SCORE Journal


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

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Page 47 of 104

DESERT DIARIES BaJa Racers share what they are doing during the COVID-19 outbreak By Dominic Clark Photos by Jack Wright and Getsomephoto While the world is focused on the COVID-19 outbreak, we checked in on many SCORE racers during this downtime, to see how they are doing and how they are preparing for when life and SCORE racing returns to normal. Here are just a few of the responses we received from a variety of racers. SCORE: How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation? Brendan Gaughan: As most people know, Las Vegas has been closed for over a month now. This affects not just our family but each and every one of our employees’ families. The most difficult thing for us is worrying about our people and making sure they are taken care of and safe. SCORE: How is your business handling this situation? Robbie Pierce: So far we are doing okay, after the California Governor initiated the shutdown, we decided to take a more measured and proportionate response by closing our showroom and facility down to the public. We have kept the prep and manufacturing going in the back. We gave the staff the option to work or not and all decided to continue. We have implemented COVID-19 work policies, everyone has their own projects to work on, we have enough hand cleaner to wash a battle ship so all in all I think our staff is as safe here as anywhere. We are fortunate to have plenty of work to hopefully see this through as long as we can continue to get raw materials, parts and services from our vendors. Brendan Gaughan: For me personally, I’m all over the place.  I own a Justice Brothers distributorship, as well as a chemical and disinfectant company with my partner, former SNORE Overall Points Champion Bill Holbrook, and we have been very busy trying to keep products flowing to our customers.  Even though most of Las Vegas is closed down, the casinos are trying to clean and disinfect, so our company has gotten extremely busy.  I also do have a hand in the family businesses, and that has been the most trying situation for all of us, but having the opportunity to watch, learn and be in awe of how well my father handles situations will be invaluable to me for the rest of my life.  Michael Gaughan is not just an incredible businessman , he is an even more amazing man, and watching him try and work so hard for so many things that don’t benefit him or our businesses is truly special to watch. Cameron Steele: We shut Desert Assassins and Baja HQ and are looking forward to getting back at it. I have been working on SCORE Baja 1000 planning and budget so I’ve been pretty focused on that and family. We also have a couple trips and TV shows coming up with Trail of Missions and Rip to Cabo so all that is being worked on as well. By the way, all of our TV shows and videos are available on the DA YouTube. SCORE: What is your race team and shop doing at this time? Justin Morgan: San Diego Powerhouse is still very busy working on bikes. Bobby has our Honda CRF450X bike ready to go. Cameron Steele: We have around 40 hard core DA lifers that support our effort and we could not do it without them. We have a huge group of family that is based in Chula Vista and were a big part of West Racing, who had many Baja championships and who René Brugger races with when we sucked him into the DA vortex in 2007. Rene and Heidi have won many races together and Rene’s son Richie is with us now at the shop and they are “Prep by Brugger” officially. Crazy but a volunteer named Tim Martin suggested René when we needed driving help at the 2007 SCORE Baja 1000 and he’s been stuck with us ever since, dang that’s been 13 years! If he quits I quit, no joke! John Langley: All my employees are working from home and everybody, on the production side (Langley Productions) and race side (COPS Racing), will remain employed!  We’ll take a financial hit but that’s not our main concern. Like everyone else, we are anxious to win this one and get back to racing! Ronnie Wilson: So Far we are OK, Some of our jobs have been shut down but we have not laid off anybody as of this week. Some of the office staff is working from home and others are only coming in to the office to get files. SCORE: What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time? John Langley: I envision every race i have won and keep winning them over and over again!  And then I wallow in my mistakes and live them like a gerbil on a wheel that goes nowhere! And I walk a few miles every day and work out three times a week.  And of course take all the pills prescribed by my cardiologist!  Oh, and drink a lot of fine wine! Justin Morgan: It’s been difficult sitting and waiting when we were ready to go racing, but it gives us a chance to get better. I have been trying to get myself into better shape by riding mountain bikes and have been riding my motorcycle every chance I get. SCORE: What is your best race memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship? Brendan Gaughan: That might be the easiest question I have ever been asked!!  