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Page 52 of 116

MOTO MASH-UP . SCORE Moto Racers Get Surprise Upsets And Class Dominations In San Felipe . By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Guilherme Torres, and Ariana Medrano .Photos by Get Some Photo . It was not “business as usual” for the SCORE Pro Moto and Quad classes during the King Shocks 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 Fueled by Baja Vida Snacks. Many of the 2023 Class Champions returned to try and repeat their victories. Among them was the 1x Pro Moto Unlimited team of Juan Carlos Salvatierra, the 100x Pro Moto Limited team of Fernando Beltran, the 300x Jano Montoya team in Pro Moto 30, Brandon Wright on the 700x bike in Pro Moto Ironman, Nicholas Velez on the 1a in Pro Quad, and Faelly Lopez on the 83a quad in Pro Quad Ironman. . SCORE fans cheered these champions of the 2022 season, but the Baja desert likes to shake things up in the melee of dust, whoops, and rocky areas. When the green flag dropped early on race day for the moto and quad classes, several of the champions found themselves in trouble. The 1x Salvatierra team found themselves dealing with electrical problems that cost them three hours to fix. The result was a sixth-place finish for the team. . Reaching the podium first in Pro Moto Unlimited was a revised 3x team coached and prepped by former SCORE Pro Moto Champion Colton Udall. The team featured riders Ciaran Naran and Tucker Hopkins, both California beach-town boys who followed a plan laid out by Udall and rode to a win. . “The first half of the race that I rode was really good,” said Naran. I came in knowing that I have to keep the wheels on the ground and that we don’t need crazy speeds to win. San Felipe can bite you easily, so I just wanted to make sure the bike kept moving and going forward; that was the game plan.” . The team made it to the front and led the field early in the race. “The dust wasn’t too bad this morning, luckily, so I made some passes quickly. I think I got into fourth within ten or fifteen miles. Then I just kept trucking forward and got third, second, and first. It happened smoothly and efficiently, can’t complain.” . The coaching and bike prep from Udall was a strong foundation for the team, and it also helped put their Husqvarna at the top of the win list. “It was good to have someone like Colton Udall, who is very experienced down here, helping guide us with pit strategy and guiding us through this adventure, said Naran. “Down here in Baja it isn’t [about] racing other people; it is racing Baja. That is what Colton has always taught me. So, it is great having someone like that guide me and point me in the right direction. It is unreal to know that we are the second Husqvarna bike to ever win down here.” . Teammate Tucker Hopkins got onto the bike from Naran around race mile 125 and rode it to the finish. “I had some arm pump in the first twenty or thirty miles, then stopped at the Baja Pit and was able to shake it out a little bit and get a drink of water,” said Hopkins. “The brake has a little zip tie from a crash or something and it kept pulling my brake lever so I kind of wheelied off a couple of G-outs and my front end tucked and tossed me over the bars pretty good a couple of times. But I got back up and it was OK. Ciaran got us in a good spot this morning and we just decided to go for a trail ride and click off the miles. This is great to do this on a Husqvarna. We get a little bit of help from them.”  .  