The first race for the 2022 season schedule of the SCORE World Desert Championship Series is the San Felipe 250. This fast-paced all-out sprint race is super exciting and action-packed. It is very rough and separates the wheat from the chaff allowing the top competitors to edge out a lead in the points championship.
There is no better venue for an off-road race than in the deserts near the beautiful Sea of Cortez. This is the 35th running of the event and will take place beginning on March 30 through April 3. The exciting news has brought back the Malecon beachfront for the contingency festival, race start and finish.
If you are a die-hard desert racing fan, chaser, or racer, you are probably familiar with Austin Farner’s Fishgistics. The live-streamed internet-based show previews the 2022 SCORE San Felipe 250. Covering everything from critical details, scheduling, course notes, race entries, and commentary from event organizers. This is a great resource.
2022 SCORE San Felipe 250: Fishgistics Preview Show
Know Before You Go!
San Felipe is a small isolated town that lies along the Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Baja California. Only 190 kilometers south of the United States border means it is only a few hours drive. The sleepy fishing village has grown into a popular resort town filled with restaurants, nightlife, golf courses, and relaxing vistas. It is an attractive destination for anyone within driving distance of 500 miles or so. But be aware of all rules and regulations of crossing the international border. Be extra aware of items considered illegal paraphernalia by the federal authorities of the Northern State of Baja. This will not affect 99% of travelers but things like pocket knives are forbidden.
We also understand there is an extreme lack of fuel in this particular region at the moment. The surge of guests coming into town for the event has strained supplies even more. You could be stuck waiting in lines miles long if you do not plan ahead. Read up more on Baja Mexico destinations in our Off Road Xtreme 50 Best Spots in Baja. There are 12 episodes!
Our friends at Method Race Wheels did the research on the important notes in their Go Destination Series. The Go: Baja North Cortez article presents everything from desirable hotel accommodations and preferred beachside camping spots, the choices eateries and popular taco stands, to necessary gear, critical logistics, and travel information.
2022 SCORE San Felipe 250 Qualifying
The designated classes to participate in the qualifying session include Trophy Truck, Trophy Legends, Class 1 Unlimited Buggies, and Trophy Truck Spec. Qualifying takes place on Thursday. The special qualifying course will take place near town at an undisclosed location.
Contingency Festival and Beach Party
Have you ever been partying at spring break, surrounded by forty million dollars of race cars, holding a giant ice-cold Tecate in one hand and a fresh tropical fruit rum concoction in the other, stuck between three different mariachi bands playing three different songs at full tilt? That is what the San Felipe Contingency festival is like. Basically, this is a massive block party that presents the best opportunity to meet the drivers, check out the race vehicles up close, consume many cervezas, eat delicious fish tacos, and enjoy the culture of Baja. Contingency takes place on Friday 8AM – 5PM on the El Malecon.
2022 SCORE San Felipe 250 Race Course
This is a 277-mile single-loop race. The first Bike rips off the line Saturday morning at 6 AM, and four-wheeled vehicles begin at 10 AM. Each competitor will have a 15-hour time limit to complete the entire course. The fastest competitors will be able to finish in under 5 hours and we can expect to see a 60-mph average speed.
How To Watch The 2022 SCORE San Felipe 250
This particular event is really my favorite in all of off-road racing. The short course means it is pretty much over in one day. The location is absolutely awesome in every aspect especially in early spring. We recommend attending this race in person or adding it to the calendar next year. Better yet plan to spend at least a week or three to go explore the area in greater detail.
Pro Spectating From The Ground
Zoo Road is where you might find a lot of locals posted up. This straight section is very whooped out and will rattle the teeth of any nearby onlookers. It is not my favorite location but, I will usually make a quick stop in to see the leaders race through. The Borrego area at Race Mile 60 is a popular area that allows you to get elevated and see the race course from above if you like. There is a sweet jump that sends the trucks flying off into the distance. Race Mile 70 is at a crossroads with Race Mile 100, so you could see many cars come through multiple times. In town there is a small short course area setup specifically for spectators. This is at the start of the race, so you could hang out all day and see every vehicle before they head out into the open desert.
Plan ahead the day before. Fuel up, if you can find it. Have your ice, beverages, and lunch all packed up. The vehicles of choice for me would be a dual-sport off-road prerunner buggy, a hard charging fully-built 90s Ford Bronco, a wazoo built-to-the-tilt UTV, or a ripping dirt bike.
