race had 246 total starters from 25 States, 10 countries for rugged race-record 319-mile course;
start of 25th anniversary season of marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division–most unique in motorsports world;
SAN FELIPE, Baja California, Mexico – Writing yet another colorful chapter for his hall of fame career, Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, meticulously and methodically manipulated and strategically stormed his way past the competition and through the relentless desert race course to the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory Saturday at the 32nd annual SCORE San Felipe 250.
Round 1 of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship was held on a super-challenging, technical race-record 319-mile course during a sensationally stunning sunny Saturday in Mexico that started and finished in peaceful fishing village of San Felipe on the northeast portion of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula along the tranquil waters of the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border in Calexico, Calif.
The race started and finished on the picturesque malecon in the heart of San Felipe for the second time in the 32-year history of the SCORE San Felipe 250.
A total of 246 official starters raced in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, utvs, motorcycles and quads. Entries came from 25 U.S. States, host Mexico, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Peru. The race had 167 official finishers for a finishing rate of XX.X percent in the extremely challenging elapsed time race that had a 16-hour time limit.
With necessary penalties assessed, the results were made official early Sunday morning following data tracking review by SCORE race officials.
Already an Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, desert and short-course off-road champion, MacCachren, 53, captured his 10th class win and his sixth overall and sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck crown in the SCORE San Felipe 250. MacCachren stormed strategically to a penalty-free winning time of five hours, 20 minutes, 17 seconds at a very solid 59.76 miles per hour in his No. 11 Rockstar MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150.
Prior to this year, MacCachren’s Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victories in the SCORE San Felipe 250 were in 2003 (with Gustavo Vildosola Sr), 2007 (with Mark Post) and driving solo in 2011, 2012 and last year (2017).
Already the winningest SCORE Trophy Truck driver in history, MacCachren’s victory was his 16 career win in the marquee desert racing class for high-tech, 900-horsepower custom trucks.
Never at a loss for good words to describe his wins, MacCachren said afterwards, “There are so many SCORE Trophy Truck drivers that are very competitive and one wrong step, clip a rock or something and you’re done. The guys worked very good on the truck, this truck’s been very reliable, this is two years in a row. Can’t be thankful enough for that. We started sixth. With the draw we got real lucky being up there. It’s pretty tough to come from the back. When I saw the draw and we were sixth I said we’re in a good position. We got by Mike Lawrence in the wash before race-mile 60, (Adam) Householder had a flat, we got by him and we just set sail and tried to catch up to Bean (Justin Smith) and Cam and we were slowly making ground on them.”
“We got to Borrego and Bean had a problem and he pulled out right in front of me and it was a bummer because it would have been good for us to get ahead of him there but we just had to trail him until about mile 200. He pulled over and got gas and we went by and started to get closer and closer to Cam. Right before Matomi wash it was a real twisty road and I was trying to tiptoe though there and not hit any rocks. I clipped a rock, we jumped out, changed the flat really quick and nobody got by us. We lost that time to Cam but coming up to the finish I could tell we were catching him again. I know it’s incredible out there on the course, all the people you see on the side of the road cheering you on. As you’re coming it’s almost like a sea. The course is closed, you’re coming, there’s cameras, there’s drones, it’s incredible. You come through at 100, they open up and you come on through. I love racing San Felipe.”
Starting first, overcoming early issues, crossing the finish line first but the victory eluded veteran racer/TV action sports commentator Cameron Steele of San Clemente, Calif. at the end of a long hard day he did earn the second spot on the podium behind MacCachren. Steele, who is also one of the commentators of this race for the El Rey Network, finished the race in a penalty-free 5:23:50 while averaging a strong 59.1 mph in his No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado
It was Steele’s second straight SCORE race with a runner-up finish. He also finished in the second spot on the podium in last year’s iconic 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.
