SCORE-International’s 2019 World Desert Championship series opener the San Felipe 250 is a Springtime favorite for racers and fans alike. During this time of year, there is no better place to be than down in Baja along the beautiful blue of the Sea Of Cortez. This year’s race featured a remarkably punishing 349.91 Miles. The longest course in the history of the event and arguably the toughest in some time put the off-road desert racers to the test. The Class 10 division featured a large field of 15 competitors, but it was Cesar Cuevas of Chula Vista, California who withstood the grueling San Felipe desert and ran the distance for victory inthe 1011 Alumi Craft Race Car.
A typical Baja race is nothing but typical, however, for the majority of San Felipe 250 Races, the course’s standard direction was to head out of town going North along the power lines through “Zoo Road” towards Highway 3. At some point, the track would draw lines East and then back South for a counter-clockwise loop and a quick finish time. The Overall Winners would be back in town for cold drinks and fish tacos by the early afternoon. For 2019, the 33rd annual event, SCORE-International tacked on an additional 100 miles and ran the course in a clockwise loop heading out of town South. At about Race Mile 57 the infamous “Matomi Wash” became a major factor in this year’s race causing bottlenecks and long lines of race cars waiting one by one to file their way through the tight obstacle over rocks and hoping not to get stuck in the sandy wash. It made for a long day and thinned out the competitive racing.
In the end, out of 239 official race entries, 149 managed to negotiate the Baja Desert for nearly 350 miles and make their way back to the seaside San Felipe “Malecon” finish line. Cesar Cuevas, in the #1011 Alumi Craft completed the course in 7 Hours 50 Minutes and 24.025 Seconds for a 1st place Class 10 podium and good enough for 33rd overall. Chase Warren in the #1008 Alumi Craft, who is coming off of a 2019 Mint 400 victory, was not far behind Cesar and finished in 7 Hours 59 Minutes and 35.575 Seconds in 2nd place. Cody Reid in the #1068 Alumi Craft was just shy of the podium by time but managed a 4th place Top 5 with a total time on the course of 8 Hours 26 Minutes and 21.964 Seconds.
“We of felt like this was going to be our race from the very beginning,” Cesar Cuevas noted at the finish line. “We did our homework and were well prepared. We started way back in 9th with eight cars ahead of us. We planned to start quick and pass as many people as we could before Matomi. The Alumi Craft was fast and we made some good moves that got us up to 3rd in class, but then we got in line at the bottleneck. Once the trophy trucks passed through, that section was destroyed, so everyone was having a hard time.”
Cesar continued, “The #1022 sneaked by us while we were in line. When the bottlenecked flushed us out, we were all going at it. About Mile Marker 65, we had a good race going into the Laguna Salada Dry Lake. The #1030 made a good attempt, but we just pulled away from them. We raced back in forth passing #1022 three different times, but the Alumi Craft performance was far superior. The course was terrible, but we didn’t have any problems thanks to the Lord. There was a section 40 minutes before the finish where the whoops were very difficult. Our Alumi Craft got us through it with no problems, but wow! I have never seen whoops like that before. San Felipe is known to be very rough, but once we got in a rhythm, the car wants to fly through it.”
Cesar is familiar with the harsh desert terrain of San Felipe but also aware of how rugged and durable the Alumi Craft Race Car platform is. Recently, Cuevas won his class as well as the event overall in the 2018 RECORD Off Road San Felipe 200. Cesar also raced to a 2017 RECORD Off Road Class 10 Championship Title in the same car.
Chase Warren, aiming for another race win was able to push his Alumi Craft hard but encountered the same bottleneck. “Well, it looks like an official 2nd place for the San Felipe 250. We started in the back today. I knew it was going to be a long rough day today with a lot of rocks, so we were equipped for that. The Alumi Craft was unstoppable, and we passed about half the field before Matomi Wash, and when we got in there, it was a dead stop. We shut the car off and waited for 45 minutes while cars got unstuck ahead of us. We were able to get through it eventually, but unfortunately for us the guys that started in the front of our class did not face the same problem and made it through before the backup. We were down over 30 minutes on the lead car. By the time we made it to our next time split, we had managed to make up over 20 minutes but fell 9 minutes short of the win. I was trying to make up the time so we went as absolutely as fast as we could to the finish. Big thank you to everyone who puts in 110% effort to give us a near flawless race car. Congratulations to the #1011 Alumi Craft and race winner; Cesar Cuevas.“
Cody Reid is a known Class 10 contender, however his race presented several challenges along the way. “Our race was going smoothly other than some minor hold ups from the start to Race Mile 162. Bud Ward started the race and gave me the car in 2nd place. At Race Mile 220 we had roughly 35 min of downtime, due to driver error, and fell back to 6th or 7th. We ended up finishing 3rd physically but 4th on time due to a missed VCP. To get to the finish line, you can’t give up. As long as you can fix the car, or get it moving down course to your crew, there is always a possibility of finishing. We proved that today. We never gave up and managed to pull off a top 5 finish.”
The San Felipe desert is notoriously brutal on off-road vehicles. Only the most durable and rugged equipment can withstand the punishing desert terrain and race at speed to victory. Competitors who desire reliable performance and the most capable off-road race cars available at competitive value count on Alumi Craft Race Cars. Give Alumi Craft a call at 619-596-9841 or go to: http://alumicraft.info/ to find out more about our race products and services.
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