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SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 83 of 116

SILT AND BOULDERS . Four-Wheel Classes Deal With A Tough Course . . By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Guilherme Torres, and Ariana Medrano . Photos by Get Some Photo . . The four-wheel classes had to deal with the dug-up areas that the high-horsepower SCORE Trophy Trucks, Class 1, and SCORE TT Spec vehicles made ahead of them. Most of the toughest areas were those which were turned into deep silt that had large rocks hidden underneath, making it treacherous and hard on suspensions and tires. . By the time Class 7 racers got to some of these sections on the course, two of the four starters in that class were already out of competition due to broken components. The race in Class 7 ended up between 2022 Champion Dan Chamlee in the No. 700 Ford and Gaspar Espindola from Ensenada, Mexico, in the No. 716 Ford. Chamlee’s experience gave him a huge lead allowing him to easily win the class, with Espindola finishing in second place with nearly a four-hour time difference. “It went pretty good,” said Chamlee. “We broke a sway bar about halfway through, so the truck was leaning a bit the last half of the race, but I feel like we kept a decent speed. It was rough and bumpy. Other than dragging the mirrors in the corners, we had no problems. We did our part for tree pruning. I was to thank my two navigators, my wife, my crew, BFGoodrich Tires, they are the toughest tires ever, and King Racing Shocks.” . . The rough conditions caused a flat and tore off the exhaust on Scott Wisdom’s N0. 1221 SCORE Lite racer. Although he and his nephew, co-driver Jacob Wisdom, had to endure a louder vehicle, they managed to finish faster than the other six competitors in their class to win. “The driving credit goes to my nephew Jacob Wisdom,” said Scott Wisdom. “He pretty much led it flag to flag, he did the hard work. Our exhaust decided to part ways with the car before mile 80, so we’ve had no exhaust. It’s completely gone. There was great teamwork– the team and the crew really deserve credit for this whole thing. We couldn’t do this without our friends who come down and support us, and they do a fantastic job.” . . TOUGH FOR VW-BASED RACERS . Many of the VW-based vehicles had some of the hardest times getting through the course. With the deep silt slowing down a variety of these classes, only those that knew how to avoid getting stuck survived. One of them was Erick Pavolka in the No. 1625 car who, along with his co-driver Andy Devercelly, made it to the finish line to win the class. . In Class 5, it was the experience of Eli Yee in the No. 511 car that allowed him to reach the finish ahead of Mike Sullivan in the No. 508 car and Billy Gereghty in the No. 545 car to win the class. . “It was a very rough course– a lot of jumps and a lot of rocks,” said Yee. “This is my 31st SCORE San Felipe 250 race and this has been one of the toughest ones. We got first place. Thank you to all of the people who helped us, my team, and Yee Motorsports.” . An indication of how tough this SCORE San Felipe 250 race was, is that in almost every race, all of the Baja Challenge Class competitors finish. The BC Class has the highest finishing rate of all classes in SCORE, but at this race, one of the competitors, the Preston Brown team in BC-1, DNF’d after the car caught fire. Finishing first in class, however, was Bud Pecoy and the BC-3 team, followed in second place by 2022 Champ Edward Muncey in the BC-4 car. “It was a good run, and we didn’t have too many problems,” said Pecoy. “We lost one axle and one tire, but other than that, it was a pretty flawless run for us. I know one of the guys behind us had some tough luck; they burned up a car. It caught on fire and burned to the ground. I think everyone was safe and got out OK, but other than that, everything was good.” . Justin Park in the No. 714F truck had a huge lead in Class 7F, finishing first ahead of the second-place finisher, Aaron Celico in the No. 704F truck. But the class win didn’t come easy for Park and the tough course caused him to think twice about finishing the race. “It was crazy. I had planned to drive solo but I didn’t know if I was going to make it. That extra bypass was rough and it got tough