2017 SCORE World Desert Championship prepping to launch;
racer registration open for 31st annual SCORE San Felipe 250
Qualifying on March 30 for season opener of four-race series in Baja California, Mexico
to be televised internationally; Start Draw to be held on Thursday, March 16
ENSENADA, Mexico – Celebrating another decade of excellence, seeing if one of three racers can win the overall title for the fourth time as well as starting and finishing for the first time on the Malecon in the heart of town are just three of the story lines awaiting racers from around the world as racer registration has opened for the 31st Annual SCORE San Felipe 250 in Baja California, Mexico.
The season-opening event of the four-race internationally-televised 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship will be held March 29-April 2 in San Felipe, the quaint fishing village on the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif.
The year of 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary celebration of the legendary season-ending SCORE Baja 1000, the iconic Granddaddy of all Desert Races to be held in mid-November. The SCORE Baja 1000 is the longest continuously held desert race in the world.
Celebrating the 31st anniversary of the youngest of the three legendary SCORE Baja races, sometimes referred to as the SCORE ‘baby Baja’, entries are being accepted on the SCORE website (www.SCOREInternational.com) for Pro and Sportsman entries for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. Pre-race festivities will be held in San Felipe on March 29, March 30 and March 31 with race day on Saturday, April 1 concluding with the post-race awards fiesta at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, April 2.
The drawing for starting positions within each class will be held on Thursday, March 16 for all vehicles officially entered by 11 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 15.
For the first time in the history of this popular ‘Spring Break’ race, SCORE will hold a qualifying session on Thursday, March 30 to determine the starting positions within each class for the SCORE Trophy Truck, Class 1 and Trophy Truck Spec classes.
Four racers have won three overall victories in the SCORE San Felipe 250, a standard which may last for years to come.
The most recent racer to win overall three times in San Felipe was Mexico’s Gus Vildosola Jr, who won three straight (2013, 2014, 2015). Vildosola Jr is now tied with three Las Vegas racers with three overall wins each in this race.
A second generation Mexican desert racer, Vildosola Jr of Mexicali has five class wins in this race including in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Branix Ford Raptor SCORE Trophy Truck.
Vildosola Jr, with help from his father Gus Sr in 2013 won his first overall. He drove solo the next two years to tie the record in 2015 of three straight overall wins set by Las Vegas racing brothers Ed Herbst and Tim Herbst who won three straight in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Two other Southern Nevada drivers have three overall wins in San Felipe but not three straight.
One is Las Vegas’ Brian Collins, who won his first in 1990 in Class 1 while splitting driving time with SCORE Baja motorcycle racing legend Jack Johnson, also of Las Vegas. Collins also captured two straight in SCORE Trophy Truck in 2008 and 2009.
The other three-timer in overall victories is Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, who has eight class wins in San Felipe and won his three overalls in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division. MacCachren’s first was in 2007 when his split the driving with Mark Post and his most recent overalls in San Felipe were solo wins in 2011 and 2012. MacCachren, who has won three straight overall victories in the SCORE Baja 1000, drives the No. 11 MacCachren Motorsports Rockstar Ford F-150.
Among the SCORE Overall motorcycles winners at the SCORE San Felipe 250 no one has done it any better than SCORE Baja legend Johnny Campbell who recorded seven overall motorcycle victories for Honda (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008).
One motorcycle star with five SCORE Overall Motorcycle wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250 is Colton Udall (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016). Another motorcycle ace with four SCORE Overall Motorcycle wins is Steve Hengeveld (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) while with three SCORE San Felipe 250 Overall wins were Danny Hamel (1994, 1995, 1996) and Robby Bell (2006, 2007, 2008).
History clearly shows that the SCORE San Felipe 250 has been a major building block for many of the world’s all-time greatest desert racers in addition to being the lovable baby brother of the three traditional SCORE Baja races.
Host to the biggest and brightest stars in the history of desert racing, legends like Ivan Stewart, Walker Evans, Roger Mears, Rod Hall, Larry Ragland, Brian Collins, Dan Smith, Curt LeDuc, Danny Hamel, Johnny Campbell, Juan Carlos Ibarra, Steve Hengeveld and Greg Row all are part of the foundation of this rustic race.
