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Alan Ampudia wins Overall, SCORE Trophy Truck

Mexico's Ampudia Was Fastest Qualifier And Overall Winner At The King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250


SAN FELIPE, Baja California, Mexico – Moving up one spot from last year’s finish, Mexico’s popular Alan Ampudia rocked Mexico’s Northern Baja desert and rolled to an extremely impressive victory, start as the fastest qualifier roared and roared some more, defeating a strong field of 270 official starters in Saturday’s King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250.
     Ampudia, part of the famous Ampudia family of Mexico’s Papas & Beer fame, drove solo to power his remarkable No. 10 Mason-built all-wheel drive Ford Raptor to lead the fifth largest number of starters and finishers in race history and finished to a penalty-free winning time of four hours, two minutes, 21 seconds over the sun-drenched, rock-filled, silt-strewn 285.69 mile for an absolutely blistering average speed of 70.73 miles per hour.
     In all, a SCORE-record 20 racers from four classes, averaged over 60 mph. A total of 15 of those racers, including the top nine overall finishers, were from the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck class for high-tech, 1000-horsepower, unlimited custom trucks. The other classes were Trophy Truck Spec with three, SCORE TT Legend with two and the Unlimited Class 1 with one.
     Last year Ampudia finished second in this race after qualifying in the sixth position and in this year’s race he upped the stakes by qualifying first, leading the entire race and taking home the checkered flag for his second career SCORE Trophy Truck race win (first was the 2019 SCORE Baja 1000 with his brother Aaron Ampudia.  He became the second Mexican National to in the 30-year history of the SCORE Trophy Truck class that a Mexican National has won the overall victory in this race.
     Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola was the first Mexican National to win the overall and the second to win in SCORE Trophy Truck in the SCORE San Felipe 250 when he won three consecutive years in 2013, 2014, 2015.
     Juan Carlos Ibarra was the first Mexican National to win the SCORE Trophy Truck class in San Felipe in 1998 when he was second overall to Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel, who also won the unlimited Class 1 in that race.
     SCORE is celebrating its 51st season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization in 2024     Under sunny skies, light winds, and mild temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit and thousands of fans spread around the desert, Ampudia had plenty of competition behind him in the superb field of 37 of the marquee SCORE Trophy Trucks and 270 starters, fifth-most starters in the 37-year history of the race.
     Like they have numerous times, finishers called it “one of the most beautifully brutal courses ever” in the history of this popular ‘Spring Break race.
     Pursuing Ampudia closely all day long were several top SCORE Trophy Truck racers including defending race champion Luke McMillin, defending season point champion Bryce Menzies, Toby Price, Christopher Volvoorde, Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, Cameron Steele, and Kevin Thompson.
     ‘The Luke’ McMillin, 31, San Diego, after qualifying in fourth, overcame some vehicle issues early on and climbed back to second place at the end, finishing just over eight minutes behind a time of 4:11:05 with an average speed of 68.27 mph in his No. 83 Chevy 1500 (Mason).
    Finishing third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, 42, Mexicali, Mexico, with a time of 4:16:54, averaging 67.24 mph in his Vildosola Racing No. 21 Ford Raptor (Vildosola Racing,)
     The results became official late Sunday morning when released by SCORE President/Race Director Abelardo Grijalva following complete Data Tracking review by SCORE Race Officials.
     Round 1 of the four-race 2024 SCORE World Desert Championship was held March 20-24 on a rugged 285.69-mile race course in and around the quaint, peaceful village of San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
     The unique 285.69-mile race course for this year’s King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 featured two special sections only for motorcycles and quads.
     Attempting to reduce the number of motorcycles and quads that would be passed by the fastest cars and trucks, this was the third time in the history of SCORE International that there will be two sections part of the overall race course just for motorcycles and quads.
     The King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250, was an elapsed-time race with a 13-hour time limit in the 285.59-mile course for the racers to become official finishers in the spectacular race.
     Following his huge Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory, Ampudia commented at the finish line, “It went really well today, we had no problems at all and we just kept it moving. We only had one main pit. That was the name of the game…just keep the truck moving and nobody would be able to get by us. The course was super, super fast and rough. That’s San Felipe! With the four-by-four in the silt it was pretty easy, but there were lots of rocks.”
     “We just had to be careful up to Borrego and then we could open it up a little bit. It was a good battle with Toby and the rest of the guys all day. We ran the last 15 to twenty miles with only 9psi in the tires. My navigator, Kyle, absolutely killed it all day. He is an animal; glad to have him on the right seat. Toyo tires hooked up great and the King Shocks ate up all the whoops. Super stoked to get the win and get the monkey off our back. We can’t wait for the SCORE Baja 500.”
