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Round 2, 2005 SCORE Desert Series
19th Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250

RACE NOTES AND QUOTES - Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jason Baldwin
, Laguna Beach, CA (1) took the checkered flag, finishing first physically and about five minutes (time-adjusted) in front of the next SCORE Trophy Truck. Baldwin was the 2004 SCORE Desert Series point champion, yet did it without winning a race by being one of just two SCORE Trophy Trucks to finish each of the five races. Baldwin also was the 1992 points champion in Class 1, also winning the points title without winning a race. Reflecting the deep and talented field in this division, Baldwin became the fifth different SCORE Trophy Truck winner in the last five years of this race. In fact, since this class was added in 1994, there have been different people who have won each time with the exception of the three-year reign of Tim/Ed Herbst. “This is the way racing is supposed to be,” an ecstatic Baldwin said following jumping on the hood of his car. “Our radio wasn’t working too good today, and we had a lot of problems. Curt (LeDuc/Mark Post, 3) was on it – he was running really hard. He caught me a couple of times and passed me. He was making time on us. We lost our power steering about 100 miles in, but we knew what we could do from pre-running this a few times. Our suspension wasn’t our issue today, it was our tranny. It’s my first win – I got second last year but it was pretty tight.” Baldwin’s co-rider, Gary Houston, in the aftermath was nearly oblivious to small amounts of blood coming from a wound to his right ear. “We never got out of the car,” Houston said. “We had events all day long. Jason hit a tree and ripped the GPS off the truck. He drove halfway without power steering. We ran the motor on 20-30 pounds pressure for 120 minutes. We were with Tim and Eddie (Herbst, 19) there at the beginning. We chased him for 20 minutes and finally got to a spot and got around him, maybe around mile 68. From there we just put on more time. We went around quite a few quads and motorcycles, but most of them were really good about letting us know they were there.”

Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst (19), the brother tandem from Las Vegas, placed second in the featured class, denying them the chance to become four-time winners in this class in San Felipe, as the duo was victorious in 1999, 2000 and 2001. In 1995, they also won the Class 1 title here. “We did all right, we were the second car on the road,” Ed stated. “Every time we got going good we’d have a flat. We had four flats, and that’s pretty unusual. We have won this race four times so we know how to win it. Finishing second is okay, but we’d prefer to win. You just can’t win if you get flats. We were pretty conservative this year.”

Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin
(120), the father-son duo from Poway, CA, got both the class win as well as the overall victory by finishing with a course-record 63.22 mph speed. Scott started the race, then handed over the keys to his son Andy at Puertecitos, around mile 130. In 1993, Scott won this race with his dad, and 22 years Andy repeated the feat. Winning the overall title ended a streak of six straight years in which a SCORE Trophy Truck was the fastest vehicle. In this race, eight of the top 10 finishers were from Class 1, while last year the top 10 was evenly split between SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1 vehicles. Taking it one step further, 12 of the top 14 overall finishers were from Class 1. “We had no problems,” Andy happily exclaimed. “When I got the car we were the fifth car, and the leaders had three to five minutes on us physically. We passed Hovey (Chuck, 103), he was the last car, with about 60 miles left in the race. As soon as I got in I just took it easy, I didn’t want to break. Last year I lost by one second to my uncle, so it was nice to get that win this year. My family has taught me so much about racing. My younger cousin Daniel (16) is racing now, and my grandfather will retire soon but he is still going strong.”

Chuck Hovey, Escondido, CA (103) completed the course as a solo driver and placed second in his class and fourth overall, just 21 seconds ahead of Troy Herbst (117). “We had Troy by 50 seconds at the airport,” Hovey said. “I knew in the sand washes that I was in trouble. I was real conservative in the washes because I know how that can go. I tried to get here first before I tried to win it. I got the monkey off my back because usually right now I am sitting in a wash somewhere with my helmet off.”

Troy Herbst, Las Vegas (117) took fifth overall and third in Class 1. After a disappointing “DNF” last year as well as in the series-opener this year in Laughlin, Herbst was hoping to notch a win, as he did three times in 2004. “It was a great course,” Herbst told Sal Fish, the SCORE International President and CEO. “We had two flats – it was a long day. I am happy for the McMillin family. They are a great family and great competition. We have got to get faster and stronger.”

