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2024 San Felipe 250: Ampudia wins from pole, Aussies snakebit again

If horseshoes, incense, and the power of prayer aren’t turning around their luck, Toby Price, Paul Weel, and Kellon Walch should probably try hiring an exorcist to finally slay their Baja demons.

Team Australia has more than proven to be one of the fastest trucks in SCORE International, but do not have the results to show for it as mechanical failures plague them virtually every race. The San Felipe 250 was just another addition to their string of miserable luck as Price battled with Alan Ampudia for the win throughout the day—going as far as to bypass swapping him out for Weel as scheduled—and eventually took the lead with twenty miles to go, only for a bolt on the right front control arm to break. Unable to get it repaired in time, the team was forced to retire yet again; since their début in 2022, they have only completed two of seven races.

With Price out of the picture, Ampudia simply had to hold off twice defending race winner Luke McMillin for the win, which he easily pulled off by nine minutes after topping qualifying on Thursday. Joined by his brothers Aaron and Rodrigo and navigator Kyle Craft, Rodrigo the overall UTV victor in 2023, he scored his maiden SF 250 triumph and became the first Mexican driver of record to win a SCORE Four-Wheeler overall race since he and his family triumphed at the 2019 Baja 1000.

“Feels good. It feels good to win this, what an incredible feeling,” said Ampudia at the finish. “No problems except at the last part, a tyre started to go down and we decided to take a chance and go flat for the last twenty miles.

“The plan for the race was to keep the car going without stopping and so we did it, taking care of the car so we didn’t have to push it too much. At the end, we knew the lead we had was still a minute away and we decided to step on it, and here we are.”

McMillin was set back by a flat tyre early on but managed to finish second in the end, a result that even he did not expect. The race was the first for McMillin Racing with Monster Energy/The Beast Unleashed sponsorship. His older brother Dan McMillin, who flipped in qualifying, finished sixth in class.

“I’m actually very, very surprised we made the podium if we did,” McMillin remarked. “We pushed really hard today—well, we did and we didn’t. Our miles an hour wasn’t very good in sections that could have been better but we were wrestling the truck all day. It was just… I don’t know what part of it, I think a combination of a lot of things, not just one component or one setting or certain component on the truck took us back, but we absolutely wrestled this thing around the course. It was brutal, but we’re here.”

Reigning SCORE Trophy Truck champion Bryce Menzies initially beat his 2023 Baja 1000 team-mate Tavo Vildósola for third, but received a 54-second speeding penalty that relegated him to fourth.

Rob MacCachren finished eleventh in class after a tumultuous week in his first race in a Fastball Racing Jimco AWD truck. He was unable to qualify after a “weird thing” occurred, forcing him to start at the back in thirty sixth. A lengthy pit stop came as his team worked to replace the front CV boot that came off. He alternated between driving aggressively and safely in the dust as he encountered more challenges such as further greasing the CV boot and flat tyres from hitting rocks, before ultimately focusing on just completing the race.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever started that far back,” quipped MacCachren.

Besides Menzies, penalties wrecked many competitors for speeding or missing Virtual Checkpoints, and fifteen were disqualified entirely for taking prohibited racing lines. This led to a major shake-up on the bike side when frontrunners Juan Carlos Salvatierra, Eric Holt, Justin Morgan, and Adrian Ortiz all got DSQ’d. Arturo Salas Jr. and Carter Klein avoided trouble to win the two-wheel overall in HERO Racing‘s maiden Pro Moto Unlimited start; the win is Salas’ second as lead rider after the 2023 Baja 500.

The Rubio’s Racing pair of Javier and Gerardo Rubio were the only entry from the new rally raid-based Pro Moto Adventure to officially complete the race as Scott Purcell and Dustin Davis exceeded the time limit, but were slapped with a disqualification; all three competed on Kove 450 Rally bikes. Pro Baja-e Moto, another fledgling category for electric bikes, also saw zero finishers after Christian Klein‘s Zero FX bowed out.

Polaris Factory Racing came close to sweeping the Pro UTV Open podium in the first race for their Gen-2 RZR Pro R Factory as Cayden MacCachren led Brock Heger and Max Eddy Jr., but Eddy was busted for speeding and fell to fourth. Nonetheless, the manufacturer still got payback on rival Can-Am for Rodrigo Ampudia’s 2023 win as MacCachren, Heger, and fellow Polaris driver Branden Sims were the top UTVs across all classes; Can-Am’s Phil Blurton was the fourth fastest UTV as he won in Pro UTV Forced Induction.

Blurton’s fellow Maverick driver Kaden Wells celebrated winning in Pro Stock UTV by proposing to his girlfriend and navigator Emma Cornwell atop their car at the finish.

Trophy Truck Spec driver Isidre Ochoa was officially the 178th and final race finisher. Sixteen-year-old Pro UTV FI racer Valeria Lozano was the last car to reach the finish in San Felipe after hours of delays, but was not classified as she had well gone over the thirteen-hour limit. Nonetheless, Class 11’s Eric Solorzano saluted her efforts by giving her his finisher’s medal.

Class winners


ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
Baja Challenge145BC2Frank Olagaray8:52:01.088*
Class 116153Brad Wilson4:43:21.575
Class 1/2-16001111656Raul Ojeda7:33:10.623*
Class 10411014Bruce Yee5:24:22.997
Class 576500Eli Yee6:34:49.589*
Class 5-1600162561Zachery Wooruff9:57:07.332*
Class 777703Scott Brady6:37:41.029*
Class 7F158719FCesar Gutierrez9:38:03.839*
Class 8136809Josh Klenske8:25:55.880*
Pro Baja-e MotoDNFN/ANo FinishersDNF
Pro Moto 30138317XEthan Wheeler8:29:24.328*
Pro Moto 4082411XFrancisco Septien6:53:06.759*
Pro Moto 50121547XMike Prunty7:48:54.069*
Pro Moto 60155628XMike Kay9:18:08.631*
Pro Moto AdventureDNFN/ANo FinishersDNF
Pro Moto Ironman103719XKadin Guard7:17:17.866*
Pro Moto Limited74110XArmando Ortiz6:31:01.478
Pro Moto Unlimited5611XArturo Salas Jr.5:55:39.366*
Pro Quad64319ASergio Jimenez6:16:51.163*
Pro Quad Ironman15191AJorge Lopez9:07:51.615
Pro Stock UTV623925Kaden Wells6:13:46.360
Pro UTV Forced Induction432944Phil Blurton5:28:03.593
Pro UTV Normally Aspirated951974Ethan Groom7:04:03.260
Pro UTV Open341821Cayden MacCachren5:14:05.510
SCORE Lites881277Mario Alcala6:56:36.708*
Trophy Truck110Alan Ampudia4:02:20.708
Trophy Truck Legends101LGus Vildósola4:34:58.724*
Trophy Truck Spec9219Thor Herbst4:31:59.124*
* – Received a time penalty

Class 7SX/Class 11

ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
Class 7SX1740Armando Duron8:58:27.161*
Class 1121100Oliver Flemate9:01:10.202


ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
Sportsman Moto6229XJoel Magallanes*8:28:55.519
Sportsman Quad1137AJose Miramontes7:10:53.106
Sportsman UTVDNFN/ANo FinishersDNF


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