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Page 77 of 117

FAST AND CLEAN WINS THE RACE Moto And Quad Classes Stir-Up After Penalties By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Isaac Flores, Ariana Medrano, and Cindy Clark Photos By Get Some Photo Some of the greatest things to witness during a SCORE race are the exhilaration, celebrations, and emotions as teams cross the finish line. But teams can never be sure of the final outcome after all, or any, penalties have been accessed to them. This was the situation at this year’s K&N 4th SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing Fuels in the SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited class. This race had some of the best competition fans had seen in a long time. The 2022 class champion 1x team of Juan Carlos Salvatierra has had a stroke of bad luck all season and at first, it seemed this would continue in this race. The team had an exhaust muffler blow out, which cost them some time, but they managed to fix it and get back on the course. Their time down allowed the 3x team of Ciaran Naran who started before them, to pull further ahead, followed by the 11x team of Arturo Salas Jr., who also started ahead of the 1x team, to create a larger gap. At the finish line, it was Naran, Salas Jr., and Salvatierra in that order. “We’re happy to be here at the finish line and that everyone is fine, which is the most important thing,” said Salvatierra about the race. “It was a fun race and we had great battles with 3x (Ciaran Naran) and 11x (Arturo Salas Jr). We had some good moments but missed some time fixing our exhaust pipe, but that’s racing. We didn’t give up and we’ll be back for the SCORE Baja 1000.” The 3x team knew the results were still unofficial, but they celebrated anyway on the finsh line ramp.The team included Derek Ausserbauer, Nick Lapaglia, and Forrest Minchinton, all experienced riders and racers who were elated at the unofficial win. Later they discovered that several penalties were applied, pushing them down to fifth place. Despite the loss, Naran and the 3x team were happy to finish and are set for the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. “It was brutal, but we made it happen,” said Naran. “We had close to a five-minute lead, and that was great. It boosted my confidence going into the SCORE Baja 1000. Derek and Nick made us very proud. I’m so stoked for the boys and all the hard work we put into this program.” Co-rider Forrest Minchinton said, “The guys from 11x (Arturo Salas Jr.) kept on us until the end. We had a five-minute gap at one point, but they cut it to thirty seconds. Luckily, Nick was able to get two minutes between us and them. It was close, but it was really fun. We have a lot of respect for those guys– it was a great race.” Arturo Salas Jr. and Clayton Roberts of the 11x team also had penalties applied to their times. Although they physically crossed the finish line second, just behind the 3x team, they ultimately finished ahead of them in fourth place. “It was a fun course. I think that it doesn’t matter what they do with the course; it’s always a challenge to overcome it here in Baja, especially for us in motorcycles. We didn’t have any mechanical issues and had a very good day.” The penalties given to the 3x and 11x teams gave Salvatierra and his riders Shane Logan, Diego Llanos, and Justin Carnes the win. They ultimately had fewer penalties applied and moved into first place in time. “We are very happy with the outcome and it is our third win at the SCORE Baja 400, “ said Salvatierra. “It’s our first victory of the season and we’re very happy to have overcome all the obstacles and we’re ready for a great SCORE Baja 1000 race.” Finishing second in class was the 13x team of Adrian Ortiz who was happy