SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - OCTOBER 2017

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

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Page 24 of 225

45X WINS TWO IN A ROW The team of Shane Esposito and Justin Morgan take the motorcycle overall win at the 21st Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo The first day of action at the 21st Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge had some spectators claiming the action was similar to a motocross event. On Friday, September 22nd, the motorcycle and quad classes were let loose on the course and with teams going all out, there was plenty of close-up action as riders from various classes got mixed up in the battle. The racers saw some riders go down in the first session, with some getting injured. “It went pretty bad out there,” said Ray Del Solgio of the 3x team (DNF). “Nic Garvin, my teammate, started and he was going to do this whole race solo. I was just going to be the backup rider for this one. He had a really bad crash at about race mile 12, right before checkpoint one. Our focus then was really just to get him safe so I rode out there and I assisted him. This meant the race was pretty much over for us by the time I got back on the race bike.” At the end of two tough sessions, however, the 45x team of Francisco Arredondo (who could not attend), had Shane Esposito and Justin Morgan earn the fastest time to win the overall motorcycle and Pro Moto class. “Shane Esposito (rider of record) rode the first lap of each session and I finished it off, riding the last two laps of each session to win our second SCORE race in a row,” said Morgan. “We rode pretty smooth in this race.” Winning two in a row for the 45x Team puts them in the lead for a championship season heading into the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. The 1x team of Mark Samuels, however, can’t be counted out yet for an upset. “It was super dusty in the morning when we first went out and with the sun just crossing over the hills it was really tough to see,” said Samuels. Aside from the poor vision, Samuels and the other top Pro Moto teams had a difficult time lapping slower riders on the course. “It was a cat and mouse game,” said Samuels. “It’s really tough to pass out there. It’s pretty dangerous. I had a couple of close calls where I almost put the bike down.” Ultimately Samuels and 1x teammate Ryan Penhall finished in second place, followed by the 44x rider Grant Statley from El Cajon, California who finished third overall. Within the other Pro Moto classes, the 160x team of Santiago Creel, Larry Serna, and Massimo Mangino finished first in the Pro Moto Limited class and third overall on a KTM 350 EXC. This is a big win for the 160x team who got through many problems this season. “We’ve been racing the whole year. At the SCORE San Felipe 250, the engine blew up and we had to walk it in to the finish line. At the SCORE Baja 500, we also had engine problems. We finished last but we did finish. So, we’re here trying to do our best.” Pro Moto 30 riders had a large field of competitors at the race, and with tight competition, Ryan Leibelt and Andrew Puckett of the 300x team took first place in class on a Yamaha WR450. The Pro Moto 40 400x team of Francisco Septien, riding for Jano Montoya, finished first in class on a KTM 450 EXC, while the Pro Moto 50 class win went to the 500x team of Marty and Tim Gomez of Long Beach, California, on their Honda CRF450X. With this win, Gomez and his team have a good chance at a season class championship if they finish well at the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. While the 21st Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge was much easier than normal for the Pro Moto Ironman division, the riders seemed to enjoy the shorter distance and considered it an all-out sprint to the finish during each session. Ultimately Jose Armando Carassco from Rosarito Beach, Mexico won the class in the 721x Suzuki RMZ450X. “SCORE put on a great race this time, especially here in my hometown,” said Carrasco. “We’re so happy to keep the points lead. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the 50th Anniversary so we’re happy for that.” In the Pro Moto 60 class, the 600x team of Mark Hawley, Andy Kirker, Bill Tarling and Rod Hendrickson won the class on their Honda CRG450X. “Today’s my 60th birthday so I made the 60’s team by the day,” said Hawley. “I think I speak for the team when I say we ain’t as good as we once was, but we’re as good once as we ever was.” Pro Quads And Sportsman Classes Put On A Show The excitement of the Pro Quad and Sportsman fields, allowed spectators to enjoy watching these classes take their turns and battle it out on the course. Despite having electrical problems, Said Sanchez, Adolfo Arrellano and Francisco Vera of the 13x team took their third class victory in a row, securing their chances for a 2017 Championship season. The 11a team of Daniel Salazar, Eduardo Arrellano, Juan Sanchez and Jesus Lopez finished in second place. In the Sportsman divisions the 283x team of Miguel Pena, Chilio Luevalto, Jorge Carbajal and Jorge Carbajal Jr. took the Sportsman M/C class win on their Honda CRF 450R. The 117a team, consisting of Erik Ruiz and Ramon Torres, took the Sportsman Quad class win on their Honda TRX450R. Art Savedra Memorial Shootout Class 5-1600 and Class 11 vehicles ran the Art Savedra Memorial Shootout, honoring the passing of SCORE’s Tech Director this year. This highlighted the traditional VW classes with their own race that was exciting and full of special meaning to these hardcore racers, who are typically under the shadow of the faster and larger marquee classes. While the course was not easy for these racers, they still enjoyed being in the spotlight and challenging each other for the win. Ernie Negrette from Tijuana, in the number 567 car, organized the shootout and award, had Luis Herrera, Christian Ortiz and Jorge Torres with him to win the Class 5-1600 race. “After the first heat we had a little problem with one of the rims; it was a little bit bent,” said Negrette. “We lost about six minutes, but we had about a seven-minute lead on the first lap. Everybody is very competitive in this Baja bug class. We’re very excited to be on the podium and happy to be here in our hometown.” Finishing in second place was the 555 team of Tomas A. Fernandez, Adrian Saucedo, Alejandro Guevara and Joaquin Fernandez. In third place was the 551 team of Francisco Reynoso and Juan Sanchez. Class 11 cars also competed in the Art Savedra Memorial Shootout, with the number 1121 team of Armando Salazar (driving for Dennis Hollenbeck), with Luis Vasquez winning the class. The win wasn’t easy for Salazar and team, but they managed to get it together to take the win. “We had a lot of problems with the fuel pump,” said Salazar. “The motor died when we’re going uphill. Then, it started again when we were going downhill. We were very close to the finish line when the motor died again. And, then we knew we needed gas so we came up to a fan who said they had three gallons. They put it in our tank and we went on to finish.” Along with the VW Classes, the Sportsman Car class also ran on this day, with Ricardo Rodriquez from Ensenada, Mexico winning the class. SJ

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