SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - February 2018

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

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Page 14 of 81

The 2018 Contenders Who will be the Racers and teams to watch During the 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship Season By SCORE Journal Staff Photography- Jack Wright As the 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship season is poised to begin, racers are testing and finalizing their vehicles and teams. While some racers dominated their class, and threaten to repeat another championship, others took the 2017 season as a test bed for new vehicles and/or logistics. While all the racers have an equal chance of winning their class this season, SCORE picked out several individuals that it believes are the ones to watch for during the 2018 season. Apdaly Lopez If anyone thought it was a fluke that Apdaly Lopez won his first SCORE Trophy Truck Championship in 2015, he proved them wrong, winning it again in 2016 and 2017. Lopez is one of the biggest stars in Mexico and has won over millions of fans in the United States as well. Lopez has three things going for him that will likely make him champion again in 2018. With the backing of a competitive team at RPM Off-Road, his youth, and the driving skills of a more mature driver, it’s likely Lopez will win several races this year, let alone his fourth SCORE Trophy Truck Championship. Rob MacCachren There’s no doubt that whatever Rob MacCachren sets his sights on, he’s going to grab it. He hit the 2017 season hard with a win in San Felipe, then a third-place finish at the SCORE Baja 500. Looking like he could win another SCORE Trophy Truck Championship, MacCachren didn’t compete at the Tijuana Desert Challenge and had mechanical issues at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000 that put him out of reach of a four-in-a-row Baja 1000 win and a championship. MacCachren is never one to count out, and with a great team, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Broc Dickerson Starting his rookie season in Class 10, Broc Dickerson nearly dominated in 2017 and borrowed a buggy that proved to be a winning combination for him. He won every race in 2017, with the exception of the 50th SCORE Baja 1000, where he came in eighth place. Rumor has it that for the 2018 season, Dickerson will be driving a new vehicle and will undoubtedly be looking to win another championship — this time winning it with a perfect record. Cody Reid With a big win at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000, Cody Reid finally beat Broc Dickerson during one of the most important races in SCORE history. Reid has a new Alumi Craft buggy and after working some of the bugs out, he’s ready to take on the 2018 SCORE season with renewed drive and determination to win a championship. Cameron Steele By far, 2017 was one of the best years for Cameron Steele and the Desert Assassins. He led most of the races and had a second place finish at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000. Despite the narrow losses and challenges, Steele finished third in the SCORE Trophy Truck division last year. He and his team demonstrated they have the experience and capability for a great 2018 season and expect to see him win more races and even the possibility of a SCORE Trophy Truck championship. Justin Matney The leader of the RPM Off-Road racing team, Matney quietly got into his 4WD Trophy Truck and nearly won the entire 2017 Season Points Championship. Last year, he finished fourth in San Felipe, second at the SCORE Baja 500, first in Tijuana, and eleventh at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000, Matney seemed to work out the bugs on his 4WD Trophy Truck and is another racer that could possibly take a championship in 2018. Ramon Bio Son of Pancho Bio, Ramon Bio at age 18, is poised to start making his mark in Class 11 and has already honed his skills in driving one of the most difficult classes in SCORE. A native of Ensenada, Bio has lots of support from family and friends, and it’s likely we’re going to see more of Ramon driving longer distances and perhaps moving into a new class or with a vehicle of his own at some time in the near future. Team Ampudia team Ampudia, with his brothers Aaron and Rodrigo, made an effort to run in SCORE’s Trophy Truck division in 2017. While this was a learning year for team Papas and Beer, they had a difficult time competing. These guys, however, aren’t ones to sit back and take that in stride. They’re used to dominating the classes they’ve raced in for years. For 2018, we can expect Alan and his brothers to come back in a strong way, winning more races and working the bugs out of their Trophy Truck to return to championship status. Marc Burnett The UTV classes are so competitive, it will be difficult for any single racer to dominate the class and win a championship in 2018. Marc Burnett, however, has some experience in that. He came back in 2017 to his championship winning ways taking second place in San Felipe and first place in Tijuana. That coupled with his 12th place finish at the SCORE Baja 500, and finishing 10th at the 50th SCORE Baja 1000, he won another Pro UTV Championship. He’s got his team and new Can-Am UTV figured out and with some luck, he’s one to watch try and pull out a back-to-back UTV championship. Brandon Scheuler Scheuler nearly took the championship away from Marc Burnett but proved he was the guy to beat in 2017. For 2018, Scheuler and the Jagged X team will undoubtedly be poised to take the Pro UTV championship and show who’s boss. Scheuler has won numerous championships in other racing venues, and after winning a SCORE Pro UTV championship back in 2015, he’s anxiously wanting to add another to his trophy shelf. Francisco Arredondo Winning the SCORE Pro Moto Championship, Francisco Arredondo climbed his way to the top of the Pro Moto field and dethroned the reigning Ox Motorsports team in 2017. You can count on the fact that Arredondo will want to make it a perfect season. With the Ox Motorsports team not returning for 2018, it leaves the door wide open for other teams to challenge Arredondo, but he isn’t finished with his turn at the top of the division. Mark Winkelman Moving into the Pro Moto Unlimited class in 2017, Winkelman competed against the top racers in the world and managed to finish in the top five for most of the season. For 2018, it’s reported that Winkelman will continue to support his Pro Moto teams, but will be piloting a Trophy Truck in the SCORE Trophy Truck Legends class in 2018. While his motorcycle racing experience gives him an advantage, he’s going to have to battle with legendary racers such as Larry Roeseler, Gus Vildosola, and Rodrigo Ampudia Sr. in order to come out ahead in 2018. The Rumor Mill Unconfirmed rumors abound at press-time, before the start of the 2018 SCORE Desert World Challenge season, but many racers and teams keep things quiet until the checkered flag drops at the 32nd SCORE San Felipe 250 April 5-8th. Here is some of what SCORE officials are hearing: • Santiago Creel, 31, who raced with Mark Winkelman in Pro Moto 60, may be heading the 66x team for Winkelman in 2018. • Ryan Liebelt who raced in the Pro Moto 30 class is said to continue in the class and field a second team in the Pro Moto Unlimited class. • 2017 Class 8 champion Noah Ostanik may be switching to Trophy Truck Spec for the 2018 season.

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