SAN FELIPE, Mexico — Mexico’s Gus Vildsola Jr rewarded his home country fans with a special treat by capturing the Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck win for the third consecutive year at Saturday’s 29th Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. Round 1 of the five-race 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship was held on a challenging, technical 259-mile course that started and finished in San Felipe on the northern portion of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula. Vildosola Jr recorded the first three-peat overall victory in the 29-year history of the popular race.
The race will air as a one-hour special in March in the United States on the CBS Sports Network. With necessary penalties assessed the results were made official early Sunday morning following data tracking review by SCORE race officials.
Starting 13th out of 20 vehicles in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck racing division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks, Vildosola Jr, of Mexicali, powered the No. 21 Branix Mexicana Logistics Ford Raptor to a winning time of four hours, six minutes, 27 seconds while averaging a super strong average speed of 63.77 miles per hour.
The SCORE season opener was held in Mexico’s picturesque fishing village of San Felipe. The town is located 125 miles south of the U.S. border on the East side of the Baja California peninsula along the azure waters of the tranquil Sea of Cortez.
Entries came from 18 U.S. States and six countries competing in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and Quads, the race had 149 starters of which 102 officially finished the 259-mile course. With a high finishing rate of 68.5 percent, the elapsed time race had an 11 hour time limit to become an official finisher.
In earning his fourth career SCORE Trophy Truck race win and his fifth class triumph in San Felipe, Vildosola Jr adjusted to a new steering package and fought off the competition for his third consecutive home-country victory in San Felipe. Vildosola said at the finish line in the shadow of the famed San Felipe Arches, “The race was good and the wind helped out a little bit. It was blowing from north to south, so in sections heading north it was blowing right back at us.”
“The truck was a handful at the beginning because we changed the steering rack so it took a little bit for me to get used to it. The first 75 miles or so I was sweating and struggling with the truck and my hands hurt like hell. After that it loosened up a little bit and we were able to push. It was a good race with no problems but we got a little lost in a wash and had to go through a bunch of stuff to get back on the course.
“At Morelia Junction I was about three seconds behind Apdaly Lopez (driving the No. 5 SCORE Trophy Truck) when he pulled out of his pit right in front of me and at that point I knew I had him on corrected time. I knew I had to keep his dust in sight but I didn’t push it. B.J Baldwin was always behind us and we got a nice comfortable two-minute lead and we just tried to keep it there. Our goal last year was to put the No. 1 on the truck and we came up a little short but this year we want to put that No. 1 on our SCORE Trophy Truck. We started San Felipe off on the right foot for the third year in a row and that is huge for us going into the Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500. It will be a blast and I can’t wait to get down there and win another one.”
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 19 overalls in San Felipe in the 22-year history of the featured SCORE racing division. In the 29 years of this race, Honda has now earned 18 overall motorcycle victories (including 16 of the last 19 years), Kawasaki has seven, KTM has three and Husqvarna has one.
OVERALL MOTORCYCLE WINNERS
The overall and Open motorcycle winner was the team of Colton Udall, Oceanside, Calif./Justin Jones, Murrieta, Calif., who split riding time on the No. 5x WFOx Motorsports Honda CRF450X. The duo took an early lead and never looked back, finishing in 4:40:59 at an average speed of 55.31 mph. It was the fourth overall motorcycle win in the Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 for Udall and first for Jones, a motocross and endure racing star, was competing in just his second SCORE race. Udall’s WFOx teammate, Mark Samuels, Pioneertown, Calif., finished second in the Open motorcycle class on another Honda CRF450X.
4-WHEEL TOP SIX
Trying to chase down Vildosola Jr all race long, finishing second overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck just two minutes, 45.58 seconds behind was Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin in a time of 4:06:27 (63.11mph) in the No. 97 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado while completing the podium was Mexico’s Carlos Lopez, who stayed behind the wheel of driver of record Clyde Stacy’s No. 5 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck for the entire race to finish third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in a time of 4:14:01 (61.18mph).
