Months of preparation, planning and practice paid off for the THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki team, presented by Hoosier Precision Machining, when its three-rider team won the 46th Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Round three of SCORE’s World Desert Championship and always one of the most popular races on the calendar, the THR squad controlled the pace most of the way and finished the 448 miles of brutal Baja desert in eight hours, 58 minutes and 27 seconds, besting the runner-up team by more than six minutes.
But it was often much closer than that. In fact, at one point, THR found itself running behind round-two winners WFOx Motorsports Honda. David Pearson had the section following the Pacific coastline southward, having taken the KX450F prepared by Bob Bell of Precision Concepts from starter Ricky Brabec.
“About halfway through my [first] section, we had a pretty good lead so I tried to back her down two or three percent, and I ended up backing it down quite a bit,” Pearson confessed. “Ian [Young] caught me and passed me for a little while so it was pretty intense for a little while.”
But Brabec got on for the run from the coast up to Mike’s Sky Ranch and down to San Matias where he handed off to Max Eddy, Jr., and grabbed the lead back. “When I got back on in Camalu going over Mike’s, I pushed as hard as I could the entire way,” Brabec reported. “I was pretty beat, but you know what? I sat in the air-conditioning [in the van] and pounded like three tall-boy waters. I knew I wasn’t going to pawn [my last section] off on them and say, ‘Hey, I can’t do it,’ so I put my helmet back on and looked straight ahead [for my last section, taking over from Pearson at the Highway 3 Kilometer 77 crossing and going back to the finish].”
Back in Ensenada, the team celebrated its second Baja 500 win, the first coming in 2012. It put them back in the points lead, and they don’t see themselves giving it up. Eddy said, “Just the whole team in general–all of our pits, our riders–everyone that we have, we’ve got an awesome program here at THR/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts backing us up. I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been racing down here for 10, 12 years now and this is a solid team.”