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Cameron Steele grabs first SCORE Trophy Truck victory at Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge

Round 3 of 4-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship was a two-day, split-format, multi-lap 134.8-mile SCORE Baja race at Rancho Casian in Tijuana;

TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico — Veteran SoCal desert racer and popular action sports television announcer Cameron Steele climbed to the top of the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck class by winning this week’s special format, internationally-televised Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana 22nd SCORE Desert Challenge Sunday.

 The unique, two-day event was Round 3 of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship. The season-finale will be the 51st SCORE Baja 1000. The Granddaddy of all Desert Races will be held Nov. 14-18, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Mexico.

 After leading the first two of four laps on Saturday in the elapsed-time race, Steele, 50, of San Clemente, Calif., captured his first career SCORE Trophy Race win in a time of three hours, 21 minutes, 36 seconds while averaging 40.12 miles per hour over 134.8 race miles in his No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado.

Steele posted consistently solid lap times Saturday of 49 minutes, 37 seconds and 50:15. His first lap time on Saturday was the fastest lap time for any vehicle in the race. On Sunday he covered the rutted out and more challenging course with lap times of 51:24 and 50:19.

Racing concluded Sunday at Rancho Casian on the southeast outskirts of Tijuana.  The event featured two days of racing scored as one race. The race route was a 33.7-mile loop course through the challenging hills in the area that each class ran two laps each day for four total laps and 134.8 total race miles. The classes were split into three groups, running one session each day to determine the final results.

There were 161 official starters racing in classes for Pro and Sportsman cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. There were 96 official finishers in the race for a finishing rate of 59.6 percent. The impressive total of 161 starters was the eighth-most in the 22 times this race has been held.

SCORE Trophy Truck is celebrating its 25th year as the featured SCORE racing division for high-tech, 950 horsepower unlimited custom trucks.

Peacefully joyful at the finish line waiting to see if he had won a SCORE Trophy Truck race for the first time, commented, “It was dirty out there, but we are sitting pretty right now. We started in the back of the pack today so it was very hard to pass SCORE Trophy Trucks because of the dust. Our timing shows us winning but I am not sure.  I actually started racing in SCORE Trophy Truck in 2005 and haven’t won one yet so I hope today is it. We are out there racing for those who have passed on. I recently lost my Dad and I think of him often when I am out there racing. Thankful to God who keeps us all safe as we race and I hope my Mom is watching (live streaming) from home. For sure I want to say thank you to everybody who makes it possible for us to race”.

Leading the Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class which had a race-high 19 starters and the overall UTV winner was Las Vegas’ Wes Miller. Miller was fastest both days and he had a winning time of 3:47:40 in his No. 2989 Polaris RZR XP Turbo.

With 161 official starters, there were racers from 22 U.S. States and six countries. Nations are USA, host country Mexico, Canada, Italy, New Zealand and Peru. States with racers are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

Starting and finishing adjacent to Rancho Casian in Southeast Tijuana, the race route traveled in a counterclockwise direction. The 33.7 tough terrain miles were designed and put together by SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva. It covered much of the land used in last year’s 23.4-mile loop, especially from Rancho San Vicente (where the race started last year), considered the roughest section of the course.

There were two full-stop checkpoints on the course. Checkpoint No. 1 was at race-mile 16.1 and Checkpoint 2 was at race-mile 25.8.

 The hot pit area for competitors was in the area around race-mile 3.6.

Heading back to Rancho Casian, the race course went through the popular Rumorosita, a very popular area that is very rocky and rough.

The final sprint of several miles back into Rancho Casian at the end of each lap was the fastest section of the race course.

While this was the second time in Tijuana, the SCORE Desert Challenge has been held 22 previous times since it first began in 1995. It was held in Laughlin, Nev., USA, from 1995 through 2012, in Plaster City, Calif., USA, in 2014, in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico in 2016 and in Tijuana in 2017 and 2018.


