SAN FELIPE, Baja California, Mexico – Returning after a one-year absence to a race he relishes so much, Las Vegas’ Rob MaCachren masterfully and methodically manipulated and succinctly stormed his way past the competition and through the relentless desert race course to the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory Saturday at the 31st annual SCORE San Felipe 250.
Round 1 of the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship was held on a super-challenging, technical 271.9-mile course during a sensationally stunning sunny Saturday in Mexico that started and finished in quaint San Felipe on the northeast portion of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula along the tranquil waters of the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border in Calexico, Calif.
The race started and finished on the picturesque malecon in the heart of San Felipe for the first time in the 31-year history of the SCORE San Felipe 250.
A total of 204 official starters raced in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, utvs, motorcycles and quads. Entries came from 25 U.S. States, host Mexico, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany and Guatemala. The race had 143S official finishers and a very high finishing rate of 70.9 percent in the very challenging elapsed time race that had a 13.5-hour time limit.
With necessary penalties assessed, the results were made official early Sunday morning following data tracking review by SCORE race officials.
A Hall of Fame desert and short-course off-road champion, MacCachren, 52, backed up his top-qualifying effort on Thursday to capture his ninth class win and his fifth overall and fifth in SCORE Trophy Truck in the SCORE San Felipe 250. MacCachren stormed strategically to a penalty-free winning time of four hours, 20 minutes, 15 seconds at a sterling 62.69 miles per hour in his No. 11 Rockstar MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150.
Prior to this year, MacCachren’s Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victories in the SCORE San Felipe 250 have been in 2003 (with Gustavo Vildosola Sr), 2007 (with Mark Post) and driving solo in 2011 and 2012.
Among his nearly 250 career race wins, MacCachren has also won the overall title at the legendary season-ending SCORE Baja 1000 for the last three consecutive years.
While MacCachren clearly dominated a field of 24 SCORE Trophy Trucks, the remaining podium placements represented great racing efforts as well. Finishing second overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck three minutes, 55 seconds behind MacCachren in 4:24:11 (61.75mph) was defending race champion Billy Wilson, Corpus Christi, Texas, in the No. 15 Bevly Wilson Racing Chevy Silverado.
Placing third overall and in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks five minutes, 36.53 seconds behind MacCachren was two-time defending SCORE season point champion Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez with a time of 4:25:52 (61.36mph) in the No. 1 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck.
The race will air as a one-hour special in the United States on the El Rey Network. With necessary penalties assessed, the results were made official early Sunday morning following data tracking review by SCORE race officials.
GOLDEN SCORE 2017
The 2017 season also marks the golden 50th anniversary celebration of the legendary season-ending SCORE Baja 1000, the iconic Granddaddy of all Desert Races to be held in mid-November. The SCORE Baja 1000 is the oldest and longest continuously held desert race in the world.
Enjoying the experience of yet another SCORE Baja race win, MacCachren remembered at the finish line, “I clipped a rock about mile 50 and got a flat tire. That allowed Apdaly (Lopez) and Cameron Steele to get in front of us,” MacCachren said. “We tried to work away and chop off that gap that they put on us. Apdaly was pulled over on the side of the road a little bit later and we got in front of him. Cameron Steele was running really strong and we made up a few minutes on him coming through mile 125 to mile 175. It started to stabilize and I think he got the word that we were coming. He started right behind me so we were going to have to pass him to beat him.
“Coming up on mile 200 there were gnarly sand whoops and we were just hammering down and I started getting in his dust. I got really close to him at about 100 feet back and I couldn’t see for a moment and went off into a cactus and it ended up coming into the cab. It stuck in me and my co-driver Wayne so we were trying to pull that out of us and let Cameron get ahead a little bit. I told Wayne to tell me not to be a wimp and just go and leave that stuff in there. He said “don’t be a wimp” and then we got going. We got out ahead of Cameron right before the Huatuamote wash. We were running hard the last 30 miles to make sure he didn’t get us on time.”
