Colorful pre-race festivities are continuing in Mexico for the 45th anniversary celebration of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, but when the green flag drops on Thursday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, the race will be as intense as it gets with the 2012 SCORE Desert Series season point championships on the line.
With over 300 expected entries for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs competing in 35 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes, the granddaddy of all desert races, which is the season-finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series will be held on Mexico’s magnificently mysterious Baja California peninsula.
With the bone-jarring 1,121.55-mile course traveling on both sides of the peninsula, the world’s most famous desert race will start in Ensenada and finish all the way down the peninsula in La Paz, Baja California Sur. Pre-race activities officially started with racer registration which began Sunday, Nov. 11.
The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. (PT) Thursday with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 11:30 a.m., or four hours after the last ATV leaves the line.
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. The entire race schedule is being conducted on Pacific Standard Time.
The fastest finishers are expected to complete the course in approximately 20 hours in the elapsed-time race where one vehicle will start every 30 seconds. All vehicles will have 45 total hours to complete the course to become official finishers of this legendary classic. The course is expected to officially close at approximately 10 a.m. (PT) on Saturday.
Pre-race festivities on Wednesday, 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 also be held on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
Racer registration, which opened on Sunday, is being held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel through Wednesday. Media registration will also be held in the Grand Ballroom at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
As the celebration continues throughout all day Friday and Saturday morning 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. (PT) on Saturday.
This year is the 38th time in the first 44 years of the storied race that it has started in Ensenada and it is the 19th time it will finish 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 magical Baja California peninsula.
BIG TIME TALENT
While all the rugged regulars in desert racing are in Mexico, the lure of this amazing race also attracts crossover racers as well as adventurers from all walks of life.
The talented field of desert racing veterans includes 105 racers who have combined for 336 class wins in this race. Among the racers who have returned to challenge the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 are the last eight overall 4-wheel winners and the last 15 consecutive overall motorcycle champions.
While the overall motorcycle victory is easier to identify potentially as one of three factory-supported teams from American Honda (Colton Udall, rider of record), Kawasaki (Robby Bell) and KTM (Kurt Caselli), the overall four-wheel vehicle is destined to be another survival of the fittest among many favorites in the field of 35 SCORE Trophy Trucks, SCORE’s marquee racing division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
A trio of Las Vegas desert racing stars-Rob MacCachren, Bryce Menzies and B.J. Baldwin are clearly the favorites in the SCORE Trophy Truck field, but not far behind are two Las Vegas brothers Tim and Troy Herbst, RPM Racing’s Lopez/Gordon duo and Steven Strobel of Nebraska.
MacCachren currently leads the season point standings in SCORE Trophy Truck with two race wins this season and 271 points in the No. 20 MasterCraft Safety Rockstar Ford F-150, Lopez/Gordon are second with 265 points in the No. 18 RPM Racing Speed Chevy Silverado and Baldwin is third with one win this season and 254 points in the No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Monster Chevy Silverado.
With this race being the most prestigious in all of the sport, numerous other racers are capable of winning it, including Tim Herbst and Larry Roeseler, El Cajon, Calif., in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Monster Ford F-150 with 226 points in fifth place in class, Troy Herbst and Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., in the No. 49 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 with 216 points and sixth in class points and Strobel, Clarks, Nebraska in the No. 94 Strobel Motorsports Ford F-150 and 240 points and fourth in points.
While those season regulars will certainly be among the four-wheel front runners there will also be the two teams who won the last three years who aren’t running the full SCORE schedule this year but still among the favorites.
Menzies did not race the full schedule this year but won June’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 by 11 seconds over Baldwin in the No. 1 Menzies Motorsports Red Bull Ford F-150 as the defending series overall and SCORE Trophy Truck point champion.
The second and third-generation desert racing team of Andy McMillin and his father Scott McMillin won the overall four-wheel title in both 2009 and 2011 in the No. 31 McMillin Homes Ford F-150.
Mexico’s Gus Vildosola and his son Gus Vildosola Jr., won the last peninsula run in 2010 in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Red Bull, Ford F-150. In 2010, Vildosola Racing became the first Mexican national team to win the overall title of this race as their time on the course was faster than the overall motorcycle winner for only the eighth time in the 44-year history of this race.
