Thanks to an interesting rule, SCORE pros Ricky Brabec and Colton Udall can add to their point tallies without even being on hand to race the Baja 500.
A stout field of motorcycle racers are making final adjustments today in anticipation of tomorrow’s 47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500 in Baja California, Mexico, and who will win the race is anyone’s guess.
That’s because the usual suspects, namely defending Baja 500 Ricky Brabec and former winner Colton Udall will not be competing with their respective teams in tomorrow’s race. Due to a scheduling conflict, Brabec will be contesting a round of the SRT/AMA National Championship Hare & Hound Series in Utah on Sunday, and he could not make the trip to Baja. Udall, meanwhile, is half a world away, racing at an event in Australia.
Both men will still be in contention for the points paid for a race win, however, thanks to a rather generous SCORE rule that allows the rider of record to miss one round of the SCORE World Desert Championship yet still collect the points scored by their team. Yeah, we know, that’s a little weird.
While Brabec and Udall will not be racing, their respective Monster Energy/Precision Concepts/THR Motorsports Kawasaki and Ox Motorsports Honda teams are still expected to be the favorites for a Baja 500 win. Brabec’s fortunes will be left to a Precision Concepts team that includes Max Eddy Jr., Justin Morgan and Ian Young, who just happens to be the brother of Colton Udall.
“We’re looking forward to representing Monster Energy, Precision Concepts and THR Motorsports tomorrow,” Eddy Jr., said during today’s customary SCORE Press Conference, with Morgan adding, “I’m just really excited to this 1X team. We’re going to try and bring home a win tomorrow.”
But Morgan’s enthusiasm paled humorously in comparison to Young’s.
“I want to say thanks to Roger Norman and SCORE for putting their best foot forward and for putting an awesome race course together and making it as safe as possible. I’ve been pre-running all week and having a really good time. I want to thank everyone who comes down to support us. There are a lot of people who help us bike guys, and that is very important to us. I want to thank the crew over at CBS Sports for putting together an awesome TV package. I don’t know if you guys saw the last [broadcast] from Baja Sur, but it was absolutely incredible. It almost, pretty much, like watching supercross, and for us that is pretty rad. To be able to go down the coast and pin it on the beaches and slide around, smile and do wheelies on my dirtbike is a dream come true. I’m excited to get this opportunity. It’s a blessing. I’m stoked.”
The Ox Motorsports crew will include team co-owner Mark Samuels along with Ray Dal Soglio and Justin Jones, son of three-time AMA 250cc Motocross Champion Gary Jones. Other entrants to watch in the race will include the Class 30 team of Jim O’Neal, 68, and Mark Winkelman, 56. At 68, O’Neal, the founder and owner of the O’Neal brand of motorcycle racewear, has amassed 42 class wins, more than any other rider in SCORE Baja racing history.
The motorcycles are scheduled to leave the starting line in downtown Ensenada at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning and wind their way around the northern end of the Baja Peninsula before heading south along the Laguna Salada and heading as far south as Valle Del Sol before crossing back over to the Pacific side of the peninsula through Valle de Trinidad and turning north through Endira and heading along the coast briefly. The course then moves back inland through Santo Tomas and returns to Ensenada. The total race distance is 510.58 miles.