Part of a third-generation desert racing team, three McMillin racers from San Diego finished in the top six overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck. Following in the tracks left by their late grandfather Corky and their fathers Scott and Mark with top placements were Andy McMillin (Scott’s son) along with Mark’s sons Luke McMillin and Dan McMillin.
Luke McMillin, 25, finished third overall in 5:25:10 minutes (58.92 mph) in the No. 83 Mark Racing Ford F-150 while Andy McMillin, 30 finished in fourth place overall and in class in his new No. 31 McMillin Racing Chevy Silverado (5:26:14, 58.67mph). Dan McMillin, 30, placed sixth overall and in class in the Mark Racing No. 23 Ford F-150 (5:35:23, 57.07mph)
Another third generation racer, Ryan Arciero, 44, of Lake Forest, Calif., made his return as a driver of record in SCORE by finishing fifth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in the No. 32 Ford F-150 in a time of 5:32:16 with an average speed of 57.6 mph.
OVERALL MOTORCYCLE WINNERS
Putting their long-time friendship and great racing experience together to form a new team, Justin Morgan, 28 of El Cajon, Calif. and Mark Samuels, 28 of Yucca Valley, Calif. survived a rugged race to earn the overall motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited Class victory by a comfortable victory margin of over 20 minutes. Crossing the finish line first after starting in the fourth position with one-minute splits between each rider the Morgan/Samuels duo tag-teamed around the course to finish in 6:04:33, averaging 52.5 mph.
Samuels has now been part of the overall motorcycle winning team for three straight years in San Felipe.
M/C WINNERS QUOTES
At the finish line, Morgan commented, “Mark rode the start to race-mile 23, I rode all the way back around to Mile 192. Mark rode from there to 282 and I rode into the finish the last 40 miles. We had a really good plan and Mark and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve done this a lot but we weren’t together in recent years, so it’s really cool how a plan like that comes together. Definitely the most challenging was just the number of miles. It’s always a big factor in the morning especially because we were fourth off the start, four minutes back, so we were working off the dust.”
“Mark got us into second physically at the rider switch the 1x got by us with Grant Statley on it and I managed to get by him and then Roberto Villalobos on the 66x. I got him at Mile 68, came out with a clean air filter and a new tire and we were good to go. It’s just the prep that San Diego Powerhouse did. It takes a really prepped bike. This is my old race bike and it’s been sitting as a frame in the garage for almost the entire last year and we just rebuilt it. After this, I think we’ll be at the SCORE Baja 500 for sure, I’d say.”
Helping mark the launch of 25th year of the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division, a race-record total of 36 of these ‘Monsters of the Desert’ officially started and 26 of them finished.
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 22 overalls in San Felipe in the 25-year history of the featured SCORE racing division. In the 32 years of this race, Honda has now earned 21 overall motorcycle victories (including 19 of the last 22 years), Kawasaki has seven, KTM has three and Husqvarna has one. For long-time SCORE sponsor BFGoodrich Tires, it was their 27th overall 4-wheel vehicle victory and 25th straight in the SCORE San Felipe 250.
The fastest Pro UTV in the race and Pro UTV FI class winner was Wayne Matlock, Alpine, Calif., 40, Alpine, Calif. who won in 7:25:04 in his No. 2971 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. Wayne Matlock defeated a total of field of 35 UTVs in San Felipe including 23 starters in the Pro UTV forced induction class. It was also his sixth class win in San Felipe and second win in a row in this event.
…AND MRS. MATLOCK
Crossing the finish line shortly after her husband Wayne on the finish line ramp, Kristen Matlock, 37, kept things exciting for the Matlock family while winning the Pro UTV (Normally Aspirated) class with a time of 7:28:02 in her No. 1954 Polaris RZR XP4 1000.
As added icing on the Matlock victory cake, both Wayne and Kristen drove solo in the race and arrived in time to share the finish line ramp with both as class winners.
MAKE THAT 18
Age-group racer and noted apparel manufacturer Jim O’Neal, 72, of Simi Valley, Calif. added another class win to his trophy case for a SCORE race-high18 class wins–all in the last 18 years.