on us. I was able to pull it out. I was thinking about my father, my family, this racing heritage, and what it means to this team for me to be in the car. So, I pushed it hard, fought it and just go, go, go. We had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and it was discouraging because we didn’t have a spare, but Baja Pits was about 15 miles down the road and they popped on another spare.” . In Class 7SX the Duron family once again was successful in taking home another class win. “It was a lot of fun,” said Armando Duron Sr. “We got a good rhythm going in the beginning and it went really well for us. Towards the end of the race, we got stuck in the sand for about an hour but we got out and here we are, in first place. I’m glad we didn’t go through the Mini Summit, but the course was really interesting and fun. It feels really good to be here all the work we’ve done has paid off.” Duron Sr. was aided by co-drivers Israel Duron and Armando Duron Jr. . In the Trophy Lite Class, Chase Swanson in the No. 6049 car came from Honolulu, Hawaii, to compete and found himself and the team winning the class for their efforts. “We ran a nice, clean race,” he said. “We are super grateful, and it was amazing. The course was good. We didn’t really have any issues. Ran up on a car in Boulder Canyon that was blocking the path, but we managed to get around him. The gnarliest part was the silt at the end. We had to find a good way through. It looks like we have all our body panels and all our spares.” . . CLASS 11 Racers Showcase A Fine Finish . With the incredibly tough and silty course, no one other than the Class 11 teams themselves expected to see any of these competitors at the finish line. Showing dedication to their class and their determination, six of the seven competitors finished. . Oliver Flemate in the No. 1105 car was the class winner but talked about how difficult the course was for them and his competitors. “We are really happy because we just won Class 11. Antonio Espinoza practically ran the whole race alone because I was running the Trophy Truck Spec after. I finished tenth and jumped in to take us to the finish line. The whole Flemate team did a good job and we are all very happy. We had the usual issues of flats and getting stuck. It’s impossible in Baja, here in San Felipe, or any Baja to have a day with no issues. Otherwise, it’s not Baja. The people, the vehicles that get in the way are just classic Baja.” . Finishing in second place were Esteban Ruiz and Hector Sarabia in the No. 1145 car. “Everything went well. We only had one flat during the race, but other than that, the car ran really well. We were in second place last year as well, and it’s good, but we want first.” . In a display of pure will, Dennis Hollenbeck in the No. 1121 car had perhaps one of the most difficult times at this race. It began during pre-running when Hollenbeck reported he was leaking transmission oil from the transfer case of his Jeep Cherokee pre-runner. That turned out to be the team having to put the Cherokee on the trailer. Then the trailer hit a pothole and broke a leaf spring. So without a pre-run vehicle and a broken trailer, the team still took on the SCORE San Felipe 250 course on race day. . As the end of the race was approaching, and there was no sign of Hollenbeck, the time limit was running out, and it appeared he would not finish. In the distance, however, race officials saw Hollenbeck and his co-driver team pushing the race car through to the finish only seconds before the time ran out. He finished in a time of 13:59:50 for an official sixth place in Class. . Hollenbeck’s finish was an exciting end to the first race of the 2023 SCORE 50th Anniversary Season. With racers now set for the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 500 race, scheduled for May 31st through June 4th, it will be an exciting event that will showcase who has the will to be champions and win one of the biggest off-road races of the season. SJ . OFFICIAL FINISHERS . CLASS 7  (unlimited, six-cylinder, production appearing trucks or SUVs) . 4 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 700 Daniel Chamlee, 60, Montecito, CA, Ford Ranger, 6:31:15, (43.32 MPH) . 2. 716 Gaspar Espindola, 45, Ensenada, MX/Carlos Cota, 26, Ensenada, MX, Ford Ranger, 10:06:42 . SCORE LITES  . (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc) .  (5 Starters, 4 Finishers) . 1. 1221 Scott Wisdom, 55, Lake Forest, CA/Jacob Wisdom, 31, Long Beach, CA, Raceo, 7:24:37, (38.12 MPH) . 2. 1200 Miguel Cortez, 54, San Diego/Cesar Quirarte, Curry, 8:13:06 . 3. 1211 Oscar R. Alvarez, 46, McAllen, TX/Doug Satterfield, 45, San Diego/Adrian Guerrero, 36, Ensenada, MX, OSO, 8:44:31 . 4. 1251 Dane Miller, 19, Salt Lake City, Utah/, Mike Blakely, 28 Provo, Utah/Dustin Miller, 42, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jimco, 9:40:32 . . CLASS 1/2-1600  . (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc) . (6 Starters, 5 Finishers) . 1. 1625 Eric Pavolka, 54, Sonoita, AZ/Andy DeVercelly IV, 36, Jamul, CA/Andrew Pavolka, 26, Mesa, AZ, Foddrill, 7:48:47, (36.16 MPH) . 2. 1685 Pablo Jauregui, 34, Ensenada, MX/Edson Cruz, 27, Ensenada, MX, PRT, 8:04:53 . 3. 1611 Omar Buelna, 31, Mexicali, MX, (DOR-Francisco Escarano, 52, Mexicali, MX), Luivan Voelker Jr, 32, Mexicali, MX/Federico Cardenas, 50, Mexicali, MX, DYM, 8:07:00 . . 4. 1699 Cesar Omar Iniguez, 33, Mexicali, MX/Ruben OG, Mexicali, MX/Mirguel Estrada, Mexicali, MX/Emilio Salcedo, 48, Mexicali, MX, PRC, 8:35:40 . 5. 1604 Rob Archibald, 50, Lakeside, CA/Michael Ward, 37, Hemet, CA, Mirage, 9:04:14 . CLASS 5  . (Unlimited Baja Bugs, VW concept engines allowed) . (5 Starters, X Finishers) . 1. 511 Eli Yee, 49, Tijuana, MX/Sergio Nunez, 33, Ensenada, MX/Mike Ley, 52, Ensenada, MX, Jake’s-Chevy, 7:14:07, (39.05 MPH) . 2. 508 Mike Sullivan, 31, Helena, Mont./Greg Sullivan, 59, Helena, Mont./Ramon Fernandez, 46, Ensenada, MX, Penhall-Chevy, 7:19:26 . 3. 545 Billy Gereghty, 45, Lake Havasu City, AZ/Garrett Church, 18, Phelan, CA, Jimco-VW, 9:35:35   . CLASS 5/1600  . (1600cc, water-cooled VW Baja Bugs) .  (3 Starters, 1 Finisher) . 1. 579 Edgar Ruiz, 43, Heber, CA/Chris Lozano, 47, Tijuana, MX/Jose Rubio, 41, El Centro, CA/Pavel Ramirez, 43, Denver, 11:49:22, (23.90 MPH)   . BAJA CHALLENGE  . (Spec, Subaru-powered Baja Touring Cars equipped with BFGoodrich Tires) .  (3 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. BC3 Bud Pecoy, 64, West Des Moines, Iowa/Jon Peed, 38, Vail, AZ 9:08:56, (30.88 MPH) . 2. BC4 Edward Muncey, 52, San Diego/Dominic Muncey, 20, Las Vegas, 12:29:01   . . STOCK MID-SIZE  . (Two or four-wheel drive truck or SUV, stock production) . (1 Starter, 0 Finishers)   CLASS 7F  . (Stock frame, 2 or 4-wheel drive mini or mid-size trucks) . (4 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 714F Justin Park, 47, Encinitas, CA, Ford Ranger, 9:02:43, (31.23 MPH) . 2. 704F Aaron Celiceo, 50, San Diego/Seven Celiceo, 17, San Diego/Isaac Camberos, 45, Chula Vista, CA, Toyota Tacoma, 11:41:50 . . CLASS 7SX  . (2 or 4-wheel drive mini or mid-sized trucks) . (1 Starter, 1 Finishers) . 1. 740 Armando Duron, 59, Mexicali, MX/Israel Duron, 31, Mexicali, MX/Armando Duron Jr, 38, Mexicali, MX, Ford Ranger, 10:22:46, (27.22 MPH) . . TROPHY LITE—(1 Starter,1 Finishers) . 1. 6049 Chase Swanson, 24, Honolulu/Paul Carr Jr, 42, Honolulu, Trophy Lite-Chevy, 7:58:16, (35.44 MPH) . . CLASS 11  . (stock VW sedans, safety modifications)— (7 Starters, 6 Finishers) . 1. 1105 Oliver Flemate, 46, Ensenada, MX/Antonio Espinoza, 29, Ensenada, MX, 8:52:22, (31.84 MPH) . 2. 1145 Esteban Ruiz, 49, Ensenada, MX/Hector Sarabia, 61, Ensenada, MX, 10:00:25 . 3. 1143 Eric Brandt, 48, El Centro, CA/Josh Felix, 44, Imperial City, CA, 10:07:33 . 4. 1156 Arthur Penner, 66, Canada/Marco Carmona, 73, Ensenada, MX/Juan Dominguez, 66, Ensenada, MX, 11:04:36 . 5. 1111 Eric Solorzano, 63, Tijuana, MX/Mike Acuna, Tijuana, MX/Orlando Lopez/Leon Burgoin/Raul Valdez, 11:50:09 . 6. 1121 Dennis Hollenbeck, 61, Ensenada, MX/Luis Vazquez, Ensenada, MX/Kallen Hill, Sonora, CA/Armando Salazar, Ensenada, MX, 13:59:51  . . SPT TRUCK--(1 Starters, 1 Finishers) . 1. 1474 Garrett Wolford, 32, Silverton, Ore., Custom-Chevy, 8:24:08, (33.62 MPH)   . SPT OPEN WHEEL . (2 Starters, 2 Finishers) . 1. 1556 Alejandro Arroyo, 41, Mexicali, MX/Adrian Valdez, 41, Mexicali, MX/Xavier Esquivel, 20, Mexicali, MX Peton-VW, 10:21:50, (27.26 MPH) . 2. 1522 Christopher Augenti, 58, Fairhaven, Mass./Harold Merritt, Coos Bay, Ore./Cal Chambers, Big Bear, CA, VW Baja Bug, 12:35:57

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