SCORE BAJA FIREWORKS–SCORE San Felipe 250, Part 1
Part of SCORE Triple Crown of Baja in Mexico
CHECK: www.score-international.com for latest race information
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE continues its preparation to launch its four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship. Included in the advance is a special series of features on the first race which is called SCORE Baja Fireworks—SCORE San Felipe 250, Part One).
While SCORE International is launching its 48th year as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, its shortest race is also its ‘newest’ race as SCORE prepares to launch the season with the 34th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE San Felipe 250, presented by Ford.
The youngest of the SCORE Triple Crown of Baja behind its older siblings the SCORE Baja 1000 (started in 1967) and the SCORE Baja 500 (started in 1969), the ‘Baby Baja’ held along the shores of the Sea of Cortez on the east side of the Baja Peninsula, the SCORE San Felipe 250 was held for the first time in 1982.
Then SCORE President Sal Fish decided to add at third SCORE Baja race in 1982 and the rest is history as they say. The first race in 1982 saw 232 total starters, 133 finishers in the popular ‘Spring Break’ race. Four-wheel vehicle winner was Dan Cornwell in a VW-powered Chenowth open wheel desert race car in Class 1.
Topping the two-wheel field was Bob Balentine on a Honda XR500 motorcycle in Class 22. Cornwell continues his involvement with the sport and he is currently the SCORE Tech Director.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 SCORE San Felipe 250 was cancelled and the SCORE Baja 500 moved from Ensenada to San Felipe in September of last year to comply with health and safety protocols in Baja California.
The season-opening event of the four-race internationally-televised 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship will be held April 14-18 in San Felipe, the serene village on the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif. All four 2021 SCORE races will be held on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the sixth consecutive year.
Celebrating the 34th anniversary of the youngest of the three legendary SCORE Baja races, sometimes referred to as the SCORE ‘baby Baja’, entries will be accepted on the SCORE website under Race Info at www.SCORE-International.com for Pro and Sportsman entries for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.
SCORE TRIPLE CROWN OF BAJA
Together, the SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000 are the three traditional SCORE Baja races that form the coveted SCORE Triple Crown of Baja award given to racers who have won the overall in each of these massive events.
The nine racers who have won the overall victory in all three of these races are Dave Ashley, Robby Gordon, Rob MacCachren, Andy McMillin, Scott McMillin, Larry Ragland, Dan Smith, Ivan Stewart and Gustavo Vildosola Jr.
While three racers have three overall victories in the SCORE San Felipe 250, Las Vegas’ Hall of Fame racer Rob MacCachren might have set a standard that will last for awhile, unless he breaks his own record of six overall and SCORE Trophy Truck wins.
MacCachren, who won the overall in San Felipe in 2018 to give him 10 class wins in this race, earned his first SCORE Trophy Truck overall in this race in 2003 when he split the driving with Mexico’s Gustavo Vildosola Sr and his second in 2007 when he split the driving with Mark Post.
MacCachren earned back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012 driving solo and won his fifth in 2017 and his sixth in 2018 driving solo again in his No. 11 MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150.
Three racers have won three overall victories in the SCORE San Felipe 250.
The most recent racer to win overall three times in San Felipe was Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, who won three straight (2013, 2014, 2015). Vildosola Jr is tied with two other 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 in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing 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 in the No. 19 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150.
There is one more Southern Nevada driver with three overall wins in San Felipe but not three straight.
Las Vegas’ Brian Collins won his first San Felipe Overall 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 driving solo in SCORE Trophy Truck in 2008 and 2009.
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). Two other motorcycle aces with four SCORE Overall Motorcycle wins each are Steve Hengeveld (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and Mark Samuels (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) 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, Andy McMillin, Daniel McMillin, Luke McMillin, Gus Vildosola Jr, the Herbst Brothers Ed, Tim and Troy, the Wilson family (Randy, Rick, Ronnie, Brad and Brian), Robby Gordon, B.J. Baldwin, Robby Bell, Colton Udall, Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels, Wayne Matlock, Billy Wilson, Adam Pfankuch, Donald Moss, Santiago Creel, Jano Montoya, Giovanni Spinali 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 33 previous SCORE San Felipe races, winning his class a record 18 times.