Pro Cars, Trucks & UTVs
(Rank, Number, driver/rider of record/additional drivers/riders, vehicle, engine)

SCORE TROPHY TRUCK (Unlimited Custom  Trucks)—1. 16 Cameron Steele, 50, San Clemente, Calif., Chevy Silverado (Geiser), 3:21:36 (40.12 miles per hour);  2. 11 Justin B. Smith, Las Vegas (DOR – Rob MacCachren, 53, Las Vegas) Ford F-250 (Geiser), 3:26:15; 3. 40 Chris Miller, 44, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Jimmy Nuckles, 50, Brawley, Calif., Toyota Tundra (ID), 3:28:56; 4. 50 Zak Langley, 43, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Ford F-150 (ESM), 3:29:34; 5. 19 Tim Herbst, 55, Las Vegas/Ed Herbst, 57, Las Vegas, Ford F-150 (Herbst-Smith), 3:31:15 (10 Starters, 5 Finishers)

*SCORE TT LEGEND (Unlimited Production Trucks, Drivers over 50 years old)—1. 12L Gustavo Vildosola, 65, Mexicali, Mexico/Scott Bailey, 58, Riverside, Calif., Chevy Silverado (ID), 3:40:41 (36.65 mph) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)

CLASS 1 (Unlimited open-wheel single or two-seaters)—1. 153 Brad Wilson, 29, Long Beach, Calif./Justin Munyon, 32, San Clemente, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 3:45:02 (35.94 mph); 2. 168 Shelby Reid, 50, Apple Valley, Calif./Dale Ebberts, 48, Wilton, Calif., PPI/Jefferies-Chevy, 3:55:49; 3. 129 Brandon Bailey, 36, Riverside, Calif./Larry Job, 53, Las Vegas, Alumi Craft-Chevy, 4:08:52 (6 Starters, 3 Finishers)

TROPHY TRUCK SPEC (unlimited Truck/SUV, stock, sealed engines)—1. 295 William Hedrick Jr, 22, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico/German Encinas, 42, Ensenada, Mexico, ID-Chevy, 3:44:58 (35.95 mph); 2. 204 Sara Price, 26, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Geiser-Chevy, 3:50:06; 3. 250 John Langley, 75, Manhattan Beach, Calif./ Steve Hengeveld, Flagstaff, Ariz., ESM-Chevy, 3:51:34; 4. 225 Brian Trotter, 47, Hardtner, Kansas/Jonathan Bickel, 51, Fort Worth, Texas/Sandy Schwab, 53, San Francisco, Mason-Chevy, 3:52:29; 5. 200 Elias Hanna, 35, Ensenada, Mexico, HN-Chevy 1500, 3:55:11; 6. 242 Austin Jones, 22, Litchfield Park, Ariz. (DOR-Bryce Swaim, 31, El Cajon, Calif.), TSCO-Chevy, 3:56:00; 7. 266 Scott Biernot, 51, Hermosa Beach, Calif./Phil Casey, 44, New Zealand, Blitzkrieg-Chevy, 4:22:36; 8. 267 Hammond Meredith, 37, Laramie, Wyo./Nathan Moreno, 26, Huntington Beach, Calif., ID-Chevy, 4:26:38 (14 Starters, 8 Finishers)

CLASS 10 (Limited, sealed engine, single or two-seaters)—1. 1023 Broc Dickerson, 17, Brawley, Calif./Jeff Dickerson, 43, Brawley, Calif., Alumi Craft-Chevy, 3:26:51 (39.10 mph); 2. 1081 Matt Winslow, 25, Clovis, Calif. (DOR-Todd Winslow, 53, Clovis, Calif.), Alumi Craft-Chevy, 3:29:49; 3. 1062 J.J. Schnarr, 45, Reno, Nev./Roberto Romo, 36, Mexicali, Mexico, Alumi Craft-Chevy, 3:35:03; 4. 1018 Miguel Tornel Z-A, 28, Chula Vista, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 3:36:43; 5. 1049 Ty Godde, 48, Palmdale, Calif./Steve Hext, 42, Lancaster, Calif., Eversen-Chevy, 3:42:51; 6. 1068 Cody Reid, 26, Apple Valley, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, 36, Carlsbad, Calif., Alumi Craft-Chevy, 3:45:51; 7. 1030 Vic Bruckmann, 45, Lemon Grove, Calif.(DOR-Jim Anderson, Reno, Nev.), Prill-VW, 3:47:01; 8. 1002 Clay Lawrence, 56, Banning, Calif./Ray Griffith, 30, Downey, Calif./Brad Manka, 42, Perris, Calif., LMS-Chevy, 3:52:19; 9. 1008 Chase Warren, 28, Phoenix, Ariz./Martin Richardson, 41, La Mesa, Calif., Alumi Craft-Chevy, 4:06:16; 10. 1048 Kevin Price, 49, Fremont, Calif.,Tatum-Chevy, 4:33:08   (15 Starters, 10 Finishers)

