SCORE-San-Felipe-2016-Logo-1-26-16SAN FELIPE, Baja California, Mexico – Looking to add to his record-setting class win total, SoCal’s veteran age-group motorcycle racer Jim O’Neal will lead 48 racers to start Saturday’s 30th SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race.  O’Neal, 69, the noted apparel manufacturer from Simi Valley, Calif., has 15 class wins in San Felipe and will be an additional rider in two classes (Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50) in the season-opener of the internationally-televised four-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship.

The race is being held in San Felipe, the quaint Mexican fishing village located on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja California, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif. In 2016, all four rounds of the SCORE World Desert Championship will be held on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula.

With late entries accepted up to 5 p.m. on Friday, the 249.5-mile race has attracted over 150 entries from 20 U.S. States and seven countries ready to compete in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads in the 30th anniversary of this popular race. The starting grid includes 15 entries in SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee racing division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the youngest of the three traditional SCORE Baja races sometimes referred to as the SCORE ‘baby Baja’. Racing will be held over a rugged 249.5-mile course that includes four of Baja’s infamous washes. While the fastest vehicles are expected to finish in approximately five hours, the elapsed-time race has a 17-hour time limit. Motorcycles and quads will start on vehicle at a time, beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday and the car, truck and UTV classes will leave at approximately 10:30 a.m. with at least a three and one-half hour split between the first group of vehicles.

To help celebrate three decades of this popular ‘spring break’ fiesta, the race will start and finish where it has for over 20 years, in the shadow of the famed San Felipe Arches on the outskirts of town.

The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway, contingency and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday. Contingency will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) and tech/transponder check from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the picturesque Malecon, flanked by the Sea of Cortez on one side and the popular restaurants and night clubs of San Felipe on the other.

Racer registration will be held at the Rockodile night club from noon to 4 p.m. (PT) and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (PT) on Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) on Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT) on Friday.

Double-Fiestas will be held on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Rockodile night club as the Monster Energy SCORE Kick-off Party will be held on the upper deck and the Bud Light Party on the lower deck. Both parties are open to the public and donations will be taken for Cruz Roja de Mexico (Red Cross).

Live coverage from the start/finish line will be streamed on the SCORE website along with tracking of all vehicles in the race. Producer/host of the live streaming will be Mitch Berney. Production will be by Tecnovision. Other announcers will be Dianna Dahlgren, Fernanda Varga and Maria Christina Grijalva. The live streaming is designed to promote the full one hour CBS Sports Network broadcast of the race at 9 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 10.

Winning the last three SCORE San Felipe races overall, Mexico’s Gus Vildosola Jr will be looking to break a three-way tie with three Las Vegas racers to become the first racer to win the SCORE overall title in race history four times and the first to pull off four consecutive victories.

A second generation Mexican desert racer, Vildosola Jr of Mexicali has five class wins in this race including a record-tying three straight overall and SCORE Trophy Truck wins in the No. 21 Mexicana Logistics Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor.

Vildosola Jr, with help from his father Gus Sr in 2013 won his first overall. He drove solo the next two years to tie the record in 2015 of three straight overall wins set by Las Vegas racing brothers Ed Herbst and Tim Herbst who won three straight in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Also with three overall wins, but not consecutively, are Rob MacCachren and Brian Collins, who along with the Herbst brothers are Las Vegas natives.

Mexico’s Vildosola Jr will be going for a four-peat as he attempts to win the SCORE San Felipe 250 overall and in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck title and become the first driver in race history to win the popular race four consecutive years. Some 15 competitors in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division are among the field of challengers attempting to stop the talented Vildosola Jr, who was born and raised in Mexicali, Mexico.

Among the top challengers to Vildosola Jr are fellow SCORE Trophy Truck racers B.J. Baldwin, and RPM Racing teammates Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, and Justin Matney.

Las Vegas’ Baldwin , who drives the No. 97 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado, is a four-time SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013) .

Lopez, the 21-year old phenom from Tecate, Mexico, won the 2015 SCORE Trophy Truck and SCORE Overall point championship en route to being voted SCORE Rookie of the Year in the No. 1 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck.