Winning the SCORE Baja 1000!  My family has been racing the SCORE Baja 1000 since 1970 and to finally bring home a SCORE Baja 1000 win for the Gaughan Family was indescribable, and to have my nephew Jake Gaughan with me made the experience even better.  The whole scenario seems to come out of a storybook… Jake’s first 1000 and a third generation desert racer.   Buddy Feldkamp getting his personal first SCORE Baja 1000 win after all of his years of trying. Having RJ Anderson, whose diapers i used to change as a baby, and all that I owe in my career and life to his father Randy, start the race in his first race ever in an open-wheeler let alone a Class 1!  The whole thing was surreal. Cameron Steele: Honestly from a racing standpoint 2019 was tough on us. After two wins in 2018 and runner up to the Championship we had two sixth place finishes in Baja as we struggled with a new truck set up early in 2019.  The SCORE Baja 500 ended poorly with a water line failing but we ran all day in the top three without pushing too hard so that’s probably our racing highlight.  The best moment of the year for me was also the saddest. Having my brother and former racing partner, Pistola’s (Pete Sohren) family asked if he could ride with us at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and although not a great result (sixth out of 40 some trucks) wasn’t bad and we took Pete a solid ride. We raced the 2005 TT season together and ran in front at both the SCORE Baja 500 where we started first and at Vegas to Reno. We did a lot of racing together and had a lot of great times. He is missed by the whole desert and off-road racing community. Robbie Pierce: For me it was the SCORE Baja 1000, one of the toughest I have ever done. We had a good finish at seventh in SCORE Trophy Truck No. 30, but the best part for me was that all of the trucks that Jimco prepped and supported finished in the top 10. It was great seeing all of the horses make it back to the barn. Justin Morgan: My best 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship race memory was during the SCORE Baja 1000, with a comfortable lead racing the last part of my section from Hwy 3, k77 to the finish with a fresh clutch at night with the perfectly watered dirt (from the all the rain during race week). SCORE: Which SCORE Baja race is your most favorite and why? Sara Price: The SCORE Baja 500 for me. It’s a blast to pre run for and still long enough to where it takes true endurance but also very feasible for our team for logistics before and during so that makes it twice as nice! Cameron Steele: The SCORE San Felipe 250 is my favorite race. I love the fact that there is more than one way in most washes and that it’s so rough. This is a driver’s race where pre running counts and to be able to go fast enough to win but be smart enough to finish is a big part of it. The picturesque setting and the beauty of the Sea of Cortez and the rugged mountains coming together is pretty mesmerizing. The other thing is that San Felipe still has that small town Baja feel and other than on the Malecon there isn’t traffic and stop lights all around. Tavo Vildosola: My favorite Baja race is the SCORE Baja 1000 to La Paz. That is the ultimate challenge in our sport. The course evolves so much from the north to the south, the scenery is spectacular, the fans are amazing, the pre-running is actually fun. I also believe that there is something within a human being of the adventure of going somewhere, this is the only point-to-point race where the adventure has a destination different from the origin.  Brendan Gaughan: I could never pick just one race as my favorite.  I have too many memories… from growing up as a little boy watching my father race in Baja, to my early years racing with Glenn Harris and Troy Herbst, to my NASCAR years where I would hope that my NASCAR schedule would fit where i could make at least one race each year to now returning to run full time again.  I would never be able to pick just one, I love Baja, I love SCORE Baja racing and I will continue to do this until I can’t hold a steering wheel any longer, and when that happens hopefully I will be down there with my boys and they will enjoy Baja as much as I do. Robbie Pierce: I’m sure my answer will be the same as most “A peninsula run SCORE Baja 1000” there is just nothing like it, it ruins everything else you do. The amount of preparation, planning and effort that goes into that race is incredible. The level of competition is the best in the world and then you have to deal with Baja and what she throws at you at the same time you are doing 100 mph past magnificent Boojum trees in the middle of the night. It’s just an incredible adventure and challenge. SJ

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