Former 3x team member Derek Ausserbauer had his own team this year touting the 23x bike and riding solo. Ausserbauer finished ten minutes behind the 3x team to take second place but also proved he could race on his own. “The first 100 miles were really difficult for me,” said Ausserbauer. “It’s just like a diesel truck warming up in the morning, but once we got going, it was pretty fun. From race mile 100 to the finish, I had a pretty good time and just kept it moving. Everything went pretty smoothly for the most part. I got a little hung up in some of the rock sections, like the Boulder field. To be honest, it was a pretty good day– can’t complain too much. I had a little bit of a hang-up at the Mini Summit, about a millisecond. Not a tip over, but kind of dabbing, getting down, but other than that, we were pretty much moving all day. It’s a really big mental battle down here, more so than physical. It’s hard to conquer that person inside of you that wants to slow down and take a break when you’ve still got two more hours to go. It’s quite the challenge, but it was good, and it was fun.”  .   . Finishing in third place was the 15x team of Eric Holt, followed by the 33x team of Justin Carnes, and the 18x team of Aaron Volle. The 1x team finally got their electrical issues solved, but by then, it was too late, and they finished in sixth place. “Today wasn’t a good day for me and the team,” said Salvatierra. “The motorcycle had electrical problems and those are difficult to diagnose, find and repair. We lost about three hours, but we’re gaining points for the championship. We’ve got three more races so now we just wait for the next race.”  . . CHAMPIONS RULE IN 30 AND LIMITED CLASSES . For 2022 SCORE Pro Moto Champions Jano Montoya and Fernando Beltran continued their class domination by taking wins in each of their respective classes. Montoya teamed up with David Zarate and Kyle Tichnor. The team had an uneventful race, which made winning in Pro Moto 30 seem easy. “We had no issues at all; no one put the bike down,” said Montoya. “The bike was perfect, we didn’t do a single thing to the bike all day. We just fueled it up and kept going and had a pretty good race. The course was pretty challenging this year. Going out to Borrego and the Mini Summit was interesting. We had to work on the suspension a little bit more just because of how tough the terrain was, but the bike did well. It was one of the hardest I’ve raced in the SCORE San Felipe 250.”   . Beltran and his 100x team, which included Luis Flores, Dilan Avalos, and Larry Serna, also made winning in Pro Moto Limited look easy. Beltran started the race, and after the first 120 miles, the team had already moved up to third place. “We slowly started to gain positions from there on,” said co-rider Dilan Avalos. “When I got to Borrego, we were in second. Mauri got back on the bike in Borrego and at the Mini Summit, and he passed the first position in Pro Moto Unlimited. My partners, Luis Flores and Larry Serna, did a good job down here at the Matomi and those places. It feels really good because there was a lot of competition and the course was really difficult, but we did it.” . Within the other age classes, Alirio Amado and the 441x team finished first in Pro Moto 40, while the 501x New Zealand team of Robert Creemers took the win in the Pro Moto 50 Class. Kevin Ward and his team on the 644x bike finished first in Pro Moto 60 with Scott Mcintosh and the 628x team finishing in second place. . . The Deck Shuffled In Pro Moto Ironman . One of the other interesting races to watch at this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250 was in the SCORE Pro Moto Ironman Class. 