As pre-running the rugged 1,121.55-mile Sal Fish signature desert race course from Ensenada to La Paz continues this week at an accelerated pace with just over two weeks before the green flag drops, the growing starting grid for the upcoming 45th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 already includes 102 racers who have combined for 306 class wins in the granddaddy of all desert races.
The season-finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series will be held on Mexico’s magnificently mysterious Baja California peninsula Nov. 14-27.
With the bone-jarring course traveling on both sides of the peninsula, the world’s most famous desert race will start in Ensenada, Baja California and finish all the way down the peninsula in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
Leading the group of racers with at least one class win in this event are 35 racers, each with at least three class wins in this classic, with 217 combined class wins between them are Rod Hall (21 class wins), Larry Roeseler (17), Johnny Campbell (11) and with 10 each Steve Hengeveld, Jeff Kaplan and Jim O’Neal.
The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. (Thursday, Nov. 15) with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 11:30 a.m., or four hours after the last ATV leaves the line. The fastest finishers are expected to complete the course in approximately 20 hours.
Completing its 39th year as the world’s foremost desert racing sanctioning body, the event is the finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series. The race will start on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in front of the iconic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada. The adventure will finish on the outskirts of La Paz on Highway 1 near the Grand Plaza Hotel, race headquarters for the southern half of the event.
With nearly 300 expected entries for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs competing in 35 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes in the internationally-showcased race, entries have come from 32 U.S. states and 20 countries. In addition to the 32 U.S. States, racers have entered from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and the US Territory of Guam. With 19 days before the green flag drops on Thursday, Nov. 15, late entries will be accepted up to race morning.
BREAKING IT DOWN
Literally in a class by himself, the venerable Rod Hall, Reno, Nev., one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors, will turn 75 on Nov. 22 and is the only person who has raced in all 44 previous Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races. He has won in several classes including the overall win in 1969 with NHRA legend Larry Minor in a Ford Bronco. This year he will compete in the No. 761 Hummer H3 in the Stock Mini class.
Roeseler, 55, El Cajon, Calif., who has earned a race-record 13 overall race wins in this event, including 10 on a motorcycle, is racing with Terrible Herbst Motorsports where he will be the second driver in No. 19 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck of Tim Herbst, Las Vegas. Roeseler also has 11 career SCORE season class point crowns to his credit.
With a race-record career 11 overall motorcycle race victories in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, Baja legend Johnny Campbell, 41, San Clemente, Calif. now oversees the operation of his own JCR/Honda Racing factory-supported two-vehicle team and is race-ready and listed as a co-rider, if needed. The JCR/Honda rider of record on a Honda CRF450X bikes is Colton Udall (1x).
Another of the top SCORE Baja racing motorcycle riders, Steve Hengeveld, 37, Oak Hills, Calif., has seven overall wins in this race and will be riding this year as one of the three co-riders with rider of record Robby Bell, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. on the No. 8x THR Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F.
Recording his first Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race win in 1979, Jeff Kaplan, 53, Thousand Oaks, Calif., continues today as a top age-group competitor with 10 class wins in this race. He will lead a team in Class 40 for riders over 40 years old, on the No. 400x Honda CRF450X. Kaplan rode on two winning teams in 2009.
Owner of the noted motorcycle apparel and riding gear company that bears his name, Jim O’Neal, 66, Simi Valley, Calif., continues to put together talented teams and this year will lead a Class 21 team and he will also be one of the riders on the Class 50 team of Mark Winkleman, 54, Cedar Hill, Texas. O’Neal has 14 career SCORE class season point championships as well, tying him for first all-time in SCORE history with Dan Smith and Rod Hall.
This year will be the 38th time in the first 44 years of the storied race that it has started in Ensenada and it will be the 19th time in has finished in La Paz.
It’s the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a racer. Since 1967, the legendary race has been run over the mysterious and majestic Baja California peninsula.
Pre-race festivities on Wednesday, Nov. 14, for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including the vastly popular tech and contingency of all vehicles and the SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. The pre-race mandatory driver/rider briefing will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
Racer registration will be held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel from Sunday, Nov. 11 through Wednesday, Nov. 14. Media registration will be held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
As the celebration continues throughout all day on Friday (Nov. 16) and Saturday morning (Nov. 16) while official finishers cross the line and tales are added to the legacy of the event, the post-race awards fiesta will be held on the Malecon in downtown La Paz, starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. The entire race will be conducted on Pacific Standard Time.
BY THE NUMBERS
While entries will be accepted up to race morning, late entries will be assigned the next available number and starting position within each class.
The car and truck classes with the most entries to date are SCORE Trophy Truck (37), Class 1 (23), and Class 10 (11).
Among the motorcycle and ATV classes, Class 22 for open motorcycles has the most entries to date with 11.
Leading the entries in the seven Sportsman classes in the race is Sportsman Motorcycle over 450cc which has 35 entries so far.
Pre-running on the majority of the race course from Ojos Negros to La Paz began Friday (Oct. 26) and pre-running from the start line in Ensenada to Ojos Negros will be allowed only on Tuesday and Wednesday of race week, Nov. 13 and 14.
This year’s historic 45th anniversary race will run down the length of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula. The challenging race course for this year is somewhat similar to 2010, but longer than the last time the race finished in La Paz, although the terrain has obviously changed significantly because of weather conditions and natural use.
With eight mandatory checkpoints spread down the peninsula plus the finish line, the course starts on the Pacific Ocean-side of Baja California in Ensenada and heads southeast to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez before heading south through Coco’s Corner, Bahia de Los Angeles, San Ignacio, back to the Pacific at San Juanico, then back to the Sea of Cortez just above Loreto, back to the Pacific near Ciudad Insurgentes heading down along the Pacific through Santa Rita before turning back east and down into La Paz for the finish.
