Colorful pre-race festivities begin Wednesday for the 44th anniversary celebration of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
, but when the green flag drops on Friday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, the race will be as intense as it gets with the 2011 SCORE Desert Series season point championships on the line.
The granddaddy of all desert races, which is the season-finale of the world’s foremost desert racing series which is completing its 38th year in 2011, will be a loop race held on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificently mysterious Baja California peninsula through Saturday starting and finishing in Ensenada, 65 miles South of the U.S. border at San Diego adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
With over 275 entries expected to compete in 36 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, entries have come from 34 U.S. states and 16 countries. Among the entries are 27 Pro class winners from last year’s race as late entries will be accepted up until race morning.
This is the 44th anniversary of the race shrouded in mystery that continues to lure adventurers and manufacturers from across the globe who all share the dream to conquer the Baja.
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 race has been run over the mysterious Baja California peninsula every year except 1974 when the international fuel crisis forced a cancellation.
The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. on Friday with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 11:30 a.m., or four hours after the last Sportsman ATV leaves the line. Vehicles will start in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race and all vehicles will have a 32-hour time limit to become official finishers. The fastest vehicles are expected to complete the course in approximately 14 hours.
This year’s race will start for the 37th time and finish for the 21st time in Ensenada. The race will start and finish on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada.
With late entries accepted up until race morning, the 692.82-mile race course this year is a combination of much of the 2008 and the 2009 courses.
In addition to the 34 U.S. States represented on the entry list to date, racers have also officially entered from Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the US Territory of Guam.
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 107 racers who have combined for 346 class wins in this race. In that group are 18 racers who have combined for a total of 39 overall victories in either the 4-wheel or 2-wheel category. Included in the past overall winner’s group are the last seven 4-wheel winners and the last 14 consecutive motorcycle overall champions.
Pre-race festivities on Thursday, including the vastly popular tech and contingency of all vehicles and the SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 10 a.m. until 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 Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. Racer and media registration will both be held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel in Ensenada on Wednesday, Nov. 16 and Thursday, Nov. 17.
The post-race awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Reality TV star Jesse James has received the first starting position in the drawing earlier this month for 44th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. While James, who lives in Austin, Texas, will pilot his No. 54 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy Truck, starting first among the motorcycle and ATV classes will be Craig Bowman on a Honda CRF450X.
Drawing the first start among the ATV classes was the Class 25 team led by Richard Stanley.
The featured SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks has 33 vehicles enters to date.
Starting second will be Mexico’s son/father team of Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola, who teamed last year to become the first Mexican national team to win the overall 4-wheel title of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Driving the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck, the Vildosolas, of Mexicali, were also the fastest vehicle overall in the race down the Baja California peninsula to La Paz.
Starting second among the motorcycles will be last year’s overall motorcycle winners in this race, Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Quinn Cody, Buellton, Calif. on the No. 1x JCR Honda Racing Honda CRF450X.
While entries will be accepted will be accepted up to race morning, late entries will be assigned the next available number and starting position within each class.
Besides SCORE Trophy Truck with 33, the car and truck classes with the most entries to date are unlimited Class 1 (24), Class 1/2-1600 (18), Class 6 and Class 10 (11 each) and SCORE Lites (10.
Among the motorcycle and ATV classes, Class 22 for open motorcycles has the most entries so far with 12.
Leading the six Sportsman classes in the race is Sportsman Motorcycle over 450cc which has 20 entries so far, Sportsman Motorcycle under 450cc with 13 and Sportsman ATV with 10.
Among the many other talented entries from all over the world is the venerable Rod Hall, Reno, Nev., who is only individual who has raced in all 43 previous Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races.
The legendary Hall, who will turn 74 on Nov. 22, has a race-record 21 career class wins in this event and is the only driver to have competed every year (all in a car or truck class). Hall will be looking for as many as three class wins this year. He is entered as the second driver for his sons Chad and Josh Hall in SCORE Trophy Truck and in both the and Stock Full (Sam Edgar) classes.
Together, the Hall family has combined for a SCORE record 33 class wins in this race with Chad having eight and Josh four.
Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., has won 17 times in this race, including 13 overall wins (10 on a motorcycle). Roeseler will share driving duties this year in SCORE Trophy Truck with Tim Herbst in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150. Roeseler won the unlimited Class 1 for four consecutive years (2004-2007), driving with the youngest of the three racing brothers, Troy Herbst, in the Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheel desert race car that was known as the ‘Land Shark’. Roeseler is the only racer in the history of the event to win the overall 4-wheel in a truck and also in a car as well as the overall 2-wheel title as well.
Winning two of the first four series races overall and in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division, Las Vegas rookie driver Bryce Menzies continues to stand at the top of the point leader board after four of five races in the 2011 SCORE Desert Series.
Menzies, who opened the season by winning the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January, drove to a penalty-free victory as well in June’s 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 500 to pull further ahead in the SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck point standings in the No. 70 Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150. Sandwiched between his first two career SCORE race wins in the marquee desert racing division, Menzies finished sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck at the 25th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March. In September Menzies finished third at Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions and now has a six-point margin over the rest of the world’s best desert racers.