OVERALL MOTORCYCLE WINNERS
The overall motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited winner was the team of Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif., on the No. 1x Ox Motorsports Honda CRF450X. Samuel is rider of record this year as normal rider of record Colton Udall is out indefinitely with injuries. It was the second straight overall win for Samuels in the SCORE San Felipe 250. Samuels and co-ridersDaymon Stokie, Australia, and Ryan Penhall, Laguna Niguel, Calif. teamed up to finish in 5:12:38 (52.18mph) to win the Pro Moto Unlimited class on a Honda CRF450X.
M/C WINNERS QUOTES
Samuels rode the first three miles and Stokie took over to race mile 47. Samuels rode again to race mile 144, Stokie rode again to race mile 190 and Penhall rode to the finish.
Obviously happy with his overall motorcycle victory, Samuels commented, “The course was really brutal. My section was the northern section and the SCORE Baja 500 and 1000 used that section last year making it really choppy and a lot of rocks came up. I was worked today. We deployed people to where they are best suited and we choose teammates that get along. We’ve got a good team bond, we have a good time and we all work together to make the job happen.”
Penhall commented at the finish line, “I rode a smooth race but had one tip-over. I rode smart and had a good time out there. This was the roughest course I’ve ever ridden in San Felipe. More rocks are showing up in the sand washes and the whoops are getting deeper. As the SCORE Trophy Trucks get more and more suspension it just gets harder for the bike guys.”
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 21 overalls in San Felipe in the 24-year history of the featured SCORE racing division. In the 31 years of this race, Honda has now earned 20 overall motorcycle victories (including 18 of the last 21 years), Kawasaki has seven, KTM has three and Husqvarna has one. For long-time SCORE sponsor BFGoodrich Tires, it was their 26th overall 4-wheel vehicle victory and 24th straight in the SCORE San Felipe 250.
4-WHEEL TOP 11
The marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division blistered the rugged race course to record 10 of the top 11 overall finishing positions in the race.
Fourth behind MacCachren, Wilson and Lopez was Lopez’s RPM Racing teammate and RPM co-owner Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., who finished less than three seconds behind Lopez in 4:25:55.75 in the No. 4 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck.
Fifth was Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin in 4:29:16 in the No. 97 Monster Energy Toyota Tundra, sixth was was Las Vegas brothers Tim Herbst/Troy Herbst, with a time of 4:32:35 in the No. 19 Monster Energy Ford F-150 and seventh in the No. 16 Monster Energy Chevy Silverado was Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., who finished in 4:41:15.
Eighth and ninth overall placements went to third-generation desert racers. San Diego’s Dan McMillin was eighth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in 4:43:29 in the No. 23 Ford F-150 while ninth overall and winning the unlimited Class 1 was Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. with a penalty-free time of 4:57:09 in the No. 153 Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
Tenth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in 4:58:30 was Jesse Jones, Phoenix who split the driving in the No. 76 Ford F-150 with his son Austin Jones, also of Phoenix and Australia’s motorcycle star Toby Price.
Eleventh overall and 10th in SCORE Trophy Truck in 5:02:42 was Denver’s Gary Magness in the No. 45 Ford F-150.
OVERALL UTV WINNER
Wayne Matlock, Alpine, Calif., was the overall UTV winner with a time of 6:36:48 in a Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo in the Pro UTV FI class which had 13 starters.
MAKE THAT 17
Age-group racer and note apparel manufacturer Jim O’Neal, 70, of Simi Valley, Calif. added another class win to his trophy case for a SCORE race-high17 class wins –all in the last 17 years.
O’Neal has now raced in all 31 SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 19 career season class point titles including two in 2016. This year in San Felipe was the rider of record for the team riding on the No. 100x in Pro Moto Limited.
YO ELEVEN, ELEVEN
Seasoned veteran Class 11 stock VW Sedan racer Eric Solorzano, 57, Tijuana, Mexico, won his class in San Felipe for the 11th time. Solorzano is one of the winngest racers in SCORE history and has earned 11 season point champions in Class 11 in his long career. His race vehicle number this year—No. 1111 and his finishing time this year was 10:11:12.
