With two of the five races of the 2012 SCORE International Off Road Racing Series in the bag, the field of 207 racers were anxious to attack the beautiful Baja desert in this year’s San Felipe 250. The small fishing village of San Felipe is known for it’s remarkable landscape on the Sea of Cortez. It offers some of the most peaceful and serene racing environments for some of the most vicious vehicles on this planet. Throw in some wild, diehard race fans, aligning an already tight racecourse with vehicles passing at 120 mph and you have an experience that one can only find in Baja California. And to think, we have the 500 and 1000 to look forward to in June and November!
The Monster Energy Off Road Team had a strong showing. Every driver was in contention for the win. Ryan Arciero was a man on a mission, taking the #49 “Landshark” Trophy Truck to 3rd position by the time he pitted at mile marker 125 to hand the wheel off to teammate Troy Herbst. After smashing the pan on the transmission causing fluid leakage, the team had to make regular stops on course to add fluid. This dropped them back to finish 12th in Trophy Truck.
Tim Herbst manned the #19 Trophy Truck for the first half of the race, and then handed off to Larry Roessler to finish. With a starting position of 13th, Tim quickly did work and got the truck to a physical 3rd by mile marker 100. After pitting at mile marker 125, Larry took over and had a promising chance to take the truck to the checkered flag. However, steering issues became evident towards the final 70 miles. Further progress was out the question but Larry was able to hold a 4th place position, missing the podium by a minute and a half.
Cameron Steele had an unfortunate day with his #16 Trophy Truck. Early on, he suffered two flats, forcing him to play catch up all day behind slower moving vehicles in dust. “The truck was perfect and it was a bummer to finish 8th when we should have been on the podium,” Cameron stated.
The strongest performance was from none other than “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin, as he came all the way from starting 18th to finishing second. BJ dealt with the dust in front of him all day, as the tailwinds continued to follow him blowing from behind. BJ picked off 17 drivers in his quest for the win but couldn’t quite catch back-to-back champion, Rob MacCachren. “I don’t think today was one of my better days. I didn’t perform as well as I usually do. I’m a little dissatisfied but I’m satisfied with a podium finish for sure,” said BJ. Harsh self-critique for a man who took a second place finish! Needless to say, he’ll be ready to defend his title at the Mint 400 coming up on Saturday, March 24th.
Mikey Childress took the day off from his Class 1 car and hopped on two wheels. Riding as a back up rider with teammates Robby Bell, David Pearson and Destry Abbott, the team managed to finish 8th despite some major issues. Right out of the gate at mile marker 7, Robby went end-over-end and crashed the KTM 450SX-F motorcycle. Luckily, he did not suffer major injuries other than a broken arm. The crash put the THR KAWI back 30 minutes, as Mikey had to change the sub frame and pipe. Destry Abbott, stuck in quad dust and slower traffic, had to play catch up the rest of the day. Gathering themselves, the team was to finish in 8th place.
The next race for the Monster Energy Off Road Team will be the General Tire Mint 400 in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 24th.
Photos by Jason Zindroski for Mad Media