     Following complete data tracking review, Arturo Salas Jr, 21, Chula Vista, Calif., was declared the overall motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited winner. Riding for the new Hero Racing team, Salas Jr started the race and rode to race-mile 160 where is co-rider Carter Klein, 19, Agua Dulce, Calif., took over and rode to the finish line. The dynamic duo, who defeated a field of 75 total motorcycles and quads including 13 starters in their class, finished the race in a time of 5:55:39 on their No. 11x Honda CRF450X.
     At the finish line, co-rider Klein commented, “The course was good, rocky; kind of like what we race back home. Arturo rode well in the beginning. I had to do some catch up on our section. With a two-man team we had to push hard. When Arturo came into the first pit in Chinero, the bike shut off and we had to bump it and lost 20-30 seconds. But we won and that’s the most important thing, especially in a SCORE race.”
     SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 27 overalls in San Felipe in the 30 years that the premier racing class has been part of this race. In this year’s race, SCORE Trophy Trucks captured nine of the top 10 overall finishing positions including one SCORE TT Legend. Trophy Truck Spec winner Thor Herbst finished ninth overall
     Among the tire manufacturers, Toyo Tires has now won the overall victory for the second time in this race.
     The win also Honda it’s 25th overall win out of 37 years of this race.
     In the overall pro 4wheel vehicles, Ford Trucks have now earned 20 Overall wins and in overall engine wins, Ford now has nine wins.
     Earning another major SCORE race win, Las Vegas’ third-generation desert racing champion Cayden ‘Mini Mac’ MacCachren, 22, drove the fastest UTV in the race, defeating a SCORE-record 68 UTVs in five classes in this year’s race race.
     ‘Mini Mac’ drove solo in his SCI Motorsports/Polaris Factory Racing No. 1821 Polaris RZR Pro R, added to the family’s fame (his father is Rob ‘G.O.A.T’) MacCachren, as well by winning the Pro UTV Open class that had 22 starters in a time of 5:14:06 Arturo Salas Jr.
     Former industry executive and champion SCORE desert racer Craig Scanlon debuted his SCI Motorsports/Polaris Factory Racing team in last year’s King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250.
     In the team’s four-vehicle return to San Felipe, MacCachren finished first in Pro UTV Open, Scanlon was seventh, defending series point champion Brock Heger, 24, El Centro, Calif. was second, and the newest team member, Max Eddy Jr, 41, Barstow, Calif., finished in fifth place.
     Atop the Pro UTV FI class (Forced Induction), Phil Blurton, 37, Auburn, Calif., won over 24 starters in his No. 2944 Can-Am Maverick R. Winning the Pro UTV NA class (6 starters) was youthful Ethan Groom, 17, Temecula, Calif., in his No. 1974 Polaris RZR XP1000.
     Capturing the checkered flag in the Pro UTV Stock class over 15 starters was Kaden Wells, 25, Hurrican, Utah, in the No. 3925 Can-Am Maverick R.
     Besides Ampudia, Luke McMillin and Vildosola Jr, the rest of the top 10 finishers, including eight SCORE Trophy Trucks, one SCORE TT Legend (drivers over 50 years old) and one Trophy Truck Spec, started with fourth place finisher Bryce Menzies, 36, Las Vegas, in 4:15:31 in his No. 1 Ford Raptor (Mason). The top eight finishers were all in SCORE Trophy Trucks.
     Fifth was Cameron Steele, 55, San Clemente, Calif. in 4:22:54 in his Desert Assassins No. 16 Ford Raptor (Geiser) and sixth in class and overall was Dan McMillin, 36, San Diego with a time of 4:2654 in his No. 23 Chevy 1500 (Mason).
     Seventh in 4:27:33 was Christopher Polvoorde, 23, Hemet, Calif., in his new AWD No. 94 Ford Raptor (Mason).
     Finishing eighth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Justin Lofton, 38, Lockney, Texas, with a time of 4:30:37 in his No. 41 Chevy 1500 (Mason).
     Ninth overall and winning his Trophy Truck Spec class was Las Vegas’-third gen desert racer Thor Herbst, 24, in 4:31:59 in his Terrible Herbst Motorsports No. 219 Chevy 1500 (1 Nine Industries).
     Tenth overall and winning the SCORE TT Legend class for the third straight year in San Felipe was Mexico’s veteran SCORE champion racer Gustavo Vildosola Sr, 70, Mexicali, along with second driver Ricky Johnson, 59, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. They finished in 4:34:58 in the No. 1L Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor.