ANOTHER CLASS WIN
In addition to MacCachren, O’Neal and Matlock, also adding to his win total in San Felipe was Donald Lewis, 73, Manchester, Conn., who led a team to victory in the Pro Moto 60 class (riders over 60) for his fifth class win. Riding with him in San Felipe were Ron Dugan, 75, Upland, Calif. and Robert Koch, 63 Leona Valley, Calif.
Also picking up his fifth class wins in San Felipe was Wayne Matlock, Alpine, Calif. (Pro UTV FI).
Earning their fourth class wins in this race were Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (Trophy Truck Spec) and Gustavo Vildosola Sr (SCORE TT Legend for drivers over 50 years old).
Vic Bruckmann, Lemon Grove, Calif., captured his third class win in San Felipe (SCORE Lites). Winning for the third straight year was Jorge Sampietro, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600).
MORE CLASS WINNERS
Among the other car and truck class winners in this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250 were Brock Dickerson, Brawley, Calif./Jeff Dickerson, Brawley, Calif. (Alumi Craft-Chevy), Noah Ostanik, Carlsbad, Calif. (Class 8, Ford F-150), Luis Lopez, Mexicali, Mexico/Victor Cesena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Class 5, VW Baja Bug) Bud Pecoy, W. Des Moines, Iowa (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru) and Jorge Gutierrez, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug).
Among the other motorcycle class winners this year were Jose Carassco, Rosarito Beach, Mexico, (Pro Moto Ironman, Suzuki RMZ450X), Kevin Johnson, Boulder City, Nev. (Pro Moto 40, Husqvarna 510), Chad Thornton, Farmington, N.M., (Pro Moto 30, KTM 450XCW) and Giovanni Spinali, Lake Forest, Calif. (Pro Moto 50, Honda CRF450X).
A MASTERFUL COURSE
SCORE President Roger Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva worked with the government officials and ejidos of the Mexicali and San Felipe areas to develop a memorable SCORE San Felipe 250 race course.
This year’s grueling race course was another beauty to behold but a tough challenge to race on. It ran in a counter clockwise direction running over high-speed dry lake beds, through low-speed winding, rock-strewn, twisting canyons and trails, along quick-paced dirt roads and through three of Baja’s most infamous washes in Chanate, Huatamote and Amarillo.
There were two full stop checkpoints in addition to the start/finish line which was located for the first time in the history of this race on the Malecon in the heart of San Felipe. Checkpoint 1 was located at El Chinero and the second was at Morelia Junction.
The course passed through La Ventana, Saldana and Borrego as well as the Diablo dry lake bed.
There were two road crossings, both on Highway 3. The first will be going north at km 192 after checkpoint 1 and the second one coming south near Borrego, crossing at km 179 on the highway.
SPRING BREAK HAPPENING
For over three decades, the annual motorsports festival that has brought the largest economic impact of any single event held annually in this lightly-populated portion of the ruggedly rough and bountifully beautiful Baja peninsula has been the SCORE San Felipe 250.
The four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship and for the second time all four are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
· 31st SCORE San Felipe 250, March 29-April 2, San Felipe, Mexico
· 49th SCORE Baja 500, June 1-4, Ensenada Mexico
· Rosarito Beach 21st SCORE Desert Challenge, Sept. 14-17, Rosarito Beach, Mexico
· 50th SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.14-18, Ensenada, Mexico to La Paz, Mexico
EL REY NETWORK
The four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship in Baja California, Mexico along with the SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience/SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying in Las Vegas will all air on El Rey Network in the United States. International distribution is by way of syndication. The season-ending 50th SCORE Baja 1000 will have a two-hour show produced while the other race shows will each be one-hour telecasts.
El Rey Network is a 24-hour, English-language lifestyle network targeting “Strivers,” viewers who hold strong core beliefs about the importance of family, independence, hard work, craftsmanship, and legacy.