with the final outcome as it was the team’s best finish this season. It also set up the 13x team with a great starting position for the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. With Naran’s finish in this race, he still holds a three-point lead for a class championship. Salvatierra, however, is right behind and said he wants to retain the championship for the 2023 season. Ultimately the outcome at the SCORE Baja 1000 will determine the SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited Championship, but we can bet it’s going to be a difficult race for all moto teams who will be trying to as fast as they can without making mistakes. MONTOYA UNBEATABLE IN PRO MOTO 30 The 2022 SCORE Pro Moto 30 Class Champion continued his winning streak, finishing the race first in class to have one of the few perfect win records this season. Montoya and the 300x team of Kyle Tichenor and David Zarate didn’t have any issues and made the race seem easy. “Fortunately, it was a good race for us,” said Montoya. “We didn’t have any issues with the bike and no major falls, which was great. The entire team did an excellent job and our pit crews were always ready for us. The course was harder than I expected with a lot of whoops and rocks, but that’s Baja. We come here to race on this kind of course.” RAMIREZ TAKES A PRO-MOTO LIMITED WIN After a third-place finish in the SCORE Baja 500 and a second-place finish at the SCORE San Felipe 250, Ely Ramirez and the 114x team finally got their SCORE Pro Moto Limited win. Riding with Alexander Lopez, Marco Guizar, and Manuel Gomez on the Honda CRF450X, the team had a fairly clean race. “The course was fast but technical. It had a lot of rocks and whoops. I thought it was very fun,” said Ramirez. “The bike ran pretty well. We had a couple of small falls, but no issues beyond that.” Finishing behind the 114x team was the 2022 Class Champion Fernando Beltran, and the 100x team consisting of Larry Serna, Luis Flores, Mauri Herrera, and Dilan Avalos. Although it was not the finish they hoped for, Beltran and the team earned enough points to keep them at the top of the class championship points standings. Although they are ahead by only four points, how these two teams finish at the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000 may determine the final championship outcome. ADRIAN INDUSCO WINS IN PRO MOTO 40 With a great win in SCORE Pro Moto 40, Adrian Indusco showed up to his first race of the season, led the race in the first section, and ended up taking the SCORE Baja 400 win. With co-rider Rodolfo Patroc, the 435x team managed a faster time than the 2022 Champion, Ryan Liebelt, and the 400x team, who finished second. “This was a very tough course,” said Indusco about his race. “We had only two riders on our team, and the load was a bit too heavy for us. But we managed to split it in a way that allowed us to race the sections we wanted. We had a very clean race with no errors except for a little fall. We had a tough battle at the start but got to first place at around race mile 100 and never lost our position.” Unfortunately for Liebelt, although they officially finished in second place, the 400x team was not given any points toward the championship, as the Rider of Record did not start or finish the race, which is required by SCORE rules. Liebelt ran from race mile 220 to 350, leaving co-rider Jason Trubey to ride from the course’s start and last sections to finish the race. Until this race, Alirio Amado and the 441x team had won the class in both the SCORE San Felipe 250 and SCORE Baja 500 races. Although Amado finished third, his wins this year solidified his lead in the SCORE Pro Moto 40 class championship points race. Although he has a commanding points lead, Amado must finish at the SCORE Baja 1000 