After leading the 50th Anniversary BF Goodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 all day, the 45X Honda CRF450X of Francisco Arredondo/Ty Davis/Max Eddy, Jr./Shane Esposito/Justin Morgan apparently had enough. It started making unnerving sounds from the gearbox; fifth gear was barely useable, greatly limiting top speed in a race where top speed is a valuable commodity.
Did they have enough of a lead to stay in front with a couple hundred miles left?
The good thing was, they didn’t have to win the race to win the SCORE World Desert Championship for the first time. After losing round one—the San Felipe 250—they’d won the next two rounds and went into the golden anniversary of the world’s oldest and perhaps most famous desert race with a comfortable points lead.
Reigning SCORE Desert World Champions Justin Jones/Ryan Penhall/Mark Samuels/Colton Udall/Ian Young had a year marred by bad fortunes, starting with Udall getting hurt twice at the end of last year and putting him out for most of this season. The SCORE Baja 1000 would be his first race back since before last year’s 1000 where he suffered his first injury the week before, with David Kamo drafted at the last minute to help the team win.
For much of this year’s SCORE Baja 1000, it appeared as though the Bonanza Plumbing/Monster Energy/Ox Motorsports 1X Honda squad would have to settle for second place in both the race and series as early problems dropped them about 30 minutes behind the Bremen/Arredondo/Haines Racing Honda.
Then the 45X’s transmission began failing.
On the other hand, the 1X machine put any problems behind them and began reeling in their rivals. When Young got on the bike near sundown, he drew inspiration from that fact and 75 miles from La Paz, he passed Morgan for the lead.
Udall started on the 1X and rode to race mile 110. Justin Jones rode from race mile 110 to 303. Udall rode from race mile 303 to 524. Samuels rode from race mile 524 to 785. Penhall rode from race mile 785 to 935. Young rode to the finish. Winning a race as big as the Baja 1000 for the first time is a big deal. Coming from behind to win the 50th SCORE Baja 1000 is a huge deal, and the 23-year-old Young was elated when he roared up to the finish line.
Young comes from a family that’s been promoting speedway races in Southern California since the 1970s, and he’s learned that racers are basically entertainers, so when he rode up to the finish platform (located well after the actual finish line), he responded to his emotions and tried to make a little
jump out of it. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize the metal ramp was slick with dew and he crashed, his bike hitting several people on the ramp and leaving one with a broken leg.
It took a few minutes for Morgan to nurse his bike to the finish, the team disappointed at losing the race but somewhat relieved that second was good enough to wrap up the series championship. However, SCORE officials later penalized the 1X team for Young’s incident, adding 30 minutes to their time, which was enough to drop them to second place with a time of 21 hours, 26 minutes and 47 seconds. Thus, Arredondo’s 21:07:17 was good enough to win both the race and SCORE championship. Samuels and the 1X team settled for second in both.
“We knew it was going to be a fight for us,” Arredondo said. “It is really special, the 50th anniversary, and we really gave it all to try and win. We tried to stick to our plan the whole time and were surprised in some places where we made up time. We had some problems with the transmission at the end which made us worried. We didn’t know if the bike was going to hold up from Loreto to the finish and Justin had to adjust his riding at the end. We knew it was going to be a fight and we had a good lead but that changed.”
“I had a lot of issues with the transmission on this bike.,” he said. “I’m surprised it actually finished. We didn’t really get out of fourth [gear] too much coming in after Santa Rita. It [the transmission] was pretty much toast and making a bunch of noise so that was my main issue. It was a really gnarly course, and I’m tired after being on the bike for six hours. I left it all out there for sure.”
The second Bonanza Plumbing/Monster Energy/Ox Motorsports entry of Derek Ausserbauer/Ray Dal Soglio/Travis Frolich/Bryce Oxley/Arik Swain, the 3X Honda, ended up third overall at the SCORE Baja 1000 in 23:02:10 followed by Arredondo’s 44X “B” team (Arredondo/Tommy Harris/Brad Millikan/Grant Statley/Troy Vanscourt) in 23:43:05. The 33X Garrett Off-road Racing/STI/IMS CRF450X of Skyler Howes/Garrett Poucher/Schuyler Schoonmaker/Michel Valenzuela took fifth overall bike and fifth Pro Moto Unlimited in 24:03:37.
“It feels good to be here, and I rode like a madman,” Dal Soglio said of the 3X team’s effort. “I got the bike in fourth place and 20 minutes down and rode like a madman until I got it into third. The whups were gnarly, and I just kept pushing through, and I kept seeing more and more dust. Sure enough, I saw them [the third place motorcycle] pulled over and never saw them again. I want to dedicate the race to my [late] sister, Dana, because I had quite a few sketchy moments but I made it through them all, and I have her to thank for that. The Honda is just the ultimate bike down here. This is probably the straightest and best running bike I was ever handed at a 1000-mile race. I’ve got to thank my teammates for not crashing it.”
Max Drew/rider of record Carlin Dunne/Chris Eberz/Steven Hatch/Forrest McIntosh on the 55X CRF450X, finished the SCORE Baja 1000 with a time of 25:12:07. Pro Moto 40 winners Jeff Kawell/Rider of Record Jano Montoya/Alberto Ruiz/Kirk Russell/Francisco Septien on the 400X KTM 450 XC-W came home with a time of 26:56:08. Pro Moto 30 winners Greg Bardonnex Kris Kilbride/ Rider of Record Ryan Liebelt/Andrew Pucket/Justin Schultz/Brandon Wright finished in 27:13:30. Pro Moto 50 winners Lou Franco/Chris Goolsby/Record Robert Gates/Bob Johnson/Mike Johnson/Jeff Kaplan/David Potts/Doug Smith/Steve Williams on the 549X CRF450X crossed the line in 27:29:46. Pro Moto 50 runners-up Kevin Archer/Sean Clark/Rider of Record Robert Creemers/Pete Heard/Doug Herbert (all from New Zealand) on the 515X CRF450X (28:40:51) rounded out the top 10 bikes overall.
2017 SCORE World Desert Championship
50th Anniversary BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000
Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Official Results: November 16-18, 2017 (1134.40 miles)
PRO MOTO UNLIMITED (450cc or more)
1. 45x Francisco Arredondo, 40, Guatemala/Shane Esposito, 43, Temecula, Calif./Justin Morgan, 27, El Cajon, Calif./Max Eddy Jr, 33, Barstow, Calif./Ty Davis, Oak Hills, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 21:07:17 (53.71 mph).
2. 1x Mark Samuels, 28, Yucca Valley, Calif./Colton Udall, 31, San Clemente, Calif./Justin Jones, 25, Temecula, Calif./Ryan Penhall, 30, Corona, Calif./Ian Young, 23, San Clemente, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 21:26:47.
3. 3x Ray Dal Soglio, 26, Scottsdale, Ariz./Derek Ausserbauer, 24, Santa Ynez, Calif./Arik Swain, Santa Cruz, Calif./Bryce OxleySan Clemente, Calif./Travis Frohlich, Santa Barbara, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 23:02:10.
4. 44x Justin Morgan, 27, El Cajon, Calif./Grant Stately, 22, La Jolla, Calif./Tommy Harris, Torrence, Calif./Troy Vanscourt, Norco, Calif./Brad Millikan, Mill Creek, Ariz./Francisco Arredondo, 40, Guatemala, Honda CRF450X, 23:43:05.
5. 33x Garrett Poucher, 34, Valencia, Calif./Michel Valenzuela, Tijuana, Mexico/Skyler Howes, St. George, Utah/Schuyler Schoonmaker, San Diego, Honda CRF450X, 24:03:37.
6. 55x Carlin Dunne, Santa Barbara, Calif./Steven Hatch, 48, Flagstaff, Ariz./Chris Eberz, Kanab, Utah/Forrest McIntosh/Max Drew, Honda CRF450X, 25:12:07; 7. 35x Nick Gust, 29, Pescadero, Calif./Don Campbell, 29, Daly City, Calif./Charlie Walters, 45, Pacifica, Calif./Alejandro Herrera, 18, Ensenada, Mexico/Raul Ortega Jr, 18, Ensenada, Mexico, KTM 450XCF, 30:41:39.
8. 66x Santiago Creel, 31, Mexico City, Mexico/Eric Yorba, 23, Rosarito, Mexico/Roberto Villalobos/Massimo Mangini/Brandon Prieto/Ivan Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico, KTM 500EXC, 36:45:08.
(8 Starters, 8 Finishers)
PRO MOTO LIMITED (449cc or less)
1. 160x Santiago Creel, 31, Mexico City, Mexico/Massimo Mangini, Italy/Larry Serna, Tijuana/Gerardo Rojas, San Quintin, Mexico/Alberto Heredia, Ensenada/Eric Rene Mangana, San Isidro, Calif., KTM 300EXC, 30:42:13 (36.95 mph).
2. 119x Matt Miller, 50, Los Gatos, Calif./Phil Shuyler, 35, Los Gatos, Calif./John Wear, 34, Los Gatos, Calif., Honda CRF250X, 30:48:48.
3. 166x Santiago Creel, 31, Mexico City, Mexico/Massimo Magini/Rene Magana/Ricardo de la Pena/Alberto Heredia/Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico, KTM 350EXC, 30:56:55.
4. 125x Fernando Beltran, 41, Ensenada, Mexico/Emanuel Verdugo, 34, Ensenada, Mexico/David Zarate, 28, Los Cabos, Mexico/Rigoberto Gomez, 28, Ensenada/Jorge Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico/Sammy Maltavan, 24, San Diego, Yamaha YZ250, 32:57:28.
5. 114x Rodolfo Patron, 37, Tijuana, Mexico/Phillip Jaramillo, 19, Tijuana, Mexico/Marco Maclish, 19, El Rosario, Mexico/Juan Marquez, 39, Chula Vista, Calif./Julio Ramirez, 28, Chula Vista, Calif./Francisco Diaz, 17, La Paz, Mexico, KTM350, 41:42:27.
(SCORE Baja 1000: 7 Starters, 5 Finishers)
PRO MOTO 30 (Riders over 30 years old)
1. 300x Ryan Liebelt, 37, Reedley, Calif./Brandon Wright, 40/Justin Schultz, 36, Lake Forest, Calif./Greg Bardonnex, 43, Visalia, Calif./Andrew Pucket, 35/Kris Kilbride, 45, Yamaha WR450, 27:13:30 (41.67 mph).
2. 333x Chad Thornton, 46, Farmington, N.M./Salvador Hernandez, 33, Ensenada, Mexico/Dennis Belingheri, 47, Reno, Nev./Steve Tichnor, 42, Reno, Nev./Jason Trubey, 43, Henderson, Nev./Kevin Johnson, 42, Boulder City, Nev., KTM 500XCW, 30:16:08.
3. 360x Santiago Creel, 31, Mexico City, Mexico/Enrique Fuhrken, 37, Mexico City/Jesus Zavala, 38, Valle de Bravo, Mexico/Patrick Reyes, 38, Mexico City/Antonio de la Vega, 39, Mexico City/Jose Pelayo, 34, Mexico City, KTM 500EXC, 30:48:00.
4. 306x Scott Miller, 42, Gilbert, Ariz./Eric Zite, 50, Gilbert, Ariz./Jeremy Stevens, 36, Gilbert, Ariz./Eric Breien, 34, Owasso, Okla., Husqvarna FE501, 33:54:46.
5. 305x Curtis Yanzick, 40, Cataldo, Idaho/Paul Husbauer, 35, Hillsboro, Ore./Milo Linville, 59, Damacus, Ore./Garrett Yanzick, 34, Selah, Wash./Eric Berard, 41, Winter Garden, Fla./William St. Laurent, 43, Winter Park, Fla., Husqvarna FE501, 35:40:58.
(SCORE Baja 1000: 6 Starters, 5 Finishers)
PRO MOTO 40 (Riders over 40 years old)
1. 400x Jano Montoya, 46, Winter Garden, Fla./Francisco Septien, 42, Ensenada, Mexico/Jeff Kawell, 45, Riverside, Calif./Alberto Ruiz, 42, Ensenada, Mexico/Kirk Russell, 47, Los Barriles, Mexico, KTM 450XCW, 26:56:08 (42.12 mph).
2. 420x Mike Barnhill, 52, El Cajon, Calif./Freddie Willert, 48, El Cajon, Calif./Chad Houck, 48, San Marcos, Calif./Eric Hingeley 48, Clairmont, Calif./Jeff Quade, 51, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico/Mike Tiffant, 50, Encinitas, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 28:42:15.
3. 477x Francisco Beltran, 46, Aventura, Fla. (La Paz, Mexico)/Sergio Vega, 49/Ulises Fisher, 46/Abelino Montoya, 40/Antonio Salmon, 46, Husqvarna FE501, 28:43:04.
4. 411x Colie Potter, 49, Las Vegas/David Glass, Hemet, Calif./Paul Luce, 43, Albuquerque, N.M./Steve Malley/Mike Bellar/Jason Miller, Honda CRF450X, 29:28:59.
5. 497x Erick Sanchez, 46, San Diego (Mexico)/Oscar Garcia, 43, Tijuana, Mexico/Jorge Langridge, 51, Mexico/Guillermo De la Herran, 42, Tijuana, Mexico/Jorge Medina, 42, Tijuana, Mexico/Alejandro Diaz, 44, La Paz, Mexico, Husaberg 501, 31:33:16.
6. 407x Bruce Anderson, 62, Riverside, Calif./Capt. Scott McCune, 47, Round Rock, Texas/Tony Wilkinson, 45/Shane Scott, 53/Marty Heitmann, 50/Matt Webber, 48, Honda CRF450X, 37:24:07.
(SCORE Baja 1000: 7 Starters, 6 Finishers)
PRO MOTO 50 (Riders over 50 years old)
1. 549x Robert Gates, 75, Victorville, Calif./Lou Franco, 54, Simi Valley, Calif./Jeff Kaplan, Thousands, Calif./Mike Johnson/Bob Johnson/David Potts/Chris Goolsby/Steve Williams, 59/Doug Smith, Upland, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 27:29:46 (41.26 mph).
2. 515x Robert Creemers, 53, New Zealand/Sean Clark, 50, New Zealand/Pete Heard, 53, New Zealand/Doug Herbert, 50, New Zealand/Kevin Archer, 50, New Zealand, Honda CRF450X, 28:40:51.
3. 510x Giovanni Spinali, 51, El Cajon, Calif./John Griffin, 51, Hillcrest, Calif./Earl Roberts, 55, Mexicali, Mexico/Troy Pearce, 50, Ramona, Calif./ Brian Bontekoning, 51, South Africa/Graham Maclachlan, 50, South Africa, Honda CRF450X, 30:50:57.
4. 516x Scott Atchison, 55, Bakersfield, Calif./Greg Hauser, 54, Shell Beach, Calif./Robby Kennedy, 54, Newhall, Calif./Harold Harris, 54, Reedly, Calif./Manny Ornellas, 54, Redding, Calif./Jimmy Somes, 55, Riverside, Calif., Honda XR650R, 30:56:17.
5. 521x Bill Wheeler, 57, Pleasanton, Calif./Jim Libby, 63, Anchorage, Alaska/Tim Sherwin, 59, Loma Linda, Calif./Ken Hilgendorf, 58, Los Angeles, Husqvarna FX450, 30:56:46.
6. 500x Marty Gomez, 57, Randsburg, Calif./Flipper Manchester, 54, Reno, Nev./George Pennington, 50, Denver/Tim Gomez, 60, Long Beach, Calif./Lance Schoonmaker/Mark Winkelman, 58, Cedar Hill, Texas/Rick Emerson, Honda CRF450X, 32:43:51.
7. 550x Bill Sekeres, 56, Santa Clarita, Calif./Mike Prunty, 55, Temecula, Calif./Mike Garvin, 52, Ladera Ranch, Calif./Kevin Ward, 55, Chatsworth, Calif./Daren Heft/Alan Difatta, Agua Dulce, Calif./Craig Wear, 58, Carson City, Nev., Honda CRF450X, 34:26:30.
8. 556x Don Blake, 62, Mission Viejo, Calif./Mike Booth, San Diego/Richie Hudson, Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Steve Underwood, Springfield, Mo./Matt Woody, Grand Lake, Colo./Pat White, Bellingham, Wash., Husqvarna 501, 35:57:37.
9. 505x Daniel Argano, 52, San Luis Obispo, Calif./Robert Eaton, 53, San Luis Obispo, Calif./Scott Hayes, 54, San Luis Obispo, Calif./Tony Zabala, 53, Los Osos, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 42:05:27.
(SCORE Baja 1000: 9 Starters, 9 Finishers)
PRO MOTO IRONMAN (Solo Riders)
1. 715x Jeff Benrud, 47, Raeford, N.C., Honda CRF450X, 30;37:13 (37.05 mph).
2. 729x Michael Skurkis, 40, Henderson, Nev./KTM 500XCW, 31:48:28.
3. 721x Jose Carassco, 27, Rosarito Beach, Mexico, Suzuki RMZ450X, 35:11:14.
4. 740x Boe Huckins, 38, Jackson, Wyo., KTM SXF450, 36:20:50.
5. 778x Mike Crawford, 39, Phoenix, KTM 500EXC, 39:59:30.
6. 712x Eddie Meek, 36, England, KTM 450EXC, 43:01:31.
(SCORE Baja 1000: 19 Starters, 6 Finishers)
PRO MOTO 60 (Riders over 60 years old)
1. 609x Donald Lewis, 74, Manchester, Conn./Richard Jackson, 71, Acton, Calif./ Mike Castro, 64, Apple Valley, Calif./Max Christensen, 64, Sun Valley, Calif./Guy Laycraft, 60, Canada/Larry Engwall, 63, Santana, Calif./Kirk Heintz, Tulare, Calif./Robert Koch, 63, Leona Valley, Calif./George Yates, Irvine, Calif./Jim Meyers, Honda CRF450X, 34:47:41 (32.60 mph).
(SCORE Baja 1000: 2 Starters, 1 Finisher)
For more results, visit http://score-international.com.