Ensenada, Baja California – KTM’s Baja Team earned an impressive third place podium finish at the 40th Anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
The KTM Baja Team included riders: David Pearson, Cyril Despres, Shane Esposito, and Quinn Cody. The team raced aboard the new KTM 690 Baja bike. The bike was first seen at its test run during the Baja 500 event earlier this year. The Baja 1000 event served as the first race effort for the KTM Baja 690 bike which has proved to be a durable high-performance race machine.
National Hare and Hound Champion, David Pearson, was the first rider on the number 9X KTM Baja 690 bike leaving ninth off the line. Before the first check point Pearson had moved into second place behind the 1X of the Factory Honda Team. Pearson then handed the bike over to his teammate, 2006 Dakar Rally winner, Cyril Despres for the next leg. Despres took off with lightening speed but his efforts were halted after the rear tire blew apart around mile marker 250. The team lost valuable time during the tire change. Once the bike was repaired, Despres remounted and finished out his turn at which point he handed the bike back to Pearson. Pearson rode strong through the high-speed sections of the rocky desert but misfortune struck again with a second tire issue at mile 400. This time the tire came completely off the wheel which made it more difficult and cost more time for the team to change. It was at this point that the #14X machine was able to pass the KTM team for second position.
After the second repair, Pearson remounted and found his fast race pace again. Soon his turn was up and he handed it over to Esposito who had a smooth ride into the night. Esposito’s ride was problem free allowing him to maintain third position. He finished and passed the machine into the hands of the fourth team member Quinn Cody. Cody was feeling strong coming into the first check point. Unfortunately, right before his first check he hit an unavoidable large hole that sent him flying over the bars. Luckily his crash was close enough to the pits that he was able to remount and ride slowly over to his team where a backup rider (Despres) was waiting. As the team tended to Cody; Despres got on the machine and continued on to the next check.
At that check point Despres passed the bike off one last time to Pearson who would finish the last 250 miles. Pearson crossed the finish line at 8:30am in the third place position behind the second place Honda team on the 14X bike and the first place of the number 1X Factory Honda Team.
Despite the misfortune of two tire blowouts and one significant crash the KTM Baja Team was still able to earn a podium finish. Congratulations to the 2007 KTM Baja Team whose effort and progress with the new KTM 690 Baja bike has earned their second team podium finish of the year!