Watch The Race Through The SCORE Livestream
SCORE-International does a great job with the production and event coverage. I enjoy watch the livestream if I am not able to attend the race. The livestream of Contingency on the Malecon, starts April 1 at 8 AM and the race will start for SCORE Motorcycle and Quad Classes at 6 AM April 2nd, on the SCORE Facebook Page, and website. You can also access all of the programming from the SCORE Off-Road TV app. Apparently it is available on Apple Store, Google Play, and everywhere else you can download apps.
Beyond that, I would recommend tuning into Weatherman Relay, Fishgistics, and Race-Dezert.com for the latest on the ground updates, and racer information. These are the most fluid resource providing rapid details.
Who is racing?
The official entry list shows 251 racers total signed up, with 40 Trophy Trucks, 38 Trophy Specs, 19 Class 10 buggies, 26 Pro UTV Forced Induction cars making up the largest divisions. Bryce Menzies won the 2021 event overall followed by Andy and Luke McMillin in 2nd and 3rd. Rob MacCachren has the record of winning the event six times.
See this Rob MacCachren excerpt from a recent SCORE Journal article – This six-time Overall winner is always tough to beat in San Felipe. “The SCORE San Felipe 250 has always been one of my favorite places to race,” he said. “I like rough courses and this one usually has sand washes with multiple lines that allow for good racing. The weather is usually very good and that brings out the spectators to root us on. We can’t wait to get back down there and start pre-running, enjoying the food, and going really fast over the bumps. Sounds like fun to me.”
In the Trophy Truck category there are a lot of top teams entered that do not normally compete in SCORE races. This means the competition is stacked sky high. There are as many as 15 different racers that have the program to win. This includes the four players mentioned above. Alan Ampudia, Brock Dickerson, Kevin Thompson, Larry Rosseler, Justin Lofton, and Kyle Jergensen. Kyle is of a particular note, backed by Brenthel Industries and coming off a Mint 400 win, KOH Desert Challenge Win, and 2021 BITD Trick Truck Championship. This outfit is on an impressive winning streak!
Watching the racers prepare weeks in advance is a testament to their professionalism, their passion for the sport, and their desire to win. Now with the implementation of social media, we get to witness this process firsthand.
Watch Bryce Menzies 2022 San Felipe Pre Run
Watch Bryce Menzies Win The 2021 San Felipe 250 in 4K
Another fan favorite is Mexican National, Tavo Vildosola Jr. Tavo is a three time San Felipe 250 winner with arguably the largest fan base at this event. There are always a lot of red shirts skirting the courses and cheering the winning racer along.
See this Tavo Vildosola excerpt from a recent SCORE Journal article – The three-time Overall race winner (2013, ’14 and ’15) believes the SCORE San Felipe 250 is a fast-paced race. “It used to be considered a sprint race, while the SCORE Baja 500 and 1000 were more like marathons,” said Vildosola. He thinks it’s still that way, and acknowledged the AWD vehicles, which are now so much faster, requires an all- out approach, and can only be won if you don’t have any flats or make any mistakes. “The course is always grueling and because you’re driving aggressively the entire time, you have to be in better physical shape and be willing to push hard.”
Trophy Truck Spec Division Has 38 Entries!
In the Trophy Truck Spec division, we are seeing a very talented group on the 2022 San Felipe 250 entry list. Among the competitors with a strong chance of winning this event, Christian Sourapous, Pierce Herbst, Justin Davis, Jason Coleman, Dustin Grabowski, Ray Griffith, and Dan Fresh are the main players in the game.
At the top is 2021 Champion Jason McNeil in the FiberwerX Truck. Now wearing the #200 badge signifying his defending title, McNeil has got himself a brand new TSCO Trophy Truck Spec. This is a significant upgrade over his aging truck that picked up a Baja 400 and Baja 500 win in the prior season. With the new ride fully tested and prepped we should see Jason finishing at the front of the field.
Another Trophy Truck Spec contender is our friend from the Off-Roading With Christopher Polvoorde series. After winning the 2021 King Of The Hammers Toyo Tires Desert Challenge, Polvoorde made some big changes to his Mason Motorsports Trophy Truck Spec. Recently pivoting from King Shocks to Fox Shox’s new active Live Valve program Christopher is always striving to optimize his efforts. With the help of SDG Suspension, he has gained a significant improvement in vehicle performance and handling. Check out this recent test session!