Courtesy of SCORE MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic Clark
SCORE veteran champion racers Westhem, Swift form
‘Dynamic Duo’ team for 2020 SCORE TT Legend class
Set to debut No. 81L Ford Raptor at 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 on May 5-10;
Start/finish line on the Malecon along Sea of Cortez for fourth straight year
for Round 1 of the four-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship;
airing on ABC World of X Games, syndicated to 25 countries worldwide
CHECK: www.score-international.com for latest race updates
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico –David Westhem and
John Swift, two of the legendary SCORE champion racers from the 1980s
and 1990s are prepared to launch their new team in the 2020 SCORE World
Desert Championship. Both 59 years old, the ‘dynamic duo’ will compete
together in Swift’s No. 81L Ford Raptor, built by Racer Engineering, in
the SCORE TT Legend class for SCORE Trophy Truck drivers 50 years old
and over. SCORE Trophy Truck, created by SCORE in 1994, is the marquee
racing division in the sport for high-tech, 950-horsepower unlimited
With the four-race 2020 season in a holding pattern while the battle rages against the vicious Coronavirus (COVID-19), desert racers around the world are hoping to start the 2020 SCORE season at the re-scheduled 34th annual SCORE San Felipe 250 in Baja California.
The season-opening event of the four-race internationally-televised 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship has been postponed from the end of March to May 5-10 in San Felipe, the picturesque, peaceful fishing village on the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif. All four 2020 SCORE races will be run on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year.
Domestically, the race will be televised on a delayed basis on the World of X Games show on the ABC Television Network as co-produced by SCORE International and award-winning BCII TV of Los Angeles. It will also be syndicated internationally to 25 countries.
Launching its 47th season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the event will have a near race-record long 326.7-mile course. Prior to the re-opening of online racer registration within the next few weeks, there are 191 total official entries so far who have come from 21 U.S. States along with 10 total countries to compete in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, utvs, motorcycles and quads.
Team owner Westhem, Tahoe City, Calif., was once part of a factory GMC team competing in the prominent Class 8 before SCORE Trophy Truck was introduced in 1994 and the later became the shining star of the sport.
Teammate Swift, Santa Rosa, Calif., is a second-generation desert racer who was also the winningest driver on the old Ford/BFGoodrich Rough Rider team from the early 1990s.
Individually, Westhem and Swift have won SCORE races in three decades and both have won SCORE season class point championships.
Westhem got his first Class 8 win as a privateer at the 1987 SCORE Baja 1000 that caught the eye of many people as Class 8 was the highest profile class in the sport at the time, earning him a factory team with GMC for the next few years.
Overall Westhem has won his class in the Granddaddy of all races four times (l987, 1997, 2003 and 2017). In ’87 it was the 20th anniversary of the iconic race, 30th anniversary in 1997 and 50th anniversary in the 2017 race from Ensenada to La Paz.
Racing in parallel careers for over two decades, Westhem and Swift finally joined forces to win Class 8 in that 50th SCORE Baja 1000.
In 2018, the pair teamed up again in the SCORE Baja 1000 finishing third in the new SCORE TT Legend class in the final SCORE race for Westhem’s reliable old Class 8 truck.
Winner of the 1998 SCORE Class 8 season point championship, other career SCORE race wins for Westhem include one in the SCORE San Felipe 250 and two in the old SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge (1995, 1998).
Swift, one of the original team members of the legendary Ford/BFGoodrich Rough Riders that roamed the deserts of the Southwest U.S. and Baja California from 1991 through 1995, was the winningest driver in the group, earning three SCORE season class point championships (1991, 1992, 1993).
During that rampage through the desert, Swift won his class five times each in the SCORE Baja 1000 (1989, 1991, 1992, 2000 and 2017) and the SCORE Baja 500 (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993).
He also won Class 6 in his factory-backed Ford Explorer in the 1991 SCORE San Felipe 250.
Between 1991 and 1993 Swift had 15 class wins out of 23 desert races for the spectacular Ford/BFGoodrich Rough Riders that included such notable racers as Rob MacCachren, the late Manny Esquerra, Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Chuck Johnson along with brothers Paul and Dave Simon.
Now together for 2020 with a SCORE Trophy Truck in their stable, the ‘Dynamic Duo’ looks to be a ferocious force in the ever-growing SCORE TT Legend class.
SCORE TT LEGEND CONTENDERS
In SCORE TT Legend for SCORE Trophy Truck drivers 50 years and older, seven contenders so far who will battle Westhem/Swift in San Felipe include John Langley, 76, Manhattan Beach, Calif./Ricky Johnson, 54, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. (No. 50L Ford F-150), Rob Reinertson, Woodside, Calif. (No. 72L Ford F-150), Mark Winkelman, Cedar Hill, Texas (No. 25L Chevy Silverado) and Rolf Helland, Morris, Ill./Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif. (No. 37L Ford Raptor).