All entries are provided with GPS programs defining the course and all are required to utilize special data recording devices that plot the actual route and speeds each vehicle takes during the mammoth race.
Leading the car and truck classes into the Baja desert will be the featured SCORE Trophy Trucks, the high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks that have been the showcase of SCORE since Sal Fish created the spectacular class in 1994. To date for this year’s race there are 38 official entries in SCORE’s marquee racing division, including class winners in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 from eight of the last nine years. Among the entries are 13 of the 18 season point champs in the class.
In 2012, BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating the 37th year as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for nearly four decades, BFG has been the has produced the tire of choice for 25 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including 25 of the last 26 years and a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005.
BFG also provides unmatched pit supports for races using their tires with eight full pit areas along the race course to La Paz and complete radio relay the entire 1,121.55 miles.
SAL FISH IronRider AWARDS
This race also features the prestigious Sal Fish SCORE IronRider awards presented to each motorcycle and ATV rider who completes the entire course within the time limit while riding solo. To date, a total of 29 racers, all on motorcycles, have declared the intent to ride the entire race solo in their quests for the Sal Fish SCORE IronRider Award.
AWARDS LIKE NO OTHER
Iconic GRAHAM-Watchmaker, headquartered in Switzerland, the Official Timekeeper of SCORE International, has designed and produced a limited-edition, high-end Chronofighter Oversize SCORE Baja 1000 collector’s timepiece that will also be one of two unique and special awards to be presented to the overall winners of the race. One of the unique, individually numbered collectible timepieces will be awarded to each of the three overall race division winners—the overall 4-wheel vehicle, motorcycle and ATV champions at this year’s granddaddy of all desert races. The three overall category champions will be awarded a category customized/personalized Chronofighter Oversize SCORE Baja 1000 limited-edition timepiece.
In addition to the once-in-a-lifetime GRAHAM Chronofighter Oversize SCORE Baja 1000 timepieces, the overall champions in the race will also receive, like they have for over 20 years from SCORE, the specially-designed bronze statue of Cuauhtémoc, the last of 11 Aztec emperors from early Mexican history, one of the most revered figures in the history of the country.
In addition to season class point championships, the racers are also competing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings each race. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 27th consecutive year, a total of 24 drivers are still in the hunt for the awards for the 2012 SCORE Desert Series after four rounds in the five-race series.
Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award. All categories, except Engine Builder and Original Buggy Chassis Manufacturer, will be determined by public on-line voting while Engine and Buggy awards are determined by season points.
Tecate Beer is the title sponsor of the three SCORE Baja races.
MasterCraft Safety is co-title sponsor of the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
Official Sponsors of the 45th SCORE Baja 1000 and the SCORE Desert Series are:
-Tecate Beer, Official Beer
-BFGoodrich Tires, Official Tire
-Graham Watchmakers, Official Timekeeper
-Red Bull, Official Energy Drink
-Volkswagen of America, Official Vehicle
-Sunoco Race Fuels, Official Race Fuel
-Coca-Cola, Official Soft Drink
-Slime, Official Tire Sealant
-Symons Ambulance Company, Official Ambulance
-Bullet Liner, Official Spray-On Bedliner
-SatellitePhoneStore.com-Official Satellite Phone Rental Company
-Volaris Airlines, Official Airline
-Fox Car Rental, Official Rent-A-Car
-Lightforce Performance Lighting, Official Driving Light
-Maxtrax, Official Vehicle Recovery Device
-Azunia Tequila, Official Tequila
-Bilstein, Official Shock Absorber
-Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Official Mexican Auto Insurance
Additional SCORE Sponsors are – Baja California Sur Tourism, Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information regarding SCORE International and the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, with links to the newly enhanced SCORE social media platforms, visit www.score-international.com or call SCORE at 818.225.8402.
SCORE Baja 1000 Pro Multi-Class Champion Leaders
(1967 thru 2011)
(Three more more class wins as driver/rider of record; entered in 20012 race as of 10.29.12)
Rod Hall–1967, 1969, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009(2)
Larry Roeseler–1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Johnny Campbell–1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008
Steve Hengeveld—1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Jeff Kaplan—1979, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009(2), 2010, 2011
Jim O’Neal—1998, 2004, 2005, 2006(3), 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Richard Jackson–1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
Eric Solorzano–1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006
Mark McMillin–1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
Donald Moss—2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011
Troy Herbst—1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Francisco Septien—2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Dan Chamlee—2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
Quinn Cody—2006, 2009, 2010, 2011
John Holmes–1991, 1995, 2000, 2008, 2009
Rob MacCachren–1992, 1993, 2001, 2004, 2007
Scott Myers—2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Al Perrett—1992, 1993, 2009, 2010, 2011
Brian Pinard—2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011
Rick L. Johnson—2004, 2006, 2007, 2010
Wayne Matlock—2005, 2008, 2009, 2011
Scott McMillin—1981, 1985, 2009, 2011
Gerardo Rojas—2003, 2004, 2006, 2009
Greg Row–1987, 1991, 1993, 2000
Gavin Skilton—1994, 2001, 2008, 2010
Ryan Arciero—1998, 2003, 2004
Robby Gordon—1989, 1990, 2006
Mike Johnson—2009, 2010, 2011
Ricky Johnson—1997, 2003, 2010
Andy McMillin—2006, 2009, 2011
Wes Miller—2008, 2009, 2011
Reid Rutherford—2009, 2010, 2011
Hector Sarabia—1999, 2001, 2005
Mike Shaffer—2006, 2007, 2008
*Minimum three class wins for racers who have been driver/rider of record at least once in this race