Gustavo Vildosola Wins SCORE San Felipe 250
Stormy weather played a big role in the first race of the 2014 SCORE Desert Series, as the San Felipe 250 saw delays and restarts due to the rain’s impact on the racecourse. After the dust settled, or should we say mud, it was Mexican racer Gustavo Vildosola Jr. who earned the overall four-wheel win.
“We drew 25th (starting position) and I was extremely worried about that,” Gustavo said. “It really changed my game plan during the race. We got around a bunch of guys and it was a good clean race. That's what we needed. We were running in the dust, bushes and things sometimes bigger than bushes that got in the way.”
The weather ultimately changed the complexity of the course in a few sections, forcing a re-route and then restart of the bikes, ATVs and side-by-side who had already started, and delaying the four-wheel start by two hours. SCORE President and CEO Roger Norman addressed the potential weather issues the night before at the driver’s meeting. One of the biggest areas of concern was the Summit, where an optional line was added to avoid the section already torn up prior to any additional weather erosion. What Norman didn’t know until the next morning was that the new line was flooded and impassible, which forced SCORE to route racers around the area and onto highway sections, shorting the race down from 274 miles to 219. About 12 mile of new dirt course added in that total, while the rest was highway re-routing, which meant it was all speed-limited to 60 mph.
“We started seeing nice compacted dirt near San Matias, and it was really slippery around Mike's loop” Gustavo said. “I had to do some creative things to get around other trucks.”
The weather made things tough, but the new section of course played into the hands of Vildosola, who grew up in nearby Mexicali and has great knowledge of the area. Looking at the podium, it is safe to say that previous dirt bike racers, such as Larry Roeseler and Steven Eugenio, also benefited from extensive Baja knowledge with the new sections as well. Herbst and Roeseler were able to their helicopter in the air to get a quick glance at the new section, which certainly didn’t hurt either. But Roeseler’s knowledge of Baja certainly didn’t hurt either.
“It was a little sloppy and muddy up around Mike's loop but we had a great race with (Steven) Eugenio,” Roeseler said. “We were right in the hunt of it and still ended up really good.”
Roeseler’s teammate, driver of record Tim Herbst, commended him on working through the pack to get up front.
“I can't say enough about Larry,” Herbst said after the race. “He started in the back and did a wonderful job. We were unlucky on the draw, which is really a disadvantage. These races are so competitive and being able to work his way through the crowd is a big testament to Larry.
Eugenio was definitely happy to start off the season with a solid finish, but he knew he had something for the two trucks in front of him.
“I hoped to finish a little better but what more can you ask for?” he said. “We couldn't have asked for a better truck. I had a few issues out there but I'm here, I'm safe and I'm in Mexico. It can't get any better than this.”
Rob MacCachren finished just off the podium to earn fourth place in Trophy Truck in San Felipe. He battled with fifth-place finisher Juan C. Lopez and BJ Baldwin during the race, but he also had to battle with the weather.
“It was pouring rain and we were soaking wet. The mud was just super greasy,” MacCachren said. “The reason the truck doesn't look muddy is because it was raining so hard on the highway it rinsed it all clean and then we got back into the desert and the water dried off.”