With SCORE Trophy Trucks claiming nine of the top 10 overall four-wheel vehicle positions in this race, fourth overall and in the featured racing class was Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif. with a time of 4:23:37 (58.95mph) in the No. 85 Green Army Motorsports Chevy Silverado.
Completing the top five overall and SCORE Trophy Truck finisher’s list was Jason McNeil, El Cajon, Calif., in the No. 2 Fiberwerx Motorsports Chevy Silverado in 4:23:53 (58.89mph).
Sixth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif. with a time of 4:29:12 (57.73mph) in the No. 16 Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado.
THE MAIN COURSE
The race course is a single loop, run counter-clockwise of 259 miles. This year’s race course had four physical check points, 57 virtual checkpoints and included part of the infamous Laguna Salada Dry Lake the Diablo Dry Lake and three of the notorious Baja California washes—Huatamote, Chanate and Amarillas.
In the motorcycle action, Udall started and rode to mile 165 where Jones took over and rode to the finish. Udall commented afterwards, “San Felipe is a funny thing. You’ve got to treat it with a lot of respect because if you don’t then you end up crashing. It’s all about keeping the bike together and the riders together. The course was so gnarly because of the way it was routed this year in a counter-clockwise direction, the rain and the number of pre-runners made it really difficult. I don’t know if the other classes didn’t pre-run enough because usually they pack down the rocks.”
“In sections of the course where I’m used to running wide open instead it was fourth gear and on and off the gas today. I was tiptoeing around to make sure I didn’t hit any big rocks. The washes out there are really scary. It was a guessing game because the sun was low and in a lot of the rocky areas I just squeezed my legs and leaned back a little bit and hoped to get through it. Obviously we did and got a great win for our independent team.”
Leading the gregarious group of racers with multiple class wins in this race that were entered and won again this year was Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif. (Class 30) with a SCORE race-high15 class wins (age group motorcycle) wins–all in the last 15 years. O’Neal, 68, has raced in all 29 Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 16 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 with whom he earned another class win in this race this year.
Adding another class win to his racing record, Vildosola Jr (SCORE Trophy Truck) now has five class wins in San Felipe.
CLASS WINNERS DEFEND
Three defending Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 class winners repeated with class victories again this year: James Burman (Class 8), Larry Connor (Trophy Truck Spec) and Tony Gera (SCORE Ironman). Burman won in Class 7SX last year and switched to Class 8 this year.
MORE CLASS SUPERS
Class 19 had 14 starters, Class 1 and Class 10 each had 13 starters while Class 1/2-1600 saw 12 vehicles leave the start line.
Winning in Class 19 was Scott McFarland, Moab, Utah in a Polaris RZR XP1000, while first in the unlimited Class 1 and finishing 10th overall among 4-wheel vehicles was Rob Archibald, El Cajon, Calif., in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
Topping the field in Class 10 was Mark Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif., in a Lothringer-Chevy and winning in Class 1/2-1600 was Jorge Sampietro, Ensenada, Mexico in a Romo-VW. The Lawrence family completed a great day of racing with three top five finished in Class 10. Mark’s son Mike Lawrence finished fourth in Class 10 in a Lawrence-Chevy and Mark’s brother Clay was fifth in class in another Lawrence-Chevy.
Among the other car and truck class winners this year in San Felipe were: Rafael Navarro III, Temecula, Calif. (SCORE LItes, Jimco-VW), Larry Connor, Miamisburg, Ohio (Trophy Truck Spec, Chevy Silverado), Carlos Diaz Martinez (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Victor Cesena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), Paul Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif. (Class 3000, BajaLite-Chevy) and John Gonzales, Edgewater, Md. (Stock Full, Ford F-150).
Navarro III’s son Rafael Navarro IV completed another solid family day of racing with his second-place finish in Class 10 in an Alumi Craft-Chevy just 47 seconds behind the winning time of Mark Lawrence.