Mark McMillin, El Cajon, CA (115) started the race, then lost the transmission about 100 miles into the race. It was at that time he gave Cameron Parrish his wedding present – the right to drive. “I usually just ride, but this was my first time
driving. When we lost the tranny we were down for about three hours, and I drove from there. I would love to do it again if he’ll let me.”

CLASS 1-2/1600
Rob MacCachren
, Las Vegas (1604) had luck once again on his side and finished first in Class 1-2/1600, giving him his fifth San Felipe victory. MacCachren finished but was quick to give the credit to Bryan Freeman and Danny Anderson both of Las Vegas. Anderson drove the first 126 miles, Freeman drove the rest, while MacCachren stepped in just for a few miles before the finish line. “I had a few motor problems but it was great,” said Freeman. “It was rough but so fun and hope to race more this year with these guys.” MacCachren was in a tight battle all of last year and the start of this season with Brian Jeffrey, Acton, CA/Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, CA (1647). Pfankuch has been on the winning side the last two years in San Felipe, and MacCachren led after the first day in Laughlin to begin the season, but was edged out by Pfankuch for that class win.

Caleb Gaddis, El Centro, CA, (1622) was grateful to finish second in his class. A very excited Gaddis stated this was a great way to finish his second SCORE race (his first race was this year’s SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge). “At race mile 140, I hit a trap and went off the cliff but soon recovered,” Gaddis said.

Class 3 saw another family victory in the 2005 Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, as brothers Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. and Kenneth Moss, Marysville, CA, rolled to their fourth straight class win here. Donald started and Ken took over at mile 130. “We had one flat tire all day,” Ken explained. “It feels pretty good to win four years in a row, and it is our ninth straight SCORE win in a row. This course is pretty familiar to us. We always want to make sure we finish. We let Raffo (Chris, 348) get ahead of us in the beginning, but he pulled over about mile 35 as he had some kind of problem.”

Tom Brown
, Phoenix (518) drove the entire way to the finish line and finish first in Class 5. “I had one flat tire and drove off into a ditch but drove it out and was only down a minute and a half,” Brown said. “I was in a battle with Chris Bowman the entire time and just raced to the finish. I’ve won this race twice and hope to next year.” Brown also won last year in San Felipe.

CLASS 5/1600
Ernesto Arambula
, Ensenada, Mexico (573) drove the entire race and declared that he had zero problems!

Craig Turner
, Yorba Linda, CA (702) finished the race solo in first place. “The race went very good with no problems,” a confident Turner said. “I drove slow for the first 50 miles but then I picked up the pace. I’m waiting for my new truck that will be finished for the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.” This marks the third straight Tecate San Felipe 250 that Turner has won, and gives him 14 class titles since the turn of the century.

John Holmes
, Olivenhain, CA/Scot Jones, San Clemente, CA (737) claimed a class victory. “In 1982, the first off-road race I ever entered was in San Felipe in Class 5/1600, and I won with Scot,” Holmes recalled. “I haven’t raced San Felipe that often, but it’s fun. Scot drove the first 130 miles, and when he gave it to me we had about a 43-minute lead. I was very conservative. I knew I had a really big lead. My co-driver kept slowing me down. I think it is just a terribly rough course. We had to stop once when we had a fuel delivery problem.”

Rich Severson
, Mesa, Ariz./Pat Neveau, Phoenix (740) won for the second straight year. Two of the five starters finished, and Severson won by a nearly 30-minute margin.

Todd Wyllie
, New River, Ariz./Mark Julius, Glendale, Ariz. (800) won for the fourth straight SCORE event. All three entrants finished, and the battle for second place was close, with just 28 seconds separating the two contestants over the 240-mile course.

Eric Fisher/Hector Sarabia
, Ensenada, Mexico (900) got a class win for the second straight time this season. “We had no problems,” Sarabia stated. “We don’t just try and finish, we try to win! We started in the back of the pack but pretty much passed everyone in a stretch in the middle of the race.” Fisher has won in San Felipe for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Bekki Wik/Adam Wik
(1018), the husband and wife team from Las Vegas took first in Class 10. Bekki started and had a flawless race. At the halfway point Adam drove to the finish. Bekki notched her first win since the Tecate SCORE Baja 2000, a year in which she won her second SCORE points championship, competing in class 1-2/1600. “I ran out of gas and put in about five gallons at mile 218,” Adam said. “It only took about 30 seconds and it saved us or we would have never finished. We had no flats and thanks to the Wilsons for their pit support. I took it easy over the rocks so I wouldn’t get any flats and then just drove the heck out of it. My ’96 Jimco and King Shocks were awesome.” As Bekki hurried with excitement to greet her husband, she was relieved when timing and scoring told her she was first and proudly displayed her BFGoodrich winner hat.

