Corona, CA – Though long-term planning and organization is usually imperative for racing in Baja, the THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki team, presented by Hoosier Precision Machining, didn’t have that luxury for the 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 on Saturday, March 1st, in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
No one counted on the race being stopped before the halfway mark so SCORE officials could finish re-routing the 274-mile course due to damage from the unexpectedly southern swing that a storm took. Through it all, however, the entire crew kept its composure, rode smart and came out at the head of the class on the KX450F prepared by Bob Bell of Precision Concepts.
This year’s THR riders on the 4X machine were Rider of Record Ricky Brabec, Max Eddy, Jr., and Shane Esposito. (Former SCORE champ and key player Robby Bell continues to recover from injuries suffered two weeks ago when another rider landed on him during a motocross training day.)
“I wasn’t sure if we were doing it or not so I wasn’t really expecting to go out there,” Brabec remembered. I don’t think any of us we’re prepared. I know Bob wasn’t. It all came out really good.”
Third off the line, the THR trio soon found themselves battling for first with the 1X duo of Colton Udall and Ian Young. “I actually got Colton around mile 12 in a sand wash and we were going back and forth for a little bit, then he had a better line than I did and he got around me, then I just kind of stayed in his dust all the way to mile 40 where I gave the bike to Shane,” Brabec continued. Shane rode good. Colton had a problem with his wheel or something and that’s where we got the physical lead. Shane rode to Valley T and gave the bike to Max. That’s when [SCORE] realized the course was too messed up to keep going.”
In the first time in recent memory, SCORE actually stopped the motorcycles and ATVs, and sent them down Highway 3 to wait at Borrego where they’d be restarted in the order they came off the Mike’s Sky Rancho loop. The leaders waited for more than three hours before the restart, removing the Summit loop reducing mileage from 274 to 219. More important, though, was the fact that no one had pre-run the section, though Baja veterans are familiar with the general area. But with no one having recent pre-run experience, the new section in essence became more like a hare & hound that rewarded those who could follow course ribbon at speed.
For Eddy, this was right up his alley and he sailed through the new course smoothly while Udall had a huge get-off when he didn’t notice a turn in time and sailed off a cliff. Though not seriously hurt, the crash took its toll and handed the win to THR. “It’s a good start to the year for going after the 1X plate (that Honda’s held for nearly two decades), that’s for sure!” 2013 Best in the Desert champ Brabec said. “It means a lot; I’ve never won down there. The best I’ve done is a second overall with the THR team last year at the 1000. Before that was the point-to-point  with Max Eddy, [Jr.] and Shane ‘Espo’, third overall and Class 21 [win].”
Photography By: GetSome Photo, Mark Kariya