Matney, 30, of Bristol, Tenn., won the 2014 SCORE Class 1 season point championship. He returned late last year after back surgery and his been extremely impressive in his new 4-wheel drive No. 4 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division.

The field includes racers from four of the last six overall motorcycle winners as well as the last three overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in San Felipe. Also entered are 13 class winners from last year’s race and 15 of the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship class point champions.

SCORE Trophy Trucks have won 19 overalls in San Felipe in the 22-year history of the class. Southern California’s Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel in 1997, San Diego’s son/father team of Andy and Scott McMillin (2005) and Armin Schwarz (Germany)/Martin Christensen (Denmark) (2010) have the only three Class 1 overall wins since SCORE created the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division in 1994.

In the first 29 years of this race, Honda has earned 18 overall motorcycle victories (including 16 of the last 19 years), Kawasaki has seven, KTM has three and Husqvarna has one.

Leading the gregarious group of 23 racers with at least two class wins in this race entered this year are Jim O’Neal (Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50) with a SCORE race-high15 class wins (age group motorcycle) wins–all in the last 15 years, and six-time winners Jeff Kaplan (Pro Moto 50) and Gerardo Rojas (Pro Moto 40) in this San Felipe race. Gus Vildosola Jr has five wins (SCORE Trophy Truck) and with four class wins each in San Felipe are Ricardo Malo (Class 1), Wayne Matlock (Trophy Truck Spec), Cody Robinson (Class 10), Francisco Septien (Pro Moto 40) and Colton Udall (Pro Moto Unlimited).

O’Neal has raced in all 29 previous SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 17 career season class point titles, including last season in Class 30 as a co-rider on the over-30 years-old motorcycle team led by Mark Winkelman.

Last year’s overall 4-wheel and 2-wheel champions are also part of the field. Vildosola Jr was the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck champion in 2015 while the returning 2-wheel and Pro Moto Unlimited champion was the Colton Udall, Yucca Valley, Calif..

Besides Vildosola Jr and Udall, a total of the 13 defending SCORE San Felipe 250 class winners have entered so far this year including Rob Archibald, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 1), Jorge Sampietro, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600), Victor Cesena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Class 5), Armando Garcia, Ensenada (Class 5-1600), Larry Connor, Miamisburg, Ohio (Trophy Truck Spec), Chad Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif. (Class 3000), Ruben Alamos, Manzanillo, Mexico (Pro Moto Limited), Mark Winkelman, Cedar Hill, Texas (Pro Moto 30), Tony Gera, Santa Cruz, Calif. (Pro Moto Ironman), Derek Fletcher, Abington, Va. (SPT Buggy) and Juan Dominguez, Yuma, Ariz. (SPT Quad).

Broughton (Trophy Truck Spec), Winkelman (Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50), Derek Fletcher (Class 1) and Dominguez (Pro Quad) are all entered in different classes this year.

Pre-running will be allowed on the actual race course through Friday. The race course is a single loop, run counter-clockwise for 249.5 miles. Starting and finishing at the San Felipe Arches monument, the course is considered to possibly be the toughest in the history of this popular race.

Fairly similar to the course run in 2010, it does not cross Highway 3 which goes to Ensenada. Instead it runs up to it along Highway 5 and then turns northwest just before Highway 3 and parallels it for about 10 miles before turning further south all the way down to the legendary Matomi Wash. Working its way back north, it heads southwest and then north and north west before turning north back to the finish line.

In addition to Matomi, the course also includes three other major Baja washes– Huatomote, Chanate and Amarillas. The course will have three physical checkpoints at race mile 24.7, rm 148.5 and rm 244.7. There will also be approximately 45 virtual checkpoints along the race course.

Class 10 has the most entries so far with 20, followed by the unlimited Class 1 with 18, SCORE Trophy Truck with 15 entries and Trophy Truck Spec with 13 entries.

Leading the motorcycle entries is the Pro Moto Ironman class with nine entries followed by Pro Moto Unlimited and Pro Moto 40 (riders at least 40 years old) with six each.

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