Second in class wins is Eric Solorzano who has won 11 times in Class 11 (stock VW Sedan) while third is MacCachren with10 class wins and fourth 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 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 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.
In the battle of manufacturers, several categories are presented.
Leaders in overall truck wins are Ford Truck (17), Chevy Truck (4), Dodge Truck (2) and Jeep and Toyota with one win each
Leaders in overall cars wins are Chenowth (4) Jimco (2) Raceco (1) and Riviera (1).
Leaders in overall Tire manufacturers’ wins for cars/trucks are BFGoodrich Tires (28), Callahan Tires (2), Goodyear Tires (1) and Toyo Tires (1).
The leaders in overall motorcycle wins are Honda (22), Kawasaki (7), KTM (3) and Husqvarna (1).
The leaders in overall engine wins for cars and trucks are Ford (17), Chevy (6), Porsche (3), Dodge (2), Volkswagen (2), BMW (1), Jeep (1) and Toyota (1).
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
BFGoodrich Tires, the official tire of SCORE for 45 years, received two awards for the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. BFGoodrich Tires was honored as the SCORE Contingency Company of the year for the 30th time as well as being voted the SCORE Pit Support Team of the Year for the 32nd time.
BFGoodrich Tires has been the choice of 32 of the 52 overall winners of the popular SCORE Baja 500 and 31 of the 53 overall winners of the legendary SCORE Baja 1000. BFGoodrich Tires is also the title sponsor of both of the iconic races again in 2021.
BFGoodrich Tires also has been the choice of 28 of the 33 overall winners of the SCORE San Felipe 2000, all three SCORE Desert Challenge races, the SCORE Challenge of Champions in San Felipe, the one SCORE Baja Sur 500 and the inaugural SCORE Baja 400.
BFGoodrich Tires is also the title sponsor for this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250.
Presenting sponsor for this year’s BFGoodrich Tires 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 is Ford, the official vehicle and SUV of SCORE and the SCORE World Desert Championship.
The original SCORE International was founded in 1973 by the late Mickey Thompson and headed by Sal Fish from 1974 until Fish sold SCORE International on Dec. 20, 2012. SCORE continues as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization. SCORE races feature classes for Pro and Sportsman cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads competing in the internationally-televised four-race SCORE World Desert Championship.
2021 SCORE SKED
Here are the dates for the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship which will all be held in Baja California, Mexico for the sixth consecutive year:
- BFGoodrich Tires 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, presented by Ford—
April 14-18, San Felipe, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—
June 9-13, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
- 2nd SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels—
September 14-19, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—
November 15-20, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
ESPN TV NETWORKS AGAIN IN 2021
For the third straight year, the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship races are airing on the ESPN family of networks. The four-races will air as specials on the World of X Games program on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International. The shows are co-produced by SCORE International and SoCal’s award-winning BCII TV.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCORE-International.com.
SCORE San Felipe 250 All-Time Overall Champions
(1982 through 2020)
NOTE: This race was not held during the first five years of the combined HDRA/SCORE Desert Series (1985-1989) again in 2020 because of health pandemic.
