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A TEAM OF HEROES The 11x Team Takes A Patient Approach To A Victory By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo In any form of competition, those who pay attention to mentors with vast experience, gain the knowledge to win in any circumstance. When you combine that knowledge learned with young and aggressive moto riders like Arturo Salas Jr. and Carter Klein, ages 21 and 19, it combined to play a key role that led to their new team’s first SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited win as the HERO 11x team.   Salas Jr. and Klein listened to team owner and multi-time SCORE Pro Moto 50 Champion Giovanni Spinali about the importance of attending the SCORE driver’s meetings and riding a clean race without gathering any penalties. As the King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 played out, the 11x team started in the back of the Pro Moto Unlimited pack. Yet they rode a fast, yet clean race gathering only one VCP penalty. They also stopped along the course to help the downed 25x team rider, along with other teams who did the same. “We rode as clean of a race as possible and crossed the finish line fourth in class,” said Salas Jr. “We knew each minute counted and we had strategized between pits. Carter and I paced ourselves and we wanted to be patient for the first 40 miles, then ride moderate for the next 40, then see where we were at and go full out on the last 40.” As it turned out their patience and clean riding propelled Salas Jr. and Klein to first place, after the other three teams ahead of them unintentionally rode through restricted areas that were outlined during the driver’s meeting. “We were only five to six minutes behind the first team crossing the finish line,” said Salas Jr. “Then the DQs came down from SCORE and we ended up winning.” “We pounded it into their heads about running a clean race and made it a point to attend the SCORE Driver’s Meeting,” said Spinali. “Carter checked his Garmin navigation and verified they had the correct line and I told them to make sure you stay on that same line. In hindsight, I didn’t think it would turn out to be as important as it did.” FORMING THE HERO TEAM Spinali created the HERO team, which stands for Helping Everyone Reach Out, after stepping away from SCORE moto racing in 2023. “In my racing career, we had such a great core group of people from sponsors to chase teams, that we thought we could use all our skills to help young riders who didn’t have the support,” said Spinali. “In addition to that, when we started in 2012, we gave back to orphanages, women’s centers, and local communities in Mexico, and we wanted to continue doing this as part of our commitment. Back then we were the first team where all of the riders were amputees and finished the SCORE Baja 1000. Some of our sponsors manufacture prosthetics and it was such a success that the HERO program continued to evolve, donating food, clothes, and whatever is needed after every race.” After the 2022 SCORE season, when Spinali broke his back, he recovered to come back to win as Rider of Record in the 2023 SCORE Baja 1000. Thinking about the HERO program, he looked for a couple of riders to support. “I had thought about bringing young racers to create the racing team for several months,” he said. “We saw Arturo come up as a great rider through the Salvatierra team and also knew about Klein coming up as a Hare and Hound and motocross champion, as well as being on the Salvatierra team,” said Spinali. “We saw potential in these two young riders and it was a last-minute decision to give them a chance.” Both Salas Jr. and Klein jumped at the opportunity and became the 11x team and proved their skills by taking a fast, yet patient approach to this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250. “I was going to ride with the SLR Honda team late last year but I broke my femur bone in November,” said Salas Jr. “My mentor, former SCORE Pro Moto Ironman Champion, Jose Carrasco helped me out by getting in touch with people and connected me with Gio and being the rider of record for the 11x team.” With some great sponsors such as Baja Bound Insurance, SLR Honda, O’Neal Racing, and Monkey Business, the 11x team had a great start to the 2024 season. The remainder of the 2024 SCORE World Desert Championship season, however, will be tough as the other Pro Moto Unlimited teams will not easily give up any of the next races by making the same mistake. Many, like the 2024 1x champion Chavo Salvatierra, are determined to take or retain the class championship.  SJ

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