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SCORE PRO MOTO UNLIMITED CHAMPION An Emotion-Packed Year For Derek Ausserbauer, Leads To A SCORE Pro Moto Championship By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo Reflecting back on the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship season, Derek Ausserbauer said he is not only physically exhausted, but emotionally drained. He wanted to celebrate winning the 2021 SCORE Pro Moto Championship after the 54th BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, but couldn’t shake the memories of his 5x teammate, Nic Garvin, who was seriously injured in an off-course accident in Baja. Adding to this was the loss of his mother two days before the start of the peninsula run to La Paz, which shook him to his core. “It was incredibly difficult to focus on racing when things happened the way they did,” said Ausserbauer, with his voice quivering at times. “But I had to keep racing. There were a lot of people counting on me, including our sponsors.” 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 The year started off better than expected for Ausserbauer, when he took the win at the 34th BFGoodrich SCORE San Felipe 250 Presented by Ford. He barely had enough money to pre-run the event, but his long-time friend and past SCORE Champion moto racer, Colton Udall, stepped in to help. Ausserbauer not only went on to win in San Felipe, but he did it solo for the first time since the early ‘90s. “Colton loaned me his prerunner and I bought a frame off of eBay for $500 to race,” he said. “It wasn’t even a new engine. I built it with parts in my garage below my apartment. It took two weeks to get it ready. I was in a mindset that I just wanted to be in Mexico, and then my friend, Mike Patterson, sponsored the entry fee.” With no chase teams for support during pre-running, Ausserbauer was on his own until the day of the event. That’s when several friends came to assist, and he would not let them down. It was a big win to start the season. However, Shane Redline and Ana Rivas were on his tail in points going into the next race. 53rd SCORE Baja 500 “It originally started as a three-man team,” said Ausserbauer. “I started and Nic [Garvin] rode second. He was really fast. But after riding his section and handing the 5x bike off to Colton Udall, he got in a serious head-on collision with another vehicle as he left the course. He was transported by helicopter to a hospital in the states.” As he waited for Udall to regain the seat, Ausserbauer said the only thoughts he had were on the condition of his friend Nic. “Luckily, Colton didn’t know about the accident,” he said. “It’s not something a rider wants in their head. It was difficult to process. All it takes to get into trouble is to be distracted for a tenth of a second. That could end your race, or life. That race was really weird. It was so hard to focus on racing and that’s where major mistakes happen. I got a handful of gnarly checkpoint penalties because I forgot to get my VCP transponder. My mind wasn’t in it. Nic’s accident was the only thing I could think about.” When Ausserbauer finally made it to the finish line he was 20 minutes ahead of the second-place bike. But his finish would be short-lived because of penalties. Still, Ausserbauer officially took third place and more points toward the championship. “While it wasn’t a first place, it showed me that I could get the job done,” he said. 2nd SCORE Baja 400 Udall started the race for 5x and rode to mile-marker 240 at the top of the wash. “He chipped away at the leader, and rode amazing,” Ausserbauer said. “He had a two-minute split and I rode to the finish.” Ausserbauer finished first physically again at this race, but penalties erased the win, and he officially placed second. “It took me a long time to get over that one race,” he said. “It’s so dangerous and expensive to race there, and to lose two races on penalties really got to me.” 54th SCORE Baja 1000 With Shane Redline on the 22x bike on his tail, this race was all or nothing. “I knew that Shane was there and so Colton and I went old school, and decided to race it as a two-man team like we did years ago,” he said. “With Nic in the hospital it was the only thing to do.” Then came the phone call letting Ausserbauer know his mother had passed away. As optimistic as he was about the race, the news of his mother just two days before the start weighed heavily on him. “It was the last bit of news I wanted to hear,” he said. “Both Colton and I wanted to do everything we could to win this race. I had to overcome what had happened. It was a bad year, but I decided to race because of the commitments. As much as I wanted to leave I knew I had to finish. I can guarantee you no one has ever had this kind of season. I knew you had to be tough to race Baja, but I didn’t expect this.” Ausserbauer decided to dedicate the race to his mother. “I knew at some point I had to talk about this,” he said. “It was a season that really changed who I am.” While the course was long and tough, Ausserbauer said the most dangerous aspect of the La Paz race was at night where focus was most critical. “I don’t think I took one break for food or anything the last several hundred miles to the end,” he added. “I did not want to give up. I could only think about my mom and I am so happy that we got the championship for her.” Ausserbauer won the class championship with a second-place finish in the race. With 446 points for the season, Ausserbauer inched out Redline by a three-point difference. Now he and Colton can say they won the ‘21 SCORE Pro Moto Championship and the lifetime of memories that live in the record books forever. SJ

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