The Shaffer Motorsports team was eager to get back to Baja and to test themselves in the Mastercraft Safety SCORE San Felipe 250. The San Felipe race is the shortest of the SCORE races in Mexico but it packs just as much punishment as the Baja 500 or the legendary Baja 1000. A new course layout this year included additional technical sections but there was no relief from the miles of whoops that relentlessly pound competitors for most of the 250 plus miles.
The unpredictable terrain struck early when driver Daniel Aeberli, a very skilled driver, tagged a rock at speed while prerunning the course. The team made necessary repairs to his damaged front suspension enabling them to continue. The prerunning incident was a reminder how fast things can go wrong at race speeds on a technically demanding course. They would start second off the line on raceday and with a class 10 championship as their goal, it was decided to run a measured pace with an emphasis on finishing in the top five.
Race morning produced another picture-perfect San Felipe day. After taking the green flag in theTransfer Case Express Class 10, the team set out at a good pace. At mile 32, the power steering started to act up. Mike pulled the car over but before John Bowers got out of the car, a mob of locals had already surrounded the car, eager to lend any assistance needed. The power steering pump was gone but only because the alternator, for some unexplained reason, exploded into pieces pelting the pump with shrapnel. The chase crew was there in no time and dove into the car swapping out the damaged parts. They got it buttoned up and headed back on course losing twenty minutes to the ordeal.
After getting back under way, they sought to make up some time. They were riding that fine line between pushing hard and driving smart when they hit a rock in the dust flattening a tire. Not wanting to lose more time they tried to make it to the next pit where they would refuel and make a driver change but they got stuck in some silt. John quickly changed the tire giving them enough traction to get out of the silt. “We had some bad luck at the beginning of the race,” said Mike Shaffer, “The crew really came through for us. Except for some confusing GPS directions in the dark, Daniel Aeberli and John Cantrell had a trouble free run to the finish. We lost a position when the GPS led them to a closed gate but they found the course again and made it to the finish.” Results are still pending at the time of this writing but the whole team put in a solid effort overcoming mechanical woes and maintaining a competitive pace on a tough and technical course. Shaffer Motorsports will be taking those hard earned points to theHDRA 250 in Ridgecrest, California April 5-7 the next World Championship of Desert Racing Series event in their quest for the title.
Photography By Brian Binkert Bink Designs / www.binkdesigns.com
Last Photo By Jason Zindroski HighRev Photo / www.highrevphoto.com