SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 101

READY TO RACE A Preview To The King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo The 2024 SCORE World Desert Championship Season begins with one of the fastest and most challenging Baja races, the King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250. Racers and fans will converge on the San Felipe Malecon to witness the start of the 51st season of SCORE International off-road racing history. A BRIEF HISTORY The SCORE San Felipe 250 began in 1982 after successfully starting another race in Mexicali to expand SCORE’s racing schedule. The Mexicali 300 had been a very popular race, but SCORE former owner Sal Fish began to see crowded conditions in the growing metropolis and was able to negotiate with the Mexicali government officials to move the race to its county of San Felipe.  “I believe what made the difference in this race’s success over time was how racers honed their skills by crossing the border and pre-running in Mexico,” said Fish. “All of those racers who appreciated the land and people, as well as those who respected the traditions of Mexico, all became some of our greatest racers who are now three and four generations competing there.” The winner of that first race was Dan Cornwell (SCORE’s current Tech Director) winning Overall in a VW-powered Chenowth. The following two races (1983-’84) were won by Corky McMillin and his son Scott in the Porsche-powered Chenoweth they called “Macadu.”  After the 1984 race, HDRA and SCORE joined as a singular desert racing entity. This postponed the San Felipe 250 until 1990 when it was won Overall by Brian Collins and Jack Johnson in a Chenowth.  The race continued to grow, peaking in 2007 with a total of 394 racers competing. That year, Fish had to move the race to Ensenada less than two weeks before the start due to disputes between landowners and government officials. The race made it back to San Felipe in 2008 and continued until it was postponed in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a two-year hiatus due to pandemic safety concerns, the race returned in 2021 with a popular surge that had a total of 269 entries.   2023 WINNER HIGHLIGHTS  Last year’s 36TH SCORE San Felipe 250 continued to grow after it returned the year prior due to COVID restrictions. The 2023 race was back in full swing, showcasing some of the fastest Baja racers in the world, many of them utilizing AWD SCORE Trophy Trucks that led to some of the fastest speeds seen in this race. Finishing first was Luke McMillin who had won the previous season’s Championship and sported the bright red No. 1 panel on his McMillin Racing truck.     The SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited Division saw some new competitors come into the class to show they had the skill and endurance to be champions. The 3x team of Ciaran Naran used the race to make his mark in SCORE, and with co-rider Tucker Hopkins, won the class despite some of the toughest competitors.       Class 1 saw the 2022 Champion Cody Parkhouse and his dad Brian, take the victory to try for another class championship. In the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class, Pierce Herbst took the first win of the season after handling two flats and recovering from “getting it squirrely” on some sections of the course.     In the SCORE Trophy Truck Legend class, Gus Vildosola Sr. with Ricky Johnson and Michael Coleman finished first in class to begin what would become a perfect season for the 1L team and lead them to a second class Championship with an amazing eight straight race wins in a row.   With a growing field of UTV racers in all of the SCORE Classes, this race saw the beginning of the SCI Factory Polaris race team that dominated the entire season. Starting with this race, Craig Scanlon in the No. 1831 Polaris RZR Pro took the Pro UTV Open class win to start the season.   SCORE San Felipe 250 FAST FAQS Jim O’Neal has a total of 19 Class Wins spanning from 2001 through 2021   Eric Solorzano has eleven Class Wins in this race, the most in any of the four-wheel categories Rob MacCachren has the most Overall Pro Car and Truck Wins in this race with six to his name   Johnny Campbell has the most Overall Pro Moto Wins in this race at seven   RACE WEEK Scheduled for the week of March 20th, the King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 begins with a draw for starting positions, and an exciting Qualifier for SCORE Trophy Trucks, Trophy Truck Legends, and Trophy Truck Spec classes. The location for Qualifying is not open to the public, but they take place on Thursday, March 21st, with the results posted on the SCORE International website, app, and across SCORE’s social media sites. Tech and Contingency takes place Friday, March 22nd with racers lining up on the San Felipe Malecon waiting to talk to SCORE race emcees Rat Sult and Gabriel Garcia on the starting ramp, then heading down to see SCORE Tech Director Dan Cornwell and his team to inspect their vehicles for safety and meeting class regulations. Race day begins Saturday, March 23 with staging for Moto and Quad classes happening at 5:30 am and race start for these classes happening at 6:00 am. This gives these racers a head start in front of the SCORE Trophy Truck and the rest of the four-wheel classes that begin at 9am, soon after the race starting ceremonies scheduled for 8:30 am. Racers will have 13 hours from their start time to complete the course. After crossing the finish line, SCORE officials will assess any penalties and post the results on Sunday, March 24th. POINTS OF INTEREST Chenowth Legacy Lodge - Baja history is alive at the Chenowth Legacy Lodge. The Lodge was the idea of off-road racing and car-building legend Lynn Chenowth as a resort and museum located in Rancho Percebu along the coast, only minutes away from San Felipe. The museum displays historical Chenowth vehicles and the lodge features a restaurant, bar and offers customized off-road excursions. Baja Wine Country - Baja has its own wine country with more than 150 wineries spread across several areas, including Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, Ojos Negros, Santo Tomas, San Vicente, La Grulla, Tanamá, Las Palmas, and San Valentin. The wine country offers visitors the opportunity to taste award-winning wines that are recognized internationally. Take a Walk on the Malecon - Many spend time people-watching or enjoying the street performers on the Malecon boardwalk. During the day, people stroll to eat or shop, while at night, they check out the party/bar scene. At the northern tip of the Malecon, there’s a small bluff where you can walk up to the Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine at the top and get a 360-degree view of the area. To the north, there is a lighthouse, and to the south, you can see the whole village and the beach. Mike’s Sky Ranch SCORE racing fans must visit Mike’s Sky Ranch, a historical stop for SCORE racers where they stay for races like the SCORE Baja 1000. It has a large swimming pool, rustic accommodations, and a small restaurant with a basic menu of home-cooked-style food. Take Mexico Highway 3 to the turnoff sign; it’s near the town of Trinidad, about 40 miles from El Dorado Ranch.  Valle de los Gigantes With cacti up to 19 meters high, Valle de los Gigantes is an ecological reserve near San Felipe. The valley also has endemic desert flora such as ocotillos, mesquites, biznagas, palo verde, and palo fierro trees. During the day, visitors can see an abundance of wildlife while at night, the clear sky offers great star gazing. For more information on these and any of San Felipe, Mexico’s destinations, visit: SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-February-2024