Also adding to the fabric of this iconic SCORE Baja racing tapestry have been current racers like Rob MacCachren, Larry Roeseler, the McMillin family, Gus Vildosola Jr, the Herbst Brothers, the Wilson family, Robby Gordon, B.J. Baldwin, Robby Bell, Colton Udall, Wayne Matlock, Steven Eugenio, Billy Wilson, Adam Pfankuch, Donald Moss and Jim O’Neal.
This is a tale of a race told in two parts. It was first run in 1982 for three years through 1984.
It wasn’t held during the first five years in the seven-year run of the combined HDRA/SCORE Desert Racing Series as it resumed in 1990. It almost disappeared after the 1993 race when the combined series split and the SCORE San Felipe 250 had just 82 total starters.
It bounced back though, as all good things in Baja do, climbing to 250 or more starters seven times, including twice with over 300 starters.
The largest starting field was 394 in 2007 when then SCORE President Sal Fish had to move the race to Ensenada less than two weeks before the race because of disputes between land owners and government officials. That race started in Ensenada and finished in Santo Tomas, south of Ensenada.
The largest starting field for the race when it was run in San Felipe was 2006 when 341 vehicles left the start line.
The most finishers in this shortest of the three traditional SCORE Baja races were in 2007 when 288 completed it and 2006 when 220 crossed the finish line within the time limit.
Like all of the SCORE Baja race courses, the SCORE San Felipe 250 has always featured some of the most start, dramatic and awe-inspiring terrain and scenery in the world. Infamous for its punishment to racer and vehicle, part of the courses has included a whoop section of over 25 miles virtually like driving over a washboard.
Over the years, this race has seen parts of its courses go through several of the legendary Baja washes like Matomi, Huatomote, Chanate, Azufre, Cuevitas and Amarillas.
For many years, the start and finish line area was beneath the fabled San Felipe Arches landmark on the outskirts of town.
The all-time leader in class wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250 is motorcycle age-group racer Jim O’Neal who has competed in all 30 previous races, winning his class a record 16 times.
Second in class wins is Eric Solorzano who has won 10 times in Class 11 (stock VW Sedan) while third is Donald Moss who won nine times in 10 years in Class 3 in his sturdy Ford Bronco (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013).
Tied for third in class wins with eight each are SCORE Baja motorcycle racing legend Johnny Campbell, Rob MacCachren and Dan Smith who first won in 1984 on a motorcycle and won his final one in 2002 in SCORE Trophy Truck, teaming with David Ashley.
VIVA GANADOR MEXICANO
Juan C. Ibarra became the first Mexican national to win a SCORE Trophy Truck race when he won his class in 1998 while finishing second overall to the Class 1 team of Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel in the SCORE San Felipe 250.
For three decades, the annual motorsports festival that has brought the largest economic impact of any single event held annually in this lightly-populated portion of the rugged, rough and bountifully beautiful Baja peninsula has been the SCORE San Felipe 250.
The four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship and for the second time all four are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
31st SCORE San Felipe 250, March 30-April 2, San Felipe, Mexico
50th SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.14-18, Ensenada, Mexico to La Paz, Mexico
CBS SPORTS NETWORK
For the last three years, all races in the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship, along with the special SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience and qualifying for the SCORE Baja 1000 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway have aired in the USA and Canada on the CBS Sports Network. The spectacular shows have featured not only SCORE Trophy Truck coverage, but also top action and highlights from many other classes of trucks, cars, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.
Capping off the 2016 broadcast season, the SCORE Baja 1000 broadcast on CBS Sports Network aired as a full two-hour special for the second straight year.
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.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, Bud Light-Official Beer, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Axial R/C-Official R/C Vehicle, CBS Sports Network-Official Television Partner, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Associate Sponsors: PCI Race Radios, 4 Wheel Parts, Coca Cola, The Satellite Phone Store, Satellite Del Norte, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, CETTO Vineyards.
Additional SCORE Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Baja California Sur State Government, Baja California Sur Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamiento, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics.
Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge Special Partners: Vi Ayuntamiento de Playas de Rosarito, Cotuco de Playas de Rosarito, Comite de Mercadatecnia Playas de Rosarito.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship atwww.SCOREInternational.com.