REVVING THE RPMs
RPM Racing, based in Bristol, Tenn., not only has a SCORE-record eight entries in the upcoming Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the team is leading the season point championship races in six of those classes, is second in one and tied for third in the other. RPM has already recorded a SCORE-record 18 class wins in the first four races of the year.
With team principals Justin Matney and Clyde Stacy, who each have already captured four SCORE season class point titles individually as drivers of record, RPM Racing has entries in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division, unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars, Class 5-1600, Class 6, Class 8, Class 4, Class 2 and Sportsman Buggy.
RPM is leading the points entering the season-finale in Class 5-1600 (2 wins), Class 6 (3), Class 8 (4), Class 4 (3), Class 2 (3) and SPT Buggy (3). The team is second in SCORE Trophy Truck and tied for third in Class 1.
Matney, Briston, Tenn., is still dealing with back issues and is listed for this race as a primary back-up driver in Class 1 and his team’s Class 6 entry while Stacy, Bristol, Va., is listed as the driver of record in three classes—Class 1, Class 5-1600 and Class 2.
Juan C. Lopez of Tecate, Mexico is driver of record in the RPM No. 18 SCORE Trophy Truck with NASCAR team owner/driver and SCORE Baja 1000 champion Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., as second driver.
Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico, is the driver of record in RPM’s Class 6 truck, Rudolofo Iribe, Tijuana, Mexico is driver of record in Class 8, Derek Fletcher, Abingdon, Va. in Class 4 and Jim Bunn, Bristol, Va. in Sportsman Buggy.
Justin’s father John Matney, races with Bunn in the SPT Buggy class.
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS
Entries in the internationally-showcased race have come from 34 U.S. states and 23 countries. In addition to the 34 U.S. States, racers have entered from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and the US Territory of Guam. Additional late entries are expected up to race morning.
MORE TIGHT POINTS
Several classes enter the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 with very tight title point’s races for the SCORE season championship in each class. SCORE Trophy Truck tops the list with the top three separated by just 17 points and Class 22 for open motorcycles is even closer with KTM’s Caselli, Murrieta, Calif., leading with 146 points, followed by JCR Honda’s Udall, San Clemente, Calif. with 144 and Kawasaki’s Bell, Menifee, Calif. with 140.
The other closest battles for season championships among the car and truck classes are Class 1/2-1600, 5-1600, 7SX and 10.
In Class 1/2-1600, Cody Robinson, El Centro, Calif., has 226 while nine points back is Robert Archibald, El Cajon, Calif. with 217.
Battling RPM’s Stacy in Class 5-1600 is Canadian fireman Erich Reisen. Entering this race, they both have two class wins this season and Stacy holds a 218-199 edge in the point standings.
In Class 7SX, Mexico’s defending season champion Eliasa Hanna has two wins and 178 points but leads the Justin Fisher/John Holmes team, who have won win this year, by just three points.
Three teams seem to still be in the hunt for the Class 10 season points, separated by just 21 points. With two wins this season, Matt Cullen, Long Beach, Calif., has 227 points while second is Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif., who has one class win and 211 points while third place Peter Hajas, Wayzata, Minn., has 206 points.
Besides Class 22, the three other closest point races in the pro motorcycle classes are Class 20 and Class 21.
In Class 20, solo racer Gabriel Williams, Provo, Utah, has one race win and 144 points while Chad Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif., also has one win and enteres this race with 140 points, just four behind Williams.
Mexico’s Francisco Septien has a race win and leads Class 21 with 148 points, while second with one win is the team lead by Jim O’Neal with 141 points and third is Carlos Casas, Chula Vista, Calif., with 131 points.
The class with the tightest overall point battle is Class 25 for open ATVs where the top four teams are separated by just seven points.
Leading Class 25 is defending series champion Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., with 143 points while second is Josh Frederick, Moapa, Nev., who has one win, with 142 points, third is Brandon Brown, Umatilla, Ore., with 138 and fourth just two points behind Brown with 136 is Mexico’s Rafael Torres.
With significant assistance from a variety of sponsors led by BFGoodrich Tires, several websites will have special coverage surrounding the massive event. Providing significant pre-race, in-race and post-race coverage will be score-international.com, DirtNewz.com, Race-Dezert.com, all based in the United States and elpatorojo.com, based in La Paz. Coverage will include unofficial adjusted time splits at several locations on the course on Race-Dezert.com and SCORE’s site will include enhanced social media coverage via its facebook, youtube and twitter links.