to end a great season. THE KIWI TEAM WINS PRO MOTO 50 Once again, the New Zealand team of Robert Creemers finished the race to officially win three in a row in SCORE Pro Moto 50. The 501x team included Kevin Archer, Wayne Jennings, and Sean Clarke. “It was a great race,” said Clarke. “Robert had a great start, and the entire team did a great job. The course was dusty and rocky, just like always. The bike went really well all day– we had no problems at all.” THE TEACHER SHOWS HOW IT IS DONE The Motocross School instructor, Edgar Cota, had the best race this season, winning the SCORE Pro Moto Ironman class on his No. 723 Gas Gas EX450. Finishing a close race that was separated by two minutes, Cota managed to stay ahead of 2022 class champion Brandon Wright on the 700x Husqvarna FE501. “It was a very fun race and it demanded a lot from us,” said Cota. “I was feeling good from the start and I managed to get to some quads at the crossover. Visibility, however, wasn’t great because of all the dust, and I hit a rock and went down. Brandon (Wright, No. 700x) caught up to me. I managed to catch him but had another fall. After that, I didn’t give up and focused on keeping my pace and getting to the finish line. I spotted Brandon again at about race mile 290, and that gave me more energy to keep pushing– I didn’t stop until the finish line. The bike is a little beat up but made it here.” Wright finished in second place but added to his lead in the chase towards a class championship. “The morning was tough for everybody with all the fog and the moisture in the air; it was messing everybody’s goggles,” said Wright. “I felt it cleared when we got to race mile 77, and everybody started going faster. It was a pretty rough course for most of the day, but I just kept hammering. I couldn’t really settle into a really fast pace, but I found a medium one that worked well for me. It was a good day. The bike was great, and the entire crew did a great job. Everything went to plan, but maybe I just didn’t go fast enough.” Finishing third was the Brazilian rider Fabrico Fuentes on the No. 785x bike. “It was a very demanding and complicated race, but also beautiful,” he said. “I had some issues with the bike, including losing my GPS. I had to go back and find it to keep going. I also had some issues with the fog and had some falls early in the race. I’m very happy to be here and would like to thank SCORE for putting on a challenging, but very safe race.” WARD CONTINUES A WINNING STREAK Taking his third win in SCORE Pro Moto 60 this season, Kevin Ward and the 644x team seem unstoppable. “The start was incredibly dusty with the mud and the fog; it was crazy. I didn’t get any clean air until race mile 60 or so. That’s when I was finally able to start making some moves. We didn’t have any major problems except for Louie hitting a rock by the beach that put a hole in the case. We should have probably finished one hour earlier, but we’re here and that’s great.” Co-rider Louie Franco was the one who put the hole in the case but also managed to fix the Honda CRF450X to help the team get back to the finish. “I broke the case at about race mile 300,” said Franco. “I had some J-B Weld with me, so I just put it all over the case, waited for 20 minutes for it to dry, put oil in it, and kept going. It was a fun ride for most of the time until I saw the helicopters coming with the SCORE Trophy Trucks. I don’t think I have ever run so fast in my life, but they never caught me. I was nervous, it was good motivation.” VELEZ AND LOPEZ UNDEFEATED IN PRO QUAD CLASSES Taking their third win of the season in SCORE Pro Quad, Nicholas Velez, and the No. 1a team are focused on wanting another championship season. “We had a very clean and fun race,” said Velez. “It was a lot of fun out there. The