Darren Hardesty, Ramona, CA (1049) finished second in his class. Hardesty drove the entire race. “It was rough but so much fun,” Hardesty said. I had a flat at the top of Matomi wash but changed it myself. I was driving like a mad man the last 40 miles but my car was awesome!” Hardesty has started off the year well, as he also finished second at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January.

Stan Potter
, San Marcos, CA/Dan Worley, Encintas, CA (1220) claimed the win in SCORE LITE. “I was leading for over an hour but busted the lower control arm,” an excited Potter stated. “I had problems trying to weld it while the car was overheating but the pit crew did awesome. I was down an hour and a half at mile 202. Still had two flats but the course was very fun with lots of whoops!” Potter vastly improved on his 2005 SCORE Desert Series opener in Laughlin, in which he did not finish. Potter drove the first 130 miles of the race, and was fourth physically and third on time when Worley took over. “Everything worked good,” Worley said. “In the rocky section I just took my time. We had no flats and the motor was flawless. Stan had a pretty good ride. He took it pretty easy as we wanted a pretty conservative race. I won two championships on a bike, this is my first in a car. We lost the power steering last year and we kind of scaled it back this year and it worked for us. We didn’t stop except to do the driver switch. We passed one or two in the pits – we got in and out a lot quicker.”

No finishers in this one-entry class.

Billy Bunch
, La Quinta, CA/Dave Turner, Hemet, CA (877) chalked up a seven-minute victory in this class, ending John Griffin’s four-year reign.

Gustavo Vildosola, Jr.,
Mexicali, Mexico (204) proudly finished first for the first time in his Toyota Tundra. “I lost the front shock so I decided to take it easy,” Vildosola, Jr. stated. “I’m getting used to the truck and with more confidence, I am doing better. No more rollovers! I had four pits but didn’t have to use them. If anything happens, it is my fault because Walt does a great job. I’m looking forward to this year and the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 - I will probably drive solo... I’m young!”

Tony Robles/Alfredo Bueno
, San Diego (1405) won the overall Sportsman Car division. “Everything was okay,” Robles said at the finish line. “Alfredo drove until mile 130, and he was second at the time. I passed 1403 (George Jackson) at about mile 182.”

Bobby Quarnstrom/Carl Niemelschele
, La Verne, CA (1501) won not only the overall Sportsman Truck class, but also were named to the 2005 Tecate SCORE San Felipe all-name team. Quarnstrom drove the first 130 miles, while Niemelschele finished the race. “This is my second race. In Laughlin we took first Saturday, then did not finish on Sunday. This is my first time down here (in Mexico) besides Tijuana. I love it, the people are so friendly. I’ve never seen as much sand as I did out on that course. We’d like to race in all the races this year.”


For the first time since 1997, the class winner in this race was someone other than Johnny Campbell or Steve Hengeveld, as the team of Chris Blais, Apple Valley, CA/ Andy Grider, Los Olivos, CA/ Quinn Cody, Buellton, CA (9x) took the checkered flag, winning by 12-plus minutes. “I’m really excited – I’ve been trying for several years,” Blais said afterwards. “Andy pulled it off, he wanted it bad. I just got on for the last couple miles. I saw a bike coming and it happened to be ours – it was a great feeling.” “When I gave it to Chris at mile 30, we were even with 5x (Robby Bell) and about 30 seconds up on 1x,” Grider said. “We were about one and half minutes behind at mile marker 196, but I could see him when the straight-aways got long. The course was so rough that if you make a little mistake we could lose it, so I still did not feel confident. Two miles past the last checkpoint by the airport, I physically passed him.”

Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, CA/Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, CA (1x) had to settle for second place, ending a streak of 10 straight wins in SCORE races, dating back to 2001. “This is the toughest race I’ve ever done and I’ve been riding this since 1990,” Cambell said. “We had a nearly a clean ride until just after the last checkpoint, when we had a stupid mechanical problem. I’m not going to elaborate on it, but let’s just say it was a stupid problem. Just before the airport we were in sight of each other (with 9x). Early on we stretched out a big lead last year, but this year these guys pushed us the whole way. I pushed as hard as I could up until we had a mechanical thing. I had to fix my bike and all I could do is wave to Andy as he went by. I can’t be upset, it (ending the winning streak) was bound to happen sooner or later.”

