For an entire year Ox Motorsports/MSR riders Mark Samuels, Colton Udall and Justin Jones have been dreaming of redemption. The trio put their Honda CRF450X on the top of the podium at the 48th Baja 1000 to not only avenge last year’s uncharacteristic lapse, but to win the overall and unlimited motorcycle class for the third time in the past four years. They also gave Honda its 25th overall SCORE Baja 1000 win.
Despite drawing a start from the back of the pack, the 5x Honda set a blistering pace and began picking off the competition almost immediately. “I started ninth off the line and just kept pushing away,” said lead rider Colton Udall. “I passed a bunch of guys… except for Shane Esposito on the 45x.” At Race Mile 133, Justin Jones jumped on the bike and set out after 45x machine… which he passed when that Honda crashed. Jones stretched the lead until Race Mile 356, where he switched with Samuels.
Samuels was a man on a mission attempting to keep archrival (and last year’s Baja 1000 winner) Ricky Brabec and the 1x Kawasaki team in his dust. Mark rode to race mile 563 before turning the bike over to Udall for the final 250 miles. “We nailed our pits, hung our lights perfectly and everything went really well,” explained an elated Udall from the top of the podium.
“Staying focused was the key because if your head breaks down, you make a giant mistake and the bike gets bent up.” Which is exactly what happened to the team at the previous race. After the team crashed out of contention at the Baja 500, the pressure was really on to put it all together at the 1000.
“Forget the 500, the SCORE Baja 1000 is really the one we wanted to win,” jokes MSR Brand Manager Brent Harden. “Seriously, the MSR brand was forged in Baja back when Malcolm Smith won the very first Baja 1000 48 years ago. This makes the redemption ride really special for MSR and the entire Ox Motorsports Team.”
2015 SCORE Baja 1000 Open Class Motorcycles (450cc or more)
5x Colton Udall, Yucca Valley, CA: Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, CA; Justin Jones, Murrieta, CA Honda CRF450X. Total time: 16:29:08 Average Speed 49.82 mph
1x Ricky Brabec, Hesperia, CA; Max Eddy Jr, Barstow, CA; Justin Morgan, El Cajon, CA; Dave Pearson, Panaca, NV Kawasaki KX450F. Total time: 16:54:28
45x Francisco Arredondo, Guatemala, Mexico; Ryan Penhall, Corona, CA; Shane Esposito, Menifee, CA; Roberto Villalobos, Tijuana, Mexico, Honda CRF450X. Total time 17:08:18