quad dealt very well with the course. We had no issues at all. We prepared very well for the race and it paid off.” Puerto Rico rider Faelly Lopez, on his No. 83a quad, didn’t disappoint by winning his third race of the season in the Pro Moto Ironman class. The popular rider is proving to be a hardcore racer, as not many quad riders want to challenge the 2022 Champion in this very difficult class. “The most difficult moment was around race mile 260 as the quad had some electrical issues and we didn’t know if we would be able to make it to the finish line,” said Lopez. “We had to deal with it for 120 miles. Other than that, everything else went well. The area of Mike’s Sky Ranch (race mile 150) was very hard, but I liked the challenging sections and had a lot of fun with them. Now we’ll prepare for the SCORE Baja 1000.” OFFICIAL FINISHERS PRO MOTO UNLIMITED (400cc or more) (6 Starters, 6 Finishers) 1. 1x Juan Carlos Salvatierra, 42, Bolivia/Shane Logan, 21, Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Diego Llanos, 30, Argentina/Justin Carnes, 25, El Centro, CA, KTM 450SX-F, 08:52:58 (43.30 mph) 2. 13x Adrian Ortiz, 22, Dulzura, CA/Albaro Ortiz, 17, San Diego/Gustavo Gonzales, 22, Valle de las Palmas, MX/Danny Mendoza, San Diego, Honda CRF450X, 9:02:32 3. 15x Eric Holt, 40, Panaca, Nev./Taylor Stevens, 29, Lander, Wyo./Zach Myers, 32, Laveen, Ariz./Brian Whiteside, 31, Farmington, Utah, Husqvarna FC450, 9:17:16 4. 11x Arturo Salas Jr, 20, Chula Vista, CA (Tecate, MX)/Clayton Roberts, 21, Hesperia, CA, KTM 450XCF, 9:34:48 5. 3x Ciaran Naran, 23, Huntington Beach, CA/Derek Ausserbauer, 28, Venice Beach, CA/Forrest Minchinton, 31, Huntington Beach, CA/Nick Lapaglia, 28, Murrieta, CA, Husqvarna FE450, 9:34:56 6. 27x Dayton Meyer, 30, Newhall, CA/Zack Brawner, 29, Phoenix/Drey Lacroix, 29, Phoenix/Danny Fiel, 29, Phoenix, KTM 450XCF, 10:35:00   PRO MOTO 30  (Riders over 30 years old) (3 Starters, 3 Finishers) 1. 300x Jano Montoya, 52, Winter Garden, Fla. (Peru)/Kyle Tichenor, 31, Mesquite, Nev./David Zarate, 35, La Paz, MX, KTM 450EXCF, 9:42:32 (39.62mph) 2. 319x David Smith, 36, Escondido, CA/Nick Lake, San Diego/Don Grigg, San Diego/Ryan Stephens, San Diego/Ivan Delgadillo, San Diego, Honda CRF450X, 11:24:43 3. 377x Joseph Putrino, 38, Oceanside, CA/Anthony Putrino, 36, San Diego/Paul Piccolo, 50, San Diego/Sam Hardy, 34, San Diego, KTM 500EXC, 13:34:49 PRO MOTO LIMITED (less than 450cc) (5 Starters, 4 Finishers) 1. 114x Ely Ramirez, 20, Tecate, MX/Alexander Lopez, 23, Tecate, MX/Marco Guizar, 23, Tecate, MX/Manuel Gomez, 20, Tecate, MX, Honda CRF450X 9:35:12 (40.12 mph) 2. 100x Fernando Beltran, 46, Ensenada, MX/Larry Serna, 27, San Diego/Luis Flores, 21, Mexicali, MX/Mauri Herrera, 24, Ensenada, MX/Dilan Avalos, 17, N. Palm Springs, CA, Honda CRF450X, 10:08:01 3. 102x Steven Abrams, 31, Meridian, Idaho/Patrick Pennington, 34, Lake Elsinore, CA/Kellen Kerbs, 34, Menifee, CA, Husqvarna 450FE, 10:09:58 4. 119x Oscar Garcia, 20, Tijuana, MX/Oscar Garcia Sr, 49, Tijuana, MX, Honda CRF450X, 10:16:12   PRO MOTO 40  (Riders over 40 years old) (3 Starters, 3 Finishers)  1. 435x Adrian Indusco, 51, Tijuana, MX/Rodolfo Patroc, 43, Tijuana, MX, Honda CRF450X, 10:34:56 2. 400x Ryan Liebelt, 43, Reedley, CA/Jason Trubey, 44, Henderson, Nev./JD Triffon, 40, Yamaha WR450F, 10:27:51 (36.76 mph) 3. 441x Alirio Amado, 45, The Woodlands, TX/Enrique Garcia, 47, Monterrey, MX/Jim Jaros, 48, Pennsylvania/Curtis Lisenby, 58, Houston/Manuel Vazquez, 45, Tijuana, MX/Gaston Vazquez, 46, Tijuana, MX, Yamaha WR450F, 13:01:51   PRO MOTO 50  (Riders over 50 years old) (2 Starters, 1 Finisher) 1. 501x Robert Creemers, 58, New Zealand/Sean Clarke, 54, New Zealand/Kevin Archer, 53, New Zealand/Wayne Jennings, 54, New Zealand, Honda CRF450X, 10:04:27 (38.18 mph)   PRO MOTO IRONMAN (Solo Riders) (6 Starters, 5 Finishers) 1. 