SAN FELIPE, Mexico – Third-generation desert racer Andy McMillin returned to his desert racing roots Saturday, overcoming an early rollover and two flat tires to capture the SCORE overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victories during the 33rd annual SCORE San Felipe 250.
The popular season-opener of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship was held in San Felipe, the peaceful fishing village on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif.
Earning his 10th SCORE Trophy Truck race and his second overall title in this race, McMillin powered his No. 31 Chevy Silverado to the SCORE overall and class win with a penalty-free elapsed time of six hours, four minutes and 26 seconds.
His 10th SCORE Trophy Truck win puts him in third place on the SCORE all-time win list in the class behind Rob MacCachren (17), Ed/Tim Herbst (11) and Robby Gordon (11).
Andy McMillin, now 31, won his first overall title in the San Felipe 250 race in 2005, splitting the driving in the unlimited Class 1 with his father Scott McMillin. The SCORE overall win was just one of three Class 1 victories since SCORE Trophy Truck debuted 26 years ago.
“What a day. That was a really fun race; a lot going on,” said McMillin. “We rolled the truck, got a couple flat tires and still were able to pull it off because others like Bryce Menzies had more trouble than we did. It was a gnarly course, but I really like it. It was very fun, very challenging. I think the more the challenging the better.
“I like the longer courses, the rougher the better for me, more mentally challenging. SCORE does a great job challenging us and pushing us to the limits with their rugged race courses. We made one little mental error today and rolled it, but we kept pushing. We never gave up and it was a great day.”
Reigning SCORE Overall Motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited class season champions, Justin Morgan and Mark Samuels, with some added help from Justin Jones, defended their class win in this race while earning the SCORE Overall Motorcycle victory in 6:50:32 (51.14mph) on their No. 1x Honda CRF450X.
In addition to being the second straight win in San Felipe for Morgan, it was the fourth straight for Samuels and second for Jones.
Morgan rode the first 92 miles and from race mile 310 to the finish, Jones rode from race mile 92 to 179 and Samuels rode their bike from race mile 179 to 310.
The fastest Pro UTV in the race and Pro UTV FI class winner was Wayne Matlock, who won in 8:23:51 in his No. 2971 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. Matlock defeated a field of 30 UTVs in San Felipe, including 21 starters in the Pro UTV forced induction class.
It was also his seventh class win in San Felipe and third win in a row in this event.
Crossing the finish line shortly after her husband Wayne left the finish line ramp, Kristen Matlock kept things exciting for the Matlock family while winning the Pro UTV (Normally Aspirated) class with a time of 9:12:56 in her No. 1954 Polaris RZR XP4 1000.
As added icing on the Matlock victory cake, both Wayne and Kristen drove solo in the race. Kristen also finished fourth overall among the 30 UTVs in three classes that started the race.
It was also the second straight year that the Matlocks both won their respective classes in San Felipe. For the second consecutive year they both ran penalty-free races.
Brad Wilson won for the second time in the unlimited Class 1, Mike Coleman won for the second straight year in Class 7 and Art Penner, also won for the second consecutive year in Class 11.
Said Sanchez won for the third time in the Pro quad class. Giovanni Spinali won the Pro Moto 50 class (riders over 50 years old) for his fourth class win and third straight in San Felipe. Part of Spinali’s team, Earl Roberts picked up his fifth class win in this race. Danny Magdalena won in SPT quad for the second-straight year.
Several racers won in the SCORE San Felipe 250 for the first time as driver or rider of record.
Among the car, truck and UTV classes, first-time winners included Scott Bailey in SCORE TT Spec and Austin A.J. Jones in Trophy Truck Spec. Jones drove solo to victory.
For Jones, the 23-year old son of 2010 SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion Jesse Jones, it was his first SCORE race victory as driver of record and Bailey is the reigning SCORE TT Legend class champion and his first win in San Fellipe.
Other four-wheel vehicle class winners included Cesar Cuevas in Class 10, Freddie Willert in SCORE Lites, Eric Pavolka in Class 1/2-1600, Josh Herzing in Pro UTV Unlimited, Don Daley III in the Baja Challenge class and Brandon Walsh in Class 7F.
Among the first-time winners in the motorcycle classes as rider of record were Aaron Richardson in Pro Moto Ironman for solo riders, Ryan Liebelt in Pro Moto 30 and Jason Trubey in Pro Moto 40.