As if the trio of Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson wasn’t strong enough, now Destry Abbott will bring even more firepower to the THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki squad, aiming not just for the race win at the 45th Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000 but the overall motorcycle championship in the SCORE Desert Championship Series.
A mere six points separate the three teams fighting for SCORE’s Class 22 title. The FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team–winner of the San Felipe 250 and third at the Baja 500–leads with 146. Johnny Campbell Racing Honda–runner-up at both–is second with 144 and THR–sixth at San Felipe due to a crash early in the race–is third with 140 after winning the 500. That was no easy feat, with some early mistakes setting the team back a bit, but it rebounded to overcome the Honda group and hand the Red Riders their first Baja 500 defeat in 15 years.
Though he’s not widely associated with Baja racing, desert veteran Abbott is no stranger to competing south of the border. In fact, he helped the team rebound at San Felipe after a crash put the team far behind almost from the start.
His teammates believe they have all the tools necessary to complete their Cinderella season and pull out the championship aboard their KX450F prepared meticulously by Bob Bell of Precision Concepts.
While a little luck one way or the other can make a big impact, especially in one of the “peninsula runs” like this year’s 1000, the team relies primarily upon exhaustive pre-race preparation and trying to anticipate all likely contingencies. Due to the huge logistical challenges posed by these point-to-point long sprints from Ensenada to La Paz, SCORE usually only holds them every three years. This year’s edition is approximately 1122 miles with some new ground added to the 2010 course and some relatively last-minute variations to accommodate recent weather impact.
Bikes will begin the trek at 6:30 A.M. on Thursday, November 15, one bike taking the green flag every 30 seconds. The number 8X KX450F flying the THR colors will be the seventh bike to leave, sandwiched by the KTM (which is fourth) and Honda (which is 10th). The course will take racers on a tour of nearly every notable site in Baja from both coastlines to San Felipe to Coco’s Corner, Bahia de Los Angeles, San Ignacio, Loreto, Ciudad Insurgentes and many, many more. The winning team is expected into La Paz around midnight after some 18 or so hours of hard, unpredictable racing.
“You can never underestimate anything that’s going on [down there],” Pearson insists. “You’ve got to be on your toes and be ready for whatever comes at you.”
Robby Bell observes, “There really isn’t much separating the three teams, and it seems most people have their favorite. Calling a winner in a race where the only guarantee is that anything and everything will happen is like betting on the roulette wheel, and I, like everyone else, can’t wait to get down there and let it all play out. Viva Mexico!”