ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – Looking to add to his record-setting class win total, SoCal’s veteran age-group motorcycle racer Jim O’Neal will help lead 68 racers who have combined for 184 class wins among over 250 racers expected to start Saturday’s 32nd SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. O’Neal, 72, the noted apparel manufacturer from Simi Valley, Calif., has 17 class wins in San Felipe and will be a co-rider on a team in the Pro Moto 30 class for riders over 30 years old.
The popular ‘Spring Break’ season-opener of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship will be held Wednesday through Sunday in San Felipe, the peaceful fishing village on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif.
Featuring the longest course in race history at 319 miles, the race will start and finish for the second straight year and just the second time in race history on the Malecon beach walk along the edge of the water in the heart of town.
Over 250 vehicles in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads are expected. Many of the sport’s top stars are among the 243 official entries starting race week from 25 U.S. States along with the additional countries of host Mexico, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Peru.
Helping mark the launch of 25th year of the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division, a race-record total of 41 of these ‘Monsters of the Desert’ are officially entered.
GREEN FLAG SATURDAY
Motorcycles and quads will leave the start line on the Malecon first in the elapsed-time race, starting at 6:20 a.m. PDTon Saturday. The car, truck and UTV classes will begin their journey at approximately 9:30 a.m. PDT with a minimum two and one-half hour gap between the last SPT vehicle and first SCORE Trophy Truck.
SCORE Trophy Truck and the Pro Moto Unlimited classes will start one vehicle every 60 seconds race while all other classes will start one every 30 seconds. While the fastest vehicles are expected to complete the course in just over five hours, all vehicles will have 16 hours from the time each starts to become an official finisher.
RACE WEEK FIESTA
Celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the youngest of the three legendary SCORE Baja races, race-week festivities will be held Wednesday,Thursday and Friday with racing starting on Saturday until very early Sunday morning. The conclusion will be the post-race awards fiesta at 10 a.m. PDTon Sunday on the Malecon.
Racer registration and media registration will both be held on Thursday and Friday at the Hotel Costa Azul.
Racer registration will be held on Thursday from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Media registration will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Friday.
The colorful pre-race contingency and vehicle tech inspection will be held on Friday, starting at 9 a.m. Contingency day, the starting line and the finish line will all be on the Malecon in the center of San Felipe for the second straight year.
The RACELINE Wheels SCORE Kick-Off Beach Party will be held on the beach in front of the Malecon on Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PDT.
SoCal’s champion desert racer, TV action sports commentator and documentary host Cameron Steele has drawn the first starting position for the car/truck/UTV classes and Mexico’s international rally racer Santiago Creel has drawn the first start for the motorcycle/quad classes.
Steele, 50, of San Clemente, Calif., will lead the cars, trucks and UTVs into the desert in his No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado.
Creel, 31 of Mexico City, has entered four KTM motorcycles in three classes with a host of seasoned rally racers as teammates. Having drawn the first start in Pro Moto Limited (No. 100x) as well, Creel will be riding the No. 66 KTM 500EXCF first off the line in Pro Moto Unlimited on Saturdaymorning. MORE FIRST STARTS
Among the classes with double-figure entries, starting on the pole in their respective four-wheel vehicle classes will be Brad Wilson (Class 1), Pat Sims (Trophy Truck Spec), Todd Winslow (Class 10) and Aldo Salazar (Pro UTV FI).
Besides Creel, also drawing first starts in motorcycle classes were Chris Kassity (Pro Moto 30), Jano Montoya (Pro Moto 40) and SCORE rookie Liz Karcz in Pro Moto Ironman for solo riders.
OTRO MAS, POR FAVOR….
Leading the gregarious group of 46 racers with at least two class wins in this race entered this year are Jim O’Neal (Pro Moto Limited) with a SCORE race-high17 class wins (age group motorcycle) wins–all in the last 17 years, and Eric Solorzano with 11 wins in Class 11 in this San Felipe race. Rob MacCachren has nine class wins (SCORE Trophy Truck), Adam Pfankuch has seven class wins (Class 10) and Wayne Matlock has five class wins in San Felipe (Pro UTV FI).
With four career class wins each in San Felipe are Tim Herbst (SCORE Trophy Truck), Ed Herbst (SCORE Trophy Truck), Gustavo Vildosola Sr (SCORE TT Legend), Ricardo Malo (Class 1), Elias Hanna (Trophy Truck Spec), Steve Hengeveld (Trophy Truck Spec), Roberto Romo (Class 10), Marc Stein (Stock Full) and Francisco Septien (Pro Moto Ironman).
