Whoever won the Baja 1000 would win the 2014 championship. Brabec’s 4x team of Max Eddy, Robby Bell and
Steve Hengeveld had issues early in the race but came
back to reclaim the race lead, bringing home the overall
victory and claiming the 1x plate. This marked the first time
in 17 years the Baja 1000-winning bike was not a Honda.
Now that you are familiar with Ricky Brabec, here is a
look inside his AMA National Hare & Hound and SCORE
International championship-winning machines. Both are
2011 Kawasaki KX450Fs built by the staff at Precision
Concepts. Ty Renshaw was the lead mechanic on Brabec’s
H&H bike, and Bob Bell is in charge of the Baja bike.
Brabec’s SCORE race bike is purpose-built to take on
fast terrain without deflecting on the square edges and
rocks Baja has to offer. Suspension is softer, going deeper
in the stroke on both the forks and shock to handle high-speed impacts. It’s also set up to corner and track well on
slippery surfaces, but has maximum resistance to bottoming on big hits and G-outs. The most important aspect of
the Baja bike is it has to be comfortable for multiple riders
to run long periods of time in the saddle—three hours plus
sometimes—at speeds averaging around 100 miles per
hour. Everything from the grips, seat, footpegs, bars and
levers to the tires is taken into account. It’s built for comfort as much as speed. With multiple partners riding the
SCORE bikes, setup is usually a bit of a compromise, and
it normally favors the lighter riders. After years of testing,
Precision Concepts owner Bob Bell has found it’s easier
for a heavier rider to adapt to a softer setup than it is for a
light rider to try and ride with a stiffer setting.
The cockpit of the
Baja machine is
made to please a
variety of riders.
Both engines are gone over with a fine-tooth comb by the
staff at Precision Concepts and then CryoHeat-treated.
FMF makes special specs for Baja, and Brabec runs an off-the-shelf system with a spark-arrestor insert for H&H.