Second-generation veteran Las Vegas desert racer Brian Collins roared through the rugged trails and washes of Mexico’s Baja California desert Saturday, earning his second straight overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram1500 at the 23rd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race.
Round 2 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series was held in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, along the shores of the picturesque Sea of Cortez.
Setting a blistering pace right from the start in San Felipe and driving solo, he covered the sandy, silty, rocky and dusty 232.4-mile course in just three hours, 47 minutes, 49 seconds, averaging a stellar 61.21 miles per hour.
Overpowering a strong field of 226 desert racers and mastering the race course with blazing speed and power, Collins’ time beat not only the cars and trucks, but also the motorcycles and ATVs that competed in the popular ‘spring break’ event to earn his fifth class win in San Felipe including his third overall triumph and his sixth career SCORE Trophy-Truck race win in the 15-plus year history of SCORE’s marquee racing division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.
Winning the overall Motorcycle and Class 22 title was the talented team of Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara Calif., and Tim Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif., on a Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. Finishing fifth among all vehicles, the pair crossed the finish line in 4:09:27 with an average speed of 55.90mph. It was Norman’s third overall win in this race in the last four years and Weigand’s first as the pair defeated a group of 69 motorcycles that took the green flag.
Norman started the race and rode to race mile 30, Weigand rode the section from race mile 30 to 166.9 and Norman brought it to the finish line from race mile 166.9.
“It wasn’t a walk in the park, I got knocked silly for a second,” said Norman while celebrating at the finish line. “I was going very well for the first eight miles and I slowed down when it got super rocky and I tagged a rock and rode the front wheel for like 50 feet when I finally ate it. When I crashed I hit my head and when I went to get up I fell on the ground again. I got back up and going and the next 500 yards, the same thing happened, but this time I didn’t go down.”
“We just had a solid ride,” Norman added. We were behind our JCR teammate Colton Udall and his riders, but when they came into the pit where I got on, they had radiator problems and we took over the lead again and just cruised it.”
Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., led a team to the Overall ATV and Class 25 victory for the third time in the last four years and second consecutive year in this race on a Honda TRX700X. He split the riding time equally with co-riders Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich., and Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif. Goodman was part of last year’s winning team with Matlock while this was Caster’s first.
Matlock started the race and rode to race mile 25 and finished the race, riding the final 62 miles. Goodman rode from race mile 25 to 93 and Caster rode from race mile 93 to 170.
Among the other motorcycle class winners were teams led by Carlos Casa, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 21, Honda CRF450X), Brian Campbell, Bakersfield, Calif. (Class 40, KTM 450XCF), Hector Castillo, Calexico, Calif., (Class 20, Yamaha WR250) and Ramon Isuarieta, Mexico City (Class 60, Honda CRF450X).
Winning the ATV Class 24 was the team led by defending SCORE Desert Series point champion Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif., on a Honda TRX450R.
The fastest overall Sportsman motorcycle was ridden by a team led by Jeff Leonard, Bakersfield, Calif., who rode a Honda CRF450X to win the SPT M/C>250cc class.
Leading the Sportsman ATV classes was the hometown team led by Manuel Jimenez, San Felipe, Mexico, on a Honda TRX450R.
It was also just the second time since 1979 that a Dodge-powered vehicle won a SCORE race.
Finishing second overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck in the elapsed-time race, 11 minutes and 31 seconds behind the masterful Collins was NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., who finished Saturday’s race in 3:59:20, averaging 58.26mph in the No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500.
Finishing third overall while winning the unlimited Class 1 in Round 2 of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series were brothers Ronny and Rick Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., with a time of 4:05:43 and an average speed of 56.75mph in the Wilson Motorsports Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheeled desert race car.
The 226 starters from 17 States, 10 countries competed in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, truck, motorcycles and ATVs. The dramatic 232.4-mile course covered three of the legendary, picturesque and treacherous Baja washes: Matomi, Azufre and Huatomote before heading back to the finish line in the shadow of the landmark San Felipe Arches. The race featured the 14th-largest number of starters in the 23-year history of the event. A total of 162 adventurers completed the rugged course within the 10-hour time limit for an extremely high 71.7 percent finishing percentage.
“It was just a perfect day, our BFGoodrich Tires kept us totally in the game all day long and we covered a brutally-rough course with absolutely no flats,” said the happy Collins at the finish line. “B.J. Baldwin was physically ahead until he broke down at race mile 190, but we had him covered on corrected time all day. The Dodge truck was absolutely awesome. Billy (Goerke, my navigator) did a great job because if you would have asked me earlier today if we were going to win, I would have said ‘I don’t know, it’s going to be a long day’.”
Collins had plenty to say at the finish, adding “But I put a plan together, being patient, and I told Billy that’s what we were going to do and he monitored my speed all the time down the real rough sections so we didn’t have a flat or hurt our shocks and we just had a great day. It’s nice when you put a plan together and it works. There are a lot of places you can go race in the desert, but there is nothing anywhere in the world that comes even remotely close to these unforgettable SCORE Baja races we get to experience three times a year.”
