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SCORE 2011 San Felipe 250 Preview
2011 San Felipe 250
Who’s in and Who’s going to Win
The first race of the 2011 Baja season is just around the corner, the San Felipe 250. Featuring 252 miles of whoops, sand and rocks, it is really just a sprint race. The whole event will be over just after 12 noon so there is no opportunity for error. Bikes, riders and crews have to get everything just right to come out with a win. Here are the big players in the motorcycle class, listed in order of how they will start off the line:
2x – Chad Thornton
1x – Kendall Norman, Quinn Cody
3x – Jack Lundin
4x – Kurt Caselli, Ivan Ramirez
5x – Shane Esposito, Bobby Garrision, Steve Hengeveld
6x – Colton Udall, Jeff “Ox” Kargola
7x – AJ Stewart
8x – George Villanyi
This year the race for the win is wide open, featuring more competition than has been seen in a number of years.
-It is easy to forget that last year’s winners were the JCR Honda B team of Colton and Ox. These two riders have just gotten faster since then. Colton has been getting better every race, including qualifying for the Pala AMA national motocross last fall. They raced a trick fuel injected Honda CRF450x last year at the Baja 1000 and they have the best team in the business backing them.
-Bonanza Plumbing backed KTM rider Kurt Caselli has been on fire this season, winning nearly everything and by significant margins at that. His teammate, Mexican rider Ivan Ramirez, has the speed to run with anyone and has just been waiting for it to all come together for his first major race win. This team is new and does not have a lot of testing or experience to fall back on. They have the speed but will need to keep the bike together and have perfect pit support to win.
– JCR Honda’s Kendall Norman and Quinn Cody have dominated the Baja series for a couple of years now. Honestly, I don’t consider them the fastest team. But when it comes to experience and preparation they are the clear front-runners. They will be looking towards the series championship as much as the race win.
– The THR Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki team of Esposito, Hengeveld and Garrison are the real wild card in the mix. Shane still has the speed. Steve has been out of the mix for a while, but was all prepared for a stint on the KTM last fall at the Baja 1000 before the bike broke. These two have more combined desert experience than any other team. As for Bobby Garrison, he may be a new comer to Baja but he has a big head of steam behind him. He was second at the Laughlin hare scrambles last weekend riding with Shane. More importantly, Garrison is also the only rider who can claim to have beaten Caselli this year. He did it two days in a row at the WORCS race two weeks ago.
The starting order will present somewhat of a challenge for the teams. The 1x Honda will be ahead. I expect the KTM race plan will be to get the lead and hold it. Caselli will ride the start behind Kendall on the Honda. If Kurt can get the lead, Ivan will just have to stay ahead of Quinn Cody. For the teams behind, they will have to contend with the dust. But they don’t have to get the physical lead, they can just pace behind the lead bike and still have a chance to win on overall elapsed time. Still the dust can play a major factor.
Also keep and eye out for the 400x bike of Jeff Kaplan, Louie Franco, Ricky Johnson and Ron Wilson. These guys are super fast and have a strong track record. There is a good chance they could be right towards the front at the end of the day.
We are off to San Felipe in the morning and will try to have regular updates as we catch up with the riders prerunning for the race.