San Felipe: Race report

263 Total Starters roar in Mexico Las Vegas' Brian Collins roars in Dodge Ram 1500 to Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck win at 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 Schwarz/Christensen capture Class 1 in Jimco-BMW, Bell/Campbell ride Honda to Overall ...

263 Total Starters roar in Mexico

Las Vegas' Brian Collins roars in Dodge Ram 1500 to Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck win at 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
Schwarz/Christensen capture Class 1 in Jimco-BMW, Bell/Campbell ride
Honda to Overall Motorcycle & Class 22 win

SAN FELIPE, Mexico--Second-generation veteran Las Vegas desert racer Brian Collins roared through the rugged trails and washes of Mexico's Baja California desert Saturday, earning the overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the No. 1 Collins Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram 1500 at the 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. Setting a blistering pace right from the start in San Felipe and driving solo, he covered the sandy, silty, rocky and dusty 232-mile course in just three hours, 44 minutes, 16 seconds, averaging and amazing 62.07 miles per hour.

Dominating the field of 263 desert racers and mastering the race course with blazing speed and power, Collins' time beat not only the cars and trucks, but also the motorcycles and ATVs that competed in the popular 'spring break' event to earn his fourth class win in San Felipe including his second overall triumph and his fifth career SCORE Trophy-Truck race win in the 14-plus year history of SCORE's marquee racing division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.

It was also the first time since 1979 that a Dodge-powered vehicle won a SCORE race.

Finishing second overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck in the elapsed-time race, 8 minutes and 27 seconds behind the masterful Collins was last year's winning team of Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif. and Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, who finished Saturday's race in 3:52:43 in the No. 1 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.

While Collins pulled off the 'Ironman' run in driving his Dodge truck the entire race himself, Post and MacCachren, who were the 2007 SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champions, split the driving in their Ford F-150 with Post starting and turning over the wheel to MacCachren, the 2007 Dirt Sports Magazine Driver of the Year, at race mile 109.

The 263 starters from 21 States, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Italy and Israel competed in 27 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, truck, motorcycles and ATVs. The course covered three of the legendary, picturesque and treacherous Baja washes: Matomi, Azufre and Huatomote before heading back to the finish line in the shadow of the landmark San Felipe Arches. The race featured the fifth-largest number of starters in the 22-year history of the event.

Said Collins following his huge victory: "We never got out of the truck. We just had a great day. We ran at not a really hard pace, but a consistent pace the first 25 miles. We caught Bobby Baldwin right away. We caught Chad Ragland right away and Gus Vildosola. Then it was dust free. Garron Cadiente was pulled over and B.J. Baldwin was going slow for a while. It just opened up for us. (after opening up an eight-minute lead) I was very nervous about Rob MacCachren. I knew I had eight minutes and that's a lot of time, but there's never enough time with Rob. He's a phenomenal driver, a great friend. Hopefully someday we can drive together. When he's in a truck, you can't make mistakes. All the racers are glad to be back here in San Felipe.This course is absolutely phenomenal. I love it. The rougher the course is, the better it is for me."

Winning the overall Motorcycle and Class 22 title was the talented team of Robby Bell, Sun City, Calif., and Baja legend Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., on the No. 1x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. Finishing fourth among all vehicles, the pair finished in 4:08:32 with an average speed of 56.01mph.

For this popular race, it was the third straight overall win for Bell while Campbell secured his eighth class win and the seventh all-around title in San Felipe in his illustrious career. It was also his first SCORE Baja race win for Campbell's new American Honda-sponsored Johnny Campbell Racing team. Bell started the race, riding to race mile 30, Campbell did a tough middle portion from there to race mile 166 and Bell finished the final 64 miles, clinching the victory for the record-setting team.

Reflecting on his win, Bell said "It was a clean ride. I got a little confused coming into the finish and probably lost a little time. I couldn't feel my arms by the time I got off it at mile 30. I knew behind me they'd be running really fast. I gave the bike to Johnny at 30 and he just rode awesome. He took it to mile 167 and I picked up from there and brought it to here. I pulled at least a minute and a half (ahead) at the start. It was just chaotic. I passed probably eight or 10 local trucks going out, so it was hazy and scary and pretty dusty. Once I got past that, it was clean, no problems with spectators or anything. It feels awesome. It's probably one of the toughest runs you could ever do. Even though it's not so long, it's just so physically demanding. To win this one, just shows the bike was set up really well. It was flawless. In a race this short, you can't have any problems. It just comes down to seconds. It's not good being first off because you just don't know. When you get to the finish, you just have to turn around and hope nobody comes in too son."

Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., lead a team to the Overall ATV and Class 25 victory for the second time in this race on a Honda TRX450R. He split the riding time equally with co-riders Harold Goodman Jr., Brownstown, Mich., and Marc Spaeth, Warner Springs, Calif.

Matlock started the race and rode to race mile 30 and finished the race, riding the final 62 miles. Goodman rode from race mile 30 to 93 and Spaeth rode from race mile 93 to 170.

Helping SCORE Trophy-Truck sweep the podium in the overall portion of the event while also finishing third in the premiere SCORE racing division was second-generation desert racer Chad Ragland, Vista, Calif., who drove solo to a time of 3:55:59 in the No. 33 T-Force Motorsports Toyota Tundra. The truck was making only it's second SCORE race start after finishing 12th in SCORE Trophy-Truck in the its debut race with teammates Danny Sullivan and Dan Friedkin in last November's 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.