Finishing fourth overall and third in SCORE Trophy-Truck was the team of Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, who crossed the line 20 minutes, eight seconds behind Collins in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150. All four top car and truck finishers completed the course quicker than the top motorcycle team. MacCachren drove the first half of the race and Post the second.
Returning to SCORE desert racing in the first time in over a year, Tim Herbst of Las Vegas drove solo to finish fifth overall among four wheel vehicles and second in Class 1 in the legendary Terrible Herbst Motorsports Smithbuilt-Ford open wheel desert race car. Tim Herbst, whose older brothers Troy and Ed Herbst debuted their new No. 19 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck with a seventh-place finish in class, 7:34 behind Class 1 winners Ronny and Rick Wilson.
Creative veteran age group motorcycle rider Jim O’Neal, 62, Simi Valley, Calif., won Class 50 for motorcycle riders over 50 years old, adding his race-record 10th class win in San Felipe. Splitting the riding on a Honda CRF450X with O’Neal, who finished second in Class 30 on another talented team, was Andy Kirker, Santa Ana, Calif./Dan Dawson, Agua Dulce, Calif. and Tim Withers, Pepeekeo, Hawaii.
Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico, picked up his ninth win in the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in Class 11 for stock VW Sedans.
Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif., won Class 3 in his sturdy Ford Bronco for the seventh time in the last eight years for his 30th career SCORE race win. They also remained undefeated in 2009 with their second win.
Also winning their second consecutive race of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series were: Rick St. John, Encinitas, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, Calif. (SCORE Lite, Duvel-VW), Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5, VW Baja Bug) and Gavin Skilton, Anaheim, Calif. (Honda Ridgeline).
Among the other car and truck Class winners late Saturday were: Jose Canchola Jr., Mexicali, Mexico (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif. (Class 10, Lothringer-VW), Dave Crinklaw, Reedley, Calif. (Class 8, Ford F-150), Norm Turley, Long Beach, Calif., (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), Marc Burnett, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 6, Ford Ranger), Marcos Nunez, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, VW Baja Bug), Daniel Reyes Jr., Calexico, Calif., (Class 9, Venegas-VW) and Justin Smith, Capistrano Beach, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600, Fraley-VW).
The fastest Sportsman car or truck was driven by the team led by Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif., who drove a Homebuilt-Chevy in the SPT Car class.
SCORE Trophy-Trucks have now won 14 overalls in San Felipe in the 16-year history of the marquee SCORE racing division.
Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico, has eight wins in Class 11 for stock VW Sedans while Moss, Sacramento, Calif., has six wins in the last seven years in Class 3 in his sturdy Ford Bronco.
The World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series was visiting Mexico for the first of three races in 2009.
Through the efforts of SCORE’s electronic media partner, Aura360 Ventures of Maine, the motorcycle and ATV portion of the race will be featured in the April 26 NBC Sports telecast of the Jeep World of Adventure Sport. This will mark the third time these classes have been featured on that NBC show and Aura360 will also produce a complete-race DVD on the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 for the first time. SCORE official race DVDs are available at www.thebajaunlimited.com.
The world’s best desert racers return to Mexico for Round 3 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series, June 5-7 for the 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 5000 desert race in Ensenada.
In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 24th consecutive year, a total of 52 drivers remain eligible after Round 1 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series.
For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
23rd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
Round 2 of 2009 SCORE Desert Series
March 14, 2009—San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, 232.4 miles
TOP OVERALL FINISHERS
1. Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Timmy Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:09:27 (55.90mph) (Class 22)
2. Colton Udall, San Clemente, Calif./Quinn Cody, Los Olivos, Calif./Jeff Kargola, San Clemente, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:17:19 (54.19mph) (Class 22)
3. Ivan Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico/Brent Harden, Menifee, Calif./Jose Villalobos, Tecate, Mexico, Honda CRF450X, 4:35:17 (50.65mph (Class 22)
4. Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas/Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M., Honda CRF450X, 4:47:46 (48.46mph) (Class 30)
5. Brian Campbell/Bill Cotton, Bakersfield, Calif./Pete Cochran, Laguna Beach, Calif., KTM 450XCF, 4:53:40 (47.48mph) (Class 40)
