MacCachren and McMillin Are Maestros of the CoC

Stardate 11109.10.  I have beamed down to a strange yet familiar planet that appears to be inhabited and led by an odd race of creatures that thrive on speed and dirt.  It is similar to Planet SF.250, the inhabitants consume massive amounts of silt, tacos, beer and whoops but there are far fewer people  and it is much warmer here on San Felipe Challenge of Champions, or SF.COC as its listed on the starcharts.  77 of the planets regional leaders have gathered to compete in a new contest to determine who will govern the various regions like Trophy Truck, Class 1, Scorelite and more.

The race opened with tech and contingency on the Malecon of San Felipe but in terms of people it more resembled a long forgotten Arizona ghost town than a seaside Baja race.  The low entries plus high heat and humidity kept many hiding in the air conditioning or behind a frosty cerveza throughout the day.  Due to various issues with insurance and BLM the traditional Primm 300 race was cancelled and moved on short notice to Baja to become the San Felipe Challenge of Champions.  With the  limited time before the race it was decided to use the same course as the San Felipe 250 that was run last March.

Tech was but small potatoes, just a snack to whet the appetite for the following day where the metal beasts would battle over 252.09 miles of scarred and brutal terrain made up of whoops, rocks, canyons, washes, siltbeds and the always popular whoops hiding rocks.  Along with the usual logistics required for a long desert race, hydration was moved high on everyone’s priority list though they lucked out with cooler temps on race day.

In Trophy Truck, Tavo Vildosola and Rob MacCachren jumped out to an early lead over the rest of the field.   The two stayed close, battling through the course when Vildosola passed MacCachren for the physical lead when he pitted at San Matias.  Vildosola held the physical lead onto the eastern side of the course on the Sea of Cortez, things were looking good but the hated Mr. Murphy was close at hand and waiting to strike.  Vildosola suffered a spring issue when entering Matomi wash near race mile 135 but was still holding onto the lead at race mile 192.  Then at 197 the left rear wheel decided it had to be somewhere else like a cat running out of the room and it promptly discharged itself from the truck.  After some downtime the crew managed to repair the truck and get going again only to have the left rear axle activate the ejection seat and thus ending  their race day.

Vildosola leads at race mile 115

Vildosola’s wheel problems left the door open for San Felipe 250 overall winner Rob MacCachren who jumped on the opportunity like a foodie on crème fraiche.  MacCachren made the most of his position and stayed first on the road all the way to the finish to take the overall win in 4 hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds (at 59.9 mph), more than 5 minutes faster than his winning time at the 250.  Even more impressive is that MacCachren won in dominating fashion with just one and a half usable arms.  He is still recovering from a broken collar bone after a nasty short course crash last month but he did not let it slow him down.

MacCachren chases Vildosola at Zoo Road

MacCachren chases Vildosola at Zoo Road.

“The pace this morning was really quick and the truck was working great at the start. It just felt so good – we were just really going.” MacCachren said after the race.  “. At about mile 198, we were probably about a minute or so behind him (Vildosola) and his left rear (wheel) came off and once that happened, we got to the other side and started getting reports of where we were and then we just backed down and made sure that we got it in here (to the finish line). Once I got the lead, we just cruised – slower than pre-running.”

Machcachren at race mile 115

When comparing the 250 and the CoC MacCachren said “The biggest difference between this race and the one that we won here in March is that the shocks are the biggest thing. We just keep working on the shocks and making them better and better. The track here in San Felipe gets rougher the more we go over it so it’s all about shocks.”

9 minutes back brothers Mark and Gary Weyhrich took the checkers in second place with points leader Bryce Menzies in third less than three minutes behind the Weyhrich.

Hovey races through Zoo Road at full song

Wilson eats some silt.

In Class 1, facebook sensation Dan McMillin teamed with buggy master Chuck Hovey.  Hovey started the race and drove the first 100 miles before handing over driving duties to McMillin.  McMillin was fourth in class when he took the reins behind Randy Wilson, Harley Letner and Steve Appleton.  Appleton’s engine let the smoke out of the box ending his day and Wilson also DNFed.  McMillin was able to get around Letner when he was parked on the side of the course fighting a steering issue at race mile 207.  Letner was able to get going again and was within a minute of McMillin but young Danielson was able to open the lead to five minutes by the time they finished earning  the third generation desert racer McMillin his first win in the fast and prestigious Class 1 ranks and a fourth overall finish in the race.

McMillin is swallowed by silt.

“ We had no problems today – it wasn’t even that hot. Chuck Hovey started and did a fantastic job. He had no problems and the car never got hot, really, and we made it here (to the finish). It looks like we got first and (fourth) overall looks pretty good. It’s a good day. ” McMillin said at the finish.  “ The last 20 miles, when I knew Letner was there, I pushed it. But I really, honestly, cruised because I wanted to keep the car cool. I think I passed a lot of cars that were overheating.”

Letner took second five minutes behind with Brian Parkhouse a further 25 minutes back in third.

Despite only having  only 77 entries (a record low for SCORE) the race has to be considered something of a success due to the extremely short timeframe the promoter had to work with,  move the race to a different  country.

On Sunday the racers beamed back off the planet leaving the sleepy fishing village with an eerie quiet, too quiet.

The off road aliens will return to the desert the week of November 14th for the big one, the SCORE Baja 1000.


I have long said that writers have it easier than photogs.  The shooters HAVE to be at the event to get the shot but the writer can stay home and do the story.  Despite that opinion I had never written a story from home so I thought it was high time I did it and put my money where my mouth is.  During the CoC I was in Tempe, AZ shooting ASU Football and did not make it to the race.  Shortly after I gathered my sources and wrote this story.  It has not been posted until now due to other obligations and procrastination.  Lastly all the photos were shot by me, but at the 2011 San Feleipe 250 which used the same race course.


Comment Pages

There are 2 Comments to "MacCachren and McMillin Are Maestros of the CoC"

  • george jackson says:

    It’s nice to see photos acually “out on the course” , hey! why not throw in a couple of those viking girls with the crown of horns in the frame with the silty race rigs?

  • george jackson says:

    MacCackren’s driving is undisputed, he put a little pressure on his student, Gus Jr. and yet another lesson was learned. Plus, It’s nice to see photos acually “out on the course” , hey! why not throw in a couple of those viking girls with the crown of horns in the frame with the silty race rigs?

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