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The Viking Way Two-time SCORE International Pro Moto Ironman Champion Mike Skurkis is all about pushing the limits By Stuart Bourdon Mike Skurkis refers to himself as a “motorcycle competitor specializing in the dangerous world of long-distance off-road racing.” Known as “Viking” Mike, he looks the part with a full beard, long hair, stout build, sharp features, and a piercing gaze. When he dons Viking garb it solidifies that berserker persona, but the truth is Skurkis is more than happy to pose for a picture with your kid or talk about whatever motorcycle he’s riding that day. He had been riding motorcycles for many years, but Skurkis set his sights on professional competition after he met legendary motorcycle racer, Kurt Caselli, during a group ride just a couple months before Kurt’s tragic accident in 2013. That next year, an inspired and tenacious pursuit of the 2016 SCORE International Pro Moto Ironman Class Championship led Skurkis to a second-place at the SCORE San Felipe 250, a DNF at the SCORE Baja 500; he was not alone, the two runners-up for the year’s class championship Tony Gera and Ryan Gutile were also DNF). Skurkis then went on to take first place at the SCORE Desert Challenge in Rosarito, and a fifth-place class finish in the SCORE Baja 1000. “Viking Mike” stood on the podium twice that year, placing his first desert race win in the records, and was crowned 2016 SCORE International Pro Moto Ironman Class Champion. Skurkis had gone for, and grabbed the brass ring but was still a man possessed with winning the longest single-day off-road race solo and win the SCORE Baja 1000. In 2017, he came back to SCORE International desert racing to run the Pro Moto Ironman class at the SCORE Baja 1000 and ended up in second place. He was having a picture-perfect run until a crash set him back enough to put him about an hour on elapsed time behind eventual class winner Jeff Benrud that year. For the 2019 SCORE International Off-Road Racing season, “Viking Mike” would put together another ambitious program to once again wear the Pro Moto Ironman class crown. He stood on the podium again this time at the SCORE San Felipe 250 (2nd Place), A third-place finish at the SCORE Baja 500, and at the SCORE Baja 400 he finished first in class. A SCORE Baja 1000 finish, however, was not in the cards for Skurkis. Despite not finishing the last race of the season, he led the chase for the championship with enough points to secure the class title and was again crowned 2019 Pro Moto Ironman Class Champion. Much of his mental racing game comes from his self-reliant nature. Skurkis has talked about the fact that he always rides his “own race” and that he “wants to push himself to see what I can do and see what I’m capable of, how far I can go, and how fast I can go,” he stated. He believes his determination to run long-distance races solo is simply, “When it’s just me I know that I put all my efforts and all my energy into it. I don’t want to rely on anybody else when racing a bike. It’s all on me and that’s it.” Winning the SCORE Baja 1000 solo has so far eluded him, but that just means “Viking Mike” Skurkis will keep going after it until he crosses that finish line first. SJ

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