After a challenging 2020, the SCORE World Desert Championship is back in full force for 2021 beginning with this weekend’s 34th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE San Felipe 250 presented by Ford. Last year’s truncated two-race schedule is back up to a more regular four-round campaign for 2021, restoring the series’ traditional season opener to its rightful place in the springtime.
The San Felipe 250 was one of the two races to be cancelled last year, alongside the Baja 400, although San Felipe itself remained on the schedule as the host of last year’s 52nd Baja 500. Last year’s Baja 500 entry list of 128 teams is back up to 273 for Saturday, marking a triumphant return to the deep entry lists that put forth top-tier battles through the Baja prior to the pandemic.
A return to San Felipe means a return to action for dozens of teams that skipped last year’s events, and a robust entry of 35 Trophy Trucks joins a record-setting 36 Trophy Truck Spec entries and eight Class 1 vehicles in the premier divisions. Pro UTV Forced Induction equals the Trophy Truck Spec class with three dozen entries, alongside 10 Normally Aspirated entries and nine Unlimited racers.
For many of those car and truck teams, Thursday was their first time in competition in quite a while, as a majority of entries took on the 4.77-mile time trial course. Drivers noted an exceptionally rough qualifying run, with lots of silt and sand that favored all-wheel drive vehicles, but not necessarily one that will reflect the 280.2-mile race course.
Bryce Menzies’ 6:05.746 was the top Trophy Truck qualifying time, nearly five seconds ahead of 2019 San Felipe winner Andy McMillin. Defending World Desert Champion Luke McMillin qualified third in class. Kyle Jergensen topped the Trophy Truck Spec division with the seventh fastest overall qualifying time, while Broc Dickerson topped the Class 1 field.
Friday will serve as tech and contingency day, while racing itself will take place on Saturday. Motorcycle and quad racers will take off at 6AM local time, with car, truck, and UTV racers kicking off their race at 9AM ET.
Check out Ernesto Araiza’s full gallery from Thursday’s qualifying events below!