When the dust settled and the rain stopped in the elapsed-time race, Mexico’s Gus Vildsola Jr. was declared the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck winner for the second straight year at Saturday’s 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. Round 1 of the five-race SCORE World Desert Championship was held on a challenging, weather-shortened 219-mile course that started and finished in San Felipe on the northern portion of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula.
Originally scheduled to cover 274 miles, SCORE was forced after the race had started early Saturday morning to significantly re-route the course because an area called the summit was impassable because of the torrential rain that pelted the northern section of the race course Friday and during the night on Saturday. The race will air as a one-hour special in late April 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.
SCORE CEO/President Roger Norman made the decision to re-route after the motorcycle and ATV classes had left the start line Saturday morning starting at 6 a.m. To continue the race, SCORE moved the start time for the car and truck classes two hours from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. while he and his staff re-routed the motorcycle and ATV classes from race mile 120 on the original course to a spot along Mexico highway 3. The motorcycles and ATVs were stopped starting at 8:42 a.m. Saturday and returning to racing at Noon.
At that point SCORE marked a new section of desert to re-join the original course at the previous race mile of 224. The motorcycle and ATV classes were held from continuing for nearly four hours while SCORE official marked a new section of desert to race on to rejoin the original course near El Chinero.
Starting next to last out of 21 vehicles in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck racing division for hi-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks, Vildosola, of Mexicali, powered the No. 21 Red Bull Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor to a winning time of three hours, 31 minutes, 27 seconds while averaging a super strong average speed of 62.14 miles per hour.
In earning his third career SCORE Trophy Truck race win, Vildosola Jr, who normally splits driving time with his father Gus Vildosola and decided that this race was too short to stop for a driver change, praised a great-running truck and some aggressive driving for his home-country victory. Vildosola said at the finish line in the shadow of the famed San Felipe Arches, “We drew 25th (starting position) and I was extremely worried about being so far back in the field of great SCORE Trophy Truck racers. It really changed my game plan during the race. We started seeing nice compacted dirt near San Matias and it was really slippery around Mike’s loop.”
“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. I had to do some creative things to get around other trucks. We are pretty aggressive with the truck. Going up to Borrego we could really push the truck and we made up some good time. A lot of the race course played to our strengths and fit my driving strengths.”
The overall and Open motorcycle winner was the team of Ricky Brabec, Oak Hills, Calif./Shane Esposito, Menifee, Calif./Max Eddy Jr, Barstow, Calif., who split driving in the No. 4x Monster Energy THR Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F. The trio overcame a battle for over half the race with Colton Udall on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X, finishing in 3:53:33 to give Kawasaki its first overall motorcycle victory in this race since 1996.
Finishing second overall was Las Vegas’ Tim Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., with a time of 3:36:51 at 60.60mph, five minutes, 24 seconds behind Vildosola Jr in the No. 19 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150.
Motorcycle winner Ricky Brabec commented at the end of the race, “The first 40 miles of the race was good with Colton Udall (1x who finished second) and I going back and forth. I’ve never started a Mexico race and I’ve never finished a Mexico race before so it was pretty awesome. These guys (my teammates) are all good partners. We delivered the bike all in one piece.”
With SCORE Trophy Trucks claiming eight of the top 10 overall 4-wheel finishing positions, third place went to Steven Eugenio, Carlsbad, Calif. in a Chevy Silverado (3:38:04) while fourth was Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren in the No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150 (3:40:14).
RPM Racing of Bristol, Tenn., claimed three of the top 10 overall 4-wheel vehicle finishing positions. Team co-owner Justin Matney won the unlimited Class 1 and finished fifth overall in the RPM Racing Chevy powered Geiser open-wheel desert race car (3:45:10). RPM’s Juan C. Lopez, Tecate, Mexico was fifth in SCORE Trophy Truck and seventh overall in the No. 18 Ford Raptor (3:50:43) while RPM’s co-owner Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., was sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck and eighth overall in the No. 5 Geiser Rally Truck (3:51:31). RPM Racing picked up a second class win as Jim Bunn, Bristol, Va., won the Sportsman Unlimited Truck class in a Mason-Chevy.
Second in Class 1 and sixth overall was Damen Jefferies, Apple Valley, Calif., in the Jefferies-Chevy (3:48:31).
Completing the top 10 overall 4-wheel vehicles list with a ninth and seventh in SCORE Trophy Truck was Zak Langley, Santa Monica, Calif., in the No. 50 COPS Racing Ford F-150 (4:04:01) and 10th overall and eighth in SCORE Trophy Truck was the team of Las Vegas’ Troy Herbst/Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif. in the No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150, just one second behind Langley on elapsed time (4:04:02).
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 24 U.S. States and seven countries competing in 35 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, the race had 183 starters of which 141 officially finished the revised 219-mile course. With an extremely high finishing rate of 77.1 percent, the elapsed time race had an 11 hour, 30-minute time limit for cars and trucks and 10:10 for motorcycles/ATVs.
