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Page 94 of 124

A 100 PERCENT FINISH Nearly All SCORE Pro Moto Classes Finish With Zero Attrition Rate By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Jose Vazquez, and Guilherme Torres Photos by Get Some Photo As the motorcycle riders lined up early in the morning on race day for the BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, the course was still pretty much what they remembered from pre-running it. The racers set out during the cool Baja morning with some of the Pro Moto Unlimited riders returning in about 11-hours. Over the course of the race, nearly every Pro Moto racer finished the grueling 466-mile course with the exception of the Pro Moto 50 class. The first Pro Moto Unlimited racer to cross the finish line was Derek Ausserbauer of the 5x team. Without any other rider in sight, most everyone assumed he had won. The 5x team ride was not without penalties, however, and co-rider Nic Garvin was involved in an accident. After SCORE Officials recalculated their time, the 5x team of Ausserbauer, Garvin, and former Pro Moto champion Colton Udal would finish in third place. Taking first place in class was Jason Alosi on the No. 97x Husqvarna, with co-riders Wyatt Brittner, and Ross Neely. Finishing in second place was Shane Redline (father of SCORE Trophy Truck racer Jax Redline) on the No. 97x Honda. Redline had co-riders Chris Phillips, Phillip Herrera, Larry Serna, and Carlos Pardini helping out. After being pushed to third place, Ausserbauer and the 5x team were still happy to finish on the podium, but not pleased with their performance that cost them the win. “We had to change our plans because Nic (Garvin) was supposed to end the race for us, but he got in a pretty gnarly non-race accident with a non-race UTV when he was going through the mountains on a non-race bike to reach me for a rider change,” said Ausserbauer. “I rode his section also with no pre-running. I was extremely cautious and was checking every corner to make sure I didn’t send myself off a cliff.” Colton Udall rode from race mile 120 to RM 270. “I was changing my wheel and my air filter when my guys told me about Nic’s accident,” said Udall. “I rode like 50 miles trying to figure that out rather than focusing on the race. I was riding to the end of my section, which was race mile 271. Derek got on and he’s the backbone of the team. He’s an ironman and has plenty of experience in riding a few extra miles. His section was from 270 to 400 and then Nic was going to get back on and do the last 66. What we were just trying to be top-notch. That’s how we adjusted– Derek just kept riding. He started the SCORE race season winning the overall as an ironman, so he’s always been at a certain pace. We tried to up his level and give him a smaller section so he could go really, really fast.” PRO MOTO 30 James Justin Shultz took the No.308x Pro Moto 30 team to the team’s first win this season. The team’s Rider of Record was Greg Bardonnex who led the team to a second-place finish in San Felipe. In this race, the 308x team had co-riders Ryan Liebelt, Jason Parsons, Chane Shorno and Morgan Crawford put in a stellar effort for the team. “The course was good. Most of it was the same old trails as usual, but they used a couple of new ones that hadn’t been used in years,” said Crawford. “We got to go 100 miles an hour down a road for like nine miles straight, and that was fun. We’re in for the championships until the SCORE Baja 1000, so we’re definitely coming back for the SCORE Baja 400– and hopefully with the same guys.” In second place was the 325x team of Bryce Stavron, followed by the 320Xx team of Jorge Garcia. All three teams that competed in the SCORE Pro Moto 30 class finished the race. PRO MOTO LIMITED In the Pro Moto Limited class, SCORE fans were expecting to see the 2020 Class Champion Fernando Beltran take another win after their first-place performance in the SCORE San Felipe 250. The team, however, had difficulties on the course and was able to finish in fourth place. The 109x team of Christopher Gil, however, had both the luck and skill on their side on race day, finishing first in class. It was the first win of the season for the team, as they finished fourth in San Felipe. The 106x team of Jorge Ramirez also had some good luck finishing second place, with the 101x team of Ulises Fierro finishing in third place. PRO MOTO 40 Ryan Liebelt in the No. 408x bike made it two wins in a row for the 2021 SCORE season in Pro Moto 