SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - April 2019

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

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Page 47 of 113

The Race To Matomi Racers in the four-wheel classes rushed to get through the bottleneck By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo Once the SCORE Trophy Trucks left the starting line, the rest of the four-wheel classes were in a hardcore race to get to Matomi Wash first. The area was a big bottleneck for dozens of racers who got stuck and blocked the way for others to get through it. While some moved aside, others couldn’t help but hold back the rest of the pack. Despite this challenge and a course that was increasingly getting beat, racers persevered and managed to pull off a very important win and a good starting position for the SCORE Baja 500. Among these were the SCORE Trophy Truck Legend racers who are top competitors in their own right. 2018 Class Champions Gus Vildosola Sr. and Scott Bailey carried the 1L designation on their Ford Raptor Trophy Truck. Vildosola was recovering from surgery so Bailey co-drove the truck with Jerry Whelchel. Both drove hard to win the class, maintaining their championship form and preparing them for a good start at the SCORE Baja 500. Finishing second in class was Rolf Helland and Rick Johnson in the number 37L Ford Raptor, followed by Rob Reinerston with Mike Salimbeni in the number 72L Ford F-150. Finishing in fourth in class was Russell Buehler, with Wes Uhlig and Ed Maurin in their Ford Raptor, while RPM Off-Road’s Clyde Stacy in the number 5L Chevy teamed up with Nick Vanderway and finished fifth. A.J Jones And Sara Price Battle The SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class featured another great battle between very talented racers. A.J. Jones, son of 2010 SCORE Season Points Champion Jesse Jones, drove solo in San Felipe and battled against RPM Off-Road’s Sara Price for the lead. Jones started in fourth place with Price leaving the starting line right behind him. Jones took the lead quickly at the start of the race, and Price tagged along. After maintaining a grueling pace, Jones managed to hold off Price long enough to cross the finish line ahead of her and take home his very first SCORE Trophy Truck Spec win. “Today was flawless,” said Jones. “We didn’t have any flats and my BFG tires were hooking up all day. We started out fourth and got in the first position around mile marker 20 and we never looked back.” “That course was brutal and the whoop section was insane,” said second place class finisher Sara Price. “I knew I had to beat AJ (Jones), he was in my sights the whole time, but I think I had an extra pit stop. But we were on it today. We were on point, pushing it, going very fast, and I was very pumped.” Finishing third in class was Brad Lovell and Jason Hutter. Buggies Get Caught Up A total of 15 Class 10 buggies took off from the starting line on San Felipe’s Malecon and rushed to get to the Matomi Wash first. The bottleneck hindered lots of the racers, but after waiting on what seemed like an eternity, Cesar Cuevas in the number 1011 buggy got through and managed to pick up his pace to win the class. “We waited 45 minutes in a bottleneck for the cars in front of us to move out of the way in Matomi,” said Cuevas. “We had a hard time getting through there and the whoops were very difficult. We got in a rhythm and went through.” Finishing in second place in Class 10 was Chase Warren and Martin Richardson in the number 1008 car, followed by third place class finishers Rafael Aguirre, Jorge Sauceda, Adrian Sauceda, and Austin Moreno in the number 1022 car. “We passed about half the field before the Matomi Wash and when we got in there, it was a dead stop,” said Warren. “We were stopped for 45 minutes. A couple of guys got through so we knew we were down in time going out. We passed everybody back after that except Cuevas.” Class 2 and Hammer Truck Class winners didn’t have to worry about much competition, being the only entrants in their respective classes. Yet, they were challenged by the longer and tougher course but still managed to finish and pull off a win. Hammond Meredith in the number 2022 Class 2 car finished with the help of Nathan Morendo, Alex Nicholas and Preston Murray. Mike Hales in the number 4421 Hammer truck also finished, to win his class with the help of Brian Cornett and Tucker Conroy in their Jeep Wrangler. SCORE Lites had nine teams come together to challenge Baja and battle