Tim Morton/Jason Truby,
Escondido, CA/Salvador Hernandez, Ensenada, Mexico (107x) logged a class win, splitting up the riding duties between three people. “I don’t know why people ride San Felipe for fun,” Morton said afterwards. “I’m not exactly sure I’ll come back next year. It’s the first time in seven years that I’ve been here and I’m wondering why I came back. The course is just so rough. We knew it was going to be a challenge. We were on the slowest bike in the race, but it’s heavier and it handled real well. Sal rode three times, all short, so that he could hit it really hard.“

Gerardo Rojas
, Ensenada, Mexico (300x) continues his streak of five straight SCORE events as a class champion.
“ It went good, not too many problems,” Rojas said. “We had one problem at mile 50 – a flat tire, and we rode on the rim for 40 miles.”

Jim O’Neal
, Chatsworth, CA (400x) won the San Felipe event for the fifth consecutive year (only one racer, Class 11’s Eric Solorzano, has more consecutive class wins here). Jim shared riding responsibilities with Jeff Kaplan, Tim Withers, and Randy Morales. “We had no problems,” said co-rider Jeff Kaplan. “We had to adjust the clutch, but it was pretty flawless. We collected some bushes along the way. It was a little rougher than last year – the sand is softer. There was a lot of traffic, which is scary. We were third overall (among motorcycles and ATVs), and passed about 30 cars. I love coming to San Felipe with my family and have been for 30 years.”

Jon Ortner, Santa Barbara, CA (404x) completed the course 3rd as a solo rider. Ortner was previously on the race team with O’Neal, and has experienced wins here in San Felipe. “I thought I could do well,” Ortner said. “I had problems preparing – I got some parts just on Wednesday. At mile 136 I went off. I got completely lost – at first I was mad then I became worried. I’m a motorcross guy – I hate getting off the bike. I did the Baja 500 solo, but it was shakey. I have a CR450 and I need a XR650.”

Jim O’Neal
, Chatsworth, CA (501x) also logged a win in Class 50. O’Neal’s victory put him into a tie for third place with six wins in San Felipe. He became the first individual to win two different classes in San Felipe since 1992, when Davis Ashley and Dan Smith won races in two different classes.

Josh Frederick, Moapa, NV/Cyle Chislock, Murrieta, CA/Levi Marana, Hemet, CA (13a) won an extremely tight race, as the top three quads in this class all finished within 16 seconds of each other. Josh started and went until the Honda Pit #2, when Levi took it to Honda Pit #4, then Cyle finished the race. “When Levi dropped it off to me, we were third” Chislock said after getting a win in his first race in Mexico. “That’s rough out there. Our belly pan fell off and my thumb started getting tired. I was going slow – I wasn’t going to take any chances, especially around mile marker 190 – it was really rocky. It was my first race, and Levi’s too – Josh has done one or two. I was hoping to get in the top three so I definitely did that.”

Mike Cafro, Carlsbad, CA/Danny Prather, Ramona, CA (4a) were slated to be the third ATV to start, but arriving late cost them. Per SCORE rules, their start time officially began when they were scheduled to begin the race, but were not allowed to physically start until all other ATVs in their class had started. They managed to by-pass all other ATVs and finished first physically, despite starting behind the whole pack. “Somebody dumped about a quart of water in my gas,” Cafro, who won this race in 2002, informed us. “Yesterday it ran bitchin’ when I took it out. Then I think someone came in to our camp when we were gone because this morning it wouldn’t start so I knew something was wrong. I checked a bunch of things and then thought it might be the gas, and there was all this water in there. I was pumping it out and filling up at this Pemex right at the start, but couldn’t get here in time for my start.”

Robert Laughlin, Solvang, CA (260x) was the fastest of the eight starters in Sportsman Motorcycle. Three people finished the race, with Laughlin posting the best time.

Gil Castro, Chula Vista, CA/Steve Willenberg, Lakeside, CA (99a), earned the billing as the fastest Sportsman ATV.

For information contact:
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(818) 225-8402 or visit
the official 2005 SCORE Desert Series website at:

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