     Leading the gregarious group of 116 racers with at least one class win in this race who were entered this year was Jim O’Neal who increased his SCORE race-record class wins in this race to 20 age-group motorcycle wins—all in the last 26 years.
     O’Neal, 77, from Santa Barbara, Calif., is the only person who has raced in all 37 SCORE San Felipe 250 races and he has a SCORE-record 24 season class point titles in his lengthy career.
     O’Neal also has 41 starts out of 55 years in the SCORE Baja 500 and 42 starts out of 56 years in the SCORE Baja 1000.
     In this year’s King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250, O’Neal, who is owner of the noted motorcycle apparel that bears his name, was a co-rider in this race for noted Mexican racer Francisco Septien, 48, Ensenada, who was Rider of Record for the winning motorcycle team in the Pro Moto 40 team (Riders over 40 years old).
    Riding the No. 411x Kawasaki KX450X to victory, Septien now has six class wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250.
     Racers adding to their multiple class win total in the SCORE San Felipe 250 included several racers.
     Now with six career class wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250 winning again this year were Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Pro Moto 40) and Gustavo Vildosola Sr, Mexicali Mexico (SCORE TT Legend).
     Now with five career class wins each in San Felipe are Eli Yee (Class 5), and Shane Esposito (Pro Moto 40).
    With pre-running continuing since March 9 for the King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva and Co-Race Director Rodolfo Fernandez put together another memorable race course to challenge the world’s best desert racers.
     Starting and finishing back on the picturesque El Malecon, the race was 285.69 miles, running in a counter-clockwise direction and featured one physical full stop checkpoint (Borrego Road Crossing at race-mile 201.03).
     For just the third time and for safety reasons, SCORE has developed two separate sections within the overall race course for motorcycles and quads only, but all Pro classes all still covered 285.69 total miles of magnificent Baja terrain. All Sportsman classes, Class 11, Class 7SX, and Baja Challenge all ran a course of 284.86.
     There were 133 virtual checkpoints for cars/trucks/UTVs, 111 for motos/quads. The course had eight speed zones for a total of 6.90 miles.
     The course headed North to the Zoo Road crossing up to the El Chinero area North for an extended long loop through Laguna Saldana, the Arroyo Grande, through Arroyo Arrajal, South to Borrego, down through Laguna Diablo, South past Morelia Junction, finally heading east through the gloriously infamous Chanate Wash, before heading north for the final sprint to the finish line.
     The moto/quad first deviation of the course was at RM 90.51 north of El Chinero and rejoined the overall course at RM 178.77. The second deviation started at RM 270.56, heading south to make a long loop through Chanate Wash, back east through Azufre Wash where those classes then ran North parallel to the car/truck/utv course before joining back up at rm 278.62, for the final seven miles to the finish line on El Malecon.
     Grand Marshal for this year’s King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 was SCORE champion racer Mark Post, a prominent businessman in Southern California and Las Vegas.
     Post, 65, of Las Vegas and Laguna Beach, Calif., who has been an active desert racer for nearly 30 years, recorded his most impressive season in 2007 when he won the SCORE Trophy Truck season point championship. In 2007, with the iconic Rob MacCachren as his second driver, Post won the 40th-anniversary SCORE Baja 1000, a race of 1296.39 miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in his spectacular No. 3 Riviera Racing Black Diamond Ford F-150.
     Post, MacCachren, and third driver Carl Renezeder, covered the distance in 25 hours, 21 minutes, and 25 seconds, averaging 53.43 miles per hour to be the fastest overall four-wheel vehicle finisher in the race.
    In his remarkable 2007 SCORE season Post finished fourth in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, first in the SCORE San Felipe 250, fourth in the SCORE Baja 500, second in the SCORE Terrible’s Las Vegas Primm 300, capped by his massive victory in the season-ending 40th SCORE Baja 1000 from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas.
     Also in 2007, Riviera Racing won the SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup short-course event on the dirt track at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Rob MacCachren driving.
    In the SCORE San Felipe 250, Post had three career class wins, two with Jerry Whelchel before winning in 2007 in SCORE Trophy Truck with MacCachren. Post and Whelchel won Class 1 in this race in 1998 and again in 2004 in SCORE Trophy Truck.
     Post also earned a prestigious SCORE Milestone Award in 2007.
     In his illustrious SCORE racing career, Post had seven career SCORE Trophy Truck race victories, (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and his three in 2007.