Thumb-Caselli-Baja-500-Start-6-1-13Just minutes before the start of the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the motorcycle and ATV teams gathered at the starting line in Ensenada, the pre-dawn peace and quiet was occasionally shattered by staccato exhaust notes in anticipation of the start.

Gathered at the front of the line, four motorcycles, led by THR Motorsports/Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Robby Bell, was the picture of focus in anticipation of a repeat of the team’s 2012 race victory. Bell said that he just wanted to have a mistake-free race.

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.

Torrance, CA: The final Motocross National of the season held at Southern California’s Pala Raceway in Pala, CA, saw the Honda Red Riders put in some of their best performances of the season on their Honda CRF250R and CRF450R race machines. American Honda Racing’s Ashley Fiolek wrapped up her third WMX title, while her teammate Justin Barcia finished third in the 450 class.

After winning back-to-back Women’s titles in 2008 and 2009, and finishing runner-up in the WMX series in 2010, Fiolek headed into the 2011 Motocross season determined to reclaim the crown. From the get-go, Fiolek demonstrated incredible speed on her CRF250R, winning five motos in the eight-round series and clinching three overall victories en route to the championship crown. Tarah Gieger raced her Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda–prepared CRF250R to third overall in the series while fellow Honda riders Kasie Creson and Lindsey Palmer finished the season in seventh and 10th, respectively.

“I am so happy to win back the Women’s title,” said Fiolek. “It was tough giving it up last year, so I was determined to do everything I needed to do to win it back this season. All the women racers rode exceptionally well, and we had some great battles. I knew consistency was going to be the key to winning the championship back, and that’s what I was all season, consistently on the podium each week. I’m really happy to put Honda on top again for another year.”

Barcia completed his fill-in ride with the factory Honda team at Pala by putting in two impressive rides at the Motocross grand finale. Barcia was a strong contender for the moto one win, running up front for the majority of the race before finishing in third. In the second moto, Barcia got a great start and took over the lead from Chad Reed on lap seven. Maintaining incredible speed out front, he led the next eight laps before surrendering a spot with two laps to go. Barcia’s stellar 3-2 result earned him third overall for the round.

“I’m really happy with my results this weekend,” said Barcia. “I have learned so much about myself as a racer and about riding, which I know has made me a much smarter rider. It’s been awesome working with the factory Honda team, and I can’t thank GEICO Honda enough for allowing me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”

TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed put in solid performances aboard his American Honda Racing–prepared CRF450R, finishing moto one in 12th and nabbing fourth in the second moto for seventh overall. Reed led the championship for half the season and finished the championship in third—an impressive first season for the TwoTwo Motorsports team.

In the 250 class, GEICO Honda rookie Justin Bogle finished his fourth race as a professional on a high note. After finishing moto one in 10th place, Bogle got a great start in moto two, leading the opening 10 laps of the race before finishing in second place and earning a season-best fifth overall. GEICO Honda teammate Eli Tomac went 7-11 for ninth overall, while Honda rider Alex Martin rounded out 10th place. Tomac finished fourth overall in the championship, while Martin nabbed eighth place. Fellow Honda racer Darryn Durham finished the season in 10th.

Torrance, CA: American Honda is pleased to announce that GEICO Honda rider Justin Barcia will ride for the American Honda Racing team and race a factory Honda-prepared CRF450R at the remaining four rounds in the 2011 AMA Motocross Championship.

“I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to ride the Honda CRF450R in the 450 class,” said Barcia. “I can’t thank GEICO Honda team owners Rick Zielfelder and Jeff Majkrzak enough for allowing me to take advantage of this opportunity. I raced the CRF450R to the overall win at the Bercy Supercross last year and I felt great competing on the bike, so I’m excited to now get the chance to race several rounds in the Motocross series on it. I’m also really looking forward to working with the factory Honda team. I feel I’ve grown a lot as a professional racer over the past three years and this whole experience is only going to help me develop my skills even more.”

American Honda Racing Team Manager Erik Kehoe welcomes Barcia to the Honda starting line-up. “Justin has been a part of the Honda family for many years now, having entered the professional ranks through Honda’s amateur support program,” said Kehoe. “He has a lot of experience racing Honda motorcycles and he’s earned a lot of success in both his amateur and professional careers. Trey Canard showcased his talents aboard the factory-prepared Honda CRF450R last year when he filled in for six Supercross rounds, and obviously that was a significant career opportunity for him, while Cole Seely enjoyed racing several Supercross’ with the team this year. We are pleased to work with Honda-supported teams and give the younger Honda riders the chance to gain valuable experience riding for the factory team when opportunities arise.”

For more information, contact American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (310) 783-3745.

It’s ‘All systems a go’ in Idaho as the NHHA returns for its second year in a row to the area south of Murphy, Idaho.  Dirt Inc has prepared 100 miles of course that will sure to test all bikes and bodies at this year’s Round 4 of the AMA/Kenda National Hare and Hound Championship Series.  2011 is dedicated to the memory of Dirt Inc. member, Jody Schlapia.  Jody lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer last November, but was instrumental every step of the way in helping to make Dirt Inc’s National one of the most exciting races of the year.

David Pearson and his Purvines Racing Honda team will be in full force as their new fast guy, Justin Morrow, looks to have another impressive race.  Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott is also en route, and his plane is expected to arrive at some point Friday morning.  Off Road Support Kawasaki’s Jacob Argubright hopes to make it back on the podium after a 4th place finish at Round 3.  Making the long trek north into Idaho from south of the Mexican Border, FMF/KTM’s Kurt Caselli looks to make it three in a row and take over the points lead here in Idaho.