Finishing with a 25 minute victory lead the 2018 SCORE International Champions, SLR Honda, claimed the first points of the season to kick off the four-round SCORE World Desert Championship.
Mark Samuels, Justin Morgan, and Justin Jones made their way down to Baja California, Mexico and prepared for the San Felipe 250 bringing with them the champion 1x plate, an all new 2019 Honda CRF450x, and an unrivaled determination ready to dominate the grueling 350 mile desert race they were about to embark on.
The three man team spent their days prior to the race pre-running their sections and studying the course. A kind of preparation that is pivotal for top riders, especially those averaging 50 mph through silt, rocks, and whoops.
Each day spent before the race consisted of riding, testing, and recovering until the fastest lines were found and the bike was performing at its best. The last few bike modifications were made and the now flawless bike was ready to race with the help of San Diego Powerhouse and AHM Factory Services which assisted the SLR Honda team.
The Pro Moto Unlimited Bikes were first to leave the San Felipe malecon at 6:20 a.m. the morning of April 6, 2019 with Justin Morgan starting 5th off the line. Knowing that he had to pass the leading bikes early on to find clean air that sits in first place, Morgan went for the sprint and quickly moved to the front position.
Taking on one of the hardest sections, Matomi Wash, Morgan stated “the course was roughed up from Trophy Trucks pre-running so rocks were hidden under deep sand that snuck up on you,”
With their next victory in the works, the team understood that Baja is cruel desert and this is a long race.
Coming into race mile 92 Morgan handed off the bike to Justin Jones. Jones raced through thousands of spectators who had waited patiently along the 350 mile course eager to catch the first glimpse of a motor passing by. As any Baja racer knows, you can find the spirit of an entire Supercross stadium in a group of locals that have been camped out for two nights waiting for this big day.
Fans cheered on the first place runner as Jones raced through Morelia and into the fastest section of the race. Tucked and tapped across the Diablo Dry LakeBed, Jones headed toward the goat trail to finish off his section and hand it over to team owner, Mark Samuels.
Maintaining a 20 minute lead, Samuels ripped through the highest point of the race. A section in which SCORE sent racers downhill through one of the rockiest and most technical terrains in the course. Known as The Summit, Samuels credited this section for being “a true test of a product’s durability.”
Headed south towards the finish line ready to wrap up another win, Samuels handed off the bike to Morgan, who got back on ready to pound out the previously beaten up Powerline whoops of San Felipe.
Holding onto the only advice being given at each pit , “Keep the bike on two wheels and get back to the podium, safely.” Morgan felt the ocean air as he hit the last leg of the course.
Crossing the finish line just 10 minutes shy of 7 hours, with a 25 minute lead ahead of second place the SLR Honda team won the 2019 San Felipe 250.
Pop the champagne, SLR Honda is ready for the Baja 500.