Among the other motorcycle and quad class winners were: Jeff Powell, Reardon, Wash. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X), Tony Gera, Santa Cruz, Calif. (SCORE Ironman, KTM 450XCW), Francisco Vera, Ensenada, Mexico (Pro Quad, Honda TRX450R)
CBS SPORTS NETWORK COVERAGE
All races in the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship series, along with the special SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience and qualifying for the Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will once again be aired in the USA and Canada on the CBS Sports Network. New for 2015, in addition to SCORE Trophy Truck coverage, the shows will also feature top action and highlights from many other classes of trucks, buggies, motorcycles, quads and UTVs – making sure that the most exciting footage and most compelling stories are now part of each race event broadcast.
Capping off the 2015 broadcast season, the Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 broadcast on CBS Sports Network will be expanded to a full two-hour program – providing the most expansive television coverage of the “Main Event” of all desert races ever, allowing all the major class action to be showcased around the globe to the SCORE International fan base.
2015 CBSN Original Broadcast Schedule (subject to change, check local listings)
Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250 (first telecast-Sunday, March 15, 9 p.m. ET)
Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 (first telecast-Sunday, May 31, 9 p.m. ET)
Bud Light SCORE Baja 500 (first telecast-Sunday, July 26, 9 p.m. ET)
SCORE Imperial Valley 250 (first telecast-Sunday, November 15, 9 p.m. ET)
Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying @SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience (first telecast-Sunday, January10, 9 p.m. ET)
Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 (first telecast-Sunday, January 17, 9 p.m. ET)
CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.
In its 42nd year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2015, the five-race 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship series will include four special events in Baja California, Mexico, and one in the United States. Here is the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
· 29th Bud Light SCORE San Felipe 250, Jan. 22-25, San Felipe, Mexico
· Inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500, April 16-19, Cabo San Lucas to Loreto, Mexico
· 47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500, June 4-7, Ensenada Mexico
· 3rd SCORE Imperial Valley 250, Sept. 24-27, Coyne Powersports Motorplex-Plaster City, Calif.
· 48th Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.18-21, Ensenada, Mexico
Official Sponsors: Bud Light-Official Beer/Official Race Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Rigid Industries LED Lighting-Official Lights, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris-Official UTV, Vision Wheel – Official Wheel, Axial R/C-Official R/C Vehicle, CBS Sports Network-Official Television Partner, Coca-Cola-Official Soft Drink, Wide Open Excursions- Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
Associate Sponsors: All Road Satellite, Symons Ambulance Company, Volaris Airlines, Coyne Powersports, Aero Calafia, Tessco.
Additional SCORE Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Visit Baja California Sur, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Baja California Sur State Government, Mexicali Ayuntamineto, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, GoPro, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.score-international.com.
Bud Light 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)
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)
Sportsman Cars, Trucks, UTVs
2008–Peter Lang, Homebuilt-Chevy (SPT Car)
2009–Peter Lang, Homebuilt-Chevy (SPT Car)
2010—Wendell Mortensen, Raceco-VW (SPT Car)
2011—Nick Tonelli, Ford Ranger (SPT Truck)
2012—Randy Swink, Ford Ranger (SPT Truck)
2013—Vincent Munoz, Ford Ranger (SPT UNL Truck)
2014—Martin Huffman, Brenthel-Chevy (SPT Buggy)
2015—Derek Fletcher, RPM-Chevy (SPT Buggy)
Sportsman Motorcycles, Quads
2008–Bill Gilbert, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)
2009—Jeff Leonard, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)
2010—Ron Tolman, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C<250cc)
2011—Issac Cisneros, Yamaha YZF450 (SPTM/C<450cc)
2012—Mark Winkelman, Honda CRF450X (SPTMC<450cc)
2013—Mark Winkelman, Honda CRF450X (SPTMC<450cc)
2014—Raul Hernandez, KTM450EXC (SPTMC)
2015—Juan Dominguez, Yuma, Ariz., Honda TRX450$ (SPT QUAD)