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

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Sarabia has the spirit of a champion By Gabriel Garcia Photos by Get Some Photo For SCORE Class 11 racer Hector Sarabia, off-roading has been a part of his life since childhood. The Sarabia family and team Espiritu de Ensenada, have been a part of this sport, and of Ensenada for generations, and were undoubtedly proud to take home the 2022 SCORE Class 11 Championship. Sarabia acknowledged that it was a year of many experiences, starting with the SCORE San Felipe 250. Driving this race alongside Esteban “Teby” Ruiz, the team had electrical and distributor problems which they overcame to finish in second place. At the SCORE Baja 500 last June, the Mexican team had Hector Sarabia, Hector Martinez, Hector Maymes, Porfirio Gutierrez, and Esteban Ruiz at the wheel. Unfortunately, they again had electrical problems, especially with the alternator of their stock Volkswagen vochito. They were able to fix the problem and battled with their Class 11 competitor Alex Gonzales, to a second-place finish. In the SCORE Baja 400, the Espiritu de Ensenada team had a last-minute problem with co-driver Esteban Ruiz, who got sick with Covid-19. The team had wanted to race two cars, and Ruiz’s sickness delayed the preparation of Ruiz’s Class 11. So they again had to use the Volkswagen of the Sarabia family which worked out, as they took first place to win the event, thanks to the prep work by Adrian “Bear” Guerrero on the car. A week before the SCORE Baja 1000, the team noticed a problem with a CV-Joint. Although it was fixed, the joint broke as the team approached Piedras Gordas on the course. This cost them an hour to repair. In addition, the team also had an alternator problem in Ojos Negros, and while driving through the Summit, the brakes failed and the car ended up flipping over. With help from Dennis Hollenbeck’s team, the mishap cost them six hours more on the course. Ultimately the team was so far behind that they abandoned the race, as they did not have enough time to reach the finish line before the allotted time. Although the DNF was unfortunate, Sarabia and the Espiritu de Ensenada team earned enough points to win the SCORE Class 11 Championship. Sarabia considers himself proud to be a Mexican champion in SCORE. “The best racers in Class 11 are in Ensenada,” he says. “I am very happy and proud of this championship, for my family and for me.” Throughout the season, Sarabia also had several sponsors who stood by him and the team, such as King Shocks, Baja Designs, and Yokohama Tires. Sarabia made his sponsors proud but the Mexican racer said he’d never thought that brands like these would support him in his dream of being an off-road driver. For his efforts, these sponsors have already let Sarabia know that they will support him again during the 2023 SCORE Season, and in hopes of a second championship. Sarabia and the team are also planning for a new Class 11 Bug for 2023, that will also honor the memory of its founder, Hector Leon “Lefty” Sarabia. A Gentleman's Agreement For the 2023 SCORE Season, Hector Sarabia made an agreement with Esteban Ruiz to try again for the championship in Ruiz’s name as a points driver. They are waiting for a possible meeting to be able to plan if they will run together. “We made an agreement and we are going to talk to Ruiz to see if the plan to race under his name is still on the table,” said Sarabia. Hector Sarabia’s idol in this sport is Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, from whom he learned that the ideal way to advance more in the desert is to prepare a lot, pre-run, and not depend on technology to get you through the course. “That’s what I have instilled in my grandchildren who run with me,” he said. As the 2023 season is also the 50th anniversary of SCORE International and will include the SCORE Baja 1000 in which the race course will run from La Paz to Ensenada, Sarabia acknowledged that it is a race that everyone wants to run. “I personally have several projects outside of off-road, although the SCORE Baja 1000 this year is on the agenda to run with my family,” he said. “I think everyone has in mind to run it, it will be very special, you have to have a lot of preparation and enjoy the event to the fullest”. SJ

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