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Page 105 of 117

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Four-Wheel Classes Finish A Tough And Dusty Course By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Isaac Flores, Ariana Medrano, and Cindy Clark Photos By Get Some Photo Many of the four-wheel classes at this year’s K&N 4th SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing Fuels, had a very tough time on the technical and dusty course. Many classes had only half or even one racer that was able to survive the Baja desert and cross the finish line. One of the leaders was in Class 7, the veteran Dan Chamlee, who has 18 Class 7 Championship under his belt, is an example of perseverance and managed to finish first, putting himself in the lead towards a possible 19th championship. While Chamlee made it seem easy, he overcame several problems on the course. “There was some dirt, rocks, and bumps out there. We had a good race once we were moving, but lost the transmission at race mile nine,” said Chamlee. “It was a new transmission and the back half of the case cracked off! We had to change it, and as soon as we got going, we broke a brake line. For the last half of the race, we had no turbo pressure, so I was driving on all motor and didn’t have as much power as I am used to; but it was enough. It wouldn’t be a SCORE Baja race if there wasn’t something to make it difficult for you.”  A LONG DAY FOR OSCAR ALVAREZ In the SCORE Lites class, the No. 1211 car of Oscar R. Alvarez managed to get through the tough course for the class win. He attributes the win to his prep team and co-driver Doug Satterfield who is a veteran of Baja racing. “We have a really good team, starting with the shop, prep, and coming all the way to the drivers,” said Alvarez. “Doug is a SCORE champion for a reason, every time he gets behind the wheel, he brings it home. We worked on the suspension and the engine for this race and it worked very well for us. Our pre-running was very good and we were able to replicate it during the race.” Satterfield also enjoyed the race and the performance of the car. “We tried to make of this a positive SCORE Baja experience,” he said. “We were the only ones in the class, so we just wanted to make sure we had a good time and brought the car across the finish line, which we did. This is our third race together and we’ve been making great improvement all the way around. The car was ready before the race, so we could run and test it, and that was huge.” Alvarez and the 1211 team now have a commanding lead in the SCORE Lites class, needing only to finish the SCORE Baja 1000 for the class championship. “We’re the only ones gunning for the Championship,” said Satterfield. “So we just have to show up for the SCORE Baja 1000 and we’re locked in.” PAVOLKA RISES TO THE TOP The course also proved to be difficult for the 1/2 1600 Class racers, with only Eric Pavolka (DOR) and co-driver Travis Reese in the No 1625 car finishing the race to win the class. Three other competitors had difficulties on the course and did not finish. “It was rough, as usual. My section was challenging, but a lot of fun,” said Pavolka. “I didn’t have a GPS and that made it a bit hard for me to find my way here. The car did great, I didn’t have any problems in my section. Travis had some issues early on, but got through them.” BUG CLASSES BEAT THE COURSE Class 5 racer Eli Yee is determined to have a perfect season and win the class championship. He and co-drivers Eli Yee Jr., and Angel Barajas worked together to finish and continue their winning streak. “It was our third victory in three SCORE races this year and we’re very happy,” said Yee. “This was also the first time my son got to drive in a SCORE race. It’s Mexico’s Independence Day and that makes it more special. Last year we won three out of the four SCORE races and now we’ll try to go four out of four at the SCORE Baja 1000.” Because the course took out so many competitors this race, no one expected to see a Class 11 finish. Nonetheless, Oliver Flemate in the No. 1105 car finished first in class, followed by Eric Brands in the No. 1143 Baja Vida car finished second. It was an amazing race for both of these competitors who had to maneuver around obstacles dug up by all the other classes ahead of them and both teams were ecstatic when they crossed the finish line. For Flemate, this was their third SCORE victory this season, putting them well ahead in points towards the class championship. “We are so happy to have won the SCORE Baja 400, it was a very tough race,” said Flemate. “It was very technical and we saw a lot of accidents out there. It was a really tough course and I found it more difficult than the one of the SCORE Baja 500, but we made it. And we started all the way back in 36th. We built the car in our shop here in Ensenada and it took us a lot of effort to get it done.”  The Baja Vida team tried to make no mistakes on the course and it paid off in this race. “We had a good run, were in second for most of the time,” said Brandt. “We had a good clean run, no mistakes, nice and easy, just taking care of the car. The final section was a challenge because the course was completely chewed up. It’s not a ‘give me’ when you get close to the finish, you have to keep going. We didn’t have any major issues with the car and our BFGoodrich Tires held great.”  The starting positions are now set for the final race of the season, the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by K&N. As most SCORE fans know, this is a special race for the 50th Anniversary of SCORE International, where the race will begin in La Paz, Mexico, and end in Ensenada, Mexico. It’s the first time this has happened in SCORE history and many racers are wanting to be a part of this event. As for the winners in the SCORE Baja 400, they get to start first, but the 1,310.94-mile course will determine who the victors will be in November.  OFFICIAL FINISHERS CLASS 7 (unlimited, six-cylinder, production appearing trucks or SUVs) (2 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 700 Daniel Chamlee, 61, San Felipe, MX (Montecito, CA), Ford Ranger, 14:04:53 (27.32 mph) SCORE LITES (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc) (1 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 1211 Oscar R. Alvarez, 47, McAllen, Texas/Doug Satterfield, 46, San Diego, CA, OSO, 12:03:11 (31.91 mph) CLASS 1/2-1600 (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc) (4 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 1625 Eric Pavolka, 54, Sonoita, AZ./Travis Reese, 47, Sun Valley, ID, Foddrill, 13:10:24 (29.20 mph) CLASS 5  (Unlimited Baja Bugs, VW concept engines allowed) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher) 1. 511 Eli Yee, 49, Tijuana, MX/Eli Yee, Jr., 17, Tijuana, MX, Jake’s-Chevy, 10:21:32, (37.13 mph) CLASS 11  (stock VW sedans, safety modifications) (372.24 miles) (4 Starters, 2 Finishers) 1. 1105 Oliver Flemate, 45, Ensenada, MX/Antonio Espinoza, 29, Ensenada, MX, 11:59:53 (31.02 mph) 2. 1143 Eric Brandt, 48, El Centro, CA/Tim Sletten, Palm Springs, CA/Clyde Stires, 69, Irvine, CA, 13:27:33

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