The THR / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F team of Robby Bell, (rider of record), Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson outperformed the factory KTM, a slew of hard chargers and broke factory Honda’s 15 year winning streak to take the victory at the SCORE, Baja 500 in Ensenada Mexico. Steady riding and quick pit stops kept them in front of the 1x Honda team for most of the day. The 4x team overcame every obstacle in their path to put themselves in commanding control in the late stages of the race. When the 1x team pitted for tires late in the race, THR matched their move putting on fresh Dunlop’s while maintaining the gap. THR Motorsports boss Scott Jacobson said before the race that “our time has come” and couldn’t have been more right. We cannot thank Monster Energy, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki and all our other sponsors enough for standing behind us.
The win did not come easy however; Robby Bell got out front right off the start but due to some miscommunication did not see his first pit at race mile 48. He soon realized something was wrong so he scavenged for a splash of gas. The team’s Precision Concepts built Kawasaki motors are a lot closer to what comes directly from the factory than most people think. They are meticulously prepared but far from exotic so they can run on Pemex if necessary. After a few attempts he got some fuel from a fan and set out to reclaim the precious minutes that were lost.
Robby quickly took back some time before David Pearson got on the bike for the run over the summit. David would continue making up time eventually passing for the lead just after the Laguna Salada dry lake bed putting the team back in contention for the win. They stopped for new tires and a fresh air filter getting out 20 seconds ahead but David stretched the gap out again. “When I got on the bike we were 4 minutes behind so I charged as hard as I could,” said David, “If you have even the slightest problem you go from first to third but I never doubted that we could win this thing. Each time we pitted we came back out and put more time on them. It feels good to put an end to Honda’s winning streak and to put Kawasaki back on top.”
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For Steve Hengeveld it was more of the same. “We kept the pressure on all day,” said Steve, “I was pretty determined to stay out front. Running the beach section at 100%, I wore my rear tire down to the threads but it never lost air. Our Monster Energy, Kawasaki was running flawlessly and I knew where all the big rocks were from all the prerunning we did so I was able to just go for it. Our whole team put in a huge amount of effort and it really paid off.”
Robby Bell was humble about the missed pit taking responsibility for the mix-up. “I just knew after a start like that we had to come back and win it, it’s too good of a story,” said Robby, “The suspension on the Monster Energy, Kawasaki KX450F was working great in the whoops, the rocks and through the corners; it was fantastic! We set out to make a statement at every race and all that hard work is paying off. They mounted a charge up the coast towards the end of the race so I had to push hard to the finish but we maintained our lead for the win. It’s great to break Honda’s long winning streak at the 500. It’s nothing personal but it gives me a lot of satisfaction to reach that goal. We knew we had the speed and the prep to get the win for Monster Energy, Kawasaki and Precision Concepts. The bike ran flawless all day and never touched the ground.”
“It’s great to put Kawasaki back on top,” said Mikey Childress, “The whole team has been working hard to get where we are. We spent days down here doing our homework learning every inch of the course. The guys rode great; there was no way we were going to lose.”
Top 5 Results
1. Robby Bell, Menifee/David Pearson/Steve Hengeveld (Kawasaki) 9:11:33
2. Colton Udall/Timmy Weigand/David Kamo (Honda) 9:12:31
3. Kurt Caselli/Mike Brown/Ivan Ramirez/Marc Coma (KTM) 9:18:39
4. Kendall Norman (Honda) 9:49:38
5. Mark Samuels/Ian Young/Matt Eddy/Max Eddy (Honda) 9:58:24