This past weekend marked the 2010 SCORE San Felipe 250 race down in San Felipe, Mexico along the Baja Peninsula. Its always a fun race to photograph because since its a shorter race, its an all out sprint the whole time. It also makes it more challenging to get to multiple shooting location since the leaders usually finish in just a little over 4 hours.

This was the first time I got to use my SPOT Tracker and was happy with how it worked. Its a GPS tracker that sends out your location every 10 minutes and friends and family at home can see where you are in real time. Its a nice piece of mind for people back home to know that you are ok. It also has a 911 feature that if you get in an emergency you hit the button and it sends your location to a command center and sends help wherever you are. Here is a link to the google map showing our trip.

SPOT TRACK PAGE

For this year’s race we (Paradigm & I) were fortunate enough to borrow my bosses Rhino to get around during the race. The benefit of having that to get around is that you never have to worry about getting stuck, you can get to a lot of spots a normal full size 2wd truck can’t go, and you have a lot more fun driving to spots :). I think we had more fun driving around versus actually shooting the race! Here is a photo of us prerunning on Thursday.

Our plan was to get to three spots on the course so we needed to have a good game plan before hand. We got to San Felipe Thursday early afternoon and headed straight to the course. We were able to find a few good spots and all were within a distance that we could catch the leaders at each one. We ended up getting back to the hotel right when it got dark, half because we were playing around more then “working”, and half because driving down the last big wash the rhino’s fuel filter decided to get clogged and we barely made it back home lol. $2 later at a local auto parts store fixed the problem on Friday.

Friday was a more mellow day which was nice. We hit up contingency to get some shots of all our clients, and get some shots of the overall feel of the day. Contingency is nice in San Felipe because its on the boardwalk right by the beach. Just passed the end of the tech line there is a bridge to a closed down nightclub along the water, and gets you a pretty good overview shot of the boardwalk. Got lucky and got there the same time a local fisherman decided to drive by.

Walking down the boardwalk you can see the large crowds that come out to check out all the race vehicles.

After contingency I made it a point to take some photos of the pit meetings of teams I was covering for the weekend, then called it an early night since race day would be a long day.

Saturday morning we were awaken by the sound of the McMillin’s starting up all their race vehicles. Since I didn’t shoot the bikes this race we were able to get a little more sleep then usual as the 4-Wheel vehicles were scheduled to leave the start line at 10am. We packed up and followed the McMillin’s to the start line so that Scott could start all their Go-Pro cameras. Our plan was to head to race mile 7 to start off the race right before Zoo Road, to make sure we got clean shots of everyone we needed. We were tempted to shoot at Zoo Road but didn’t feel like dealing with the crowds, and SCORE bladed that section so the jump wasn’t there anymore.

As luck would have it we hit some traffic heading to the course so we missed the start of the race, getting to the area about when the last few Trophy Trucks were going by. Since we only planned on staying there through the Class 1 cars, we thought it would be best to just skip the spot all together and head to our second spot to make sure we didn’t miss the leaders a second time.

The problem was that they weren’t letting anyone cross Zoo Road until all the cars went by, so we parked the Rhino and decided to shoot at Zoo til the 1 cars went by. Because they had bladed the course it was super dusty and the race vehicles were slowing down. On top of that since there was no jump, it was pretty uneventful compared to years past. I was able to get one dust free shot before we left which you can see below. Luckily it was of one of the teams I was covering.

This video is from this year in which Kyle Leduc put a Go-Pro camera on a remote controlled airplane and got some cool footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXwg0qouYRI

Our solution to get across Zoo Road and head towards are next spot near Morella Junction was to hop back in the Rhino and go up course until we found an opening. Because there were so many people there we had to go up about a mile or so before there was a hole, luckily where we were trying to cross, Kyle Leduc was there to make sure the course was clear.

Me: “Are we clear?”
Kyle Leduc: “Ya you’re queer!”

I guess two dudes in a Rhino, one wearing flip flops confused the youngest Leduc.

We got across and proceeded to head to race mile 84ish, where there was a nice silt hill we thought would be a good spot. We thought we were golden and would be the only ones there, but like almost every spot at a Mexico race there were plenty of locals who knew of the spot, and of course our friends Art Eugenio and Mike Wilson were there also. As of now I think I’m getting photos out first online so ha! The spot was good because you could shoot it from any angle, giving you lots of options. It also had a nice white silt to it, so with the blue skies and the greenery around made for some good shots.

This is probably one of my favorite shots from the race, the COPS Class 1 car owned by John Langley, and driven by Justin “Bean” Smith. I was able to get nice and close to the vehicles and stay safe, though my camera equipment didn’t like it.

Robby Gordon got a little closer.

And here are is a view from shooting the same spot head on.

We stayed there till all the Class 1 cars went by, then headed down about 2 miles where there was a decent 90 degree turn we saw prerunning the other day. Most cars just rolled through the turn but a few hit it with speed and was able to throw up some silt.

This Class 10 car isn’t doing anything particular exciting in the shot, but for some reason I just like it.

We waited at this spot until the 16 cars came through as they were the last vehicles of our clients, next up was to head to race mile 210, or so we thought. Before the race a few people told us to head to race mile 210, as there were three jumps in a row all pretty good. To get there all we had to do was head over to the BFG Pit at race mile 94, then cross a wash to another pit at race mile 214 then head backwards for a few miles. Well we did as planned and when we got to 210 on the GPS we were in a large wide open sandy wash with no jumps in site. Maybe its a little ways down, ok maybe a litle more (mile 208), ok just keep going it has to be close (mile 206), we’re still in a wash, I don’t see any jumps in the distance (mile 204), ok the leaders are gonna be coming soon, I see some silt but no jumps. At about race mile 202 we finally see a large rise which was the last of the three jumps. Unfortunately we also saw the first big dust cloud with Jesse Jones flying down the course.

Decision time, do we keep going trying to find the first good jump? (that ended up being at race mile 200), or pull over here to make sure we get shots of the lead group? We decided to play it safe and stay there for a while so that we would get the shots we needed, since the spot was still decent and its more important to get photos of our clients.

Quick side note, you’ll see that we were going backwards on the course in the Rhino. I assure you we did it in a very safe manner and was never on the course in any blind turns, only in a wide open sand wash that was a few hundred feet across and went on for miles. Just thought I’d throw that out there for the eco-nazi’s :).

Here are a couple shots from race mile 202, not race mile 210.



We then headed back up course to about race mile 203 where there was a decent silt section. Jamie Campbell driving the #16 Trophy Truck of Cameron Steele hammed it up for the camera.

The last spot we went to was back at the pit area we first came to at around race mile 214. When we got there Kyle Leduc and his crew chief who works on his pretend Pro4 was there, along with Brian from Bink Photo and his girlfriend Rhonda. We hung out and all shot together until the sun started dipping behind the mountains. Since we were rocking the Rhino we decided to start making the 30 mile drive with shorts on and no windshield back to the hotel.



You can check out all our photos from this race on our website!

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