SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - April 2018

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

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Page 23 of 102

Morgan and Samuels Lead The Pack Among the toughest motorcycle competitors in all of off-road racing, Justin Morgan and Mark Samuels win the Pro Moto Overall at the 32nd SCORE San Felipe 250 By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo During the 2017 SCORE season, the Pro Moto Championship, and the Pro Moto Unlimited victory at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 slipped out of the hands of the then 1x team with Mark Samuels. There was no doubt that he would team up with another exceptional rider this year, and come back with a vengeance. He found Justin Morgan, who was on the championship 45x team in 2017, and teamed up this year to demonstrate their dominant riding capabilities at the 32nd SCORE San Felipe 250, showing the world that the 7X team will be the ones to beat this season. “We had a really good plan. Mark and I have been friends for a long time,” said Morgan. “We’ve done this a lot but we weren’t teamed-up, so it’s really cool how a plan like that comes together.” The 7x team were fourth off the starting line and during the race, they battled with the 1x team and the 66x team before they speeded ahead for the class win. “Mark got us into second place physically, and during the rider switch, the 1x got by us with Grant Statley on it,” said Morgan. “I managed to get by him and Roberto Villalobos on the 66x. I got him at Mile 68, came out with a clean air filter, a new tire, and we were good to go.” Morgan and Samuels were riding a used bike that was fully prepped and ready to go for the 2018 season. “It takes a really prepped bike,” said Morgan. “This is my old race bike and it’s been sitting as a frame in the garage for the last year almost, and we just rebuilt it. I think we’ll be at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 for sure, I’d say.” The competition in the Pro Moto categories this year is extremely tough, with some competitors duplicating efforts in various classes, and others moving up to the premiere Pro Moto Unlimited class. One of these is veteran Mark Winkelman, who is teaming up with Santiago Creel. Winkelman moved up to the Pro Moto Unlimited class and Creel is competing in two teams in Pro Moto Unlimited, as well as a team in Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 30. The 66x team of Creel finished second in the Pro Moto Unlimited class with Brandon Prieto, Didler Giorand, and Roberto Villalobos riding their KTM 450 EXCF. Creel’s 4x team finished third with Winkleman, Austin Miller, Braxton Gallian and Ray Dal Solgio riding the KTM 450 EXC. Missing from the top leaders was the 1x 2017 Pro Moto team of Shane Esposito and Grant Stately on a Honda CRF450X. They also had a tough race but finished in fourth. In Pro Moto 40, it was 2017 class Champion Jano Montoya once again showing his dominance in the class. He teamed up with Alberto Ruis and Jeff Kawell on the 400x KTM 450XCW to take first place. Finishing in second was the 405x team of Jack McCormick, who teamed up with Michael Rasp, Eric Rasmussen and Todd Romano on their CRF450X Honda. Finishing third in class was Salvador Sainz, with Oscar Garcia, Jose Gonzales, and Guillermo De La Herran on a KTM 45XCW. Santiago Creel’s 360x Team consisted of Massimo Mangini, Kevin Murphy, Abel Burgeno, Enrique Fuhrken, and veteran champion Jim O’Neal. On their KTM EXCF500, they managed to beat a tough group of riders to come in first place within the class. “We had Massimo who just smoked the start,” said Kevin Murphy. “Jim O’Neal had a small little get-off, right when he got on. I think the brake locked up on him but he got it to Morelia where I got on at mile-192 and took it to the finish. Santiago and his crew really know what they’re doing with the machine. Hopefully, we’re going to do the whole season.” In the Pro Moto 50, class the 510x team of Giovanni Spinali came in first, with co-riders Earl Roberts, Troy Pearce, and John Griffin. The Santiago Creel team in Pro Moto Limited took first in class on the 100x bike with riders, Alberto Heredia, Larry Serna, Massimo Mangini, Ricardo De La Pena and Austin Miller. Finishing second in the class was the 151x team of Juan Lopez with Edgar Cota, Julio Ramirez, Adrian Valdez, Jake Lindquist and Arnulfo Verdugo. They were followed by the 121x team of Ana Rivas, Ricardo Reyes, Brandon Banuelos, Jhoun Sanchez, Christian Sanchez and Jorge Rivas for third place. While the riders may get older in classes like the Pro Moto 60, the competition is still just as tough. Two teams battled it out in the difficult Baja desert with the 649x team of Guy Laycraft, Doug Smith, Dave Potts, Steve Williams, and Bob Johnson, winning over second place 602x team of Oscar Ochoa, Gilberto Gallardo, and Hector Castillo. In one of the most grueling classes in all of SCORE, the Pro Moto Ironman had 12 competitors this race. Facing enormous odds, Francisco Septien on the number 730x KTM 450EXCF won the class, with Kevin Daniels finishing second, and Carlos Gracida in third. The Pro Quad class had the 15a team of Juan Sanchez win on a Honda TRX450R, with co-rider Javier Corona. 2017 Pro Quad Champion Said Sanchez in the 1a Honda, finished in second place. Following in the Sportsman Classes, Alvaro Bello in the 255x Kawasaki KFX450 won the SPT M/C class with co-riders Manuel Gomez, Humberto Valle, Jorge Garcia, and Christian Salinas. Winning the Sportsman Quad class was the 110a team of Day Magdalena, Jorge Lopez, Eddie Bareno, and Ismael Cazarez.

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