Former World Rally Championship star driver Armin Schwarz, of Germany, and Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif., split the driving to finish fourth overall and capture the unlimited Class 1 race win in a BMW-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car. With just over one year of experience in SCORE desert racing, Schwarz pulled off his first SCORE win while the veteran former SCORE class champion Christensen earned his first ever win in Class 1.

With a time of 4:08:22 and an average speed of 56.02mph, it was also the first time a BMW-powered vehicle has ever won a class in a SCORE race.

Finishing second in Class 1 for the second of two races this season and fifth overall, Las Vegas' B.J. Richardson drove solo and crossed the finish line in San Felipe in a Bunderson-Chevy a mere 12 seconds behind Schwarz/Christensen,

The second five overall finishers included three SCORE Trophy-Trucks and two Class 1 cars to give SCORE Trophy-Truck six of the top 10 overall finishing spots.J Sixth overall and fourth overall was Mexico's son/father team of Gus Vildosola Jr. and Gus Vildosola Sr. in the No. 4 Red Bull Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 while earning his best SCORE race finish with seventh overall and fifth in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Nevada casino owner Roger Norman, of Reno, in the No. 8 Norman Racing Ford F-150.

Class 1 claimed the eighth and ninth overall spots among four wheel vehicles as Mexico's Luis Ramirez Jr. was third in Class 1 in a HMS-Chevy and Enrique Bujanda of Socorro, Texas was fourth in the unlimited open-wheel class in a Porter-Chevy.

Ron Whitton, Mesa, Ariz., the senior statesman in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division at 63 years old, completed the top 10 overall car and truck finishers and was a very respectable sixth in his class in the No. 38 GNR Racing Ford F-150, ending up 44 minutes and 16 seconds behind the winning Collins.

Creative veteran age group motorcycle rider Jim O'Neal, 61, Simi Valley, Calif., became the winningest racer in San Felipe history as he put together a winning team to finish as an impressive third overall motorcycle and capture Class 30 for riders over 30 years old for his ninth class win in this race. Splitting the riding on a Honda CRF450X with O'Neal, who finished second in Class 50 on another talented team, was his son Jimmy O'Neal Jr. along with Jason Trubey, Mohave Valley, Ariz., Luke Dodson, Castiac, Calif., and Mexico's Gerardo Rojas.

Another prominent reflection of the family side of SCORE desert racing was evident by the Class 10 victory of the son/father team of C.J. Hutchins and Mark Hutchins, of Henderson, Nev., who finished a surprising 12th overall among 4-wheel vehicles and while winning their class in a Kreger-Honda.

Keeping with the family theme in San Felipe, venerable veteran Rod Hall and his son Chad Hall, both of Reno, Nev., won the Stock Mini and the Stock Full classes respectively. The senior Hall, 70, drove a Hummer H3 while Chad Hall, 44, won Stock Full in a new Hummer H3Alpha. Hall's oldest son Josh Hall, 46, finished third in Stock Full in a Hummer H2 to complete a very successful day for Team Hummer.

A third son/father team that triumphed in San Felipe was Mexico's Rodrigo Ampudia Jr. and Rodrigo Ampuida Sr., who snagged Class 8 in a Ford F-150.

Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico, picked up his eighth win in the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in Class 11 for stock VW Sedans in this race while Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. and his brother Kenneth Moss, won Class 3 in his sturdy Ford Bronco for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, Calif., earned his fifth win in San Felipe in Class 1-2/1600 in a VW-powered Mirage. Class 1-2/1600 had the largest field in the race with 28 starters.

Second overall among the motorcycles and in Class 22 was the team of Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., and Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif., with a time of 4:21:25, just over 12 minutes behind the factory sponsored Bell/Campbell tandem. Both former factory riders, Hengeveld and Childress rode a Honda CRF450X.

Anna Cody, Spring Valley, Calif., was the only female racer to win a Class in San Felipe as she put together an all-woman team to win motorcycle Class 20 on a Honda CRF250X. Helping her Racing for Kids charity victory ride were Stacy Doerkson, Apple Valley, Calif., Cathy Duncan, Los Alamos, Calif., and Sarah Kritch, Bakersfield, Calif.

Among the other car and truck Class winners late Saturday were: John Holmes, Olvenhain, Calif., (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), A.J. Rodriguez, Perris, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Marcos Nunez, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, VW Baja Bug) and Ricardo Malo, Mexicali, Mexico (SCORE LIte, Curry-VW).

Among the other motorcycle class winners were teams led by Carlos Casa, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 21, KTM 450CXF), Brett Helm, Poway, Calif. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X), Charles Marshall, Carmichael, Calif. (Class 50, KTM 530EXC) and Donald Lewis, Marlborough, Conn. (Class 60, Honda CRF450X)

Winning the ATV Class 24 was the team led by Francisco Servin, Chula Vista, Calif., on a Honda TRX450R

The world's best desert racers return to Mexico for Round 3 of the 208 SCORE Desert Series, May 30-June 1 for the 40th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 5000 desert race in Ensenada.

-credit: score

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Series Score
Drivers Rob MacCachren , Danny Sullivan , Steve Hengeveld , Armin Schwarz , B.J. Baldwin , Mark Post , Johnny Campbell , Luis Ramirez Jr.