The top pro motorcycle teams joined the Trophy Truck and car teams in Ensenada today for the traditional press conference prior to the start of every Tecate Score Baja 1000. The only difference is that, this time, after finishing their various speeches and interviews, the motorcycle guys had to switch into full race mode for tonight’s scheduled 11 p.m. motorcycle and ATV class start. In light of the race schedule, attendance by the riders was sparse. Here is what they had to say.

FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM team manager Antti Kalonen (left) and Kurt Caselli (right).

FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM team manager Antti Kalonen (left) and Kurt Caselli (right).

FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM

Antti Kalonen, Team Manager: “I have Kurt Caselli with me today. Unfortunately the rest of the riders are on the course, getting ready for tonight’s start. We have Kurt starting today for the first part of the night section, and then Kendall Norman will get on in San Felipe for the rest of the night section. Then Mike Brown is going to get on the bike, and we’re going to have a couple more riders along the way, taking the shorter sections toward the end. It is a long race, and we have been working very hard for this one. Preparation has been going well. We learn, every race, something new. I’m excited, and I want to thank Roger (Norman) for making some necessary changes to the rules and the course and making the sport better and the racing better. I am looking forward to this one, and we hopefully we can cross the finish line on the top spot.”

Kurt Caselli: “I just want to say thanks to SCORE and everyone who is involved for putting on this great race. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the start and how it is going to be a little different for the motorcycle guys. It is going to throw a little change to the program. It should be a really good race. Good luck to everybody. Be safe. Thanks obviously to everyone at FMF and KTM. We’ll see you out there.”

JCR Honda rider Mark Samuels (left) and team owner Johnny Campbell (right).

JCR Honda rider Mark Samuels (left) and team owner Johnny Campbell (right).

Johnny Campbell Racing Honda

Johnny Campbell, Team Owner: “This year we are really excited that SCORE really was creative in building a really unique race course and also putting a pretty big twist on us, having to start at 11 p.m. I think that is going to be a real challenge for all teams, including our team, figuring out the dynamics of our time schedules and everything. My other riders, Timmy (Weigand), Colton (Udall) and David Kamo are out on the course, just like the KTM team said. They are in position, and hopefully getting some rest. With me is Mark Samuels, our fourth rider. Colton Udall will be kicking our team off, and he will be taking the bike to Puertecitos. Then Mark will ride the remainder of the night section through to day. Then the bike will be handed off to David Kamo, and then off to Timmy Weigand for the finish. We are really stoked to be the team leaders here as far as, we have won the Baja 1000 16 years in a row, and I am hoping to bring Honda their 17th (consecutive) victory here.”

Mark Samuels: “First off, I want to say thanks to SCORE for the course. I want to thank JCR Honda and Rockstar for the opportunity to be a part of this. Like Johnny said, they have won this race 16 years in a row, and it is really cool. I have been working for 15 years to be on the factory Honda team, and I am really excited about the opportunity.”

THR Motorsports Kawasaki riders Steve Hengeveld (left) and Robby Bell (right).

THR Motorsports Kawasaki riders Steve Hengeveld (left) and Robby Bell (right).

 THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki

Robby Bell: “On behalf of my teammates—David Pearson, Ricky Brabec and Taylor Robert—we just want to thank our entire team, Monster Energy, THR Motorsports, Precision Concepts Kawasaki, all our mechanics and all the pit volunteers. This race takes such an effort to put together, and even though we are up here kind of being the face of the team, the guys working behind the scenes really put in a lot of effort, and I just want to thank them. I also want to thank Roger Norman and everybody at SCORE for doing all of the hard work that they do. I know we don’t see half of what it takes to put on this event, so thank you to them. They’ve put some new terrain in front of us, which is going to be exciting, and obviously the new challenge of starting at night is going to be an adventure and make it interesting. We just want to have a good clean race, want everybody to be safe, you know, wish everybody well and have a good ride and a safe ride.”

Steve Hengeveld: “I just want to say thanks to THR Motorsports and Monster Energy for giving our team this opportunity. I know the guys have been working their butts off for the past couple weeks, picking up some of my sections. This will be the first Baja 1000 that I am going to miss in 20 years, but I will be here for the team as a back-up rider. But THR, Bob Bell at Precision Concepts, without those guys this team wouldn’t be possible. I wish my teammates good luck and all of the Pro bikes that are going to be out there. It is going to be a good race and fun to watch.”

Be sure to check out our full 2013 Baja 1000 coverage here.

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