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. This year even more changes are occurring because of Hurricane Paul that came through the southern portion of the course several weeks ago.
With eight mandatory checkpoints and 70 virtual checkpoints and 12 relatively short pavement speed zones with speed limits of 60 miles per hour 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.
This year’s race will also commemorate the achievements of legendary desert racers like Rod Hall, Ron Bishop, Johnny Johnson, and Larry Roeseler.
Hall, who will turn 75 on Nov. 22, has a record 21 class wins (including one overall win in 1972), and is the only racer who has competed in all 44 SCORE Baja 1000 races. Bishop is the only racer who competed in the first 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races.
Hall will be racing this year in the Stock Mini class where he will split the driving with his granddaughter Shelby Hall in a Hummer H3.
Bishop is the only racer who competed every year of the first 40 on a Motorcycle. Johnson, also now retired, had 15 class wins, amazingly in eight different classes.
Roeseler, has 17 class wins in this race, including a record 13 overall wins (10 on a motorcycle). Roeseler will share driving duties again this year in SCORE Trophy Truck with Tim Herbst in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Monster Ford F-150.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
In 2012, BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating its 37th year as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for nearly four decades, BFGoodrich Tires 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 along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005.
BFGoodrich Tires also provides unmatched pit support for racers using their tires with eight full pit areas and more than 220 support crew personnel spread 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 31 racers, all but two are 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 each receive a special commemorative trophy Tecate, the title sponsor of the race.
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.
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Overall Champions
(1967 through 2011)
YEAR DRIVERS/RIDERS VEHICLE TIME
1967 Vic Wilson/Ted Mangels Meyers Manx VW 27:38
J.N. Roberts/Malcolm Smith Husqvarna 28:48
1968 Larry Berquist/Gary Preston Honda 20:38:28
Larry Minor/Jack Bayer Ford Bronco 21:11:32
1969 Larry Minor/Rod Hall Ford Bronco 20:48:10
Gunnar Nilsson/J.N. Roberts Husqvarna 21:35:52
1970 Drino Miller/Vic Wilson Miller VW 16:07
Mike Patrick/Bill Bowers Yamaha 18:31
1971 Parnelli Jones/Bill Stroppe Ford Bronco 14:59
Malcolm Smith/Gunnar Nilsson Husqvarna 16:51
1972 Parnelli Jones/Bill Stroppe Ford Bronco 16:47
Gunnar Nilsson/Rolf Tibblin Husqvarna 19:19
1973 Bobby Ferro/Johnny Johnson Funco VW 16:50:25
Mitch Mayes/A.C. Bakken Husqvarna 18:42:51
1974 NO RACE
1975 Al Baker/ Gene Cannady Honda 18:22:55
Malcolm Smith/Dr. Bud Feldkamp Hi-Jumper VW 18:55:49
1976 Larry Roeseler/Mitch Mayes Husqvarna 11:30:47
Ivan Stewart Chenowth VW 12:17:28
1977 Brent Wallingsford/Scot Harden Husqvarna 14:37:07
Malcolm Smith/Dr. Bud Feldkamp Funco VW 15:10:42
1978 Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson Husqvarna 10:23:47
Mark Stahl Chenowth VW 12:55:42
1979 Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson Husqvarna 19:48:04
Walker Evans/Bruce Florio Dodge pickup 20:48:27
1980 Larry Roesler/Jack Johnson Yamaha 12:45:13
Mark Stahl Chenowth VW 13:33:55
1981 Scot Harden/Brent Wallingsford Husqvarna 17:14:05
Mark McMillin/Thomas Hoke Chenowth VW 20:29:14
1982 Al Baker/Jack Johnson Honda 17:25:27
Mickey Thompson/Terry Smith Raceco VW 19:40:23
1983 Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft Husqvarna 14:48:10
Mark McMillin/Ralph Paxton Chenowth VW 20:29:14
1984 Chuck Miller/Randy Morales Honda 14:34:34
