SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - JUNE 2017

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

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Page 46 of 108

A RIDE TO GLORY FRANCISCO ARREDONDO AND THE 45X TEAM GET THEIR DAY IN BAJA If anyone was more deserving for an overall Pro Moto victory at the 49th SCORE Baja 500, it was definitely the 45x team led by Francisco Arredondo. Throughout the 2016 season, and at the 2017 SCORE San Felipe 250, the 45x team has had to settle for second place, behind the talented 1x team, now lead by Mark Samuels for the 2017 season. At this year’s SCORE Baja 500, however, Arredondo, Shane Esposito, Justin Morgan, and Roberto Villalobos, continued to ride consistently and came up with a great win for the team. “We have a great team of amazing riders,” said Arredondo. “Justin Morgan and Shane Esposito, however, are the superstars. Shane made an amazing start. Roberto took over after Shane, and Justin rode it to the finish.” The 45x team started off the line in the seventh position and struggled the early morning fog and a rocky course with only one mishap. “We had one guy go down but for the most part everything was good,” said co-rider Shane Esposito. “We got into the physical lead around race mile 60 and stayed there all day.” At one point in the race, Esposito thought that the 1x team was only 30 seconds behind but a fall by Mark Samuels ended up costing more time, allowing the 45x team to hold on for the win. “I took a pretty big hit,” said Samuels. “I clipped a rock in San Felipe and went down. I hit my hip really hard as well as my head. That made my vision kind of funny for a little bit. About ten minutes later, when the helicopter was done fueling and came back, they helped me with the bike and I got back on and kept riding until the next guy. It was a big bummer and a big-time loss. I was riding really well and went from 11 minutes back to two and a half minutes back, and then that happened.” Samuels’ down time also allowed the 3x team of Ray Dal Solgio to hold on and take second place, while the 1x team rallied and finished in third. “We had a nice consistent, clean run and that’s why we are here,” said Dal Solgio. “The difficult part for me was dealing with all of the traffic on the race course. Luckily the helicopter was clearing it but we had a lot of traffic on the course coming in and out.” While the 45x team pulled an upset to the many 1x fans expecting another victory, Arredondo knows that all of the Pro Moto racers are extremely talented and have formed a unique friendship that allows them to depend on each other in pre-running, as well as while racing on the course. “Winning this race wasn’t easy,” said Arredondo. “As always, the 1x team made us work really hard. We’ve been quite close to winning many times, such as at the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000 and at the 2017 SCORE San Felipe 250 wherein both times, we led the race for a while. In both of those instances, we had unfortunate mechanical failures.” With the competitiveness and talent within the Pro Moto Unlimited class at an extremely high level, the overall championship is still anyone’s game. That also holds true for the 33x team of Mark Winkleman, who finished in fourth place at the SCORE Baja 500. Nevertheless, all of the Pro Moto Unlimited teams are planning for the next race, the Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge in September. “There’s a long way to go until we can get the championship,” said Arredondo. “This is a good step for us, we’re really happy but already working on the next race.” O’Neal Makes It 20 To Lead The Limited Classes The Pro Moto Limited class saw Jim O’Neal earn his 20th SCORE class victory. At age 70, O’Neal teamed up with Kevin Murphy, Morgan Crawford, and Justin Morrow on their 100x Husqvarna 350. Taking the second place win in the Pro Moto Limited class was the 107x team of Ulises Fierro, who had Arnulfo Verdugo, Taylor Stevens, and Jared Schlapia co-ride on a KTM 350EXC. Third place in class went to Fernando Beltran of the 125x team that was made up of, Emanuel Verdugo, David Zarate, Carlos Miranda, and Rigoberto Gomez riding their Yamaha YZ250F. In the Pro Moto 30 class, eight teams competed at the 49th SCORE Baja 500, with seven of them finishing. Once the dust had settled the 307x team of Tony Wenck, Ryan Senacal, Jason Thomas, Kenjiro Tsuki and Jim Holley won the class with a time of 12:50:12. Second place in class was the 328x team of Glen Scherer, with Aaron Sanders and Nick Saia. Ryan Liebelt of the 300x team finished in third, co-riding with Bradon Wright, Justin Schultz, and Greg Bardonnex. The competition remains tough for the top three teams within the Pro Moto 40 class, with Jano Montoya and the 400x team of Alberto Ruiz, Francisco Septien, Jeff Kawell and Cesar Lopez took the win at this race, followed by Colie Potter’s 411x team and Kevin Johnson’s 401x team. “It was a great team effort and everybody did their part,” said Montoya. “The bike was just incredible. It was a really good race and we kept it on two wheels. We had a plan and we executed the plan. We were able to make it to the finish line without issues.” After the SCORE San Felipe 250, these teams are in tight competition for championship points which will be a tight race heading into the Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge in September, and at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000 in November. The Pro Moto 50 racers also had lots of competition at this year’s SCORE Baja 500. Eight teams started and finished the race, but ultimately Robert Gates and the 549x team earned the win. Riding a Kawasaki KX450F, the riding duties were shared by Gates, Doug Smith, Steve Williams, Dave Potts, Bob Johnson, and Chris Goolsby. The 510x team of Giovanni Spinali came in second, followed by the 500x team of Marty Gomez who took third place in the class. Within the Pro Moto 60 class, Mark Hawley and his 600x team consisting of Andy Kirker, Dennis Greene, Dennis McLaughlin, and Bill Tarling, rode their Honda CRF450x to the class win. The 609x team of Donald Lewis came in second. Two Survive Baja Riding Solo As the pro moto racers headed out everyone watched the three riders of the Ironman class, head out onto the grueling 512-plus mile course. Jose Armando Carrasco in the 721x Suzuki RMZ450X managed to cross the finish line well before second place finisher Francisco Teran in the 713x Husqvarna FE501. “The race was awesome. I’m happy to be in the top spot and hope to keep the points lead,” said Carrasco. With a demanding lead over the rest of his competition, Carrasco simply needs to finish at the Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge, and at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000, to win the class championship. Despite winning far in front of the competition at the Baja 500, the victory definitely didn’t come easy for Carrasco. “I had problems with the light and ended up attaching a flashlight with tape -- which didn’t help much but I made it to the finish line. I had a slight crash at race mile 40 and I broke my Stella base so I couldn’t go faster than 15 or 20-miles per hour until about mile 80. We used duct tape and zip ties to hold it on.” Ten Teams Battled In Sportsman Class Wanting a SCORE Baja 500 win added to their accomplishments, ten teams of Sportsman moto racers had to deal with a lot of competitors and the heavy dust during the SCORE Baja 500. Ultimately the 229x team of Adan Garcia took the Sportsman M/C-1 class with the help of Cornelio Garcia, Fermin Vargas, and Jose Galvan, on a Yamaha WR450F. Coming in second was the 212x team of Carlos Silva, followed by the 225x team of Alberto Morales. Sanchez King Of The Quads Earning his second Pro Quad victory in 2017, Said Sanchez is showing his intentions of winning a 2017 championship after taking first place in the Pro Quad class in Baja. Despite breaking and replacing a broken rear shock, the 13a Honda TRX450R team of Sanchez, Adolfo Arellano, Felipe Velez, Francisco Vera, and Jose Luis Meza were able to hold on and still finish nearly three hours before the 2a team of Donald Higbee on their Can-AM Outlander. Within the Sportsman class, Juan Dominguez has all the bragging rights for winning the Sportsman Quad-1 class on the number 109a Honda TRX450R. Dominguez was aided by co-riders Javier Robles, Marcos Couisino, and Jose Contreras. Finishing second was the 117a team of Erik Ruiz, followed by the 129a team of Israel Jimenez. All Racers Look To Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge With the SCORE Baja 500 race now in the record books, there are several classes where earning points towards a championship season can be sealed at the Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge, September 14th through the 17th. As racers and fans alike know, nothing is set in stone and the remaining two races of the 2017 SCORE season look to contain some of the most exciting in recent history. For more information on upcoming races and dates, visit the website.

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