JCR Honda Earns Bike Win at 2011 Baja 1000 [Video]
Although a great battle was waged between the 1x JCR Honda CRF450X and the 11x Kawasaki KX450F throughout the day, in the end Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody racked up another Baja 1000 victory for Honda.
But this year, they had a little help with the addition of teammate Logan Holladay, a talented rider but one who’s unproven in Baja. Norman and Cody decided to take the risk.
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“You know, it was a good thing. We need another guy for this race to break it up,” Cody said. “Last year it was the Peninsula run – 1100 miles, and we did it with two guys. But this course was so rough we needed to add another guy.
“We chose Logan, who is unproven. We took a big risk taking him on. This is his first Baja 1000, and we just decided to take a risk and we have faith in him. We put him on the bike for a good little over 100-mile section and he did awesome.”
The team was challenged, though, by the talent-packed THR Motorsports team on the 11x bike. Led by rider of record Shane Esposito, the team consists of Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld, Bobby Garrison and David Pearson – a who’s who of off-road dirt bike racing. The team stayed within a few minutes of the 1x bike for much of the day, even appearing to take the lead at one point, but they were unable to get past the JCR Honda 1x bike and finished (unofficially) 10 minutes, 30 seconds behind the winners.
“The day when I got on the bike I knew we were pretty much equal on time [with JCR Honda],” Esposito told us after the race. “I think I lost by a minute and a half to Kendall on my section, but I didn’t want to take any big chances I just wanted to get the bike to the next section. We were within about 30 seconds on time and then something happened with the lights. Hengeveld had to ride his section with one light, and then about halfway through my section it started working again and [I] had lights to the finish.
“But, you know, I’m happy no one went down, everyone’s healthy and we’re all here to come back and race again.”
Norman had a tough day as well, crashing the bike just a few miles before handing it off to Cody. He was able to recover and ride the last section to the finish, but he definitely had a rough day. But he was quick to acknowledge the effort by the THR Motorsports team at this finish.
“We had a challenger with Kawasaki with my former teammate Robby Bell and Steve Hengeveld and some other guys, and they were there all day,” he said. “They fought hard and they kept us honest and it’s going to be tough for years to come in Baja. It sounds like there’s going to be a lot of competition and it’s just going to elevate the sport.”
Finishing in third place overall was the JCR Honda 0x bike of Colton Udall, David Kamo and Timmy Weigand, who wrapped up the pro motorcycle season championship in Class 22 with the finish. The JCR family lost Jeff “Ox” Kargola earlier in the year to a non-racing dirt bike accident in Baja, and the team runs the 0x number in honor of him. Udall and Kargola won the SCORE San Felipe 250 earlier in the year together. At the finish line, Udall remembered his friend.
“He’s the reason why I’m winning this championship,” Udall said, saying he hopes he stays with him as motivation for the rest of his life.
SCORE Unofficial Results
1. Kendal Nornam - 14:14:25
2. Shane Esposito - 14:24:55
3. Colton Udall -14:13:10
4. Trevor Insley - 16:31:27 (Class 21 winner)
5. Mike Johnson 16:52:40 (Class 30 winner)
6. A.J. Stewart - 17:00:59
7. Francisco Arredondo - 17:13:24
8. Jeff Kaplan - 17:47:09 (Class 40 winner)
9. Chris Parker - 18:38:52
10. Wayne Matlock - 18:43:21 (ATV Winner)
11. David Gonzalez, Jr. - 18:50:50
12. Brandon Brown - 19:00:21 (Class 24 Winner)
13. Jim O'Neal - 19:03:35 (Class 50 Winner)
Check back with Off-Road.com for more on the 2011 SCORE Baja 1000.
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