The Monster Energy THR Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F team of Ricky Brabec (pictured, Mark Kariya photo, file), Shane Esposito and Max Eddy Jr. captured the overall motorcycle victory at the 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in Baja California, Mexico, March 1-2. The trio overcame a battle for over half the race with Colton Udall on the number-1x Honda CRF450X, finishing in 3:53:33 to give Kawasaki its first overall motorcycle victory in this race since 1996.
Heavy rain forced race officials to pause the race in order to reroute some sections of the course, which included cutting out the famous Summit loop. As a result, the race was shortened significantly from the original 274-mile course.
“The first 40 miles of the race was good with Colton Udall and I going back and forth,” Brabec said. “I’ve never started a Mexico race and I’ve never finished a Mexico race before so it was pretty awesome. These guys [my teammates] are all good partners. We delivered the bike all in one piece.”
Esposito said, “He [Brabec] gave me the bike right on Colton and we got going. Colton had a problem at the dry lake bed when a tire came apart. I got around him and at Mike’s Loop when I got across the bar and then backed it down. We stayed together and I think he missed a VCP [visual checkpoint] and we had a close race. When we got to Trinidad there was a course change and that’s when Max [Eddy Jr.] got on. I didn’t have any issues other than coming across the bar.”
“I was pretty bummed [about the course change] because I had fun riding over the Summit,” Eddy said. “I just knew if I held it together and stayed in the 1x’s dust that we could bring it home safe. It’s hard not to lose your focus while you’re sitting there. I just had to stay focused and stay after it. I knew that nobody had ridden the new course that was marked out, so nobody had the lines. I knew I needed to ride it like a regular desert race and get the bike to the finish.”
“We got a flat tire over the dry lake bed and we lost two minutes,” runner-up Udall said. “My brother [Ian Young] had an awesome ride and he’s just a fill-in guy for Mark Samuels. He’s really proven himself. He caught the Kawasaki guys and passed them. On the new section of the course I was going too fast and went off of a cliff. I’m happy that I’m healthy and didn’t break anything but I did a lot of damage to my motorcycle. Just a month ago Mark Samuels and I put together this team and I really wanted to come out on top.”
“I just had to get the bike from point A to point B,” said Young. “Luckily it rained all night for the last few days and I had perfect traction which allowed me to close up on the Kawasaki because I could see where he was going. I could key off of his mistakes and I ended up catching him.”
The Francisco Septien team of Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerro and Tyler Renshaw topped Class 30 in third overall.
Giovanni Spinali, Paul Thomas, Mike Carter and John Griffin combined efforts to win Class 40, while Richard Jackson, Gregg Hawks and Mark Force claimed the Class 60 victory.
OPEN M/C (450cc or more)—1. Ricky Brabec, Oak Hills, Calif./Shane Esposito, Menifee, Calif./Max Eddy Jr, Barstow, Calif., Kawasaki KX450F, 3:53:33 (30.52 mph); 2. Colton Udall, San Clemente, Calif./Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:15:42; 3. Michel Valenzuela, Tijuana, Mexico/Manuel Gomez, Tecate, Mexico/Carlos Silva, El Centro, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:46:34 (4 Starters, 3 Finishers)
LIMITED M/C (449cc or less)—1. Fernando Beltran/Emanuel Verdugo/Ricardo Munoz, Ensenada, Mexico, Yamaha, 5:32:43 (27.76 mph). (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)
CLASS 30 (Riders over 30 years old)—1. Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico/Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerro, Mexico/Tyler Renshaw, USA, Kawasaki KX450, 4:21:27 (29.78 mph); 2. Mark Winkelman, Cedar Hill, Texas/Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Steve Garnett, Carson City, Nev., Honda CRF450X, 4:24:32; 3. Fred Sobke, Bonita, Calif./Alan Melisi, Phoenix/Robert Muzzy, Paradise Valley, Ariz./David Starrett, Oceanside, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 5:21:50; 4. Brad Baker, Austin, Texas/Jeremy Baker, Vancouver, Wash./Robert Allen, Portland, Honda CRF450X, 5:32:20; 5. Miguel Caro, San Diego/Scot Riezinger, Temecula, Calif./Art Molina, Winchester, Calif./Cory Mooers, Murrieta, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 6:30:45; 6. Todd York/Nate Scott/Bud Carmen, Claremore, Okla., KTM 450EXC, 8:31:32. (6 Starters, 6 Finishers)
CLASS 40 (Riders over 40 years old)—1. Giovanni Spinali/Paul Thomas/Mike Carter/John Griffin, Julian, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:46:45 (28.72 mph); 2. Jack McCormick, South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Michael Rasp, Southlake, Texas/Mike Kay, Santa Rosa, Calif./Jeff Dalton, Scottsdale, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:57:217 3. Joel Leal/Mario Acosta, Calexico, Calif./David Hammers, Mount Baldy, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 5:17:18; 4. Oscar Fazz/Mike Langley, Yuma, Ariz./Augustine Maduena, San Felipe, Mexico, Kawasaki KX450F, 5:37:51; 5. Rob Huggins/Daniel Robinson, Breckenridge, Colo./Luis Lobel, Las Vegas, Honda CRF450X, 7:37:08. (5 Starters, 5 Finishers)
CLASS 50 (Riders over 50 years old)—1. Earl Roberts, Calexico, Calif./Karl Holmberg/Donald Connelly, Julian, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 8:52:37 (18.82 mph) (2 Starters, 1 Finisher)
CLASS 60 (Riders over 60 years old)—1. Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif./Gregg Hawks, Hesperia, Calif./Mark Force, Bakersfield, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 5:17:25 (27.60 mph); 2. Jim Dizney, Alpine, Calif./Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Will Rogers, Escondido, Calif./Mike Castro, Apple Valley, Calif./Robert Koch, Leona Valley, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 5:19:12; 3. Donald Lewis, Marlborough, Conn./Ron Dugan, Honda CRF450X, 8:03:47. (3 Starters, 3 Finishers)
SCORE IRONMAN (Solo Riders)—1. Tony Gera, Santa Cruz, Calif., Honda XR650R, 5:53:40 (26.54 mph) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)