Simi Valley, CA – Considered the roughest of all the Baja Race courses, the San Felipe 250 features an endless terrain of bottomless sand, rocks, silt and continued whoops that run throughout the course. The world’s toughest competitors gather each year from around the globe to test their skill, grit and determination in facing the grueling terrain that often turns the strongest of men into mush.
Amongst the competitors this year were 3 different factory teams from Honda as well as the Factory KTM and Factory Kawasaki teams. In all, more than 225 entries from 20 states and 10 countries put it all on the line in an attempt to finish first.
Amongst the many entries was Team Kal-Gard 300x racing on the Honda CR450X, last year’s Class 30 champion finishing 1st privateer, 3rd overall in 2008. Jason Trubey crashed hard during pre running and was unable to race due to multiple lacerations and a broken hand. Jimmy O’Neal Jr. decided take on Jason’s section on the lower loop, when he too hit a rock and crashed hard, injuring his sternum, and broken ribs. Next up, Keith O’Neal volunteered to take on some of the mileage. In the first 25 miles, he too hit a rock and was transferred to the hospital as well with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. This left Jim O’Neal Sr, already injured prior to the race, and newcomer Brian Sweany. O’Neal Sr. made a couple of calls and was able to get former Class 40 teammate, Tom Willis and former overall 1000 champion Derrick Paiement. Tom and Derrick arrived Friday, with no time to pre run they did a remarkable job, putting the 300x into 2nd place in Class 30 and 8th overall. Sr. was only hoping for a finish and was surprised how well the veterans rode. Baja Rookie Sweany also took a header in the same area as Keith and Jason (rocks) on the start and was able to bring the bike back into first place on his loop.
The 500x team had a remarkable ride. Tim Withers, Dan Dawson, Andy Kirker and Jim O’Neal put their heads down and had flawless ride. No problems at all. Finished 1st in Class 50, 9th overall, the best 50 class finish to date in the San Felipe 250.
Special thanks to the Team sponsors and allowing Team Kal Gard to go for another two championships this year. Without your support, winning just wouldn’t be possible. We hope to be back with our regular teams for the 500.
Berkeley Honda Heil Construction
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