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 18 overalls in San Felipe in the 21-year history of the class. While in the first 28 years of this race, Honda has earned 17 overall motorcycle victories (including 15 of the last 18 years), Kawasaki has seven, KTM has three and Husqvarna has one.
Following his team’s overall motorcycle win, Brabec commented, “The first 40 miles of the race was good with Colton Udall (1x-who finished second) and I going back and forth. I’ve never started a Mexico race and I’ve never finished a Mexico race before so it was pretty awesome. These guys (my teammates) are all good partners. We delivered the bike all in one piece.”
Winning the Overall ATV title this year was the team led by Javier Robles Jr, Guadalupe Victoria Mexico on a Honda TRX450R (4:23:37.
GIVE ME ANOTHER….
Leading the gregarious group of racers with multiple class wins in this race that were entered and won again were: Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (fourth) riding with Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico (sixth) (Class 30, Kawasaki KX450),
Also win this year was for his fifth class win here was Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif. (Class 60, Honda CRF450X) who has also earned 12 career SCORE season class point championships.
The SCORE World Desert Championship series visited Mexico for the first of three annual SCORE Baja races in 2014. This year’s race is the first was part of a new three-year contract with the Mexican government to hold the ever-popular in San Felipe.
MORE CLASS SUPERS…
Like SCORE Trophy Truck, Class 10 had 21 starters and winning the race this year was Cody Robinson, El Centro, Calif./Roberto Romo, Mexicali, Mexico in a Racer-Chevy open wheel desert race car.
Among the other car and truck class winners this year were: Christian Celaya, Paradise Valley, Ariz./Aaron Ampudia, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600, Romo-VW), Miguel Tornel, Ensenada, Mexico (SCORE LItes, Lothringer-VW), Larry Connor/Jose Grijalva, Temecula, Calif. (Trophy Truck Spec), Marc Burnett, Lakeside, Calif. (Class 19, Can Am), Pat Sims, Eunice, N.M. (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo. (Class 3000, Mason ProRunner), James Burman, Heber City, Utah (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), Dave Simpson, Redlands, Calif. (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug), Chris Wilson, Vista, Calif. (Ford Bronco), Randolph Hoover, Norfolk, Va. (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Kay Awaad, Calexico, Calif. (Egypt) (Stock Full, Ford F-150) and Mike Meeks, Marion, Texas, (Class 8, Dodge Ram).
ON THE SCOREscope
In its 41st year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2014, the five-race 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series, with three special events held in Baja California, Mexico, and two in the United States, starte with the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Starting and finishing in Ensenada, the 46th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will be held June 5-8 and the third SCORE Baja race, starting in Ensenada and finishing in La Paz, the 47th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will be held Nov. 12-16.
The two U.S. races on 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship calendar are the inaugural SCORE Imperial Valley 250 in Plaster City, Calif. (April 25-27) and the two-day, single-race Inaugural SCORE Desert Challenge, location TBA in SoCal (Sept. 25-28).
CBS SPORTS NETWORK
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. CBS Sports Network will run a one-hour special on all five 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship races as well as a sixth show on the special qualifying for select classes for the 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 that will be held Nov. 1-4 in Las Vegas during the annual SEMA automotive industry trade show. All shows are scheduled to air in the next month following the event.
Dirt LiveHD, Roger Norman’s weekly Tuesday night internet studio show from El Cajon, Calif., also goes on-site live with expanded event coverage during SCORE events. Live event coverage in 2014 will include week-long live coverage of the entire five-race 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series of two races in the United States and three in Baja California, Mexico. The first event of the inaugural SCORE World Desert Championship series will be the 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
This week’s coverage included live tracking of all vehicles in the race along with start and finish line interviews and began Thursday with the Monster Energy SCORE welcome party.
DIRT LIVEHD CREW
Desert racing public address announcer and former racer George Antill is the executive producer. Providing bilingual announcing this week will be Mexico’s Karolina Hirales. Another special segment most weeks is SCORE Tech Tips with SCORE Tech co-directors Jake Velasco or Art Savedra or SCORE Trophy Truck racer and prep-shop owner T.J. Flores.
Shaun Sauer, SCORE Media Production Manager, is the coordinating producer of the show. The program is hosted on ustream.com, the world’s largest streaming internet site.
Official Sponsors: Tecate Beer-Official Beer/Official Race Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Amber Racing Services-Official Race Fuels, Rigid Industries-Official Lights, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Volaris Airlines-Official Airline, CBS Sports Network-Official Television Partner, Wide Open Excursions- Official Arrive and Drive Company, Coca-Cola-Official Soft Drink, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino, Hotel Coral and Marina-Official Hotel.
Associate Sponsors: Graham Watchmakers, SatellitePhoneStore.com, Symons Ambulance Company.
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 and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship series at www.score-international.com.
Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 All-Time Overall Champions
Pro Cars & Trucks
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 T-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 T-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 T-Truck)
2014—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
Sportsman Cars and Trucks
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, Brenthal-Chevy (SPT Buggy)
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)