2012 looks to be a year that will have plenty of close race action in Baja. We have been talking about it for weeks. The line up of players is strong, stronger than in many years. By all accounts the San Felipe 250 was supposed to play out with plenty of action.
Action there was, in spades, unfortunately it was not exactly the kind of bar to bar racing that all were hoping for. All of the excitement during the race came in the form of crashes. Nearly everyone crashed.
I was at the start to see the riders off. I quickly came back to the room to make a quick web post before heading down to the southern part of the course. No sooner was I in the room than I saw that Robby Bell was down on the THR Kawasaki, just miles into the race. Not only that, but Mickey Childress had taken over for Robby and he had already crashed also! It was looking like a long day for THR. Mickey was able to finally get the bike to Steve Hengeveld and he rode it on to the next scheduled rider change.
From Robby’s Facebook: X-ray showed a possible fracture in my C-6. Awaiting the CT scan results. Thanks to all the medics, EMTs and doctors who’ve been great to me. And thanks to Steve Achey for everything he did for me. Just hit a rock at mile 7 that was hidden in the shadows around 50mph. Didn’t get knocked out, but it was quite a nasty one. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.
Kurt Caselli led off for the 3x KTM. He was able to pass Mike Brown and gap the field. Ivan and Quinn Cody both got on their bikes at mile 30. Davey Kamo got on the 1x Honda near there also. He was gaining ground on Quinn, but riding in the dust. Later Quinn would crash in front of him. ” I didn’t really see him crash, it was sort of in a corner and I did not realize it until I was by him. Johnny radioed me from the helicopter that he could see Quinn was already up and he told me to keep going.”
Johnny saw Quinn’s crash from the helicopter. “I could see that he hit something and tried to ride it out on the front wheel, but ended up going over the bars. Then he was up and walking around, but it was clear that he couldn’t pick his bike up”. Early diagnosis is that Quinn broke his collar bone.
The Honda team would work to gain back some of the time they lost to Caselli early. Kamo handed off to Timmy Weigand. By the bottom of Matomi wash, the time split had the two bikes in a dead heat. Ivan had the task to completing a full 140 miles in one bite and was probably under strict instructions not to do anything wrong. As long as they were close, Kurt could handle the closing duties.
Somewhere around mile 165, Timmy Weigand would have his turn at crashing. Johnny Campbell was overhead in the helicopter, so they landed. Timmy looked to have an injured shoulder and ribs. So Johnny got on the bike, Timmy in the helicopter and Johnny headed to the rider change at mile 170. Colton would leave there about 17 minutes down to the KTM.
That sums up much of the action for the day. Baja is a difficult place to race. The laundry list of requirements for a win are substantial. When we started the week, it looked as if there might be as many as 5 teams that could challenge for the win. On race day, only one team rode without major incident. For as difficult as the day was for many, Kurt and Ivan almost made it look easy. Kurt did have one major crash also, he has the raspberry across his back to prove it. But at the end of the day the winning KTM 450sxf looked nearly new.
This is the first loss for Honda since 2007 (my mistake, should be 2005, CW) when the KTM mounted team of Chris Blais, Andy Grider and Quinn Cody won the San Felipe 250. Obviously that was the last time that KTM saw the top step of the podium also. The team looks very strong heading into the next event of the SCORE series, the Baja 500 in June.
I know I have not been able to talk about everyone. So by tomorrow when the final results come out, I should have some more stories.