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Never Giving In Jano Montoya And His Team Hang On To Win Their Pro Moto 30 Championship By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo SCORE Pro Moto 30 racer, Jano Montoya, is basking in his team’s SCORE World Desert Racing Series Class Championship for 2022 after taking a first place finish in three races and a second-place finish in the SCORE Baja 1000. At the beginning of the season, his closest challengers were Greg Bardoneax on the 300x bike, and David Smith on the 319X Honda CRF450X. “I’ve been chasing the championship for three years in Pro Moto 30,” Montoya said. “I really wanted to retire after losing the championship in ‘21, but I decided to come back and try to win the championship again. I guess it worked out.” Montoya said from day one he had one agenda– to take the championship. “I set a goal for my team to win as many races as possible in ‘22, and if I could take the Overall bike title, I would do that as well.” But Montoya was also realistic about his goal. He didn’t want to sacrifice a class championship for the Overall bike title by being too aggressive. “I didn’t want to get too crazy,” he added. Looking back, here’s how Montoya’s season played out across four events. Victory in San Felipe Montoya as the rider of record on the No. 325x KTM 450EX set the ground rules early for his team of three other riders. They planned to ride together each race no matter what, and at the SCORE San Felipe 250, their camaraderie worked for Montoya’s team including Bryce Stavron, Kyle Tichenor, and David Zarate. Montoya Racing finished just two minutes behind the Overall Moto winner, Juan Carlos Salvatierra, in Pro Moto Unlimited. “It was a flawless race for us,” Montoya said. “Everyone on the team was super strong and the bike had no issues. The biggest challenge in San Felipe was the terrain, not the other competitors in the class.” Montoya said the course was definitely technical but manageable, and he appreciated the newer motorcycle section created by SCORE officials. Montoya took first in class. 2021 Class Champion Greg Bardonnex’s team on the No. 300x Yamaha WR450F finished second, and Joseph Putrino’s team on the No. 377x KTM 500EXC took third. There were four starters total in Pro Moto. Repeat at the BaJa 500 With Montoya as one of the top riders to watch in the Pro Moto 30 class, a total of four starters again rode into the desert for the SCORE Baja 500. Montoya didn’t disappoint and took another first place in the class. “That was a challenging race,” Montoya said. “We had some fuel issues and the bike wouldn’t run well at all. I don’t know if it was bad fuel or a fuel pump, but we replaced the entire fuel system and lost more than an hour. We got passed by Bardonnex on the 300x bike, but we were able to regain the lead and get to the finish.” Montoya, and Bardonnex were now close in points for the class championship heading into the SCORE Baja 400, in which he needed to podium for the maximum amount of points to stay ahead, and to have a good starting position for the SCORE Baja 1000. Going for a Three-Peat Heading into the SCORE Baja 400 Montoya was leading the points race by a narrow eleven-point margin over Bardonnex, and knew he had to podium in this race. In all, there were four starters in Pro Moto 30 at the Baja 400. With fuel issues in the back of his mind, however, Montoya decided to fuel themselves at each pit. Adding to his worries, a huge hurricane was blowing into Baja before the race. “The hurricane actually didn’t change the course and we fueled ourselves because we needed the pit to go as smoothly as possible,” he said. “That meant getting more chase vehicles.” Once again, Montoya’s 325x team chased down Salvatierra’s Pro Moto Unlimited 10x team for the Overall motorcycle division win. As the checkered flag dropped, Montoya’s team crossed the finish line just minutes after team 10x, giving the 325x team a major boost in confidence and points going into the last race of the season. A New Bike for the BaJa 1000 “We prepped a new bike specifically for this race,” said Montoya. “We didn’t want any issues and spent a lot of time testing and pre-running. Most of our riders were in Baja two weeks before the race just to get comfortable with the course.” Montoya still had a strong lead in points, but he knew he had to focus on the championship with minimum mistakes. “Two weeks before the race, one of my riders got into a crash and we had to replace him with a new rider.” For Montoya, being smart on the course was paramount. But at mile marker 160, fuel problems developed again, and to make matters worse, they were in the middle of nowhere when it happened. “We lost our first place position and unfortunately, the new fuel pump went out again at night and we lost close to five hours of time for repairs,” he said. Fortunately for Montoya, he had a comfortable points lead. The Smith and Bardonnex team each did not compete in one of the races this season, disqualifying them for a chance towards the class championship. “For us, we wanted to win, but finishing on the podium would give us the points needed to claim the championship,” he said. As it turned out, Darrel Collins on No. 301x Husqvarna FE501S came out of nowhere to take first place in Pro Moto 30. Montoya’s 325x team would settle for second place and ended the season with a considerable margin over the rest of the competitors in class. “I told my wife that I was going to retire if I won the class championship,” Montoya said. “Then when I got back home, I said I had to go back in 2023 to defend the title. She just laughed.”SJ

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