Desert Diaries – SCORE Baja racers biding time, Parte Uno –

Desert Diaries – SCORE Baja racers biding time, Parte Uno


April 7, 2020

SCORE Desert Diaries–

SCORE champions COPS Racing, Wilson Motorsports
trying to stay focused while hoping for end of COVID-19


SCORE racers determined to start 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship
CHECK: for latest race information
     ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE is checking in on several of its racers during this shutdown to see how they are doing and how are they are preparing for when life returns to the new normal in a special series called SCORE Desert Diaries—Biding Time.)
Two of the most prominent race teams in the SCORE World Desert Championship, COPS Racing and Wilson Motorsports each have three race vehicles anxiously waiting to be able to get the 2020 SCORE Baja racing season started.
With the 2020 season reduced to three races while the battle rages against Coronavirus (COVID-19), desert racers around the world are hoping to start the 2020 SCORE season at the 52nd annual BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4Wheel Parts, in Baja California.
Launching its 47th season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the season-opening event of the three-race internationally-televised 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship has been moved to June 17-21 in Ensenada. Ensenada is a coastal city on the Bahia de Todos Santos area of the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of the U.S. border at San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world. All three 2020 SCORE races will be run on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year.
Domestically, the entire 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will be televised on a delayed basis on the World of X Games show on the ABC Television Network as co-produced by SCORE International and award-winning BCII TV of Los Angeles. It will also be syndicated internationally to 25 countries.
With entries in SCORE Trophy Truck, SCORE TT Legend and the unlimited Class 1, COPS Racing, based in Carson, Calif., includes family patriarch John Langley, 76, and his sons Zak Langley and Morgan Langley as the three drivers of record. Family patriarch John Langley is the father of reality TV with his long time running show ‘COPS’.
All three race vehicles were built by ES Motorsports.
Zak Langley, 44, will race the No. 50 ESM-built Ford F-150 in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 950 horsepower unlimited custom trucks, family patriarch John Langley, 76, will be ‘DOR’ in the No. 50L ESM-Ford truck in SCORE TT Legend and Morgan Langley, 46, will be the driver of record in the No. 150 ESM-Chevy powered open-wheel desert race car in the unlimited Class 1.
All three plan on having a second driver this season. Steve Hengeveld, Flagstaff, Ariz., will be Zak Langley’s second driver in the No. 50 SCORE Trophy Truck while John Langley’s second driver in the No. 50L SCORE TT Legend (drivers over 50 years old) will be veteran desert racing champion and AMA and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Ricky Johnson, 55, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. Paul Keller, El Cajon, Calif. will be the other driver for Morgan Langley’s No. 150 Class 1 car.
Zak Langley and Kyle Jergensen teamed up for the 2018 SCORE Baja 1000 where they finished eighth out of 36 starters in SCORE Trophy Truck.
Hengeveld has eight motorcycle class wins including the last seven which were overall two-wheel titles in the SCORE Baja 500 (1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2012) and along with Kash Vessels, Mooresville, N.C., helped John Langley defeat 26 starters in Trophy Truck Spec to win their class in the epic 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 in 2017.
Morgan Langley and Keller teamed to win Class 1 in the 2018 SCORE Baja 1000.
A multi-talented second and third generation SCORE Baja race team, Wilson Motorsports of Long Beach, Calif. is expected to have three Chevy powered Jimco open-wheel desert race cars competing to start this year’s SCORE World Desert Championship.
Family patriarch Norm Wilson introduced his sons Rick, Randy and Ronny in the 1980s and the third generation of Wilson racers, cousins Brian and Brad to desert racing and all have become legends in SCORE Baja racing and extremely popular among the hundreds of thousands of SCORE fans in Baja California.
Currently Wilson Motorsports has three Jimco Racing open-wheel desert race cars all equipped with Chevy powerplants built by Las Vegas’ award-winning Wiks Racing Engines. All three are prepped to race in the unlimited Class 1 with Ronny Wilson, 58, driving in one, his son Brad, 30, driving a new Jimco and Brian, 34, (Rick’s son) driver of record in the third Jimco-Chevy Class 1 racer.
With the second gen brothers and third-gen cousins sharing time behind the wheel at different times, Wilson Motorsports has won six SCORE season class point championships and they have over 100 podium finishes so far in their illustrious racing history.
In 1987 Ronny Wilson won the season title in Class 43 for ATVs and later teamed with his brothers (Randy Wilson was the driver of record) to win titles in 1989 in Class 10 and 2009 in Class 1.
With some help from their dads and uncles, third-gen racers Brian Wilson and Brad Wilson have added three more titles to the family treasure chest.
Brian Wilson won Class 1 in 2017 while Brad Wilson earned season crowns in Class 10 in 2013 and in Class 1 in 2018. In 2019 Brad finished fourth in Class 1 points followed by Brian in fifth in Class 1 season points.
With race schedule changes making plans still subject to some change, Ronny Wilson is expected to have John Herder, 51, of Tucson, Ariz. as his second driver in the No. 135 Jimco-Chevy. Brian Wilson’s long-time second driver is Kyle Quinn, 30, Lakewood, Calif. in the No. 138 Jimco-Chevy while Brad Wilson’s second driver will again be Justin Munyon, 33, San Clemente, Calif. in the new No. 153 Jimco-Chevy.