6. Carlos Casas/Noe Ibarra, Chula Vista, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:55:18 (47.22mph) (Class 21)
7. Cameron Corfman, El Centro, Calif./Jimmy Lopez, El Cajon, Calif./A.J. Stewart, Jamul, Calif., Beta RR525, 4:56:17 (47.06mph) (Class 22)
8. Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Tom Willis, Las Vegas/Derrick Paiement, Corona, Calif./Brian Sweany II, Lancaster, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 4:58:28 (46.72mph) (Class 30)
9. Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif./Andy Kirker, Santa Ana, Calif./Dan Dawson, Agua Dulce, Calif./Tim Withers, Pepeekeo, Hawaii, Honda CRF450X, 5:00:09 (46.46mph) (Class 50)
10. Adam Thissen, Reno, Nev./Robert Underwood, Coleville, Calif., KTM XC505, 5:02:46 (46.06mph) (Class 22)
1. Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif./Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich./Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif., Honda 700XX, 5:16:36 (44.04mph) (Class 25)
2. Felipe Velez, San Felipe, Mexico/Stefano Caputo, San Felipe, Mexico (Italy)/Heriberto Marquez, Ensenada, Mexico, Honda TRX450R, 5:31:01 (42.12mph) (Class 25)
3. Santos Perez, Tijuana, Mexico/Juan Sanchez/Raul Cano, Chula Vista, Calif., KTM 450, 5:32:25 (41.95mph) (Class 25)
4. Jeff Hancock, Salome, Ariz./Joshua Edwards, Peoria, Ariz., Honda TRX450R, 5:32:47 (41.90mph) (Class 25)
5. Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif./Steve Abrego, Covina, Calif./Dave Scott, Belen, N.M./Andy Lagzdins, Baltimore, Honda TRX450R, 5:43:48 (40.56mph) (Class 24)
Cars & Trucks
1. Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Dodge Ram 1500, 3:47:49 (61.21mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
2. Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., Chevy CK1500, 3:59:20 (58.26mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
3. Ronny Wilson/Rick Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:05:43 (56.75mph) (Class 1)
4. Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4:07:57 56.24mph (SCORE Trophy-Truck
5. Tim Herbst, Las Vegas, Smithuilt-Ford, 4:13:17 (55.05mph) (Class 1)
6. Chet Huffman, Northridge, Calif./Jerry Whelchel, Portola Hills, Calif., Chevy C1500, 4:17:05 (54.24mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
7. Armin Schwarz, Germany/Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark), Jimco-BMW, 4:19:42 (53.70mph) (Class 1)
8. Julio Herrera/Carlos Olmos, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Jefferies-Chevy, 4:23:05 (53.00mph) (Class 1)
9. Dale Lenk/Brett Lenk/Grant Lenk, Costa Mesa, Calif., Penhall-Chevy, 4:25:16 (52.57mph) (Class 1)
10. Randy Wilson, Lakewood, Calif./Rick Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:34:01 (50.89mph) (Class 1)
11. Adam Householder, Orange, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 4:34:40 (50.77mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)
12. Paul Keller, El Cajon, Calif./Charles Rudolph, San Diego, Jimco-Chevy, 4:42:14 (49.41mph) (Class 1)
13. Ron Brant, Oak Hills, Calif./Ben Monroy, Torrance, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:48:35 (48.32mph) (Class 1)
14. Richard Boyle, Ridgecrest, Calif./Tommy Kirkmeyer, Adelanto, Calif., Jefferies-Chevy, 4:48:45 (48.29mph) (Class 1)
15. Jose Canchola Jr./Francisco Gonzalez, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Ranger, 4:51:48 (47.79mph) (Class 7)
16. Mike Lawrence, Banning, Calif./Blake Kirkpatrick, Hacienda Heights, Calif./Joel Liska, Banning, Calif., Lothringer-VW, 4:54:43 (47.31mph) (Class 10)
17. Rick St. John, Encinitas, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, Calif., Duvel, 4:54:48 (47.30mph) (SCORE Lite)
18. Josh Rigsby/Steve Ewers, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Penhall-Chevy, 4:58:15 (46.75mph) (Class 1)
19. Dave Crinklaw, Reedley, Calif./Mike Thurlow, Kingsburg, Calif., Ford F-150, 4:59:05 (46.62mph) (Class 8)
20. Kevin Carr/Noe Valdez, San Diego, 5:11:18 (44.79mph) (Class 5)
The JCR/Honda squad did not disappoint. As the green flag dropped and the race got underway the two teams went straight at it. The A team of Kendall Norman and Timmy Weigand took the early lead. Then as Baja has a way of doing, Kendall hit a rock around Zoo road and rode a fifty foot nose wheelie until ultimately slamming down hard and knocking him silly. Kendall got up as quick as possible, shook it off and went right back after the lead. This would be the case for the entire race as both bikes would cat and mouse back and forth all the way to the finish line. The Team B team of Colton Udall, Quinn Cody and Jeff Kargola took the lead for a good portion of the race and looked like they may just pull off the unthinkable. Ultimately they would have to settle for a well earned 2nd place to the JCR/Honda A team of Kendall Norman and Timmy Weigand. NBC was everywhere and caught all the action, tension and excitement of the race. Set your DVR’s to NBC’s Sunday April 26th telecast of the “Jeep World of Adventure Sports” so you dont miss a thing.
JCR/Honda has several other Media projects in the works including a TV special for the Baja 500 and the release of the much anticipated Johnny Campbell documentary so stay tuned.