Las Vegas desert racing brothers Tim and Ed Herbst returned to the winner's circle for the first time this year, capturing the 15th Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. In winning this popular Baja California race for the third straight year, the Herbst brothers powered their four-wheel-drive Ford F-150 to victory in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division in Round 2 of the 2001 Duralast SCORE Desert Series. With a time of 3 hours, 39 minutes, 20 seconds, the Herbst brothers averaged an impressive 57.12 mph over the rugged, rocky, and dusty 208.8-mile course.
Splitting the driving time in their 750hp SCORE trophy truck, the Herbst brothers battled from behind to overcome the Chevy C1500 trophy truck of Las Vegas' Brian Collins, the Duralast Ford F-150 of Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Riverside, California, along with the unlimited Class 1 Chevy-powered Jimco of Doug Fortin, Jr. of La Mesa, California, as well as their younger brother Troy Herbst's Class 1 Ford-powered Smithbuilt to post a time just 4 seconds slower than their winning time over the same course last year.
Under picturesque sunny skies, slight breezes, and temperatures that climbed into the mid-80s, the Herbst brothers paced a large field of 215 entries from 10 U.S. states, Japan, and Mexico, which competed in 23 classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and ATVs. The race was run over one large loop on sun-baked desert terrain on the east side of the Baja, California, the peninsula, starting and finishing under the landmark arches in the tiny fishing village of San Felipe.
Surviving intense wheel-to-wheel racing through four treacherous Baja washes to finish Second overall and win Class 1 was Doug Fortin, Jr. of La Mesa, California, in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car. Fortin finished in 3:40:20, exactly 1 minute behind the Herbst brothers.
"Troy really should have won this race - he was just smokin' from the start, but were happy to keep it all in the Terrible Herbst Motorsports family," said Ed Herbst, 39, who drove the second half of the race, taking over for his brother Tim, 37, who drove the first 95 miles of the race.
"You couldn't run consistently hard because the course was so full of rocks and silt. We had two flat tires and lost the power steering after Troy had his problem, but our Ford F-150 was tougher than Baja once again."
Troy Herbst led on adjusted time for more than 170 miles until he lost the right rear wheel when the stud bolts broke off, sending the entire wheel flying down the road. "We were really fortunate we didn't roll, but there was an embankment on our right side that the car fell into and we were able to make the repairs in about 15 minutes and get going again," said Troy Herbst, 34, who still managed to finish Fifth in Class 1 and Seventh overall.
With a talented field of 24 starters, Class 1 racers claimed seven of the top 10 overall finishing positions behind the Herbst Trophy-Truck.
Third Place overall, Second in Class 1, was Jeff Quinn of Irvine, California, with a time of 3:43:15 in a Jimco, while Fourth overall, Third in Class 1, was Randy Wilson, Long Beach, California, finishing in 3:44:40 in another Jimco.
Fifth overall and Second in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Las Vegas' Brian Collins, who diced with the Herbst brothers throughout the race, ending up with a time of 3:47:25 in the Collins Motorsports Chevy C1500.
Adding another exciting chapter to the American Honda desert racing history, the factory B Team of Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, California/Jonah Street, Ellensburg, Washington, got some racing breaks to defeat Honda stars Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, California/Tim Staab, San Diego. Stopping a three-race San Felipe winning streak for Campbell, Hengeveld slipped past Staab just 7 miles from the finish line when the clutch broke on his Honda XR650. The Hengeveld/Street Honda XR650 was the fastest vehicle in the race, completing the course in 3:33:22, averaging 57.12 mph, 7 minutes faster than Campbell/Staab won on the same course last year.
Las Vegas' Rob MacCachren, the 1994 SCORE Trophy-Truck Champion, won for the second straight race in Class 1-2/1600, winning a 19-car class by a margin of more than 10 minutes in a VW-powered Fraley 1,600cc race car.
Riding a Yamaha Raptor to First overall ATV while winning Class 25 was the team of Las Vegas' Jimmy Stephensen/Tim Neidhardt, Santee, California/Eric Dollente, Holtville, California, in a time of 4:41:45 (44.64 mph).
