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Solo Strategy Derek Ausserbauer takes home the SCORE Overall Pro Moto at the San Felipe 250 By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo For Derek Ausserbauer, who captured Overall Pro Moto at the 34th BFGoodrich SCORE San Felipe 250, Presented by Ford, there was never another option but to go it alone. His solo strategy as the rider of record of Honda 5x was to beat the odds at all cost. With Ausserbauer’s ultimate Overall win, he now joins an elite group of riders to achieve such a feat, Bob Balentine (‘82), Jack Johnson (‘83), and Tim Staab (‘97). He explained that he wasn’t originally prepared to race solo. It just worked out that way. He traveled to San Felipe the first week of April and got serious about pre-running the course with the help of former Pro Moto Unlimited Champion Colton Udall, and his friend Mike Pattison. It was Ausserbauer’s third attempt at racing San Felipe solo, and even as unrelenting mental and physical fatigue wore him down, he never deviated off-plan. “The thing about racing solo is it’s 80 percent mental,” he said. “It’s hard for people to understand how to push through it when you’re getting your butt beaten to the ground each mile. When you’re riding through the whoops it’s like doing a burpee wall sit, ball slam, at the same time until the whoops stop. Unfortunately, San Felipe is covered in whoops.” Ausserbauer described how he used to struggle with self-doubt, and the demands of the race, but he learned how to block out the negatives, knowing that he would eventually catch a breather. “It was a huge thing for me to keep going and to hold the same pace throughout the day.” Through it all, however, he found great reward in getting through a particularly difficult section. “Udall taught me to think and be focused,” said Ausserbauer. “So that’s what I did in this race.” He took the physical lead early on the AHM Factory Services/STI Tires/Bell Helmets Honda CRF450X. But the Pro Moto 30 team of Shane Esposito on a KTM 450 EXC-F were never far away. “I needed to get out quickly to build a big gap,” said Ausserbauer. “I didn’t want to race head-to-head in the rocks, so I boogied fast and put myself upfront. I don’t know how close the competitors got to me, but at mile marker 225 I did see the KTM team crossing the dry lake bed.” Even with pit stops, Ausserbauer hung onto the lead. “I knew Esposito was moving really fast, and I was a little leery of how much to turn up the pace.” After crossing the checkered flag in an official time of 6:06.28 with an average speed of 45.89 miles per hour, Ausserbauer finally had time to relax, and reflect on the race. “This race changed me,” he said. “The Overall Pro Moto and Pro Moto Unlimited Class win made me believe in myself. I hope this gives me the credentials I need with sponsors so I can keep racing Baja.” SJ

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