UPDATE: As of 8:15 a.m. PST on Friday, November 15, SCORE Ops showed the 2X FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM and the 1X JCR Honda together at Race Mile 454. The 349X Honda was at Race Mile 411, and the 4X THR Motorsports/Monster Energy Kawasaki was at Race Mile 402.

FMF Bonanza Plumbing KTM's Kurt Caselli awaits the signal to leave the starting line in Ensenada for the 2013 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Photo: Scott Rousseau

FMF Bonanza Plumbing KTM’s Kurt Caselli awaits the signal to leave the starting line in Ensenada for the 2013 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Photo: Scott Rousseau

FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM’s Kurt Caselli made a little history right off the starting line at the 2013 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the 30-year-old becoming the first rider to start the race at night, leaving Ensenada promptly at 11 p.m. to start KTM’s quest for a Baja 1000 victory.

Caselli-Hare-Hound-Champion-8-26-13Panaca, NV – Factory FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli wrapped up his third consecutive AMA National Hare & Hound Championship one round early at the ninth round of the series held in the Nevada desert.

This round was unique from the other Hare & Hound races as it was ran as a point-to-point race instead of the typical multi-loop race. This meant that the riders started at one point and raced to the final point at the finish while their pit crew chased them along the way for support.

Caselli took the holeshot off the start and began to stretch his lead. “My bike started up right away and I was able to get a good jump off the start,” stated Caselli. “I rode a smart race, and luckily, made no mistakes. The course was very well marked for this event which allowed me to continue to pull out front.”

Robby-Bell-Off-Road-Baja-500-6-5-13I’ve come to the realization that I am rarely in my life more focused and aware of my current reality than when I’m on a race bike in Baja. In those moments, nothing else exists; it can’t exist. There is too much at stake to allow my mind to wander. Around any corner, blind rise, or cloud of dust awaits an obstacle be it a vehicle, horse, cow, dog, person, rock, or ditch that I need to be prepared for. Failure to be prepared, present in the moment with unabated focus, can lead to unforgiving consequences. Consequences anyone who has ever raced in Baja is very familiar with.

Perhaps that’s part of the draw of the experience.

In the current form of reality we all experience on a daily basis, complete with endless distractions, experiencing a complete focus, an unyielding awareness of the current moment, is quite a novelty. But in Baja it’s a requirement; It demands this of each rider, each team member, chase driver, even spectator. In its own way, it produces an altered state of consciousness, a heightened state rarely experienced these days, and I believe that’s part of what keeps racers and team members flocking south of the border: the novelty of that experience.

THR_baja-500_SCORE-5-28-13Corona, CA – May 28th – With more than a year under their belts working together as a team for THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki, Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson know exactly what it takes to win. And as the defending overall motorcycle champions in the 45th Tecate / Monster Energy / SCORE Baja 500, they’ve added a new weapon: Taylor Robert.

The 22-year-old from Arizona may be new to racing in Baja, but he has years of experience in many other arenas. He’s the defending WORCS champion, where he’s had a solid career having won the WORCS Pro 2 championship in 2008. He’s also represented Team USA abroad, earning gold medals at ISDEs in Mexico and Germany. This year, he’s concentrating on EnduroCross both domestically and internationally thanks to the inclusion of Enduro X at X Games in Brazil, Germany, Spain and the U.S. Racing is definitely in his blood.

Robby-Bell-Kawasaki-San-Felipe-3-14-13Once a year the sleepy beach town of San Felipe is awoken by the sounds of chase crews, pre-runner vehicles and race machines tearing around the streets and nearby desert in preparation for the season opener of the SCORE Baja series. The town may be a destination for those seeking relaxation and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the American way of life, but the race itself offers nothing of the sort. The terrain is brutal. The course features more whoops than most racers would care to hit in a lifetime and embedded rocks blending in so well with the dirt that it makes racing feel a bit like a game of Russian roulette. Maintaining focus over such unreadable terrain is of the utmost importance as the slightest mistake could end your race. Couple the mental test with the physicality of the course and the speeds required to compete and it can be argued that the San Felipe 250 is one of the toughest off road races in the world.

Corona, CA – Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson are ready to carry the momentum of recent wins south of the border next week at the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. They’ll split seat time as usual aboard their THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F, meticulously prepared by Bob Bell of Precision Concepts, in the first of three SCORE races.

While this will be the first race SCORE has produced under the helm of new owner Roger Norman, the THR trio expects no surprises in the one-loop, 254-mile course that employs a mix of new and old tracks.

Cholla (pronounced “cho-ya”): anyone who’s had personal experience with this demon of a cactus just cringed at the reading of its name. For those unfamiliar, it is a cactus that can grow to around handlebar height and is made up of conveniently detachable little golf ball-sized pieces just loaded with barbed needles. Once a Cholla ball hits your skin, its fish-hook-like barbs sink in and the only way to get them out is with a tool of some sort, be it a pair of pliers, a fine comb, or the caveman method of using two rocks, as using your hand only causes more needles to stick to your palm; and, oh yes, the experience is quite painful. Most racers coming to this event expand their list of goals, adding to the top of the pile: do not come into contact with a Cholla cactus at all cost; but as the desert surrounding Laughlin, NV is covered in these little demon plants, that goal is often the most difficult to achieve.

With the “end of the world” prophecy coming up short and the earth still spinning on its proper axis, we have another year of racing to look forward to and I decided to start it off by teaming with David Pearson at the Best In The Desert Parker 250. The three-loop, 240 mile race has become a classic way to kick off the new year as the terrain offers a mix of smooth, fifth gear roads and technical, slow-speed rocks, challenging two seemingly opposite ends of the off road spectrum. Adding yet another variable to the race this year was the “Canadian Cold Front”, which somehow found its way down to the deserts of Arizona and would offer below freezing temperatures for all involved; time to put on the parka and go racing.

The main entries in the Open Pro class were the two Purvines Racing Beta teams, lead by Nick Burson and T.J. Hannafin, and the solo-entry of Ricky Brabec, who’s been in inspired form lately. With David and myself drawing fourth place start pick behind all three of these teams, we were going to have our work cut out for us to ring in the new year with a win.

The Henderson “250” marked the end of a great season for the world’s largest off-road racing series, Best In The Desert. With many class championships still yet to be decided, 173 racers showed up to take on the challenging course just south of Henderson, Nevada.

The race was split up into three groups, with the first group of motorcycles, quads and UTV’s starting the day by going two laps on a 45-mile course. The THR Motorsports team of Robby Bell and David Pearson, with Pearson doing solo duties this weekend, took the overall and open pro motorcycle win. This also secured the season class championship for them. Nick Nelson and Keith Carlson captured the victory in pro quad class and Matt Parks claimed the Pro UTV class win.

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.