Pro Cars, Trucks, UTVs
Year–Driver(s), Vehicle (Class)
1982–Dan Cornwell, Chenowth-VW (Class 1)
1983–Corky McMillin/Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche (Class 2)
1984–Scott McMillin/Corky McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche (Class 2)
1990–Brian Collins/Jack Johnson, Chenowth-VW (Class 1)
1991–Larry Ragland, Chevy C1500 (Class 8)
1992–Bob Richey/Boyd Cox, Raceco-Porsche (Class 1)
1993–Scott Douglas, Ford Ranger (Class 7)
1994–Ivan Stewart, Toyota SR5 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1995–Larry Ragland, Chevy C1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1996–Robby Gordon, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1997–Curt LeDuc, Jeep Grand Cherokee (SCORE Trophy Truck)
1998–Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel, Riviera-Chevy (Class 1)
1999–Ed Herbst/Tim Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2000–Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2001–Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2002–Dan Smith/David Ashley, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2003–Gus Vildosola/Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE TrophyTruck)
2004–Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2005–Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Jimco-Chevy (Class 1)
2006–Garron Cadiente, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2007–Mark Post/Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2008–Brian Collins, Dodge Ram1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2009–Brian Collins, Dodge Ram1500 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2010—Armin Schwarz/Martin Christensen, Jimco-BMW (Class 1)
2011—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2012—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2013—Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2014—Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2015—Gus Vildosola Jr, Ford Raptor (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2016—Billy Wilson, Chevy Silverado (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2017—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2018—Rob MacCachren, Ford F-150 (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2019—Andy McMillin, Chevy Silverado (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2020—No race because of health pandemic
2008–Peter Lang, Homebuilt-Chevy (SPT Car)
2009–Peter Lang, Homebuilt-Chevy (SPT Car)
2010—Wendell Mortensen, Raceco-VW (SPT Car)
2011—Nick Tonelli, Ford Ranger (SPT Truck)
2012—Randy Swink, Ford Ranger (SPT Truck)
2013—Vincent Munoz, Ford Ranger (SPT UNL Truck)
2014—Martin Huffman, Brenthel-Chevy (SPT Buggy)
2015—Derek Fletcher, RPM-Chevy (SPT Buggy)
2016—Jorge Navarro, Polaris RZR XP900 (SPT UTV)
2018—Torrey Rush, Yamaha YXZ1000 (SPT UTV STOCK NA)
2019—William Wolfard, Chevy Silverado (SPT UNLTD TRUCK)
2020—No race because of health pandemic
1982–Bob Balentine, Honda XR500 (Class 22)
1983–Jack Johnson, Honda XR500 (Class 22)
1984–Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna CR500 (Class 22)
1990–Dan Smith/Danny Hamel, KTM (Class 22)
1991–Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicut Jr, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1992–Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicut Jr, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1993–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500(Class 22)
1994–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1995–Danny Hamel, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1996–Paul Krause, Kawasaki KX500 (Class 22)
1997–Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
1998–Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
1999–Johnny Campbell/Cole Marshall, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
2000–Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab, Honda XR650 (Class 22)
2001–Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2002–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2003–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2004–Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda XR650R (Class 22)
2005–Chris Blais/Andy Grider/Quinn Cody, KTM MXC525 (Class 22)
2006–Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2007–Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2008–Robby Bell/Johnny Campbell, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2009–Kendall Norman/Tim Weigand, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2010—Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2011—Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2012—Kurt Caselli/Ivan Ramirez, KTM 450SX-F (Class 22)
2013—Tim Weigand/Colton Udall, Honda CRF450X (Class 22)
2014—Ricky Brabec/Shane Esposito/Max Eddy Jr, Kawasaki KX450F (Class 22)
2015—Colton Udall/Justin Jones, Honda CRF450X (Open)
2016—Colton Udall/Mark Samuels, Honda CRF450X (Unlimited)
2017—Mark Samuels/Daymon Stokie/Ryan Penhall, Honda CRF450X (Unlimited)
2018—Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels, Honda CRF450X (Unlimited)
2019—Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels/Justin Jones, Honda CRF450X (Unlimited)
2020—No race because of health pandemic
2008—Bill Gilbert, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)
2009—Jeff Leonard, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C>250cc)
2010—Ron Tolman, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C<250cc)
2011—Issac Cisneros, Yamaha YZF450 (SPTM/C<450cc)
2012—Mark Winkelman, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C<450cc)
2013—Mark Winkelman, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C<450cc)
2014—Raul Hernandez, KTM450EXC (SPT M/C)
2015—Juan Dominguez, Honda TRX450R (SPT Quad)
2016—Kristopher Harvey, Honda CRF450X (SPT M/C)
2017—Sidney Marchand, KTM 500EXC (SPT M/C)
2018—Danny Magdalena, Honda TRX450R (SPT Quad)
2019—Shane Schorno, KTM 500EXCF (SPT M/C)
2020—No race because of health pandemic
SCORE San Felipe 250 Overall Pro Champions
Pro Cars & Trucks
Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola
Gustavo Vildosola Sr
*2 on motorcycle
**1 on motorcycle
Ted Hunnicut Jr
Max Eddy Jr
Overall Pro 4wheel Vehicle Trucks/SUVs
Overall Engine Winners
Cars & Trucks
Pro 4wheel vehicles
(Missing 2 years)