SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - April 2019

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

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Page 33 of 113

The Champs Are Back Morgan, Samuels, And Jones, Team Up Again To Ride As The 1X Team By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo The riding talent is extremely high throughout all of SCORE’s Pro Moto classes, but the skills of Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels, and Justin Jones (pictured above) proved to be a dominant force, winning the 2018 Pro Moto Unlimited Championship and Pro Moto Overall Championship. The trio once again teamed up to take the 1X team to a possible repeat of their 2018 season. Showing up in a new six-speed Honda CRF450X motorcycle, the three champs demonstrated their riding skills by starting at the back of the Pro Moto Unlimited class, and powering their way up to the lead and winning the Overall Pro Moto division at the SCORE San Felipe 250. “I like this type of riding,” said team leader Justin Morgan. “The beginning of the race was interesting, we had a little bit of traffic ahead of us and the sun was coming up so it was difficult to see, so I was glad we were able to get it out front. It makes it safer when you are in the clean air. The Matomi Wash was good for me so it worked out really well, and this new bike is awesome.” Morgan started the race for the team and handed the bike off to Justin Jones who rode the midsection of the course. “I ran up a couple of whoop sections and up the dry lake bed,” said Jones. “It was really good. The bike was awesome and I had a lot of fun surviving another SCORE San Felipe 250.” Jones then handed the bike off to Mark Samuels who rode to the 310-mile mark before handing it back to Morgan who rode it to the finish line. While the 1X team made winning the SCORE San Felipe 250 look easy, they were challenged by other extremely talented teams of riders. These included the 4X team of Ray Dal Saglio and Troy Vanscourt, and the 66X team lead by Santiago Creel and included Brandon Prieto, Roberto Villalobos, and Massimo Mangini. “We were battling with 66x the whole race but everything went smooth,” said Ray Dal Saglio. We are just a two-man team, we did one rider change. We pushed it hard.” After a long day and a difficult ride, the 4x team managed to finish in second place ahead of the 66x team, giving them all a great starting position for the SCORE Baja 500. For SCORE’s Pro Moto fans, the race will be set up to be a great challenge between these racers who will start off in the first three positions and undoubtedly race to the best of their abilities for the win. Marco Pena Takes Pro Moto Limited The reigning 100x team champions of Pro Moto Limited headed by Santiago Creel were expected to win the class once again, but the team had a setback early in the race. This allowed the 120x team of Marco Pena, Miguel Cordovez, Francisco Teran to take the lead and hold on to it for the class win. The Creel team of Alejandro Sardit and Homero Diaz licked their wounds to come in second place, but they are determined to get back into their championship form at the SCORE Baja 500. “Alejandro started the race and had a great start,” said Santiago Creel. “around race mile mark he hit some whoops that he did not see and he went flying over the motorcycle. This made him reduce his speed until he got to the next stop before handing over the bike to Diaz.” Sardit was okay and got back on the bike at race mile 260 and rode it to the team’s second-place finish. Ironman Riders Duke It Out If the course was one of the most difficult for the many team riders competing this year, imagine how it challenged the Pro Moto Ironman riders. The field consisted of Robert Rael (704x), Jose Armando Carrasco (721x), Michael Skurkis (729x), and Aaron Richardson (739x). Of the four challengers, Richardson managed to have the fastest time and take the class win in a KTM 500EXC-F, followed by Skurkis riding a Husqvarna FE501. Both finished in under 10 hours and approximately only 10-minutes apart. Age Group Classes Show Endurance Some of SCORE’s most impressive riders never lose their passion for competing in Baja. This is evident from the Pro Moto 30, 40, and 50 class winners who were able to endure the longer and more difficult San Felipe course and finish. Ryan Liebelt and the 308x team were one of many, who proved they were up for the challenge. Despite competing against the tough 360x team of Santiago Creel and 2018 Pro Moto 40 Champion Jano Montoya, who now moved into the Pro Moto 30 class this year under the 325x team, Liebelt gathered his crew and proved they can win. Liebelt teamed up with Justin Schutz, and last year’s riders Morgan Crawford and Brandon Wright. “All of us will be together the rest of the year,” said Liebelt. “We are super, super stoked.” Without last year’s champion team Jano Montoya competing in Pro Moto 40, the class narrowed down to three teams in San Felipe. The 444x team of Jason Trubey, the 410x team of Mike Kay, and the 427x team of Oscar Garcia. They soon realized that the San Felipe course would take its toll on them as well as the Pro Moto 50 teams. In the end, Trubey and the 444x team of Dennis Belingheri, Steve Tichenor and Paul, Luce won the Pro Moto 40 Class. In Pro Moto 50, 2018 Champion Giovanni Spinali now sporting the 500x number, finished first, taking the class win. Spinali was aided by riders Earl Roberts, Troy Pearce, and John Griffin. Pro Quad and Sportsman Teams Unphased For the past few seasons, Pro Quad racers have been getting faster and teaming up to challenge two-time Champion Said Sanchez. In San Felipe however, Sanchez in the 1a Honda TRX450R was not about to lose his title. By all accounts, the 1a team of Sanchez, Felipe Velez, Javier Robles Jr., and Christian Vera in their Honda TRX450R ran a great race and started the season with the class win, and are determined for a three-time championship. Finishing in second place was the 21a team of Adolfo Arellano who had to run the entire race solo on his Honda TRX450. “It was 350 miles of terror,” said Arellano. “Our co-rider did not show up at the checkpoint to switch so I had to do his section and finish the race on my own.” Finishing in third was the 22a team of Javier Ibarra, Juan Sanchez, Hector Chaves and Eduardo Marquez on a Honda TRX450. They were followed in fourth place by the 2a team of Don Higbee, Rick Cecco, and Jose Tores in a Can-Am Outlander 1000R. Sportsman Quad racers came out in force with multi-rider teams battling Baja and the longer course. Last year’s champion Danny Magdalena on the 100a Honda TRX450R once again showed they were ready for another and won the class with co-riders Jorge Lopez, Eddie Bareno, Bennie Beltran and Amador Beltran III. Finishing in second place was the 101a team of Ery Sandoval, Imanol Gome, Jesus Torres, Jesus Osuna, and Francisco Espinoza. The 123a team of Ismael Hernandez, Hector Comacho, Cristobal Quezada, Zachary Haward, David Guerro, and Alfredo Rodriguez finished in third place. Sportsman M/C racers also had seven multi-rider teams for a large showing of competitors in San Felipe. Ultimately it was the number 284x team of Shane Schorno, Don Crane, Tyler Evangelista, and Steve Herstad on their KTM 500EXCF that took the class win. Finishing in second place was the 212x team of Carlos Silva, Oswaldo Mancada, Joe Leal, Hector Cardenas, Javier Salazar, and Sergio Silva on a Honda CRF450X. SJ

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