John Langley shares some responses for COPS Racing while Ronny Wilson is the spokesperson for Wilson Motorsports responding to some questions regarding this down time from life as we have known it.
SCORE: How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation?
JL: Like everyone else, we are hunkered down and trying to avoid contact with anyone so we don’t catch Covid-19 or spread it!
RW: Very strange times but we are dealing with this the best we can. Only seeing family.
SCORE: Is everybody healthy at home?
JL: Everybody is good so far. Just going stir crazy!
RW: Yes, so far we are all good.
SCORE: How is your business handling this situation?
JL: All my employees are working from home and everybody, on the production side (Langley Productions) and race side (COPS Racing), will remain employed!  We’ll take a financial hit but that’s not our main concern. Like everyone else, we are anxious to win this one and get back to racing!
RW: So Far we are OK, Some of our jobs have been shut down but we have not laid off anybody as of this week. Some of the office staff is working from home and others are only coming in to the office to get files.
SCORE: What are you doing with your race team during this time?
JL: Our team is working—at home—and getting all our equipment as good as it can be for the earliest race that makes sense.
RW: As our team is made up mostly of volunteers, so we are asking them to stay home with their families.
SCORE: Is your race shop still working?
JL: Our shop is closed except for picking up needed parts or equipment to take home to work.
RW: Mike (Stapleton) and Chris are still working during the days, but no Tuesday night shop time with the drivers.
SCORE: What are some things you and your shop team are working on to keep ready to race?
JL: You name it!  Every detail we can think of that never quite gets taken care of is now thoroughly reviewed and fixed or replaced or modified, as the case may be.
RW: Doing extended prep on pre-runners and completing final touches on Brad’s new Jimco.
SCORE: How are you keeping in touch with your race team?
JL: We are all one big virtual family!
RW: Mostly through emails and phone calls.
SCORE: Have you done or are planning to do any form of vehicle testing in the near future?
JL: I wish we could test but we don’t seem to have any options right now. But we will be ready to roll as soon as we get a green light.
RW: At this moment we are not, due to the request to stay at home.  We anticipate testing as soon as that request is lifted.
SCORE: Will you be submitting the application with the SBA for the payroll stimulus payroll?
JL: We don’t need a loan, we need a race!
RW: Yes, for our family construction business.
SCORE: Have you had a chance to play the new SCORE Baja Big Air Game yet on Apple Apps or Google Play? If so, how did you do?
JL: Nope, but my boys probably have.
RW: Brad has played it, showing his nephew Maddox the ropes and he showed him how to win the SCORE Baja 1000!
SCORE: How hard has the adjustment been for you to just sit and wait while the virus is eradicated?
JL: Other than fighting with my wife, all is normal…which is to say, all is normal!
RW: Very tough, tired of watching the news. Just looking forward to the day when we can get back to normal and we can all return to Baja!
SCORE: What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time?
JL: I envision every race i have won and keep winning them over and over again!  And then I wallow in my mistakes and live them like a gerbil on a wheel that goes nowhere! And I walk a few miles every day and work out three times a week.  And of course take all the pills prescribed by my cardiologist!  Oh, and drink a lot of fine wine!
RW: We are all mountain biking a few days a week.
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 starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE in December of 2012.
The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja 500 as the popular summertime race will start for the 47th time there and finish for the 43rd time there.
As part of their massive SCORE Contingency program for 2020, long-time SCORE sponsor partner BFGoodrich Tires is offering a large contingency bonus for each overall winner in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. For the 52nd annual SCORE Baja 500, the contingency bonus is US$25,000. BFGoodrich Tires is entering its 44th year as the Official Tire of SCORE and in 2020 the company will also be the title sponsor of both the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 and the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000.
Presenting sponsor of both of those iconic races will be 4 Wheel Parts.
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has now produced the tire of choice for 30 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 30 of the last 34 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 92 SCORE Baja races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500.
Here is the REVISED three-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship (as of April 3, 2020) schedule of events, for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
  • BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, June 17-21, Ensenada, Mexico
  • 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, Sept. 16-20, San Felipe, Mexico
  • BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.17-22, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Ensenada, Baja California
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship aired on the ABC family of networks. The four-races air as one-hour specials on ABC TV’s World of X Games program with replays on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, 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, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at