Defending SCORE World Desert Champion Luke McMillin started his 2023 title defense in the best of all possible ways on Saturday, winning the 36th Annual King Shocks San Felipe 250 after taking on more than 260 miles of challenging Baja California desert. McMillin, who won last year’s race by just two minutes and nine seconds, more than tripled that margin this year, posting a 4:29:27 to earn the Trophy Truck and overall victory by more than seven minutes.
Alan Ampudia would finish second with a 4:36:43, while last year’s runner-up Bryce Menzies would complete the podium with a 4:43:36. Rounding out the top five would be Andrew Myers, who won the BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 a month earlier as Eric Hardin’s co-driver, and Tavo Vildosola; Vildosola’s father, Gustavo Sr., would win the Trophy Truck Legends class with a 4:58:53, good for eighth overall on the day.
In the always competitive Trophy Truck Spec division, which boasted the largest field of the weekend at more than 40 entries, it was brothers Thor and Pierce Herbst who teamed up to take down Jason McNeil by the razor-thin margin of 20 seconds, with Travis Williams completing the podium at just five minutes back. The entire top 10 in class was separated by just over 25 minutes, while 17 of the 30 finishers were within the class-winning time.
Class 1 also saw a close fight to the finish, with Cody Parkhouse’s 5:27:33 beating Brad Wilson by only 38 seconds, while Justin Buckley beat Cade Garcia for top honors in Class 10 by just over six minutes. In Pro Moto Unlimited, it was Ciaran Naran’s 6:10:02 that topped the field—although Pro Moto Limited rider Fernando Beltran came within two minutes of winning the overall with a class win of his own.
In the UTV classes, it was a different Ampudia—Alan’s brother, Rodrigo—who posted the fastest overall time, laying down a 6:16:17 for top honors while running in the Pro UTV Forced Induction class. The top six finishers were evenly split between the FI and Pro UTV Open class, as well as Can-Am and Polaris RZR, who each swept a class podium. Polaris Factory Racing team principal Craig Scanlon topped the Open class with a 6:22:56, while Open class runner-up and defending overall winner Wayne Matlock finished with a 6:31:19. Pro UTV FI podium finishers Edgar Garcia Leon and PJ Jones backed up their results from last year, while Jones edged out third place Open finisher Mike Cafro for fifth overall by just 18 seconds.
For full results from the 2023 King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250, click here.
Following San Felipe, the 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship resumes in two months’ time with the 55th SCORE Baja 500 on May 31-June 4. Rob MacCachren (Trophy Truck), Shelby Reid (Class 1), and Jorge Sampietro (Trophy Truck Spec) topped the Unlimited classes last year, while Austin Weiland (Forced Induction), Zach Sizelove (NA) and Mike Pratt (Open) took the Pro UTV victories.