The THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F-mounted trio of Robby Bell (the Rider of Record), Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson heads into the 44th Tecate/SCORE Baja 500 on Saturday, June 2, confidently riding a wave of momentum that promises to see them challenging three factory-backed teams for the overall victory.
Pearson, of course, won the recent Cherry Creek National hare & hound in Utah. That marked his first series triumph since winning the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series opener last year and catapulted him into the series points lead for the first time; he now has a fairly comfortable margin over the injured Kurt Caselli of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team with three rounds remaining after the traditional summer break, 142-120.
That same weekend saw Bell take his first podium at the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) with a 2-2 score in California. He’s a close sixth in points with four rounds left.
After that successful weekend, the team turned its attention entirely on Baja and began the long days of pre-running aboard its fleet of KX450Fs. “The team has a bunch of Kawasakis that we use to pre-run the course,” THR Motorsports boss Scott Jacobson shares. “Thanks to Kawasaki, it makes the countless hours of pre-running so much nicer. That way, we can keep the race bike–prepped by Bob Bell at Precision Concepts–nice and fresh for the race. We also have a bike for Mikey Childress to ride; he’s been down [in Baja] riding with the guys and helping to map the course.”
The 4X machine will be the third bike to leave the line on race morning, and starting that far up in the order of Class 22 competitors, it’s critical to know the course well. If you get out to an early lead–something the team expects to do–it’s easy to either get lost or lose time if you haven’t done your homework by pre-running extensively.
“We’ve done the hard work getting the bike just right, laying out the pit strategy and learning the course,” Jacobson declares. “Now we just have to execute. We feel that our time has come; we’re ready!”
If you’re in Ensenada before the race, stop by the THR Motorsports compound in the parking lot of the Las Palmas Hotel to say hello and pick up the team’s latest hero card. After the race, we hope to be celebrating in the winner’s circle.