The Contender – SCORE International Front Cover

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Article Credits – SCORE INTERNATIONAL OFF-ROAD RACING JOURNAL: Issue 4 – 2015 – Story by Dan Sanchez Images by GETSOMEPHOTOS

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For anyone into desert offroading and racing, it’s a life-long dream to be behind the wheel of an Unlimited Trophy Truck. Ask any kid who their favorite racer is and they might name Rob MacCachren, Tavo Vildosola, BJ Baldwin and a host of others. But ask Apdaly Lopez, driver of the #5 RPM Off-Road Unlimited Trophy Truck, and the person he names first is his dad, Juan Carlos Lopez. 3The Lopez family have been racing for 20 years, with dad Juan Carlos racing motorcycles. At age five, Apdaly Lopez followed his dad and also began racing motorcycles until age 15, when he was picked up by Clyde Stacy and the RPM Off-Road Racing team. Stacy allowed Lopez to drive in Class 10 until last year, when Lopez co-drove with Stacy in Unlimited Trophy Truck Class. Stacy made a great choice as the team finished second overall in the 2014 SCORE points standings. So how is it possible that a young motorcycle racer and then Class 10 driver was easily able to jump into an Unlimited Trophy Truck, keep up with more experienced champions of the sport? Perhaps Lopez is a natural, but he attributes his skills to the lessons his dad has taught him over the years. “My dad has given me a lot of advice for racing, and for my life,” says Lopez. “He’s been able to point out my mistakes and I’ve adapted quickly, thanks to his experience. Last year 2014, was a test and was my first season racing in SCORE Unlimited Trophy Trucks. This year, I hope to avoid the mistakes I’ve made and improve.” If his first race of the 2015 season is any indication of Lopez’s abilities, he’s definitely in contention for a championship. To say the least, he’s been extremely fast in a smaller sized, lighter Trophy Truck than what most of the competition is driving. At the 28th Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250, Lopez started first in the class and maintained his lead position over Tavo Vildosola, and BJ Baldwin, but unfortunately came in third. Nevertheless, Lopez is stunning the desert racing community with his impressive driving skills, speed and agility. “I’m very proud of my son,” says Juan Carlos Lopez. “For his age and the accomplishments he’s already achieved, and where he’s at now, I’m more proud that he’s already passed me in racing. It’s one of those things that any parent hopes for, to have their children do better than they do.” While American drivers get lots of publicity, commercials, sponsor endorsements and so on, Lopez is somewhat of an underdog, but is extremely loved and respected by the Mexican people. “Its important for me to be racing in Mexico. It’s my country, where I started racing, and the place where I’ve learned what I know,” says Lopez. Although he loves his fans and country, Lopez realizes that the sport of desert racing can be dangerous, and fans can often put him and other racers in danger. “One of the things I’d like to say to the fans is that if you truly love the sport, please be careful and don’t walk across the race course. We as SCORE racers are also here to entertain you and ourselves, so it’s important to be careful.” If Lopez can continue performing at this level, he will definitely be someone that other Unlimited Trophy Truck racers will have to contend with. “There is something mystical about racing in Baja that you simply can’t describe. It also makes me very proud to race in Mexico, in this category, and against top drivers. Just being here fills me and the Mexican people with pride.” Add the fact the he is having fun, proud to be driving an Unlimited Trophy Truck, and focused on winning a championship, it’s a combination that will be hard to beat on the race course. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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