SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - January 2018

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

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Page 7 of 95

A GREAT YEAR IN BAJA The 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship Ends With The Celebration Of A Milestone Race By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo At the beginning of the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship season, Carlos Apdaly Lopez was the 2016 Season Overall Champion and the Trophy Truck division champion, the first Mexican national to win that honor. In addition, Rob MacCachren with co-driver Jason Voss had just won the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000 race three-times in a row. Amazed at what both young and seasoned veterans of the sport could accomplish, SCORE fans couldn’t wait to see what this level of off-road racing talent would bring during the 2017 race season. They weren’t disappointed. At the season start, many of the top Trophy Truck racers were clearly focused on the 50th Anniversary of the Baja 1000 in November, but the opening race in San Felipe reminded everyone that the road to the SCORE Baja 1000, would be a rough one. MacCachren started the season with a win in San Felipe, followed by a third-place finish at the SCORE Baja 500. Without competing at the Tijuana Desert Challenge and a rare DNF at the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, 2017 wouldn’t be MacCachren’s year, but he’s not a guy that quits easily. Lopez finished in the top five of every race during the 2017 season, remaining consistent while the race wins went to guys like MacCachren in San Felipe, Andy McMillin at the SCORE Baja 500, and Justin Matney at the Tijuana Desert Challenge. But Lopez pulled off the biggest win of his career, taking the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Overall win, and enough points to win a second SCORE Overall Championship and Trophy Truck Class Championship in a row. Despite everyone watching what MacCachren and Lopez would do this season, some of the best performances in the Trophy Truck division of the season belonged to RPM Off-Road owner Justin Matney, and Cameron Steel of the Desert Assassins. Matney was leading in points with Lopez throughout the season and consistently finished a position slightly ahead or behind Lopez throughout most of the races, up until the “1000.” Steele’s season had him leading in several races, culminating with a second place finish at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. While this may have been one of Steele’s best racing seasons, it was definitely eye-opening to fans that he and the Desert Assassins will definitely be a top contender for 2018. Pro Moto Madness In the Pro Moto Division, the 2017 season started with the news that the division champion Colton Udall, sustained injuries that would set him on the sideline for most of the 2017 SCORE Races. This left motorcycle fans watching Mark Samuels take the reins of the 1x team and utilizing the talents of riders such as Daymon Stokie, Ryan Penhall, Justin Jones, Ian Young, and others throughout the year. The first race in San Felipe looked no different than if Udall had led them. With Samuels at the lead, the 1x team looked like it would once again dominate the class. By the time the SCORE Baja 500 came around, however, it was Francisco Arredondo and the 45x team who demonstrated they were the team to beat. After finishing second in San Felipe, the 45x team rallied and completed the 2017 SCORE season winning the Pro Moto class every race. The team’s biggest win was after a close call at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 where they won the class by finishing in a quick time and after the 1x team assessed some penalties. For Arredondo and his co-riders Shane Esposito, Justin Morgan, Max Eddy Jr., and Ty Davis, who assisted throughout the season, their patience and riding skills finally paid off. Motorcycle fans are anxious to see how these two teams will compete during the 2018 SCORE season. Dickerson’s Dominance While the buggy classes had lots of competitors this season, SCORE fans were amazed at the driving skills of a young Class 10 driver named Broc Dickerson. The 16-year old driver raced passed Class 10 veterans, taking first place in San Felipe, the SCORE Baja 500, the Tijuana Desert Challenge, and finishing eighth at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. Nearly dominating the competition, Dickerson ran away with the class championship and left SCORE fans wondering what this “rookie” driver was going to do next. Following very close behind Dickerson was Cody Reid who had one of his best SCORE race seasons to date. Although frustrated at coming in just behind Dickerson, Reid capped off his season with a tremendous first-place victory at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 that made it all worthwhile. The close racing in Class 10, combined with the efforts of Dickerson, invigorated this buggy class which hopes to see more participants during the 2018 season and beyond. In Class 1 this year, the competition was extremely difficult and with rough race courses that battered these vehicles, the attrition rate was high in every 2017 race. Nevertheless, this year belonged to the Wilson family. Led by racing veteran Ronny Wilson and his family Randy, Brian, and his son Brad, the Wilson Racing Team started the season with Brad in the 153 car and Brian in the 138 car. Brad Wilson won the SCORE San Felipe 250, but DNF’d in both the SCORE Baja 500 and Tijuana Desert Challenge, before earning a second place finish at the 50th. Brian finished fifth at the SCORE San Felipe 250, first at the SCORE Baja 500, second in Tijuana and fourth at the 50th, leaving him with enough points to earn the Class 1 championship. The Trophy Truck Spec class also had a large number of competitors during the SCORE 2017 racing season. While eyes were on last year’s champion Chad Broughton, the season belonged to Ensenada, Mexico’s Elias Hanna. Starting the season with a first-place finish at the SCORE San Felipe 250, Hanna won every race except at the 50th, where he finished in 10th place. Nevertheless, he gathered more than enough points to lead 40 other class competitors this season to win the championship and bring home another victory for the Mexican racers this year. The only racer during the SCORE 2017 season to have a perfect record was Said Sanchez in Pro Quad. Sanchez in the 13a Honda, won every race this season showcasing his riding talents and after finishing the 2016 season in second place behind Javier Robles. Sanchez looks to again dominate in 2018 and show how he and his team or riders will reign at least for the time being. One of the largest field of competitors in the 2017 SCORE Desert World Challenge is the increasing number of UTV competitors. Last year’s UTV Overall Champion Derek Murray, nearly tied with Brandon Schueler and edged out a victory. This year, the pot was stirred with first-place finishes going to different racers each race of the 2017 season. At the SCORE San Felipe 250, Wayne Matlock won the Pro UTV FI class, followed by Justin Lambert, who took the SCORE Baja 500 win. At the Tijuana Desert Challenge, Marc Burnett came away with a much-needed win, which added to his second place finish in San Felipe. Schueler came back at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 to win that race, but Burnett had earned enough points to take home the UTV Overall Championship. This is Burnett’s second SCORE UTV championship after a 2016 season filled with bad luck, broken UTVs, and a broken foot. Despite the victory, the UTV division continues to grow with faster vehicles and more competitors that will make it much more difficult to win races and a championship during the 2018 SCORE season. SJ

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