ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—With San Diego’s defending overall race champion Andy McMillin clearly at the forefront, 17 racers who combined to win 16 Pro classes last year are part of the growing field for next week’s Golden Anniversary of the legendary BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500.
Online racer registration remains open until Wednesday and pre-running on the rugged race-record 542.12-mile course continues through Friday(June 1) a total of 266 vehicles entered so far.
Round 2 of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship will be held next Tuesday through Sunday (May 29-June 3). The celebratory internationally-televised race will start and finish in Ensenada, the seaside port on the Pacific Ocean, located 80 miles south of San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of the golden anniversary of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world.
It is an elapsed-time race with staggered starts as the green flag on Saturday (June 2) will drop first for the motorcycles and quads at 3:30 a.m. (PDT) and approximately 8 a.m. (PDT) for the cars, trucks and UTVs. While the fastest vehicles are expected to finish in around 11 hours, all vehicles will have a 22-hour time limit from the time each starts to become an official finisher.
Over 350 vehicles, in classes for cars, trucks, utvs, motorcycles and quads, are expected at the start line with racers from as many as 30 U.S. States and 20 countries anticipated.
Race title sponsor BFGoodrich Tires has posted a US$25,000 contingency bonus to help commemorate this year’s race.
CLASS WINNERS BACK
A total of 17 racers who combined for 16 Pro class wins in last year’s SCORE Baja 500 are entered this year with several of them in different classes. Returning 2017 class winners are led by Andy McMillin, San Diego who defeated the field of 233 total starters to also win his featured SCORE Trophy Truck class in the No. 31 Ford F-150.
The other returning car/truck/UTV class winners from 2017 are Brian Wilson, Lakewood, Calif. (Class 1, No. 100 Jimco-Chevy), Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (Trophy Truck Spec, No. 200 Chevy 1500), Broc Dickerson, Brawley, Calif. (Class 10, No. 1023 Alumi Craft-Chevy), Roberto Romo, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600, Romo-VW), Matt Ferrato, Simi Valley, Calif. (SCORE Lites, No. 1206 Custom-VW), Dallas Luttrell, Salt Lake City, Utah (Class 7, Chevy S-10), Justin Lambert, Bakersfield, Calif. (Pro UTV FI, No. 2918 Polaris RZR XP1000) and Marco Gonzales, Glendora, Calif. (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru).
Returning class winners in the motorcycle and quad classes are Shane Esposito, Temecula, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited, No. 1x Honda CRF450X), Justin Morgan, El Cajon, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited, No. 7x Honda CRF450X), Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif. (Pro Moto Limited), Jano Montoya, Winter Garden, Fla. (Peru) (Class 40, No. 400x KTM 450XCW), Jose Carrasco, Rosarito Beach, Calif. (Pro Moto Ironman, No. 721x Suzuki RMZ450X), Giovanni Spinali, El Cajon, Calif. (Pro Moto 50, No. 510x Honda CRF450X) and Said Sanchez, Tijuana Mexico (Pro Quad, No. 1a Honda TRX450R).
Andy McMillin, who along with his cousins Daniel McMillin and Luke McMillin are three third-generation McMillin racers entered this year, has three class wins (2005, 2010, 2017), including two overalls in the SCORE Baja 500. Brian Wilson, whose cousin Brad Wilson is also racing in a different Class 1 vehicle, has two class wins (2010, 2017) while Elias Hanna has four class wins in this race (2010, 2011, 2013, 2017).
Dallas Luttrell has two straight class wins (2016, 2017), Shane Esposito has five class wins (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017) including last year’s first overall motorcycle win, Justin Morgan has two overall motorcycle wins (2015, 2017) and veteran Jim O’Neal has a race record 20 class motorcycle wins in this race going all the way back to 1991.
Jano Montoya has won the Pro Moto 40 (riders over 40 years old) for the last three consecutive years and Giovanni Spinali has two moto class wins (2014, 2017).
Last year was the first class win in this race for the other seven returning racers.
The total of 266 entries to date have come from 29 U.S. States, U.S. Territory-Puerto Rico along with 14 total countries–host country Mexico, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Peru and Spain.
States among the field range so far from California, Washington and Oregon in the Pacific West, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico in the Mountain West, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the Northeast, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, Kansas and Texas in the Midwest and Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia in the South.
Leading the entries so far is the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 950-horsepower, unlimited custom trucks with 35 official entries as of today.
SCORE Trophy Truck, in its 25th year as the featured racing division in the sport, have been the overall winners of the SCORE Baja 500 for the last eight consecutive years and 13 of the last 14.
Other classes with double-figure entries so far besides SCORE Trophy Truck with 35 are Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) with 34 entries, Trophy Truck Spec with 23, Class 10 with 21, Sportsman Moto with 16, SCORE Lites with 16 also, the unlimited Class 1 with 13, Pro Moto 30 with 10 and Class 1/2-1600 with 10 as well.
ONLINE RACER REGISTRATION
Online registration, by class, for Pro and Sportsman entries, is ongoing through the SCORE website. Information on all SCORE races can be found on the home page under the Race Info tab.
Official entries received after the drawing will be given the next available starting position within their respective classes. Online entries will be accepted until 8 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, May 23.
