Images via Ernesto Araiza
Former SCORE Trophy Truck champion Luke McMillin returned to the top step of the podium on Saturday afternoon, as the 2022 World Desert Championship kicked off with the 35th running of the King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250. McMillin conquered the 277-mile course in 4:25:21 with no post-race penalties, earning a Trophy Truck victory in the season kickoff event for the first time after previously conquering it in Class 1.
Defending race winner Bryce Menzies was second with a time of 4:27:30, settling into the runner-up spot after trading the lead with McMillin multiple times during the event. Menzies’ first flat tire allowed McMillin to take over the lead, but Menzies would retake the top spot after McMillin pit until suffering a second flat. Mike Walser and Jax Redline would beat defending SCORE Trophy Truck champion Rob MacCachren for the final podium spot, and Tim Herbst would complete the top five by just five seconds over Eric Hustead as the entire top 10 would finish within 23 minutes of one another.
Gustavo Vildosola Sr. and Ricky Johnson would team up to win the Trophy Truck Legends division and finish eighth overall, while Christopher Polvoorde would be the top-finishing driver in the Trophy Truck Spec class at 11th overall. Polvoorde would defeat defending San Felipe race winner Jason Coleman by just over 11 minutes. On the motorcycles, it was the trio of Dakar Rally veteran Juan Carlos Salvatierra, Arturo Salas, and Shane Logan who would combine for victory, with a winning time of 6:01:34.
The UTV landscape saw a long-anticipated shift on Saturday, as former SCORE World Desert Champion Wayne Matlock earned his eighth career San Felipe victory by winning not only the Pro UTV Open class, but also the UTV overall. His time of 6:08:50 in the Polaris RZR Pro R was more than four minutes quicker than Justin Lambert’s winning time in Pro UTV Forced Induction, which boasted the largest field of any UTV division with 29 entries. Edgar Garcia Leon and PJ Jones completed the Forced Induction podium, while Joe Bolton earned the Normally Aspirated class victory.
When all was said and done, the 2022 San Felipe 250 boasted the third largest field in event history, with more than 270 starters taking to the course. The Trophy Truck and TT Legends divisions combined for 42 of those entries, while Trophy Truck Spec added 36 more. Of that group, 199 made it to the finish, including 31 Trophy Trucks and 27 Spec machines.
The 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship continues on June 1-5 with the 54th edition of the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. TV coverage of the King Shocks San Felipe 250 will air on ESPN2’s World of X Games on Sunday, May 15.