Colton Udall and Mark Samuels appear to be well on their way toward celebrating a win at the 48th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500 in Baja California, Mexico.
The 29-year-old Udall rolled to a stop in Ensenada approximately 10 hours after he left, although his official time is yet to be determined due to the fact that SCORE officials held him at Checkpoint 4 because of traffic concerns. The stoppage won’t affect his overall time; it simply has to be calculated. For his part, Udall says he doesn’t expect the final official time to include any penalties, which is something he’s had trouble with in the past.
“No way,” he said. “I rode right down the middle of the race course. So they can’t say, ‘Colton is a cheater, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Udall’s biggest concern today was extreme heat, as sections of the 475.52-mile course, particularly in the San Felipe area, reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit. After starting at the rear of the Unlimited Pro field, Udall passed his way up from eighth place to second place, behind the Bremen Racing Honda of Shane Esposito’s relief man, Justin Morgan. By then, the 1X already had taken over the overall lead.
“That was the hottest race I have ever done,” Udall said. “I had to ride 150 miles in, like, 110-, 115-degree heat. My brain feels like it’s cooked. But I was patient in the morning, and the race came to me. I had a little battle with the 3X bike, and I got past them and got within 30 seconds of the 45X bike, but then he got me on a good line. I ended up giving the bike to Mark, and he held the [physical] gap to about one-minute before giving it back to me at Race Mile 220.”
“My ride went really smooth actually,” Samuels said. “Colton rode like a madman off the start, and then me and Justin [Morgan] had a good battle. I could see him the entire time on the Summit. I sucked up on him pretty good at the dry lake bed, then he pulled away again. I was maybe a minute and a half behind him, but we were still way ahead on adjusted time. It was so hot out there. It felt like someone was blowing a hairdryer on you the whole time.”
When Udall took over again, he soon found himself in a battle with Ryan Penhall, who had taken over for Morgan on the Bremen Racing Honda. That battle didn’t last long, as Penhall went over the bars and crashed at very high speed. According to Udall, Penhall hit the ground hard enough to knock himself unconscious.
“I think I was in his head,” Udall said. “We were riding parallel in the whoops, and he hit a rock. It bucked him, and we went side saddle, and I looked over at him, and he just nailed the gas and augered in hard. He was out, so I stopped and then waved at the helicopter to Kendall Norman so they landed it. It was kind of funny because there were some locals there, and I started telling at ’em, ‘Put water on him! Put your awning over him to give him some shade!’ Then Kendall ran over and said, ‘You’re okay. Go.’”
Reports were that Penhall regained consciousness relatively quickly and, other than having his bell rung, was not seriously injured.
Check back later for more information, photos and official results from the 48th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500.
This story first appeared on DirtBikes.com.