While the names of the drivers who will pilot the 31 SCORE Trophy Trucks currently entered in San Felipe read like a veritable who’s who in the world of desert racing, clearly standing at the top are the seven racers who between them have won the season point championship in 18 of the 26-year history of the featured racing division in the sport. Interestingly four of the ‘Super Seven’ are all from Las Vegas.
The ‘Super Seven’ and their championship seasons are: Tim Herbst, Las Vegas (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003), B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013), Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, Tecate, Mexico (2015, 2016, 2017), Rob McCachren, Las Vegas (1994, 2007, 2018), Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (1996, 2009), Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas (2011) and Andy McMillin, San Diego (2019).
The race includes 31 entries in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division (including eight in SCORE TT Legend), the premier racing division created by SCORE in 1994.
Besides SCORE Trophy Truck, the other classes with double figure entries to date and their totals are Pro UTV FI-Forced Induction (21), Trophy Truck Spec (21), Class 10 (19) and the unlimited Class 1 (12).
Among Sportsman classes, SPT Quad has 12 entries.
MOTO MORGAN RETURNS
Justin Morgan, El Cajon, Calif. returns to lead the motorcycle field after winning the two-wheel portion of all four races in both 2018 and 2019 to earn the overall moto season point championship each year. Morgan kept the No. 1x plate on his Honda CRF450X and he has now has won the overall motorcycle title in a SCORE-record 11 consecutive races.
ANOTHER AWESOME COURSE
SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva has worked diligently with the government officials and ejidos of the Mexicali and San Felipe areas to develop a memorable SCORE San Felipe 250 race course of 326.7 miles, the second longest in the history of this popular desert race. Sportsman Classes and a few of the slower Pro classes will bypass one section of the course and run a reduced course of 279.7 total miles.
Starting and finishing for the fourth time on the Malecon in San Felipe the will run in a counterclockwise direction and feature three physical full stop checkpoints and 141 virtual checkpoints and six speed zones for 16.3 miles total.
This year’s grueling race course will be another beauty to behold but a tough challenge to race on. It runs in a counterclockwise direction running over high-speed dry lake beds, through low-speed winding, rock-strewn, twisting canyons and trails, along quick-paced dirt roads and through five of Baja’s most gloriously infamous Baja washes in this order: Las Cuevitas, Chanate, Huatamote, Azufre and the last half of Matomi.
Checkpoint 1 will be located at El Chinero (race mile 76.3), the second at Morelia Road crossing (rm 160.3) and the third will be on the old Puertecitos Road South of the Sulphur Mines (rm 293.7).
This year’s course will run north out of San Felipe through Las Cuevitas Wash and back around up to Checkpoint 1 at El Chinero. From there it heads North by Northwest, back north and turns south at race mile 100 where it goes through Laguna Amarga and then south through Laguna del Diablo to checkpoint 2 at Morelia Junction. From Morelia it head due south and then east through Chante Wash and back around to go southeast through Huatamote Wash, back around west through Azufre Wash.
From Azufre, the course loops south down to head through the last half of Matomi Wash, north on Old Puertecitos Road up through Checkpoint 3 and then parallels Old Puertecitos on the west side for over 30 miles to the finish.
While the race has a 16 hour time limit this year, the fastest car/truck is expected to finish in just under six hours and the fastest motorcycle is expected to finish in about six hours, 15 minutes.
The 34th Annual SCORE San Felipe 250 course map, course notes and GPS files along with the Racer’s Briefing are on the SCORE website on the race page under the Race Info tab.
GREEN FLAG SATURDAY
The motorcycle and quad classes will start at 6:20 a.m. PT Saturday (May 9) while the car, truck and UTV classes will begin their journey starting at 9:30 a.m. PT (May 9). SCORE Trophy Truck and the Pro Moto Unlimited classes will start one vehicle every 60 seconds race while all other classes will start one every 30 seconds.
While the fastest vehicles in the elapsed-time race are expected to finish in a little less than six hours, all vehicles will have 16 hours from the time each starts to become an official finisher in the historic race.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
As part of their massive SCORE Contingency program for 2020, long-time SCORE sponsor partner BFGoodrich Tires is offering a large contingency bonus for each overall winner in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. For the 34th annual SCORE San Felipe 250, the contingency bonus is US$10,000. BFGoodrich Tires is entering its 44th year as the Official Tire of SCORE and in 2020 the company will also be the title sponsor of both the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 and the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000.
Presenting sponsor of both of those iconic races will be 4 Wheel Parts.
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has now produced the tire of choice for 30 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 30 of the last 34 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 92 SCORE Baja races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500.
For over three decades, the annual motorsports festival that has brought the largest economic impact of any single event held annually in this lightly-populated portion of the rugged, rough and bountifully beautiful Baja peninsula has been the SCORE San Felipe 250.
Here is the four-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship and for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
- 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, May 6-10, San Felipe, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, June 16-21, Ensenada, Mexico
- 2nd SCORE Baja 400, Sept. 16-20, Ensenada, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.16-21, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur
ABC TV AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship aired on the ABC family of networks. The four-races air as one-hour specials on ABC TV’s World of X Games program with replays on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.