the longer course. For them, as well as in other classes, it was a race to Matomi and another starting line that took off from there. “Our race pace was set by the bottleneck in Matomi Wash,” said Freddie Willert of the number 1206 car. “A lot of people waited their turn on the honor system but some did not. Other than that this was a really challenging course and a hard day.” Willert and his co-driver Stan Potter managed to pick up the pace past Matomi and win the class. They were followed by the 1237 car of Jesus de la Torre, Jaime Moreno, Leonardo Navarette, and Ivan Gomez in second place. Finishing third in SCORE Lites was Matias Arjona IV, with Matias Arona III and Francisco Pena in the number 1202 car. For Class 1/2-1600 racers, the Matomi Wash was just another one of Baja’s beautiful landscape that they enjoyed passing through. “It was a difficult course but it brought in the real Baja because we had the legendary Matomi Wash and the summit,” said Jose Ruvalcaba in the number 1609 car. “This race really brought in all these epic adventures that every off-road man dreams of racing.” Rulvacaba fought with Erick Pavolka in the number 1625 car for the lead, but in the end, Pavolka and co-driver Andy DeVercelly IV drove to a class win. Ruvalcaba finished second with DOR David Rulvacaba, Rogelio Panda, Esteban Cruz, and Leonel Ruvalcaba. Finishing third in class was the number 1664 car of Bruce Yee with Ignacio King, Jose Robles, and Guillermo Luna. The race for the Class 5-1600 win was between Hector Hurtado in the number 599 car and Louis Herrera in the number 550 car. Hurtado teamed up with Pedro Lopez, Fernando Flores, and Victor Guerrero to ultimately take the win. Herrera’s co-drivers included Ernie Negrete, Jose Garcia, Michael Murray, and Jim Yourdon. Baja Challenge racers definitely got the full Baja experience in this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250. Finishing first was the BC3 car headed by Don Dailey and co-driven with Rick Fouquette. Within the Sportsman Buggy class, the number 1515 car of Chris Parks and Thomas Fernandez, only had to finish to win the class in their Desert Dynamics Chevy. Truck Classes Conquer San Felipe 2018 Class 7 Champion Dan Chamlee, with co-driver Kurt Kimball, entered the SCORE San Felipe 250 in hopes for a win but got bogged down to finish in second place, behind the number 721 Ford Raptor of Michael and Mitchell Coleman. For Class 7F racers Brandon Walsh and Kelly McNeil, the course was difficult but in the end, Walsh in the 701F Toyota Tacoma, with co-driver Cody Weaver, edged out the 725F Ford Ranger of McNeil with co-drivers Mitch McNeil, Dustin Nowak, and Mark McNeil. Jeeps made their presence back in SCORE racing again this year. In the 7SX Class, Mike Lesle, off-road racing legend who originally teamed up with Curt Le Duc in building and racing Jeep Comanche trucks, teamed up for the San Felipe race with Miguel Averado, Jerry Mann, Kevin Boss, and Karly Scanlan. The team drove to win the class in their number 751 Jeep Comanche. The newly added Class 4700 Jeep Speed also saw Billy Bunch win the class by finishing, but not in a Jeep. He drove his number 4747 Dodge Dakota across the finish line to win the class. The number 1474 Chevy Silverado of William Wolfard also finished, to win the Sportsman Unlimited Truck class. Bug Classes Didn’t Disappoint SCORE, Baja Bugs are synonymous with racing in San Felipe and Ensenada. So fans cheered for Class 5 winner Gerardo Ibarra when he crossed the finish line first to win the class. Ibarra was aided by co-drivers Manuel Ibarra, Ruben Miramontes, Cristian Zazueta, and Aaron Gonzalez. Class 11 saw seven participants in San Felipe. Missing was 2018 Champion Viry Felix, as well as Dennis Hollenbeck, but other veteran class racers such as Ruben Osuna and Eric Solorzano were happy to earn a great starting position for the SCORE Baja 500. In the end, however, it was the 1156 car of Art Penner, aided by co-drivers Marco Carmona and Sergio Guiterrez who took the class win. Osuna with co-drivers Omar Iniguez, Miguel Estrada, and Yarosalo Duran finished second in the 1153 car. Solorzano with Elmer Cayetano and Jerome Robinson finished in third place. Racers Prepare For the 51st SCORE Baja 500 Scheduled for May 29th through June 2nd the 51st Annual SCORE Baja 500 will be an exciting race that is expected to have record crowds and racers compete to win one of the world’s most prestigious off-road motorsports event.

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