SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - September 2018

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

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Page 32 of 90

MORE BIKES MORE WINS Santiago Creel leads a team with eight motorcycle racers competing during the 2018 Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge By Dan Sanchez Photos courtesy Santiago Creel and Get Some Photo There’s no doubt that riding a motorcycle across the Baja desert is one of the toughest things any rider can do. Most teams share riding duties in an effort to make the race safer race overall, but with the advantage of placing fresh riders on the course to increase their chance of winning. For racers like Santiago Creel, who has won numerous races including a SCORE Pro Limited class championship in 2016 and 2017, he’s able to take the group and multi-bike effort to a whole new level. He and the team at Monkey Business Racing, are entering eight motorcycles and one Trophy Truck, at this year’s Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge. While the logistics of managing the motorcycles, getting the right riders on the course may seem unfathomable, Creel and team owner Mark Winkelman have the right formula and are winning. “The logistics are complicated but in the end, it’s easy if you organize it all,” says Creel.” The Mexican rider started his career riding motorcycles at the age of 10. Then he went mountain riding and began riding and winning the Mexican Enduro championships, driving cars and riding motorcycles. “In 2015 I raced the SCORE Baja 1000 for the first time with some friends,” said Creel. “We went for the adventure and entered into the Pro Limited class. We finished third. It was from there that I decided to start building a better bike and get more training to win.” In 2016 Creel again jumped into the Pro Limited class and at the SCORE Baja 1000, finished third. “It was then that I realized I needed to build a dedicated off-road racing team,” said Creel. “We met Mark Winkelman and Ricardo De La Pena who helped me put a team together. In 2017, we raced the entire SCORE World Desert Championship season and won the championship in Pro Limited. I was very proud to finally earn the 100x designation on our motorcycle.” For the 2018 SCORE season, Creel is the rider of record for a Pro Moto 30 bike, a Pro Limited bike and a Pro Moto Unlimited bike, and managed to gather a team of great riders. “We have different riders for each class, and one or two riders can be the same,” says Creel. “Normally for classes like the SCORE Pro Moto Class 30, there are limitations. The bikes are pretty much the same, but it’s also important for us to have spare bikes. What makes it a little easier is that in each of these classes, we race more or less the same bikes, use the same tires, fuel, and other components. So adding more bikes to the program is simpler, as well as making pit stops the same for all the classes.” While Creel may seem highly organized, the facts are that the team has had seven motorcycles running at the same time. “Running seven motorcycles to us, simply means we need more tires and more fuel,” says Creel. “We just have to be organized.” Creel and the rest of the team take their share of riding duties very seriously, and it’s important to them to not ride for too long in order to stay alert and safe on the race course. “We typically ride first 200 miles in one bike, then hop on another bike,” says Creel. “For myself, I don’t get on more than two bikes on a race. If I’m the rider of record I always try to drive and finish the race. Normally none of the riders race more than 200 miles. It depends on the race.” Some of the riders on team Monkey Business include Brandon Prieto, Ivan Ramirez, Massimo Mangini, and Eric Yorba, who rode the Pro Moto Unlimited bike at the 2018 SCORE Baja 500. Teammates Kevin Murphy, Abel Burgeno, Jim O’Neal, Enrique Fuhrken, and Gerardo Rojas rode with Creel on the Pro Moto 30 and Pro Moto Limited classes during the same race. Most recently, the team has brought on Elizabeth Karcz in the Pro Moto Ironman class and Mark Winkelman will be moving from his winning ways in Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 60, and jumping into a Trophy Truck Spec. “We look for top-level riders, committed to racing in Baja,” says Creel. “To be a pro rider, you have to be fit and racing almost every weekend in Mexico, the U.S.A. or Europe. For racing in Baja, you need to be pre-running your section at least 10 times. It takes a month or two to do that, but this is how you know your section extremely well to help win the race.” At the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge, Creel will oversee eight motorcycles and one Trophy Truck. “It will be a little different for me this time,” says Creel.” “I’ll be in the Trophy Truck Spec with Mark and Louis, but we’ll still have Elizabeth in the Ironman class and seven other bikes on the course. Four of the bikes will be under my name as the rider of record while three will be under the names of our teammates. This is all in an effort to win championships in the various classes and to help make a name for Money Business Racing.” While it may seem that Creel is focused only on winning, he is also very adamant about preserving Baja. “As a Mexican rider, the team and I feel it’s also very important to preserve Baja and the race,” says Creel. “I go racing in other places in the world and it’s almost impossible to race off-road. This is what makes Baja so special. We want to race here but also preserve the area ecologically. There are new laws coming and we need to work within the environment and also be environmentally conscious. We are hoping to keep Baja racing alive for many more years to come.” For the time being, Creel and his team of riders are wrapping up a Pro Moto Limited championship, are still competing hard to take home championships in the Pro Moto Unlimited and Pro Moto 30 classes. Nevertheless, the huge eight bike team may be more focused on the coming season. “Next year, we’re looking at a reduced team of bikes, but with a bigger team in the four-wheel divisions,” says Creel. “We’re hoping to do more in the Trophy Truck class with Mark, and also possibly compete in the UTV classes. This will open up the motorcycle team to more riders who want to join.” SCORE fans are still anxious to see how Creel and team Monkey Business succeeds during the last two races of the 2018 season, while at the same time, remain in awe at the level of competition, talent, and race logistics this team has brought to SCORE. SJ

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