Nobody knew what to expect when the SCORE International desert racing series announced a brand new venue for the 20th SCORE Desert Challenge in Rosarito Beach, Baja Mexico. The new course was very challenging. Covered in sharp rocks and lined by steep cliffs, it climbed high into the coastal mountains. After prerunning and two days of racing, it was covered in deep silt. Narrow mountain trails and the thick dust made passing difficult. “We were very happy that they decided to start the race at 2 minute intervals,” said Bevly Wilson racing’s Billy Wilson, “Loose rocks and silt made tire management a priority. Going up the steep hills we were hard on the throttle as we scratched our way up. The rocks were sharp; it was torture on our BFGoodrich Tires and Trailready Beadlocks.”
Wilson has been locked into an intense battle with Apdaly Lopez for the Trophy Truck points championship this season. At Rosarito Beach, the two would battle back and forth both days. Wilson and co-driver Chase Laven had built up a lead on day one but pulled over to change a rear tire that was worn down from wheel spin on the sharp rocks. As Laven was strapping back in, Lopez went by. “The tire might have lasted but with the steep hills and narrow trails, it was smarter to stop where we had room than to get stuck on a cliff or steep climb,” said Wilson, “We got going and began to close back up to him when we smelled rubber; he had a flat. We started to close in on him when we hit some deep silt. With the flat, he lost traction and slowed. We closed too fast and hit him pretty good. He was a good sport about it; we were talking after the race and taking some photos together at the finish.”
After day one, the team’s Jimco Trophy Truck was in great shape. Kevin Kroyer was there to go over the Kroyer powerplant and transmission and thanks to Maxima Racing Oils, the drivetrain was flawless. They decided to run the same tune on their King Shocks that took them to the victory in San Felipe; the suspension was also dialed in. After being pelted by rocks all day their KC Hilites LED lighting was undamaged and needed no adjustment. “The Jimco has been perfect from day one,” says Wilson, “We ran the SNORE Rage At The River race as a shakedown and we ended up on the podium in third. We had no idea that we would win our first SCORE Trophy Truck race and be leading the points championship in our first season. The Jimco is that good.”
On day two, Wilson did his best to maintain a fast pace without any mistakes. “The dust was worse,” said Wilson, “If you weren’t careful, you could drive right off a cliff. At times it felt like slow motion with everyone trying to run smart and manage the tires. As the race came down to the end, we were just trying to stay in contact with Lopez. He was running at about 60% and we turned it up to 65%. We must have pushed him a bit because he came into the finish a little too hot and got a time penalty. We maintained our points lead with the second place finish but it’s tight. Everything will come down to the Baja 1000; it’s going to be intense!”
Qualifying for the 49th annual Baja 1000 will take place at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 1-4. When not qualifying, Bevly Wilson Racing will have their Jimco Trophy Truck on display in SCORE’s 70,000 square foot feature exhibit area during the show. Then the final race of the season, where the championship will be decided, takes place November 16-20 in Ensenada, Baja Mexico.