40. He, along with co-riders James Justin Shultz, Steve Tichner, Jason Trubey, and Brandon Wright rode their Yamaha WR450F to another class victory. Finishing in second place was the 424x team of William St. Laurent, followed by the 441x team of Alirio Amado. All of the Pro Moto 40 teams finished the race with zero attrition. PRO MOTO 50 With a crew of fast and talented riders, the 510x team of Giovanni Spinali took their second win of the season in Pro Moto 50. Spinali had co-riders John Griffin, Earl Roberts, Troy Pearce, and the 53rd SCORE Baja 500 Grand Marshal Jim O’Neal, riding on his team. “We had a few crashes early but kept the lead the whole race and stretched it out to like a 30-mile win over the second place,” said Spinali. “We had a solid team, a solid ride, and the bike ran great. The course was set up a little differently. Around Melling Ranch (race mile 175), was the worst silt I’ve ridden in a long time. It was four feet deep. I was going through bushes trying to get out of it. It was a short course but probably one of the toughest SCORE Baja 500s I’ve ever raced– it was very technical.” PRO MOTO 60 Jim O’Neal definitely had his hands full at this race, not only for being the Grand Marshal and riding on the winning Pro Moto 50 team, but also as a co-rider for the 628x team of Scott McIntosh who won the class. Other riders on the team included Don Whittington and Jon Johnson riding their Honda CRF450X. This was the second class win in a row for McIntosh who now leads the season in points towards a championship. PRO MOTO IRONMAN SCORE fans celebrated at Edgar Cota on the 723x GasGas when he crossed the finish line first in the Pro Moto Ironman class. SCORE officials thought otherwise, however, applying penalties that pushed his finishing position down to third place. That left Juan Carlos Salvatierra on the 725x KTM winning his first race of the season. The Bolivian rider won the 2020 SCORE Baja 1000 in the class and finished second in San Felipe this year. “ It was a really close battle with Edgar,” said Salvatierra. “The silt section was interesting. I’m kind of used to it from racing Dakar, so it wasn’t that difficult for me, but the rocky sections were the most difficult. I also had my first crash in Baja today, but luckily it wasn’t really hard – no damage for me or the bike. I’d like to thank my sponsors and all the people from Bolivia, Mexico, and Latin America who were watching and supporting me.” The Bolivian riders took first and second place with Fabricio Fuentes on the 785x KTM. For Cota, it was not the race he wanted, but with his win in San Felipe, he still has a chance towards a class championship. “It wasn’t the clean race we wanted,” said Cota. “We had some problems in our first pit as my backend blew out and came apart. After that, I started riding an hour late and had a lot of work to do. I started catching my opponents at Mike’s Sky Ranch (race mile 150) and passed Juan (Juan Carlos Salvatierra, No. 725x), the last of them, in Santo Tomas (race mile 400). I never looked back and went all the way to the finish.” PRO QUAD It seemed like a fast race for the Pro Quad teams, most of whom finished the 466-mile course in a little over 12-hours. First across the finish line was the 1a team of Jose Luis Velez from San Felipe, who rode the race solo. Finishing in second was the 18a team of Roberto Villalobos from Tecate, with co-riders Josh Row, Javier Robles, and Francisco Vera. Finishing third in class was the 3a team of Rodrigo Mora with co-riders Arturo Mora, Jesus Osuna, and Jorge Recio. SPORTSMAN M/C Within the Sportsman class, Carlos Guereca on the 215x Yamaha YZ450X finished first with co-riders Carlos Castillo, Ramon Chavez, Victor Cardenas, and Juan Valencia. Finishing in second place was the 201x team of Scott Borden, Casey O’Donnell, Dan Mastrude, and talon Mastrude. In third place was the 220x team of Stefano Migotto, David Greundwald, Ron Wingington, Doug Monin, and Wes Plunkett. SPORTSMAN QUAD A total of eleven teams participated at this year’s SCORE Baja 500, and among them, the 118a team of Humberto Valenzuela won the class with his team, Ivan Mejorado, Jesus Ramirez, and Jorge Martinez. Finishing second was the 112a team of Daniel Gaytan, Gilberto Perez, Carlos Servando, Jose Enriquez, Danny Magdaleno, and Chris Avalos. In third place was the 129a team of Sergio Gutierrez Jr, with Luis Delfin, Juan Gonzalez, Hector Chaves, Ramon Torres, and Joel Rubalcava. SJ

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