O’Neal has now raced in all 32 SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 21 career season class point titles including two in 2016. This year in San Felipe O’Neal was the co-rider for the team riding on the No.360x in Pro Moto 30 (riders over 30 years old) for rider of record Santiago Creel of Mexico City.
O’Neal has now raced in all 32 SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 21 season class point titles in his successful career.
Putting together teams of very talented racers, international rally racer Santiago Creel of Mexico City was driver of record on four KTM motorcycles entered in three classes and came out of the dusty, dirty day with class wins in both Pro Moto 30 and Pro Moto Limited along with both a second and third place in the Pro Moto Unlimited.
ANOTHER CLASS WIN
In addition to MacCachren, Samuels, O’Neal and W. Matlock, some other racers added to their multiple win totals in San Felipe.
Earning his fifth career motorcycle class win in San Felipe was Mexico’s Francisco Septien, 42 of Ensenada who defeated 12 starters and the brutally-tough race course in the Pro Ironman class for solo riders.
Also earning his fifth career class win in this race and first since 1999 was Marc Stein, 51 of Hemet, Calif. in the Stock Full class.
Giovanni Spinali, 51, El Cajon, Calif., won the Pro Moto 50 class (riders over 30 years old) for his third class win in San Felipe.
MORE CLASS WINNERS
Among the other car and truck class winners in this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250 were Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif. (Class 1, Jimco-Chevy), William Hedrick Jr, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico (Trophy Truck Spec-ID-Chevy), Chase Warren, Phoenix (Class 10, Alumi Craft-Chevy), Vincent Munoz, Yucaipa, Calif. (Class 8, Ford Ranger), Bruce Yee, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 1/2-1600, Barajas-VW), Luis Barragan, Mexicali, Mexico (SCORE Lite, Seagrove-VW), Mike Coleman, LaJolla, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Raptor), Mark McNeil, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), David Payne, St. Louis, Mo. (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Art Penner, Canada (Class 11, VW Sedan) and Cesar Iniguez, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug).
Among the other motorcycle and quad class winners this year were Jano Montoya, Winter Garden, Fla. (Peru) (Pro Moto 40, KTM 450XCW), Guy Laycraft, Canada (Pro Moto 60, Honda CRF450X and Juan Sanchez, Chula Vista, Calif. (Pro Quad, Honda TRX450R).
ROOKIE IRON(WO)MAN, TAKE 1
With an ambitious goal to ride solo in the Pro Moto Ironman class as a rookie in the entire 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship, SCORE rookie Liz Karcz, 33, a New Jersey transplant who is an ICU nurse at the University of New Mexico Medical Center, reached the first rung on her quest by finishing sixth out of the 12 starters in her class (all 11 others were male riders including class winner Francisco Septien).
While her time is not the reason why she is attempting this adventure, she did complete the course in 12:08:46 on her No. 722x Honda CRF450X as five of the starters didn’t finish the race, including former season class champions Tony Gera, Santa Cruz, Calif and Jose Carassco, Rosarito Beach, Calif.
If she reaches her goal, Karcz will become the first female rider to achieve this major accomplishment for any gender.
Karcz is also riding as a charitable fund-raiser for the raising charitable funds for the DA8 Strong Foundation. DA8 Strong, founded by former SCORE champion racer Destry Abbott, raises funds to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.
SCORE President Roger Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva 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 was 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 were three full stop checkpoints in addition to the start/finish line which was located for just the second time in the history of this race and the second straight year on the Malecon in the heart of San Felipe. Checkpoint 1 was located at El Chinero (race mile 74.2), the second at La Providencia (rm 185.5) and the third was at Old Puertecitos Road (rm 270.33). There were also 74 virtual checkpoints.
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.
SCORE San Felipe 250 All-Time Overall Champions
NOTE: This race was not held during the first five years of the combined HDRA/SCORE Desert Series (1985-1989).