CLASS 8 (Full-sized two-wheel drive truck/SUV, no displacement limit)—1. 894 Vincent Munoz, 31, Yucaipa, Calif./Roy Tomkins, 34, Redlands, Calif., Ford Ranger, 3:58:49 (33.87 mph); 2. 809 Eduardo Ramirez, 48, Tecate, Mexico/Manuel Robler, 43, Tecate, Mexico/Ramiro Vazquez, 39, Tijuana, Mexico, 

HAMMER TRUCK UNLIMITED (unlimited, 4-wheel drive Rock Crawler)—(2 Starters, 0 Finishers)

CLASS 1/2-1600 (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc)—1. 1644 Cesar Fiscal, 34, Tijuana, Mexico/Fabian Fiscal, Tijuana, Mexico, Romo, 4:03:17 (32.25 mph); 2. 1603 Oscar Alvarez, 42, McAllen, Texas/Ramon Bio, 19, Ensenada, Mexico/Fernando Alvarez, 37, San Antonio, Texas, Romo, 4:07:29; 3. 1678 Gustavo Avina, 46, Ensenada, Mexico/Faisal Diaz, Ensenada, Mexico/Gabriel Avina, Ensenada, Mexico/Eduardo Escobedo, Ensenada, Mexico, Dethomas, 4:09:03; 4. 1613 Rick Boyer, Bakersfield, Calif./(DOR-Dana Jussila, 47, Coos Bay, Ore.)/Mike St. Cyr, Coos Bay, Ore., Jimco, 4:40:30 (5 Starters, 4 Finishers)

SCORE LITES (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc)—1. 1258 Jeremy Davis, 17, Chino Hills, Calif., Porter, 4:05:58 (32.88 mph); 2. 1218 Gustavo Pinuelas Jr, 38, Mexicali, Mexico/Cesar Castillo, 35, Mexicali, Mexico, Mexico, Jimco, 4:07:05; 3. 1210 Luis Barragan, 54, Mexicali, Mexico/David Garcia, 45, Mexicali, Mexico, Seagrove, 4:31:46; 4. 1240 Miguel Bonilla, 47, Hermosillo, Mexico/Miguel B. Valenzuela, 23, Hermosillo, Mexico, Mexico, Jimco, 4:50:34 (5 Starters, 4 Finishers)

CLASS 7 (unlimited, six-cylinder, production appearing trucks or SUVs)—1. 700 Dan Chamlee, 56, Montecito, Calif./Kurt Kimball, 57, Santa Barbara, Calif., Ford Ranger, 4:07:37 (32.66 mph); 2. 711 Carlos Diaz, 42, Calexico, Calif./Manuel Lopez, 46, Mexicali, Mexico/Hugo Martinez, 29, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Raptor, 4:21:29 (2 Starters, 2 Finishers)

CLASS 7F (Stock frame, 2 or 4-wheel drive mini or mid-size trucks)–(1 Starter, 0 Finishers)

CLASS 5 (Unlimited Baja Bugs, VW concept engines allowed)—(1 Starter, 0 Finisher)

