arms,” he said. “Everyone has always been super nice to us and we really appreciate it.”

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