24th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250

Desert racers Ron Whitton of Arizona and Southern California’s Robby Bell received the pole positions for four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles in the computerized drawing for starting positions held Saturday for the upcoming 24th Annual MasterCraft SafetyTecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Whitton races in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division while Bell competes in Class 22 for open motorcycles.

Round 2 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series will be held March 12-14 in Mexico’s picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located 120 miles south of the U.S. borer on the East side of the Baja California peninsula along the azure waters of the tranquil Sea of Cortez.

With nearly 275 entries expected to compete in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in the 232-mile race, the green flag will drop at 6 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, March 13, for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed three hours later by the car and truck classes at approximately 10 a.m. local time. The start and finish line for the race will once again be the landmark San Felipe Arches on Highway 5 on the outskirts of San Felipe. One vehicle will start every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, with a 10-hour time limit to become an official finisher.

Following January’s season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series will visit Mexico for the first of three races in 2010.

Drawing the first starting slot for the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars was Germany’s Armin Schwarz and teammate Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. Riding the first ATV off the line will be Class 25 team led by Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif.

With a race-record 32 entries so far in the marquee SCORE racing division for 800 horsepower, unlimited production trucks, Whitton, 66, owner of one of the largest plumbing contractor companies in Arizona, will lead a strong field in SCORE Trophy-Truck that features many of the world’s top desert racers in the No. 39 Whitton Companies Ford F-150. Whitton, Mesa, Ariz., and his co-driver Chas Dana were fifth and 10th respectively in last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.

Last year’s overall motorcycle and ATV winners are entered this year. Last year’s overall motorcycle champion was the JCR Honda team of Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Tim Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif. on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X and the Overall ATV winners were the team of Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif./Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich./Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif., on the No. 1a Honda TRX700X. Norman’s team will start seventh in Motorcycles while Matlock’s squad will be the first ATV off the line.

Bell, 24, of Sun City, Calif., who left the factory Honda team at the end of 2008 after winning the two-wheel overall title in San Felipe three straight years (2006, 2007, 2008), returns to San Felipe for the first time since on a Kawasaki, leading a two-motorcycle Bruce Penhall Motorsports charge to Baja on the No. 2x Kawasaki KX450F. His co-rider, also a former Honda champion, is legendary SCORE Baja racer Steve Hengeveld, 34, Oak Hills, Calif., who was the overall San Felipe motorcycle winner for four straight year’s with Honda icon Johnny Campbell (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004).

Kawasaki will have factory-supported entries in San Felipe for this first time since 1996 and will attempt to break the JCR Racing Honda dynasty which has won 12 of the last 13 SCORE San Felipe 250 races.

In the first 23 years of this race, Honda has earned 14 overall motorcycle victories (including the last four years), Kawasaki has six, KTM has two and Husqvarna has one.

In Saturday’s computerized drawing, SCORE Trophy-Truck had the most entries with 32, followed by the unlimited Class 1 with 18 and Class 1-2/1600 with 12. While 192 entries were received in time for the start draw, late registration will be accepted up until race morning and as many as 100 additional entries are expected.

Among the motorcycle classes, the open Class 22 had the most vehicles entered in the drawing with 11.

Besides the K. Norman and Matlock teams, the other defending class winners entered so far this year are: Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 1), Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif. (Class 10), Marc Burnett, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 6), Jose Canchola Jr., Mexicali, Mexico (Class 7 but has switched to Class 6), Dave Crinklaw, Reedley, Calif. (Class 8), Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 11), Gavin Skilton, Anaheim, Calif. (Stock Mini), Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas (Class 30), Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif. (Class 50), Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif. (Class 24), Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo. (Class 26 but has switched to Class 7-2) and returning with SCORE Trophy-Truck regular Cameron Steele as rider of record is Brian Campbell, Bakersfield, Calif. (Class 40).

Christy, last season’s SCORE Overall and Class 24 ATV season point champion, has also entered a team that he will lead this year in Class 25 as well, seeking a pair of class wins in San Felipe.

Also returning this year to defend his Sportsman class race victory for the third straight year among those entered so far is Sportsman Car winner Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif.

This year’s race will use a similar 232-mile race course as the past two years with a few modifications other than those caused by weather conditions. Running in a counter clockwise direction out of San Felipe up to and then parallel to Highway 3 (southside) and south back down through three of the most picturesque and challenging washes in all of Baja.

After the start at the landmark San Felipe Arches, the race will proceed north towards Zoo Road. The area approaching the Zoo Road crossing has been bladed again, which makes it a safer approach to the popular spectator area. That area will again be fenced, have grandstands and a jump and will be patrolled so that spectators can watch the action but not put themselves in way of the action.

For the first time the course will travel east of instead of on the graded Morelia Road (after the Zoo Road junction) to the entrance to Matomi Wash. This will be one of the few times that SCORE will run through the majestic Matomi Wash in the early part of the race instead of near the end. After Matomi, the challenging course will run through two more of the infamous Baja canyons—Huatomote and Chanate before heading back Northwest for the final sprint to the finish line.

The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the picturesque Malecon, flanked by the Sea of Cortez on one side and the popular restaurants and night clubs of San Felipe on the other.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday (March 14), the awards celebration will be held in front of The Beachcomber Night Club on the Malecon.

At the 24th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, MasterCraft Racing has entered not only company owner Robbie Pierce’s No. 30 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck, but also the No. 20 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck to be driven by eight-time SCORE season class point champion Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas and the No. 42 Chevy Silverado driven by Will Staats, Valencia, Calif. All three trucks were built by prominent chassis builder Mike Julson’s Jimco Racing Products of Santee, Calif. Julson is listed as a co-driver for both Pierce and MacCachren for this race, if needed.

The MasterCraft racers will not be eligible to win any part of the special $10,000 MasterCraft Safety cash contingency bonus purse MasterCraft Safety has offered for this year’s San Felipe race.

In San Felipe, Pierce will start fourth, MacCachren 21st and Staats 25th in the massive SCORE Trophy-Truck field.

Following his dominating season-opening victory at the 16th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, third-generation desert racer Andy McMillin, who was recently honored as the 2009 Dirt Sports Magazine Driver of the Year, finds himself at the top of a very crowded Overall leaderboard in the 2010 SCORE Desert Series point standings. With 63 points, McMillin, who will split driving the rest of the season with his father Scott McMillin, also leads the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck class for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks in his No. 31 McMillin Realty Ford F-150.

With just 22 points separating the top 21 in 2010 SCORE Overall points after Laughlin’s season-opener, SCORE racers are now preparing to begin official pre-running which opens on Saturday, Feb. 27. A new attraction this year during the pre-running window will be the San Felipe Tequila Festival March 5-7.

In addition to season class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings as well as earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 25th consecutive year, a total of 59 drivers remain eligible after Round 1 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.

24th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
Round 2 of five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series
March 12-14, 2010—232.0 miles
San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
Total Entries: 192 (as of 2/14/10)

Credits: Press release SCORE Intl.