O’Neal has raced in all 31 previous SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 21 season class point titles in his lengthy career.
Entering race week, the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division has the most entries with 41 (including six SCORE TT Legend trucks for drivers 50 years and older) followed by Pro UTV FI with 25, Class 10 with 19 entries, Trophy Truck Spec with 17 entries, and the unlimited Class 1 with 15 entries.
Leading the motorcycle entries in the drawing was Pro Moto Ironman (solo riders) with 11 entries. The Pro Moto Unlimited has nine entries.
With the most Sportsman class entries is the SPT Motorcycle class with 19 entries.
19 SEASON CHAMPS ENTERED
A total of 19 the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship season class point champions are entered so far in this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250. Leading the car, truck and UTV champs among the field is ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, Tecate, Mexico, who has earned three consecutive SCORE Trophy Truck season crowns.
Also entered already are SCORE TT Legend season champ Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., Class 1 champion Brian Wilson, Lakewood, Calif., Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (Trophy Truck Spec), Broc Dickerson, Brawley, Calif. (Class 10), Roberto Romo, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600), Dan Chamlee, Santa Barbara, Calif. (Class 7), Rafael Aguirre, Monterrey, Mexico (SCORE Lite), Jose Luis Lopez, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 5), Marc Burnett, Lakeside, Calif/Tim Orchard-Sub Driver. (Pro UTV FI), Don Whittington, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Pro UTV), Gerardo Novelo O., Ensenada, Mexico (Class 7SX) and Dennis Hollenbeck, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 11).
Among the motorcycle and quad classes, reigning season point champions entered this year are Shane Esposito, Murrieta, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited), Santiago Creel, Mexico City (Pro Moto Limited), Ryan Liebelt, Reedley, Calif. (Pro Moto 30), Jano Montoya, Winter Garden, Fla. (Peru) (Pro Moto 40), Jose Carrasco, Rosarito Beach, Mexico (Pro Moto Ironman) and Said Sanchez, Tijuana, Mexico (Pro Quad).
SCORE Tech Director Dan Cornwell may be fairly new in his position with SCORE, but he is very familiar with this event as he was the overall and Class 1 winner in the first SCORE San Felipe 250. Cornwell drove a VW-powered Chenowth open-wheel desert race car to victory in the inaugural race in 1982.
SCORE President Roger Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva have worked with the government officials and ejidos of the Mexicali and San Felipe areas to develop a memorable SCORE San Felipe 250 race course of 319 miles, the longest in the history of this popular desert race.
This year’s grueling race course will be another beauty to behold but a tough challenge to race on. It runs in a counter clockwise direction running over high-speed dry lake beds, through low-speed winding, rock-strewn, twisting canyons and trails, along quick-paced dirt roads and through four of Baja’s most infamous washes in Las Cuevitas, Matomi, Huatamote and Amarillo.
There will be three full stop checkpoints in addition to the start/finish line which will be located for the just the second time in the history of this race on the Malecon in the heart of San Felipe. Checkpoint 1 will be located at El Chinero (race mile 74.2), the second at La Providencia (rm 185.5) and the third will be at Old Puertecitos Road (rm 270.33). There are also 74 virtual checkpoints.
The 32nd Annual SCORE San Felipe 250 racer brief, course map and GPS files are available on the SCORE website on the race page under the Race Info tab.
For over 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.
ANOTHER GOLDEN YEAR
Following last year’s epic celebration of the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, this year’s SCORE World Desert Championship includes the special tribute to the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 when it is held this year in Ensenada on May 30-June 3. Like all SCORE races, there will be classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.
Below is the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule. For the third consecutive year all four races are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the complete 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
32nd SCORE San Felipe 250, April 4-April 8, San Felipe, Mexico
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and official race title sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, El Rey Network-Official Television Partner, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, 4 Wheel Parts, The Satellite Phone Store, Satellite Del Norte, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, CETTO Vineyards.
Additional SCORE Associate 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.
Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge Special Partners: XXII Ayuntamiento de Tijuana, Baja California State Secretary of Tourism, Comite de Turismo and Convenciones, Comite de Marcadotecnia Turistica, Asociacion de Hoteles del Noroeste.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.