723x Edgar Cota, 26, San Diego, GasGas EX450, 9:58:13 (38.58 mph) 2. 700x Brandon Wright, 46, Oak Hills, CA, Husqvarna FE501, 10:11:12 3. 785x Fabricio Fuentes, 46, Bolivia, GasGas EC350F, 11:20:36 4. 718x Kurt Steever, 34, Grass Valley, CA, Yamaha YZ450FX, 11:32:39 5. 737x Virgilio Lozano, 42, Monterrey, MX, Honda CRF450X, 11:41:01 PRO MOTO 60  (Riders over 60 years old) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher) 1. 644x Kevin Ward, 61, Longview, TX/Jeff Kaplan, 63, Thousand Oaks, CA/Louie Franco, 60, Sherman Oaks, CA, Honda CRF450X, 11:06:53, (34.61 mph) PRO QUAD  (Open engine displacement) (3 Starters, 3 Finishers) 1. 1a Nicolas Velez, 17, San Felipe, MX/Jose Luis Meza, 26, San Felipe, MX/Felipe Velez, 43, San Felipe, MX, MX, Honda TRX450R, 9:13:29, (41.70 mph) 2. 18a Roberto Villalobos, 34, Tecate, MX, Honda TRX450R, 09:21:41 3. 21a Jose Castro, 28, San Jose del Cabo, MX/Edwin Lopez, 41, Juarez, MX/Emilio Lopez, 17, San Jose del Cabo, MX/Edwin Sanchez, 28, San Jose del Cabo, MX, Honda TRX450R, 11:18:45 PRO QUAD IRONMAN  (Open engine displacement, solo Rider) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher) 1. 83a Faelly Lopez, 40, San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, Honda TRX450R, 14:33:20 (26.43 mph) SPT M/C (10 Starters, 8 Finishers) 1. 249x Armando Ortiz, 19, Tijuana, MX/Joshue Ochoa, 19, Chula Vista, Calif/Andre Enriquez, 22, Mexicali, MX/Ivan Raygoza, 22, Tijuana, MX/Carlos Flores, 19, Tecate, MX, Honda CRF450X, 10:19:25 (36.06 mph) 2. 272x Quetzal Estrada, 27, Ensenada, MX/Rodrigo Mora, 26, Ensenada, MX/Juan Menchaca, 28, Ensenada, MX/Omar Rosas, 28, Ensenada, MX/Julio Pena, 30, Ensenada MX, Honda CRF450X, 10:22:07 3. 257x Luis Rivera, 35, Rosarito Beach, MX/Luis Dominguez Jr, 21, Tijuana, MX/Fabian Amador, 21, Ensenada, MX/Cristian Pando, 23, Los Angeles, Honda CRF450X, 10:32:12 4. 259x Jhoan Sanchez, 37, Mexicali, MX/Christian Sanchez, 40, Mexicali, MX/Marco Geraldo, 37, Mexicali, MX/Ruben Lopez, 37, Mexicali, MX, Frankie Pikrell, 23, San Diego, Kawasaki KX450R, 10:55:07 5. 242x Charles Whistler, 44, Walled Lake, Mich., KTM 450XCF, 11:33:30 6. 291x Andy Cervantes, 18, Mexicali, MX/Daniel Parra, 25, Ensenada, MX/Edgar Michael, 24, Mexicali, MX/Brandon Bunuelo, Mexicali, MX/Cesar Morales, 26, Camalu, MX, Honda CRF450X, 11:48:36 7. 235x Hugo Veilleux, 40, Canada/Michael Keane, 45, San Clemente, CA, KTM XCF450, 13:51:11 8. 233x Juan Montano, 44, El Centro, CA/(ROR-Eluminio Berrelleza, 47, Mexicali, MX)/Alfredo Rentaria, 26, Mexicali, MX/Juan Pablo Montano Jr, 17, El Centro, CA/Jorge Alberto Flores, 38, Mexicali, MX, Honda CRF450X, 15:42:30 SPT QUAD (7 Starters, 6 Finishers) 1. 139a Sergio Jimenez, 21, Valle de Mexicali, MX/Steven Lopez, 21, Juarez, MX/Luis Villa, 21, Ensenada, MX/Ricardo Baeza, 26, La Paz, MX, Honda TRX450R, 9:19:53 (39.89 mph) 2. 105a Francisco Valle, 37, Tecate, MX/Jose Murillo, 33, Tecate, MX/Alexis Murillo, 25, Tecate, MX/Carlos Loam, 26, Tecate, MX/Efren Montoya, 30, Tecate, MX/Sergio Marentes, 30, Rosarito Beach, MX, Honda TRX450R, 9:58:51 3. 138a Jose Hernandez, 19, Juarez, MX/Gabriel Vazquez, 39, Juarez, MX/Aaron Quinones, 19, Juarez, MX/Gabriel Vargas, 43, El Paso, TX/Noe Dominguez, 30, Juarez, MX, Honda TRX450R, 9:59:09 4. 123a Eva Hernandez, 19, Escondido, CA/Lilia Rodriguez, 48, Chula Vista, CA, Honda TRX450R, 11:01:20 5. 187a Jose Gonzalez, 37, Tecate, MX/Erick Talamantes, 23, Tecate, MX, Honda TRX450R, 12:54:01 6. 101a Jerry Ruiz, 35, Rosarito Beach, MX/Hiram Osuna, 32, Rosarito Beach, MX/Adan Galvan, 29, Rosarito Beach, MX/Jose Padilla, 45, Tijuana, MX/Aaron Lopez, 18, Rosarito Beach, MX/Gabriel Crosthwaite, 19, Rosarito Beach, MX, Honda TRX450R, 14:45:10

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