Left: Mark Samuels, the team co-owner and rider for the Bonanza Plumbing/Monster Energy/Ox Motosports CRF450X Honda
1x team and 2016 champions, heads off into the night at the start of the 50th running of Baja 1000. Right: Max Eddy hammering at speed for the race and championship-winning 45X team.
So, he crossed the finish line and proceeded to the finish platform for the customary post-race interviews and
media glory. Caught up in the moment, he figured he’d hit
the stage and get a little air to give the spectators a show.
However, finishing at night meant the steel platform was
slick with dew, so when he landed and hit the brakes, he
immediately went down, though he immediately popped
up and continued celebrating, unaware that his bike had
plowed into a few bystanders, leaving one with a broken
leg and other injuries.
Morgan finished a few minutes later. He and the team
were disappointed at losing the race but realized that
second place was still enough to wrest the 1X plate from
Samuels for their first time.
Shortly afterward, though, SCORE officials dropped a
bomb, handing the Samuels team a 30-minute penalty for
“unsportsmanlike conduct,” thus demoting them to second
place. Arredondo and company did indeed get their win,
though not in the manner they would’ve liked.
“Hats off to them. They rode a great race, and it was
really impressive to see how good they did,” Morgan
noted. “Unfortunately, they broke the wrong rule at the
The Davis story itself is a fascinating one. He planted the
bug in team manager Chris Haines’ ear at the 2016 Baja
1000 after pre-running with his Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna
rider Dalton Shirey, who was on the Arredondo team that
year and realizing he still had thew competitive pace,
despite being in his 40s. Interestingly, Arredondo and
Esposito are also in their early 40s, Eddy is 33 and Morgan
is the youngest at 27.
“It’s kind of cool, because everyone’s older; it’s kind of
almost like a vet team, to be honest,” Davis observed.
A member of four winning teams at the 1000 from
1993–’ 96 during the Team Green heyday, this made for
win number five, which is fourth on the all-time Baja 1000
motorcycle winners list behind legendary Johnny Campbell
( 11), Steve Hengeveld ( 8) and Kendall Norman ( 6). But,
it’s doubtful anyone in any class has such a huge span
between wins as Davis’ mind-blowing 21 years between
’ 96 and ’ 17!
Asked to explain some of the differences between then
and now, Davis began, “The KX500s, they were good; both
[them and this latest CRF450X] are good. One nice thing
is the vibration was gone; that’s one really nice thing! The
KX500s always vibrated and the poor sucker that got on
the bike at the end of the race; the pipe’s always [rattling
He continued: “They gave us a couple pre-run
[CRF450Xs this year], and they’re basically stock [but with
big tanks]—I mean they were stock, even with the little
snorkel in the muffler! And, I’m thinking, ‘The race bike’s
going to be a lot faster. I wonder what it’s going to feel
like, but I feel like I’m going fast enough!’”
Davis also praised the introduction of Virtual Check
Points (VCPs), saying, “The VCPs, that was new to me. It
wasn’t [around] in my time, but the VCP is great! The VCPs
keep everybody pretty honest. They just need to throw
more of them out there.”
As for the actual race and its ending and outcome, Davis
offered, “It made me feel really good that I could go out
and race that pace at this age. I had some crummy sec-
tions. San Felipe down Puertocitos Road stunk! They stunk
20 years ago, and they’re really bad now.
“There were some fun spots that were really fun. Coco’s
Corner, from there to El Crucero, is my favorite section.”
“But, it’s not over till it’s over. We have penalties and
fines all along the racecourse. It’s 15 miles an hour in
checkpoints, and the rule book says you’ve got to come to
a complete stop at the finish line. My feeling is, because he
was showing off, it bit him in the butt. When you show off,
you’ve got to be smart about it. Granted, all the excitement
and everything, I get it. And, we didn’t protest them—that’s
SCORE’s deal. SCORE’s the one that pretty much did the
penalty. We didn’t have anything to do with that.
“I chalk it up to a millennial finish—we both won!” ❏
50TH ANNUAL BFGOODRICH
TIRES SCORE BAJA 1000