Alan Ampudia Takes Ford Raptor to Win in the SCORE San Felipe 250

a truck driving through sand
Ampudia Brings SCORE Desert Trophy Home to BajaAlan_Amp

Local hero Alan Ampudia, part of the desert-racing Ampudia family of Ensenada, Baja, owners of Mexico’s Papas & Beer clubs, won the season-opening SCORE San Felipe 250.

Ampudia drove his Mason-built AWD Ford Raptor to a penalty free time of four hours two minutes and 21 seconds over the “sun-drenched, rock-filled, silt-strewn” 285.69 miles for an average speed of 70.73 miles per hour, according to SCORE. The full title of the race is the King Shocks 37th SCORE San Felipe 250.

“It went really well, we had no problems at all,” Ampudia said at the finish line back in San Felipe, another beach city, this one on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja peninsula. “The name of the game (was to) just keep the truck moving and nobody would be able to get by us.”


Nobody did, though everybody was trying.

a blue jeep driving on a dirt road
Luke McMillin took second overall.McMillin Racing

“It was a tough day,” said second-place finisher and last year’s winner Luke McMillin, of the three- (or four-) generation racing McMillin family. “We wrestled the truck all day. It was a handful. But we are here; we made it. I made a couple of mistakes but I just wrestled through. I earned two flat tires and had to stop twice, killing the fuel mileage."

McMillin encountered some dangerous passages.

"It was sketchy going up the lake bed with people parked right on the side, and we are driving through blind dust at 105 mph. Extremely dangerous. Disappointing, really, that we even had to do that. But we are here at the finish line.”

The course ran north from San Felipe over the coastal plain before deviating 125 miles up into the mountains, circling back south, hightailing it over Diablo Dry Lake and working its way back to San Felipe. Ampudia finished nine minutes ahead of McMillin’s Mason-built Chevy 1500 and 12 minutes ahead of third-place-finisher and fellow Mexican national Gustavo Vildasola Jr. in another Ford Raptor.

“That’s Baja,” said Vildosola. “It nips you in the butt when you least expect it. It is what it is. We are here. There are always a lot of spectators here in San Felipe. The fans are amazing. Couldn’t be more proud to be at the finish line.”

a group of men holding a sign
The Vildasolas celebrate.gustavovildosola1l

Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola was the first Mexican National to win the overall race and the second to win in SCORE Trophy Truck in the SCORE San Felipe 250 when he won three consecutive years in 2013, 2014, 2015.

For the third time so far, the motorcycles and quads had their own, separate race course that went south, instead of sharing the northern course with the big trucks and buggies. This was done for safety reasons. Previously they had been sent out on the same course hours before the larger vehicles, but would ultimately end up sharing the road.

a red dirt bike
The Honda CRF450x continues to win in Baja.Honda

This year’s motorcycle winners were Arturo Salas Jr, 21, of Chula Vista, Calif. and co-rider Carter Klein, of Agua Dulce, Calif. The pair shared riding duties on a Honda CRF450X. The two lead a field of 75 total motorcycles and quads, including 13 starters in their class 11x, finished the race in a time of 5:55:39.

“The course was good, rocky; kind of like what we race back home,” said Klein. “Arturo rode well in the beginning. I had to do some catch up on our section. With a two-man team we had to push hard. When Arturo came into the first pit in Chinero, the bike shut off and we had to bump it and lost 20-30 seconds. But we won and that’s the most important thing, especially in a SCORE race.”

a sign on the ground
San Felipe is the first race of the season.SCORE International

Las Vegas’ third-generation desert racing champion Cayden ‘Mini Mac’ MacCachren, 22, drove the fastest UTV in the race, defeating a SCORE-record 68 UTVs in five classes. The so-called “Mini Mac” drove solo in his SCI Motorsports/Polaris Factory Racing No. 1821 Polaris RZR Pro R, added to the family’s fame (his father is Rob is a multi-champion in Trophy Trucks. MacCachren won the Pro UTV Open class that had 22 starters in a time of 5:14:06.
In the corporate recognition category, former industry executive and champion SCORE desert racer Craig Scanlon debuted his SCI Motorsports/Polaris Factory Racing team in last year’s King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250. Scanlon finished seventh in UTV Open.

Next up is the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 500 May 29-June 2, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, followed by the 5th SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels September 11-15, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, and then the grandaddy of all desert races, the BFGoodrich Tires 57th SCORE Baja 1000 November 11-17, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

Until then, hasta la vista, baby.