Mark McMillin/Ralph Paxton Chenowth VW 16:27:09
1985 Randy Morales/Derrick Paiement Honda 17:44:42
Steve Sourapas/Dave Richardson Raceco VW 17:54:55
1986 Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller Honda 18:05:52
Mark McMillin/Ralph Paxton Chenowth Porsche 18:26:28
1987 Dan Ashcraft/Bruce Ogilvie Honda 12:02:14
Bob Gordon/Malcolm Smith Chenowth Porsche 13:15:04
1988 Paul Krause/Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte Kawasaki 11:33:45
Mark McMillin Chenowth Porsche 13:07:09
1989 Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte/Ted Hunnicutt Jr. Kawasaki 17:53:16
Robby Gordon Ford Pickup 18:04:07
1990 Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr./Danny LaPorte Kawasaki 11:11:45
Bob Gordon/Robyn Gordon/Robby Gordon Chenowth Chevy 12:30:45
1991 Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr./Marty Smith Kawasaki 13:35:25
Larry Ragland Chevrolet pickup 16:37:35
1992 Danny Hamel/Garth Sweetland/Paul Ostbo Kawasaki 16:50:12
Paul & Dave Simon Ford Ranger 16:53:02
1993 Ivan Stewart Toyota SR5 13:29:11
Danny Hamel/Larry Roeseler/Ty Davis Kawasaki 13:57:23
1994 Danny Hamel/Larry Roeseler/Ty Davis Kawasaki 10:20:47
Jim Smith (Trophy-Truck) Ford 10:28:56
Dave Ashley/Dan Smith Ford F-150 10:43:43
1995 Paul Krause/Ty Davis/Ted Hunnicutt Jr. Kawasaki 19:31:19
Larry Ragland (Trophy-Truck) Chevrolet 20:14:12
Dale White Chevy Truck 21:57:03
1996 Paul Krause/Ty Davis/Greg Zitterkopf Kawasaki 14:11:02
Larry Ragland (Trophy-Truck) Chevrolet 14:38:59
Ryan Thomas Chenowth 15:53:56
1997 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab/Greg Bringle Honda 13:19:59
Larry Ragland (Trophy-Truck) Chevrolet 13:53:46
Doug Fortin Chenowth 14:31:02
1998 Johnny Campbell/Jimmy Lewis Honda 18:58:48
Ivan Stewart Toyota 19:08:20
1999 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab Honda 14:15:42
Larry Ragland Chevy 14:26:36
2000 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab/ Craig Smith, Steve Hengeveld Honda 30:54:12
Dan Smith/Dave Ashley Ford 32:15:39
2001 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab Honda 13:51:40
Doug Fortin/Charlie Townsley Jimco Chevy 14:35:42
2002 Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell/Andy Grider Honda 16:17:28
Dan Smith/Dave Ashley, Ford 16:19:03
2003 Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie Honda 15:39:52
Doug Fortin/Charlie Townsley Jimco Chevy 16:24:02
2004 Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell/Kendall Norman, Honda 15:57:37
Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford 16:18:14
2005 Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell/Mike Childress, Honda 14:20:30
Larry Roeseler/Troy Herbst, Smithbuilt-Ford 15:06:19
2006 Steve Hengeveld/ Mike Childress/Quinn Cody, Honda 18:17:50
Andy McMillin/Robby Gordon, Chevy C1500 19:15:17
2007 Robby Bell/Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell/Kendall Norman, Honda 24:15:50
Mark Post/Rob MacCachren/Carl Renezeder, Ford 25:21:25
2008 Robby Bell/Kendall Norman/Johnny Campbell, Honda 12:29:18
Roger Norman/Larry Roeseler, Ford F-150 12:40:33
2009 Kendall Norman/Timmy Weigand/Quinn Cody, Honda 13:27:50
Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Chevy Silverado 14:19:50
2010 Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola Sr., Ford F-150, 19:00:04
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda 19:20:52
2011 Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Quinn Cody, Los Olivos, Calif./Logan Holladay, Buellton, Calif., Honda, 14:14:25
Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, National City, Calif., Ford, 14:51:36
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
Cars & Trucks
Doug Fortin Jr.
Dr. Bud Feldkamp
Gus Vildosola Jr.
Gus Vildosola Sr.
*10 on Motorcycle
**2 on Motorcycle
***1 on Motorcycle
Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
Overall Vehicle Wins
Cars & Trucks
Cars and Trucks