A San Lorenzo Valley High senior crossed the finish line first in the prestigious SCORE Baja 1,000 motorcycle race on the Baja California peninsula last month.
Chad Broughton, 17, was the rider of record during the 30-hour endurance race from Ensenada to La Paz in Baja California, Mexico.
Broughton was exhausted when he crossed the finish line in La Paz on Nov. 16.
“It was pretty hectic during the race,” Broughton said. “You’re trying to process a lot of things; then right at the end it was the greatest sense of accomplishment.”
Broughton and his team of riders won Class 20, which included bikes of 450 cc or less.
The team included Chad’s father, Paul Broughton, and Eric Pucelik, Nick Owens and Jack Hulse. They rode a Honda CRF 250X, averaging 37.64 mph to finish in 29 hours, 47 minutes, 41 seconds. The second-place team crossed the finish line nearly four hours later.
Broughton clocked the most miles among the team members, earning the title of rider of record. He completed legs of 160 miles and 180 miles over rugged terrain that included fire roads, sand, rock, silt beds and many large bumps, called “whoops.”
Temperatures in the high 80s accompanied him near the finish line.
“One hundred sixty and 180 miles, that’s a lot of time being on the bike,” Broughton said.
Part of his ride took place at night, which presented additional challenges.
“It’s more of a mental wear on you,” he said. “You have to pay attention a little more.”
The ride began at 6 a.m., and Broughton did not get to sleep until 9 p.m. the following night.
Broughton said the ride was relatively uneventful, except when a 900-horsepower trophy truck rode up behind him, causing him to slide out in a soft patch of dirt. Although Broughton was clear of the crash, the truck ran over his motorcycle’s wheel, breaking a rotor. He was able to finish the leg despite the crash.
The Baja 1000 was the icing on the cake.
The team finished atop the entire Baja series in Class 20, which included the San Felipe 250 in March, the Baja 500 in June and the Baja 1,000 in November.
Broughton said he and his teammates won the 250, took third in the 500 and won the 1,000 to finish atop the overall standings.
The 17-year-old has been riding motorcycles since he was 3 years old and racing since he was 7.
Next year, he may race the Baja 250 alone, rather than with a team, to advance his career.
“I’d like to race professionally for a career, but the motorcycle industry is struggling right now, so that would be tough to do,” Broughton said. “I love riding. I try to ride every weekend and at least once every week.”
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