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San Felipe 250 Off Road Racing - Baja's Latest Score

Posted in Events on September 1, 2003 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Jim Ober/Trackside

Since the first 1,000-mile contest down the famous peninsula in 1967, racers have bet their wits, wallets, and intestinal fortitude that they could successfully campaign against the terrain and their racing foes. Time and again, Baja responded to the racers' ambitions by flinging rocks, bottomless silt beds, mud pits, mechanical breakdowns, and the occasional errant bovine into the racers' paths. After more than 35 years, the message is clear: Baja will never be subdued.

Although the racers have long conceded to the Baja's might, they come back for the thrill of the challenge. While the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 remains sovereign, SCORE's San Felipe 250 is quickly gaining a reputation as a tough race in its own right. What "San Flippy" lacks in distance it makes up in brutal terrain.

The course resembles a flopped B, starting and finishing in normally quiet San Felipe on the Gulf of California. While wide enough for passing, the 228-mile course is rugged, complete with rock-strewn washes and cross-grain whoops. Racers are treated to an extra challenge at Zoo Road, where inebriated race fans test their chicken playing abilities! The fans' bravado gives new meaning to the phrase "close to the action." Between the rocks, cross-grain whoops, deep silt beds, and loco fans, San Felipe gives competitors little time to relax. If the Baja 1000 is a 1-mile run, then the San Felipe 250 is a 50-yard dash. Plan on feeling exhausted after racing in either one.

Tragedy marred an otherwise excellent San Felipe 250. Motorcycle racer David Bills, 33, of San Diego, died as a result of injuries suffered during the competition. There is no question that racing is a dangerous endeavor, and everyone involved takes steps to minimize the danger. Despite good intentions and best efforts, accidents still happen. Providence willing, this won't happen again for a long, long time - if ever. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bill's family.

This year, the Mexicana Logistics Trophy Truck piloted by Gus Vildosola and multiple champion Rob MacCachren stormed the course and finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of Second-Place Dale Ebberts. Fifteen Trophy Trucks faced off with the San Felipe course. Final tally? Trophy Trucks: 8, Baja: 7. Among those who did not finish were Brian Collins and Marty Coyne - two drivers who lack neither experience nor funding for a competitive racing effort; Baja simply outdid them. Four-wheeled truck and buggy entries totaled 168, with 113 finishing. Did we mention San Felipe was a tough race?

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