Many of the world’s top desert racers are expected to be entered in time for Saturday’s computerized start draw for next month’s 24th Annual MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. With the drawing being held at the SCORE International headquarters in Los Angeles, the race itself will be held March 12-14 along the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
With entries accepted up to race morning, nearly 250 entries from over 20 US States and 10 countries expected to enter the race and competition will be held in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in the 232-mile race. The green flag will drop at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 13, for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed three hours after the last Sportsman ATV later by the car and truck classes at approximately 10 a.m. The start line and finish line for the race will once again be the landmark San Felipe Arches on Highway 5 on the outskirts of San Felipe. One vehicle will start every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, with a 10-hour time limit to become an official finisher.
Following January’s season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series will be visiting Mexico for the first of three annual SCORE Baja races in 2010.
“I just returned from finalizing the course and other details for the race and I can’t tell you how enthusiastic my reception was along with the interest and support I received from the community, officials and ejidos–it was really overwhelming,” said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO/President since soon after SCORE was founded in 1973. “The course is very similar as last year, with a few exceptions and our pre and post-race festivities will once again be held or centered on and near the picturesque Malecon beachfront and we are excepting a great entry field so this year’s event should be something very spectacular. Some of the course changes will actually help making vehicle support chasing easier. The new highway over the last section entering town from the Highway 3 junction is four lanes, nearly finished and there are more hotels and condos then we have ever seen before in San Felipe.”
A unique part of Saturday’s drawing will be the special drawing for the top 10 finishers from the nearest previous SCORE Baja race entered in the current race in both SCORE Trophy-Truck and the unlimited Class 1. For this race it will be the top 10 finishers in each class from last November’s 42nd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
The top 10 finishers in SCORE Trophy-Truck from the 2009 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 were: Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Roger Norman/Larry Roeseler, Rick D. Johnson/Brian Sallee, Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola Sr., Robby Gordon, Robbie Pierce/Mike Julson, Mark McMillin/Brian Ewalt, Cameron Steele/Rick Geiser, Tim Herbst/Troy Herbst and Ron Whitton/Chas Danna.
In the unlimited Class 1, the top 10 finishers from the 2009 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 were: Jerry Penhall/Dan Martin, Armin Schwarz/Martin Christensen, Randy Wilson/Ronny Wilson, Chuck Dempsey/John Marking, Richard Boyle/Ron Brant, Dale Lenk/Brett Lenk/Grant Lenk, Todd Welling/Chad Cummings, Brian Parkhouse/Tom Ridings, Chuck Sacks/Gerald Longo and T.J. Flores/Pat Dean.
The start draw for Round 2 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series will determine the starting order within each of the various classes in the race. With a cash purse and contingency of nearly $400,000, this year’s race will also include the special $10,000 MasterCraft Safety bonus cash contingency purse offered to several classes.
Last year’s top overall motorcycle and ATV finishers are already entered this year. Last year’s overall motorcycle champion was the JCR Honda team of Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Tim Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif. on a Honda CRF450X and the Overall ATV winners were the team of Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif./Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich./Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif., on a Honda TRX700X.
Las Vegas’ Brian Collins, the two-time defending Overall 4-Wheel and SCORE Trophy-Truck winner, has not entered this year’s race as of today.
Among the other 2009 class winners already entered is the unlimited Class 1 winning Wilson Motorsports team of Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. in their Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car, Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif. (Class 10, Lothringer-VW), Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5, unlimited VW Baja Bug), Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas (Class 30, Honda CRF450X), Brian Campbell, Bakersfield, Calif. (Class 40, KTM 450XCF and Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif. (Class 24, Honda TRX450R).
This year’s race will use a similar 232-mile race course as the past two years with a few modifications other than those caused by weather conditions. Running in a counter clockwise direction out of San Felipe up to and then parallel to Highway 3 (southside) and south back down through three of the most picturesque and challenging washes in all of Baja.
After the start at the landmark San Felipe Arches, the race will proceed north towards Zoo Road. The area approaching the Zoo Road crossing has been bladed again, which makes it a safer approach to the popular spectator area. That area will again be fenced, have grandstands and a jump and will be patrolled so that spectators can watch the action but not put themselves in way of the action.
For the first time the course will travel east of instead of on the graded Morelia Road (after the Zoo Road junction) to the entrance to Matomi Wash. This will be one of the few times that SCORE will run through the majestic Matomi Wash in the early part of the race instead of near the end. After Matomi, the challenging course will run through two more of the infamous Baja canyons—Huatomote and Chanate before heading back Northwest for the final sprint to the finish line.
The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday, March 12 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.
Following his dominating season-opening victory at the 16th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, third-generation desert racer Andy McMillin, who was recently honored as the 2009 Dirt Sports Magazine Driver of the Year, finds himself at the top of a very crowded Overall leaderboard in the 2010 SCORE Desert Series point standings. With 63 points, McMillin, who will split driving the rest of the season with his father Scott McMillin, also leads the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck class for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks in his No. 31 McMillin Realty Ford F-150.
With just 22 points separating the top 21 in 2010 SCORE Overall points after Laughlin’s season-opener, SCORE racers are now preparing to begin official pre-running which opens on Saturday, Feb. 27. A new attraction this year during the pre-running window will be the San Felipe Tequila Festival March 5-7.
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 25th consecutive year, a total of 59 drivers remain eligible after Round 1 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull-official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, MasterCraft Safety, Blue C Advertising, Off-Road, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
Associate sponsors for the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 are the Tourism and Convention Bureau of Mexicali/San Felipe and Cotuco.
Additional sponsors in Baja are the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.
The race annually provides a greater economic impact to San Felipe than the popular month-long ‘Spring Break’.
For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
All-Time Overall Champions
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/Timmy Weigand, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2008–Bill Gilbert, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)
2009–Jeff Leonard, Bakersfield, Calif., Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)