I’ve only had the opportunity to race one other Score race, which was the Baja 1000 a few years ago. Unfortunately we came up a tad short for the win! Scott Jacobson (THR) and I have been talking for a while about getting on board for this race, to team up with Robby Bell and David Pearson, who ride for him. I decided it would be a good fit; both guys race Kawasaki’s, it was a great team, and I also felt like we had a great shot at winning. I spent four days prerunning my section, usually two to three times a day and felt pretty confident with it. The first day Mike Childress and I rode together, and he really helped me out a lot. Then the rest of the time I rode with Steve Hengeveld who was awesome to ride with and definitely helped me out too. They both have way more experience then I do, racing in Mexico, and it was way cool they we there to help me!Race Day:
It was pretty windy just about every day I was here, but when we left the house early in the morning it was still and that’s not what you want to see unless you’re starting first. Robby Bell was starting for our team, and was the third bike off behind Mike Brown and Kurt Caselli. The other team we knew would be right there was going to be the Honda team, which was the sixth bike off (1-bike every 30-seconds). Robby was going to give the bike to me at the 30-mile mark since most of the first section was gnarly whoops. Not too far in to the race, we heard on the radio that 4x had a big crash and was being attended to. We were 4x and this is definitely something you don’t want to hear! Our first thought was how Robby was doing and if there was anyone to help him. I guess he hit a rock that was hidden, which is really easy to do here. It was a high-speed crash and that’s never good. Luckily he was by a road and he had some people right there to help. Mike Childress and Steve Hengeveld had also signed up on the team; just I case something like this happened. Mike was the closest and went and got on the bike, since they were taking care of Robby. I don’t think it was even 6-miles and then Mikey went down and KO’ed himself! I guess he was out and when he came to told some people he needed to get back on the bike. Not sure how it all went down, but Steve wasn’t much further up and stopped Mike and got on the bike. The bike was in bad shape and when he finally made it to mile 30, where I was at, Bob Bell started swapping parts (subframe and exhaust) with the help of Steve, Gomez, and myself. I straightened the front end and helped with what I could. Pretty eventful start to a race and definitely a first for me! While we worked on the bike all the bikes went through and about 15 or so quads before I took off. We were way back on time and now the game plan was to just get points and see how it turns out. The dust was so bad, and places where I would normally be doing 70+ mph I was in first gear. I forgot how bad quads are to pass, and they definitely didn’t want a bike back in front of them. I was making a lot of passes, but most came when I got to the power line road where it was huge whoops for mile and miles! I probably passed around 20-bikes and quads by the time I got to the end. I finally made it to Dave Pearson and left the last two quad guys to pass to him He took off and our rider strategy changed since we were going to have Robby ride the last 100 or so miles to the finish. Steve went down to where Robby would’ve originally gotten back on. Dave put in a great ride and passed a ton of people. Now Steve was back on and for not riding some of these sections he definitely was on it and had a great pace going. I ended up meeting him at the last gas stop and brought it in. It was pretty sketchy since I hadn’t ridden any of this section, but the scariest part was the last 5-miles. The course was literally packed with spectators on each side and a lot of them were still driving in (on the course) and didn’t mind the fact there was a race going on. It was cool to have people cheering me on, but there were a lot of booby traps that they made for us! I just took it easy and made sure I got the bike to the finish! I believe we finished 6th in the Pro class and 8th overall, which is actually pretty good considering how far back we were. The key was to get as many points as possible and have a shot at the 1X plate when the Baja 1000 comes up.
Overall Summary:I’m happy I went down and did this, but was really bummed for Robby! I know he feels really bad and felt he let us down, which he didn’t! That easily could’ve been any of us! I had a blast and really enjoyed everyone down there and it’s something I will for sure remember! No sure if I’ll be doing the Baja 500 or 1000, since they’re both on the same weekend as an Endurocross. We’ll have to see how things are going when we get closer.Results (overall):
1st Kurt Caselli / Ivan Rameriz
2nd Coltan Udall / David Kamo / Timmy Weigand
3rd Mark Samuels / Matt Eddy / Max Eddy
Other Notes:I need to give a big thanks to Scott Jacobson (owner of THR). He put this together and was awesome to work with. They ran a first class operation and I know we all really wanted to pull off the win for him!There were so many people that made this race possible. That’s one thing about these types of races! It takes a huge amount of people to make it happen and it’s for sure a team race (not just the riders). Phil built the awesome race bike with Bob Bell, all the riders, Ty Renshaw for help with pit stuff and practice bikes, all the chase drivers and pit crews.Got off the phone with Robby and it looks like everything came back negative, which is great to hear! I’m sure he’ll be sore for a while, but happy it wasn’t anything bad!
I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so many people crash out and get hurt! I know in the first section where Robby crashed Kurt Caselli even had a big get off, but was lucky enough to be ok and get going again! Timmy Weigand and Quinn Cody both had big crashes too and had to get airlifted back to the states. Timmy looks to be ok, but I know Quinn broke a bone or two (not sure what). This is the first time in a long time that there were so many great teams battling for the win and that probably brought the pace up too! I think the extremely dusty conditions and the hidden rocks in the sand washes didn’t help either! Just hope everyone has a speedy recovery.