START ORDER/DRAW DEADLINE
The starting order within each class for this race will start with the finishing order from this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250, if the individual entry was received by Monday and paid in full by Wednesday (May 23). For racers who were DNFs in San Felipe but enter by the deadline, a special drawing will be held for them prior to the other entries that come in for each class.
The deadline for those that raced in San Felipe to activate their reserved start position was also yesterday. Deadline for all additional entries to be included in the drawing for starting positions is on 8 p.m. PDTtomorrow (Wednesday, May 23). The results of the drawing, to determine the remainder of the start order within each class, will be held announced on Friday (May 25).
Late, on-site racer registration will be held next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (May 30-31, June 1) in Ensenada.
Official practice, or pre-running, on the official race-record 542.12-mile course for this year’s BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 opened this pastSaturday. Pre-running starts at race mile 39.30 at Rancho Mezcal and that section from the start to race mile 39.30 may only be run outbound on Thursday and Friday of race-week. GPS files, course notes and preliminary Racer’s Briefing are available on the race page on the SCORE website under race info.
AT THE RIVIERA…
The Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, in the heart of Ensenada, will again be the site of many of the activities surrounding the SCORE Baja 500. Racer registration and media registration will both be held in the Red Room on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (May 30-31, June 1).
Racer registration will be held on Wednesday (May 30) from Noon to 8 p.m. PDT along with 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT on both Thursday (May 31) andFriday (June 1). On Friday, no new entries will be accepted after 4 p.m.
Media registration the Red Room will be held on Wednesday (May 30) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PDT and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT on both Thursday(May 31) and Friday (June 1).
The SCORE Media Center will be in the Red Room during the race (June 2-3) with internet access and live race updates, vehicle tracking displays including unofficial elapsed times.
In the Cathedral Room at the Riviera will be pre-race media conference at 11:30 a.m. PDT as well as the mandatory pre-race racer’s meeting at 7 p.m. PDTon Friday (June 1). The post-race awards celebration will also be in the Cathedral Room at noon PDT on Sunday (June 3).
The start/finish line for the race will once again be adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Blvd. Costero.
RECORD LONG COURSE
The Golden Anniversary course, designed and finalized by SCORE CEO/President Roger Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva is an astounding race-record 542.12 miles. The course will run in a clockwise direction. The first and last 19.5 miles will be shared course outbound and inbound.
Starting and finishing once again in the heart of Ensenada in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, it will quickly leave the pavement and head up the spectator-friendly Ensenada Arroyo for two miles as it heads out of town. Upwards of 50,000 spectators are expected to watch the race in that area alone. And local tourism officials expect upwards of 200,000 fans spread along the entire length of the grueling race course.
The historic race course is another memorable example of all that Mexico’s Baja California has to offer, including high-speed dirt trails, sandy, rocky and silty natural terrain, majestic Baja washes and canyons, stretches along the seashore with elevations from sea level to over 3,000 feet. The course will be another jewel reflecting the mesmerizing, stark beauty of Baja California.
This year’s anniversary course will have four physical checkpoints—Checkpoint No. 1-El Chinero, (Race Mile 174.20), Checkpoint No. 2-San Matias (RM 260.72), Checkpoint No. 3-Vicente Guerrero (RM 368.15) and Checkpoint No. 4-Santo Tomas (RM 466.83).
Reflecting on the course, Grijalva commented, “This is going to be the roughest, toughest, longest and most spectacular SCORE Baja 500 race course in its 50 years of existence without exception.”
Among the other towns, areas and landmarks the course goes through or near are Ensenada Arroyo, Ojos Negros, the Goat Trail, Valle de Trinidad, Diablo Dry Lake Bed, Las Cuevitas Wash, Mike’s Sky Rancho, Rancho El Coyote, Rancho Meling, Camalu, Colonet, Colonet Wash and Erendira .
Following last year’s epic celebration of the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, this year’s SCORE World Desert Championship spotlights the special tribute to the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization. Mickey Thompson and his SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE to Roger and Elise Norman in December of 2012.
This year will be the 45th time the race has started and 41st time it will finish in Ensenada, the off-road capital of the world.
GRANDEST CO-GRAND MARSHALS
Legendary Hall of Fame former SCORE owner Sal Fish will join Hall of Fame retired racer Ivan Stewart as co-Grand Marshals for the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500.
Fish, the ‘godfather’ of desert racing who ran SCORE from its Baja start in 1974 for 38 years through the end of the 2012 season joins the iconic ‘Ironman’ Stewart, who has 17 class wins (including 10 overalls) in the SCORE Baja 500, to share duties for the special golden anniversary race that they both have been such a major part of over the years.
Fish, who turned 79 on May 2 and Stewart will turn 73 on June 4.
Below is the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule. For the third consecutive year all four races are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the complete 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
32nd SCORE San Felipe 250, April 4-April 8, San Felipe, Mexico
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and official race title sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, 4 Wheel Parts, The Satellite Phone Store, Satellite Del Norte, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, CETTO Vineyards.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Baja California Sur State Government, Baja California Sur Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamiento, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics.
Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge Special Partners: XXII Ayuntamiento de Tijuana, Baja California State Secretary of Tourism, Comite de Turismo and Convenciones, Comite de Marcadotecnia Turistica, Asociacion de Hoteles del Noroeste.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.
50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500
May 29-June 3, 2018—542.12 miles–Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico