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Page 15 of 116

. SAN FELIPE AT SPEED . Racers Head Across The Desert In A Sprint To The Finish . By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Guilherme Torres; transcribed by Cindy Clark, Ariana Medrano . P. The first race of the 50th Anniversary Celebratory season of SCORE International began with the King Shocks 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 Fueled by Baja Vida Snacks. As racers descended upon the Baja Peninsula for pre-running, they quickly discovered three things. The first was that they could run almost all out with the fastest team winning. The second was that the course would be torture on the vehicles and tires, and third, that there would be a bottleneck heading up a tight and rocky area known as the “mini-summit.” . With many racers having trouble pre-running through the mini-summit section, SCORE Officials presented teams with an alternate route, one that was slightly longer, but it would be up to teams to decide to take that route or head up through the mini-summit. That all changed at the Driver’s Meeting a day before the race, which made it mandatory for four-wheel classes to go through the alternate route and allowed the moto classes to use the mini-summit. . The tough 263.80-mile loop course started and finished on San Felipe’s Malecon in the heart of town and was created with one physical full-stop checkpoint (Morelia Road Crossing) at Race Mile 165. After starting on the Malecon, the course headed North to the Zoo Road crossing and up to the El Chinero area North for a large loop through Laguna Salada. From there, it headed South to Borrego, down through Laguna Diablo, over the Mini Summit (or the alternate), and to the Morelia Junction road crossing before winding West and South through four of the infamous Baja washes, Amarillas, Chanate, Huatamote, and Azufre Wash. It then passed through the Boulder Canyon (before Azufre) before heading North to the finish line. . Continuing with the success of safety for moto racers, this San Felipe 250 course had two separate sections within the overall race course for motorcycles and quads only. The sections eliminated the chance of four-wheel vehicles catching up and passing moto and quad racers, but all classes covered 262.80 total miles. All Sportsman four-wheel classes, Class 7SX, and Class 11 ran a reduced course of 238.44 miles. . . QUALIFYING SESSIONS . Race week for the King Shocks 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 began with Qualifying Sessions Presented by Eibach Springs. SCORE Trophy Truck, Trophy Truck Legends, and Trophy Truck Spec competitors lined up to try to earn the top starting spot in their classes. Class 1 teams decided not to qualify and started from a draw before the race, which included all the other classes, including motos and quad teams. . This year’s qualifying course was a few miles outside of San Felipe, and although it began as a hard-packed five-mile course, several areas of it quickly became filled with ruts and soft dirt kicked up by the competitors taking several practice lap sessions. The AWD vehicles would clearly have an advantage as the course was tight and technical. . After all the sessions were completed, Toby Price, co-driving with Paul Weel (DOR) in the No. 46 SCORE Trophy Truck, got the top spot with the lowest time among thirty-four other competitors in the class. . “It was soft. We were burying it into the soft corners there,” said Price. “We just tried our best to keep it as clean as possible and get around. We got a long way to go– 250 miles. But it helps to get a good starting spot. I got a fender dragging there. A couple of the turns kind of grab you. We had a clean run– we didn’t hit anything, just the soft dirt dragged some panels down.” . The top starting spot for the SCORE Trophy Truck Legends class was set by Ricky Johnson, co-driving with Gustavo Vildosola in the No. 1L truck. “I made some suspension changes, but the track was starting to deteriorate so we had to make sure we raised the truck a little bit, so we went with our race set up. It was much better for qualifying. The track is pretty beaten up. You had to stay on track because there were a lot of rocks. We came down in the off-season and did two days of testing with Gustavo Vildosola Sr., and we did some great work on the truck and got it comfortable.” . In Trophy Truck Spec, it was a tough competition among forty-three entries, but ultimately Chris Miller in the No. 240 Mason Chevy Truck had the fastest time to start first in the class. . . TWO-DAYS OF CONTINGENCY . With 285 starters for this race, it took two days of Contingency for racers to line up to talk to announcers Rat Sult, Dave Arnold, and Gabriel Garcia to be interviewed for the SCORE Live Stream and the large gathering of SCORE fans on the start/finish ramp. . . . GRAND MARSHALS . At this year’s King Shocks 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 Presented by Baja Vida Snacks, SCORE had three Grand Marshals for this event. As a part of the 50th celebration, the first was former SCORE President and Owner Sal Fish, the Grand Marshal for all four SCORE races during this celebratory season. . Also selected as Grand Marshal for this event was Pat Butler, the developer who created San Felipe’s El Dorado Ranch, and has been a driving force to have the race take place in San Felipe. Along with Fish and Butler, current SCORE Tech Director Dan Cornwell was also a Grand Marshal, as Cornwell was the very first Overall winner of the inaugural SCORE San Felipe 250 back in 1982. . . RACE DAY . Early on the morning of April 1st, Moto and Quad riders lined up at the start before dawn to start the race at six a.m. This gave the riders a three-hour head start to be in front of the SCORE Trophy Trucks that would leave the starting line at nine a.m. . Before the thunder from the 1000 horsepower engines of these vehicles started, however, the starting ceremonies began at eight-thirty a.m. with the Mexico Honor Guard and Flag ceremonies for both Mexico and the United States. All the race officials and members of Baja’s government and the Department of Tourism were present to start the race for the SCORE Trophy Trucks and the rest of the four-wheel classes. SJ .

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