Among the other class winners Saturday were: Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, California (Class 7, Ford Ranger); Cory Susag, Dana Point, California (Class 7S, Chevy S-10); Chris Harrold, Chula Vista, California (Class 10, Jimco); Vic Bruckmann, Lemon Grove, California (SCORE Lite, Jimco); Clive Skilton, Orange, California (Class 3, Jeep Grand Cherokee); Pete Sohren, Glendale, Arizona (Class 5, VW Sedan); Dr. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Arizona (Stock Mini, Ford Ranger); and the team of Bob Shepard/Dan Ragland, Phoenix (Protruck/SS/Truck).
It was the second win of the year in two races for Glass, the defending Stock Mini Champion in the Duralast SCORE Desert Series. Eric Solorzano of Tijuana led a large contingent of 36 Mexican entries, winning Class 11 in his stock VW Sedan.
While a total of 215 vehicles entered the race, 208 officially started, and 135 made it back to the finish line within the 10-hour elapsed time limit.
15th Annual Tecate Score San Felipe 250 Desert Race
Round 2 of Five-Race 2001 Duralast SCORE Desert Series 208.8 miles - March 17, 2001 - San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
The Finishers (Total entries: 215 Total starters: 208.Total finishers: 135)
Pro Cars & Trucks
Trophy-Truck (Unlimited Production Trucks)
1. Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 3:39:20 (57.12 mph) (First overall four-wheel vehicle); 2. Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Chevy C1500, 3:47:25; 3. David Ashley/Dan Smith, Riverside, California, Ford F-150, 3:58:13; 4. Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, California/Jerry Whelchel, Laguna Hills, California, Ford F-150, 6:24:28 (6 Starters,4 Finishers).
Class 3 (Short-Wheelbase 4x4)1. Clive Skilton, Orange, California, Jeep Grand Cherokee, 6:44:29 (30.97 mph); 2. Alfonso Hernandez, Chula Vista, California, Ford Bronco II, 9:36:18 (4 Starters, 2 Finishers).
Class 7 (Open mini-trucks)1. Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, Ford Ranger, 4:36:12 (45.36mph); 2. Scott Sells, Wildomar, California,Toyota Tacoma, 5:28:04; 3. Ernesto Cervantes, Ciudad Insurgentes, Mexico, Ford Ranger, 6:39:27; 4. Perry McNeil, Lemon Grove, California, Ford Ranger, 9:11:06 (6 Starters, 4 Finishers).
Class 7S (Stock Mini-Trucks)1. Cory Susag, Dana Point, California, Chevy S-10, 5:25:31 (38.49 mph); 2. Jared Hardin, Anaheim,California, GMC Sonoma, 5:49:00; 3. Daniel Fresh, San Juan Capistrano, California, Jeep Comanche, 6:23:30; 4. Kevin Davis, Glendora, California, Ford Ranger, 7:51:26; 5. Cody Swanty, Kingman, Arizona, Jeep Comanche, 8:23:01 (7 Starters, 5 Finishers).
Class 8 (Fullsize two-wheel-drive trucks)1. Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Arizona, Chevy C1500, 4:30:29 (46.32 mph); 2. Benny Canela, Indio, California, Ford F-150, 6:51:30; 3. Nick Vanderwey, Buckeye, Arizona, Chevy Silverado, 9:36:28 (6 Starters, 3 Finishers).
Stock Mini (Stock Mini-Trucks)
1. Dr. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Arizona, Ford Ranger, 7:35:08; 2. David Porter, Sparks, Nevada, Ford F-150, 8:13:36 (27.53 mph) (4 Starters, 2 Finishers).
Stock Full (Stock Fullsize Truck)1. John Griffin, Mission Viejo, California, AM General Hummer, 7:09:52 (29.14 mph); 2. Greg Foutz, Mesa, Arizona, Ford F-150, 7:20:53 (2 Starters, 2 Finishers).
Protruck/SS/Truck (Limited-Production Trucks)
1. Bob Shepard/Dan Ragland, Phoenix, Chevy C1500, 4:18:50; 2. Ryan Herzog, Long Beach, California, Ford F-150, 4:24:06; 3. Scott Steinberger, Cypress, California, Ford F-150, 4:29:29; 4. Steve Olliges, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 5:03:04; 5. Richard Hoffman, Oceanside, California, Chevy C1500, 6:36:36 (5 Starters, 5 Finishers).