SCORE points are based on starting, finishing, placement and number of official starters within each class. Menzies, 23, who had only raced the 2010 SCORE Baja 500 where he finished seventh in his first start in SCORE Trophy Truck, has 306 championship points following Round 4 of the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series. SCORE Trophy Truck has had the largest starting field for all four races with 32 in Laughlin, 24 in San Felipe, 28 in Ensenada and 13 in the September San Felipe race.
Picking up his ninth career SCORE Trophy Truck race win in September in San Felipe, Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, an eight-time SCORE season point champion, is second in overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck points so far in 2011 after finishing fourth in Laughlin, winning the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe race in March and finishing ninth in Ensenada with 300 points, just six behind Menzies.
With two wins and a second and a seventh this year, third in overall points and leading the unlimited class 1 is Justin Davis, 18 of Chino Hills, Calif., 11 points behind Menzies with 295. Davis, last year’s SCORE Lites point champion, won Class 1 in Laughlin and San Felipe and was a close second in Ensenada and seventh in the September San Felipe race driving the Green Army Motorsports Chevy-powered ESM open-wheel desert race car.
Following consistent seventh, fifth, fourth and second-place finishes in the season’s first four events, Gary Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., is fourth in overall points and third in SCORE Trophy Truck with 281 in the No. 98 TSCO Motorsports Ford F-150.
With numerous co-drivers to assist, the RPM Off-Road Team of Bristol, Va., has an event record seven total vehicles entered in this race. Clyde Stacy will be driver of record in SCORE Trophy Truck, Class 4 and Class 17, Justin Matney is driver of record in Class 8, Class 11 and Stock Mini and John Matney (Justin’s father) is entered in Sportsman Buggy. Leading the points in Class 8, Class 11, Class 4, Class 17 and Stock Mini, the RPM Off-Road Team has picked up 10 class wins this season and is on the verge of establishing a unprecedented season results in the SCORE Desert Series.
ATV racing star Greg Row, 48, will be racing in his 25th consecutive Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 on an ATV. To commemorate the occasion, Row will be the last Sportsman ATV to leave the starting line (No. 99a) and he will be riding solo, hoping to earn a prestigious Sal Fish SCORE IronRider award. Row has earned nine podium finishes with four class wins in this race so far, including winning the overall ATV title of the once-in-a-lifetime SCORE Baja 2000 that commemorated the start of the new millennium.
The rugged course travels from Ensenada east through Ojos Negros, down Laguna Salada to San Felipe, down through the three legendary Baja canyon washes of Matomi, Huatomote and Chanate, joining familiar routes to the six-mile turnoff before Mike’s Sky Rancho, heading over to the Pacific Coast crossing Highway 1 near San Vicente and to Erendira, then through Santo Tomas, Uruapan and back to Ojos Negros, covering much of the northern half of the majestic Baja California peninsula to and from Ensenada. Except for the San Felipe loop, the course travels in a clockwise direction. The San Felipe loop will be run counter clockwise.
The race course features six physical checkpoints along with 64 virtual checkpoints.
At the physical checkpoints vehicle numbers and passing times are recorded to help verify the information gathered on the electronic recording devices that are mounted on all vehicles in the race.
With primary sponsorship from BFGoodrich Tires, the three website which will have extensive coverage of the racing, including real time video and audio streaming from the start/finish line area are www.dirtnewz.com, www.race-dezert.com and www.racetheworld.net.
In 2011, BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating its 36th year in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over three and a half decades, BFG has been the tire of choice for 24 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including 24 of the last 25 years and a record run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005.
This race also features the prestigious Sal Fish SCORE IronRider awards presented to each motorcycle or ATV rider who completes the entire course within the time limit while riding solo. To date, 15 racers have officially declared their intention to compete in the race as solo riders.
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 for the race. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all Pro car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 26th consecutive year, a total of 27 drivers remain eligible after Round 4 of the 2011 SCORE Desert 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.
Tecate Beer is the title sponsor of the 44th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Official Sponsors of the SCORE Desert Series are:
-BFGoodrich Tires, Official Tire
-Volkswagen of America, Official Vehicle
-Sunoco Race Fuels, Official Race Fuel
-Slime, Official Tire Sealant
-Symons Ambulance Company, Official Ambulance
-Bilstein, Official Shock Absorber
-Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Official Mexican Auto Insurance
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Baja 1000 are:
-Coca-Cola, Official Soft Drink
-Volaris Airlines, Official Airline
-Lightforce Performance Lighting, Official Driving Light
Additional SCORE Sponsors are - Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Las Vegas Events, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Overall Champions(1967 through 2010):
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
Lary 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 Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda 19:20:52
Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola Sr., Ford F-150, 19:00:04
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Overall Champions:
Johnny Campbell - 11
Steve Hengeveld - 7
Kendall Norman - 5
Ty Davis - 4
Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
Quinn Cody - 3
Dan Ashcraft - 2
A.C. Bakken - 1
Overall Motorcycle Wins (By Brand):
Husqvarna - 11
Kawasaki - 9
Yamaha - 2