PRO UTV FI (two-seat Forced Induction, OEM engine UTVs)—1. 2989 Wes Miller, 48, Las Vegas/Donny Powers, 30, Morgan Hill, Calif., Polaris RZR XP Turbo, 3:47:40 (35.53  MPH); 2. 2966 Rhys Millen, 46, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (New Zealand), Polaris RZR XPT1000 Turbo, 3:48:52;  3. 2971 Wayne Matlock, 40, Alpine, Calif., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 3:51:45; 4. 2919 Brandon Schueler, 29, Phoenix/Pat Stone, 50, Phoenix/Miles Martin, 29, Phoenix, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 3:51:52; 5. 2912 Tony Riggs, 50, Newhall, Calif./Kurt Meachum, 46, Cave Creek, Ariz./Kyle Melville, 28, Valencia, Calif., Polaris RZR Turbo, 3:57:33; 6. 2910 Scott Trafton, 37, Alpine, Calif./Dave Price, 62, Alpine, Calif., Polaris RZR Turbo, 4:11:36; 7. 2978 Luis Fortanel, 29, Mexicali, Mexico/Jose Ramirez, 28, Mexicali, Mexico, Can-Am Maverick X3, 4:19:53; 8. 2946 Jose Juarez, 34, Chula Vista, Calif./Alejandro Zuniga, 35, Chula Vista, Calif., Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo, 4:36:55; 9. 2968 Paul Kraus, 47, Los Angeles/(DOR-Christine Giampaoli Zonca, 24, Las Vegas/Italy/Spain), Can-Am X3, 2:08:55; 10. 2903 Juan Martinez, 39, Monterrey, Mexico, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo, 4:41:02 (19 Starters, 9 Finishers)

PRO UTV (two-seat Normally Aspirated, OEM engine UTVs)—1. 1995 Kaden Wells, 19, St. George, Utah/Travis Wells, 46, St. George, Utah/Jesus Gutierrez, 33, Ensenada, Mexico/Rory L’Hommedieu, 36, Mesquite, Nev., Polaris RZR 1000, 3:49:23 (35.26 mph), 2. 1985 Adrian Orellana, 33, Jamul, Calif./Daniel Gonzales, 25, Polaris RZR XP1000, 4:08:07; 3. 1955 Paul Champion, 46, Phoenix/Travis Casteel, Phoenix, Polaris RZR XP1000, 4:19:06 (6 Starters, 3 Finishers)

PRO UTV UNLTD (two-seat unlimited UTV open-displacement)—1. 1872 Jesus Mendez Jr, 21, Mexicali, Mexico/Rodrigo Ferla, 29, Mexicali, Mexico/Ignacio Arteaga, 48, Mexicali, Mexicali/Jesus Mendez Sr, 51, Mexicali, Mexico, Can-Am Maverick XRS, 4:22:32 (30.81 mph) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)

CLASS 5-1600 (1600cc VW Baja Bugs)—1. 553 Cesar Iniguez, 34, Mexicali, Mexico/Emilio Salcido, 40, Mexicali, Mexico/Omar Arellano, 33, Mexicali, Mexico, 4:34:34 (29.46 mph); 2. 577 Luis Herrera, 37, Granada Hills, Calif./Ernie Negrete, 45, Chula Vista, Calif./Michael Murray, 38, Escondido, Calif., 4:38:03; 3. 551 Francisco Reynoso, 45, Tijuana, Mexico/Jesus Garcia, 53, Tijuana, Mexico/Juan Sanchez, 19, Tijuana, Mexico/Mario Reynoso, 54, Tijuana, Mexico, 4:45:55; 4. 596 Mark Winston, 60, Golden, Colo./Guy Savedra, 33, Henderson, Nev./Cesar Solano, Apple Valley, Calif., 5:11:46 (6 Starters, 4 Finishers)

BAJA-e (single or two-seat electric powered Unlimited 4-wheel vehicles)—(1 Starter, 0 Finishers)

CLASS 7SX (2 or 4-wheel drive mini or mid-sized trucks)— (1 Starter, 0 Finishers)

CLASS 11 (stock VW sedans, safety modifications) (2 Laps, 67.4 miles)1. 1104 Viry Felix, 45, Ensenada, Mexico/Cisco Bio, 36, Spring Valley, Calif./Adrian Guerrero, 32, Ensenada, Mexico, 2:50:07 (23.77 mph); 2. 1111 Eric Solorzano, 58, Tijuana, Mexico/Oscar Adame, Los Angeles/Jereme Robinson, Cypress, Texas, 2:51:09; 3. 1113 Mario Vazquez, 32, Ensenada, Mexico/Kent Thygerson, 43, San Diego/Keith Langford, 41, San Diego, 3:27:31 (4 Starters, 3 Finishers)

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