2022 Champ Brandon Wright wanted to repeat a championship this season and set out with the 700x nameplate. In the mix of racers was also former SCORE Baja 500 and 1000 winner Tanner Janesky in the 775x bike, Bolivian Fabricio Fuentes on the 785x bike, and Christopher Gil on the 709x bike. . With tough competition from veteran racers in this class, the challengers had to deal with the tough course and the experience of these riders. But also among them was 16-year-old Kelana Humphrey, a motocross phenom that wanted to try and race Baja. This was Humphrey’s first time riding Baja and in the Pro Moto Ironman class. While many thought Humphrey was only kidding himself to try and race with the more experienced competitors, he demonstrated impressive skill and came up with a sixth-place finish. “It was pretty gnarly out there,” he said. “It was 262 miles of sand, whoops, and rocks. It is gnarly. I had a blast and a few hiccups. I think my battery died halfway through and I had to jump it. I had a couple of tip-overs. Basically, I and Christopher (Gil, 709x) were just riding together, kind of doing the buddy system. I had a blast and I am happy to finish. That was my main goal. The rocks and mini Summit were tough, but it was a fun course, for sure.”  . While SCORE Fans were amazed at Humphrey’s finish, it was Juan Zunino who had the fastest time to take the class win. It was also his first time racing in the SCORE Pro Moto Ironman class and his plan to take it smoothly worked best. “The race went well and it was really difficult,” said Zunino. “It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. A lot of whoops and rocks everywhere. I was able to get into a rhythm that I liked and I was able to push forward so I’m really happy. I tried to stay steady and not commit any errors or have any falls. It’s my first time doing Ironman, and it has been a dream of mine. I’m really happy that I was able to do it because I’ve trained a lot for it. Even though it’s only 250 miles, the race is long. We didn’t stop to rest anywhere, just to fuel up and hydrate.” . The class champion Brandon Wright would finish in third place, but still set him up for a good starting position for the SCORE Baja 500. “The Mini Summit was easy and quick, so it wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “I think everything else on the course [that] was beat up from pre-running was the harder part. The Mini Summit was the only part that stayed in shape, there were non-stop whoops. I took a wrong turn in Boulder Canyon and had to turn around. The course was gnarly, it has changed a lot in the last couple of days. Other than that, it was a good day. The bike felt good, I felt good. I can’t ask for much more.” . . PRO QUADS FINISH A DIFFICULT RIDE . Finishing first in the SCORE Pro Quad class was Nicholas Velez and his team on the 1a quad, ahead of the 21a team of Jose Castro and the 4a team of Juan Gonzales. The 2023 Champs were riding in Velez’s name instead of Luis Villafana (2022 Pro Quad Champion) after getting injured and the team had decided to make Velez the ROR for the 2023 season. . In the Pro Moto Ironman class, Faelly Lopez from Puerto Rico continued his winning streak after being last season’s Class Champion and Rookie Of The Year. Finishing second in this class was the 91a team of Jorge Lopez, a hometown San Felipe team. . . SPORTSMAN TEAMS PROUD FOR A FINISH . While Sportsman racers are getting a feel for what it’s like to race in SCORE, finishing the race in itself is a great accomplishment. Winning in one of the classes can also lead to moving into one of the Pro classes. For this race, however, Armando Ortiz and the 249x team from Tijuana, Mexico were “happy to win the Sportsman Moto class.” The 105a team of Francisco Valle from Tecate, Mexico took home the Sportsman Quad Class win. . . OFFICIAL FINISHERS . . PRO MOTO UNLIMITED  . (400cc or more) . (8 Starters, 7 Finishers) . 1. 3x Ciaran Naran, 23, Huntington Beach, CA/Tucker Hopkins, 28, Venice Beach, CA, Husqvarna FE450, 6:10:02, (42.73 MPH) . 2. 23x Derek Ausserbauer, 29, Solvang, CA, Honda CRF450X, 6:20:50 . 3. 15x Eric Holt, 40, Panaca, Nev./Taylor Stevens, 29, Ogden, UT/Hayden Roberts, 31, Pleasant View, UT/Zach Meyers,32, Laveen, AZ, Husqvarna FC450, 6:30:17 . 4. 33x Justin Carnes, 24, Imperial, CA/Justin Kennamer, 27, Alpine, CA, Honda CRF450X, 7:00:44 . 5. 18x Aaron Volle, 34, Penryn, CA/Alden Volle, 26, Penryn, CA, KTM 500EXC-F, 7:04:54 . 6. 1x Juan Carlos Salvatierra, 41, Bolivia/Arturo Salas Jr, 20, Chula Vista, CA (Tecate, MX)/Shane Logan, 21, Lake Havasu City, AZ, KTM 450SX-F, 8:38:48 . 7. 13x Adrian Ortiz, 22, Dulzura, CA/Albaro Ortiz, 17, San Diego/Cody Rangel, 25, San Diego/Gustavo Gonzales, 22, Valle de las Palmas, MX/Danny Mendoza, KTM 350XCF, 9:02:12 . PRO MOTO 30  (Riders over 30 years old) . (2 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 300x Jano Montoya, 51, Winter Garden, FL (Peru)/Kyle Tichenor, 31, Mesquite, Nev./David Zarate, 35, La Paz, MX, KTM 450EXCF, 6:40:37, (39.46 MPH) . 2. 319x David Smith, 36, Escondido, CA, Honda CRF450X, 8:21:22 . PRO MOTO LIMITED . (less than 450cc) . (7 Starters, 7 Finishers) . 1. 100x Fernando Beltran, 46, Ensenada, MX/Larry Serna, 28, San Diego/Luis Flores, 20, Mexicali, MX/Mauri Herrera, 24, Ensenada, MX/Dilan Avalos, 17, N. Palm Springs, CA, Honda CRF450X, 6:11:38, (42.54 MPH) . 2. 114x Ely Ramirez, 19, Tecate, MX/Alexander Lopez, 23, Tecate, MX/Marco Guizar, 23, Tecate, MX/Manuel Gomez Jr, 19, Tecate, MX, Yamaha YZ450FX, 6:40:04 . 3. 137x Erick Ramirez Jr, 16, San Felipe, MX/Jason Lopez, 16, Calexico, CA/Brayan Avalos, 21, Palm Springs, CA/Arnulfo Verdugo, 23, San Felipe, MX, Honda CRF450X, 6:49:48 . 4. 102x Steven Abrams, 31, Meridian, Idaho/Hank Salyer/Chris Welch, Yamaha YX450F, 7:26:55 . 5. 176x Austin Cummings, 39, Surprise, AZ/Schulyer Spence, KTM 450XCF-W, 7:33:43 . 6.162x Robert Rodriguez, 26, El Centro, CA/Emiliano Fuchen, 19, El Centro, CA/Eric Moreno, 19, El Centro, CA/Esteban Lujan, 26, Chula Vista, CA, Honda CRF450X ,7:59:17 . 7. 113x Edgar Garcia, 23, Mexicali, MX/Lemuel Castillo, 30, Mexicali, MX/Andy Cervanted, 17, Mexicali, MX/Damacio Maduena, 17, San Felipe, MX, Honda CRF450X, 8:42:38 . PRO MOTO 40  Riders over 40 years old) (1 Starters, 1 Finishers) . 1. 441x Alirio Amado, 45, The Woodlands, Texas/Ryan Kaza, 49, New Jersey/Adrian Indusco, 45, Tijuana, MX/Gaston Vazquez, 46, Tijuana, MX, Yamaha WR450F, 7:58:38, (33.03 MPH) . PRO MOTO 50 (Riders over 50 years old) (1 Starter, 1 Finishers) . 1. 501x Robert Creemers, 58, New Zealand/Sean Clarke, 54, New Zealand/Kevin Archer, 53, New Zealand, Honda CRF450X, 7:06:05, (37.11 MPH) . PRO MOTO IRONMAN  . (Solo Riders)— (17 Starters, 13 Finishers) . 1. 793x Juan Zunino, 28, Argentina, Honda CRF450X, 6:19:32, (41.66 MPH) . 2. 775x Tanner Janesky, 28, Middlebury, Conn., KTM 450XCF-W, 6:46:56 . 3. 700x Brandon Wright, 46, Oak Hills, CA, Husqvarna FE501, 7:09:37 . 4. 719x Kadin Guard, 24, St. George, UT, Husqvarna 350FX, 7:25:15 . 5. 709x Christopher Gil, 28, Buellton, CA, Honda CRF450X, 8:01:51 . 6. 707x Kelana Humphrey, 16, Temecula, CA (Indonesia), GasGas EX450, 8:04:34 . 7.740x Carlos Cardenas, 41, Tijuana, MX, Honda CRF450X, 8:09:35 . 8. 718x Kurt Steever, 33, Grass Valley, CA, Yamaha YZ450FX, 8:13:22 . 9. 785x Fabricio Fuentes, 46, Bolivia, GasGas EC350F, 8:14:17 . 10. 765x Mark Bechtold, 39, Phoenix, Sherco 300SE, 8:58:30 . 11. 704x Juan Pablo Valenzuela, 47, Ensenada, MX, Kawasaki KX450F, 9:41:06 . 12. 711x Dustin Davis, 40, Mesa, AZ, GasGas EX300, 9:48:31 . 