Founded by maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, and curated by Rodriguez and his artistic collective, the network features action-packed programming, relatable heroes and aspirational stories that embrace today’s America. El Rey’s slate is anchored by signature series including the original drama “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” the one-on-one interview program “El Rey Network Presents: The Director’s Chair,” and “Lucha Underground,” a lucha libre wrestling series produced by Mark Burnett.
El Rey Network’s lineup also showcases a wide range of iconic feature films and television series including genre, action, and sci-fi/ horror. El Rey Network LLC is jointly owned by Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures, with a minority stake held by Univision Networks & Studios, Inc.
El Rey Network is available in 45 million homes across the country through cable and OTT providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 341 and Dish Network Channel 253. For more information on how to watch El Rey visit http://elreynetwork.com.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Raceline Wheels-Official Wheel, Axial R/C-Official R/C Vehicle, El Rey Network-Official Television Partner, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, 4 Wheel Parts, Coca Cola, The Satellite Phone Store, Satellite Del Norte, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, CETTO Vineyards.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Baja California Sur State Government, Baja California Sur Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamiento, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics.
Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge Special Partners: Ayuntamiento de Playas de Rosarito, Cotuco de Playas de Rosarito, Comite de Mercadatecnia Playas de Rosarito.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.
SCORE San Felipe 250
All-Time Overall Champions
Pro Cars, Trucks, UTVs
Year–Driver(s), Vehicle (Class)
1982–Dan Cornwell, Chenowth-VW (Class 1)
1983–Corky McMillin/Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche (Class 2)
1984–Scott McMillin/Corky McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche (Class 2)
1990–Brian Collins/Jack Johnson, Chenowth-VW (Class 1)
1991–Larry Ragland, Chevy C1500 (Class 8)
1992–Bob Richey/Boyd Cox, Raceco-Porsche (Class 1)
1993–Scott Douglas, Ford Ranger (Class 7)
1994–Ivan Stewart, Toyota SR5 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1995–Larry Ragland, Chevy C1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1996–Robby Gordon, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1997–Curt LeDuc, Jeep Grand Cherokee (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1998–Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel, Riviera-Chevy (Class 1)
1999–Ed Herbst/Tim Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2000–Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2001–Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2002–Dan Smith/David Ashley, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2003–Gus Vildosola/Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2004–Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2005–Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Jimco-Chevy (Class 1)
2006–Garron Cadiente, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2007–Mark Post/Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Truck Truck)
2008–Brian Collins, Dodge Ram1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2009–Brian Collins, Dodge Ram1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2010—Armin Schwarz/Martin Christensen, Jimco-BMW (Class 1)
2011—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2012—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2013—Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE TruckTruck)
2014—Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2015—Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2016—Billy Wilson, Chevy Silverado (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2017—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1982–Bob Balentine, Honda XR500 (Class 22)
1983–Jack Johnson, Honda XR500 (Class 22)
1984–Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna CR500 (Class 22)
1990–Dan Smith/Danny Hamel, KTM (Class 22)
1991–Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicut Jr, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1992–Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicut Jr, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1993–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500(Class 22)
1994–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1995–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1996–Paul Krause, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1997–Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
1998–Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
1999–Johnny Campbell/Cole Marshall, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
2000–Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
2001–Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2002–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2003–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2004–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2005–Chris Blais/Andy Grider/Quinn Cody, KTM MXC525 (Class 22)
2006–Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2007–Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2008–Robby Bell/Johnny Campbell, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2009–Kendall Norman/Tim Weigand, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2010—Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2011—Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2012—Kurt Caselli/Ivan Ramirez, KTM 450SX-F (Class 22)
2013—Tim Weigand/Colton Udall, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2014—Ricky Brabec/Shane Esposito/Max Eddy Jr, Kawasaki KX450F (Open M/C)
2015—Colton Udall/Justin Junes, Honda CRF450X (Open M/C)
2016—Colton Udall/Mark Samuels, Honda CRF450X (Pro Moto Unlimited)
2017—Mark Samuels/Daymon Stokie/Ryan Penhall, Honda CRF450X (Pro Moto Unlimited)