13.758x Justin Cloutier, 37, Canada, Honda CRF450X, 13:11:42 . PRO MOTO 60  . (Riders over 60 years old)(3 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 644x Kevin Ward, 61, Longview, Texas/Doug Smith, 68, Upland, CA, Honda CRF450X, 8:44:59, (30.12 MPH) . 2. 628x Scott McIntosh, 62, Kent, Wash./Kurt Stefien, 61, San Diego/Mike Whitman, 65, Phoenix/Harry Harris, 60, Sanger, CA/Rusty Bartza, 61, Durango, Colo., Honda CRF450X, 11:45:48  . . PRO QUAD  (Open engine displacement)- . (5 Starters, 4 Finishers) . 1. 1a Nicolas Velez, 16, San Felipe, MX/Jose Meza, 26, San Felipe, MX/Felipe Velez, 42, San Felipe, MX/Luis Villafana, 39, Mexicali, MX, Honda TRX450R, 6:24:56, (41.07 MPH) . 2. 21a Jose Castro, 27, San Jose del Cabo, MX/Edwin Lopez, 41, Juarez, MX/Emilio Lopez, 17, San Jose del Cabo, MX/Edwin Sanchez, 28, San Jose del Cabo, MX, Honda TRX450R, 6:37:02 . 3. 4a Juan Gonzalez, Ensenada, MX, Honda TRX450R, 7:25:44 . 4. 11a Fidel Gonzalez, 38, Vizcaino, MX/Carlos Lopez, 50, San Felipe, MX/Jesus Osuna, 21, Mexicali, MX/Gilberto Perez, 44, Mexicali, MX/Esteban Ramirez, 24, Tecate, MX, Honda TRX450R, 9:08:44 . . PRO QUAD IRONMAN  . (Open engine displacement, solo Rider) . (2 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 83a Faelly Lopez, 39, Puerto Rico, Honda TRX450R, 10:19:06, (25.54 MPH) . 2. 91a Jorge I. Lopez, 31, Rancho Percebu, MX, Honda TRX450R, 11:13:20  . . . SPT M/C . (9 Starters, 7 Finishers) . 1. 249x Armando Ortiz, 18, Tijuana, MX/Joshue Ochoa, 18, Chula Vista, Calif/Carlos Flores, 19, Tecate, MX, Husqvarna FC450, 7:37:22, (34.57 MPH) . 2. 259x Jhoan Sanchez, 36, Mexicali, MX/Christian Sanchez, 40, Mexicali, MX/Marco Geraldo, 37, Mexicali, MX/Ruben Lopez, 37, Mexicali, MX, Kawasaki KX450F, 8:14:39 . 3. 255x Javi Arreola, 24, Chula Vista, CA, (DOR-Isaac Amaya, 21, Bonita, CA), Daniel Cueva, 22, Chula Vista, CA/Lehi Garcia, 19, Chula Vista, CA, Husqvarna FX350, 8:44:30 . 4. 229x Joe Megallanes, 32, Mexicali, MX/Uriel Zuniga, 27, Calexico, CA/Sergio Cortez, 25, Mexicali, MX/Alonso Zuniga, 22, Calexico, CA/Santiago Cortez, 19, Mexicali, MX, Honda CRF450X, 8:59:49 . 5. 214x Lawrence Janesky, 58, Middlebury, Conn./Jason Waldek, 55, Oxford, Conn./Chris Symes, 39, Newton, Conn./Matt Bray, 26, Brookfield, Conn., Honda CRF450X, 9:14:27 . 6. 201x Nate Anderson, 41, Fruita, Colo., Yamaha YZ450FX, 9:38:27 . 7. 208x Miguel Luna, 34, Ensenada, MX/Abraham Valdez, 34, San Diego/Joseph Amey, 50, Las Vegas, Honda CRF450X, 12:54:23 . . SPT QUAD . (7 Starters, 7 Finishers) . 1. 105a Francisco Valle, 37, Tecate, MX/Jose Murillo, 33, Tecate, MX/Alexis Murillo, 25, Tecate, MX/Carlos Loam, 26, Tecate, MX, Honda TRX450R, 7:09:49, (36.78 MPH) . 2. 139a Sergio Jimenez, 21, Valle de Mexicali, MX, Honda TRX450R, 7:11:36 . 3. 106a David Huezo Jr, 22, Imperial, CA/Luis Sanchez Jr, 19, Mexicali, MX/Iriamm Gutierrez, 24, Mexicali/Jorge Rivas Jr, 26, Mexicali, MX/Eddie Cardenas Jr, 24, Palm Springs, CA/Luis Delfin, 45, Mexicali, MX, Honda TRX450R, 8:25:21 . 4. 138a Jose Hernandez, 19, Juarez, MX/Aaron Quinones, 19, Juarez, MX/Gabriel Vazquez, 39, Juarez, MX/Noe Dominguez, 30, Juarez, MX/Steven Lopez, 18, Juarez, MX/Carlos Rocha, 26, Juarez, MX, Honda TRX450R, 8:41:20 . 5. 109a Brayan Alonso, 25, Rialto, CA/Hugo Barreda, 18, Tijuana, MX/Juan Vasquez, 15, Tijuana, MX, Honda TRX450, 9:10:43 . 6. 123a Eva Hernandez, 19, Escondido, CA/Ismael Hernandez, 43, Escondido, CA, Honda TRX450R, 9:11:35 . 7. 187a Jose Gonzalez, 36, Tecate, MX/Jose Gonzalez Rocha, 15, Tecate, MX/Sergio Lopez, 21, Tijuana, MX/Daniel Marquez, 18, Tijuana, MX/Edgar Marquez, 20, Tijuana, MX, Honda TRX450R, 11:01:54 

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