ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE continues its preparation to launch its 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship with a special series of features called SCORE Fantastic Flashbacks—SCORE Baja 500, Part One).
To everything there is a beginning and the launch of SCORE International’s remarkable history in Mexico came on July 26, 1974 when what has become the World’s Foremost Desert Racing organization took over and officially produced its first SCORE Baja race – the SCORE Baja Internacional in Ensenada.
The legendary SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. The Baja 500 was actually started in 1969 by the NORRA organization but because of legal challenges regarding the use of the name after NORRA was removed as the official U.S desert racing promoter in Mexico by the government at the end of 1972, SCORE had to use the name SCORE Baja Internacional for over a decade.
Eventually then-SCORE owner Sal Fish was able to negotiate the use of the original name of the race and it became duly trademarked as the SCORE Baja 500. In 1973, the Baja 500 was organized and produced by a local tourism group called the Baja Sports Committee.
The first race in 1969 saw 163 total starters, 73 finishers. Four-wheel vehicle winner was the team of Bud Ekin/Guy Jones in a Oldsmobile-powered Baja Boot open wheeler and topping the two-wheel field was the team of Doug Douglas/Jim McClurg who rode a Ducati motorcycle. It has turned out to be the only wins in this event for both an Olds-powered vehicle and a Ducati bike. FAST FORWARD
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 legendary 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 July 14-19 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.
Ensenada, the off-road racing capital of the world 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. JULY 26, 1974
With tremendous assistance from Ensenada tourism advocate Nico Saad, Mickey Thompson and his fledgling SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the Baja 500 starting in 1974.
Thus came the birth of the SCORE Baja Internactional (legal issues precluded SCORE from gaining the rights to use the name Baja 500 until 1991). The first SCORE Baja Internacional (produced by Mickey Thompson and Sal Fish) was held on July 26, 1974 in Ensenada with 279 official starters and 173 official finishers. But fans, media and racers alike have always called it the Baja 500.
Noted Hollywood stunt driver and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Ferro won the overall 4-wheel vehicle title for the third of four times in his career in 1974, this time in a VW-Sandmaster open-wheel desert race car. The fastest overall motorcycle in this race was the Husqvarna with Mitch Mayes and A.C. Bakken sharing the riding duties. OVERALL CHAMPIONS
Legends are born at the SCORE Baja 500. Drivers with the most overall wins in the race, Larry Roeseler is on top with 11 (including nine on a motorcycle and two in an open-wheel desert race car).
Second is Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart with the most overall 4-wheel victories by far with 10 (and he also has race-record 17 total class wins including the 10 overalls).
Third in overall wins with five overall 4-wheel wins is ‘Lightning’ Larry Ragland.
With four overall 4-wheel wins each are Bobby Ferro, Robby Gordon and Malcolm Smith (including one on a motorcycle).
With three overall 4-wheel wins each are Dr. Bud Feldkamp, Troy Herbst, Mark McMillin, Mark’s brother Scott McMillin, Andy McMillin (Scott’s son) and Bryce Menzies.
With two overall 4-wheel wins each are Brian Collins, Bob Gordon (Robby’s father), Parnelli Jones, Rob MacCachren, Corky McMillin (McMillin family patriarch) and Dan Smith (including one on a motorcycle).
Besides Roeseler with nine, the leaders in overall motorcycle wins are Steve Hengeveld (7), Johnny Campbell, Paul Krause, Bruce Ogilvie and Kendall Norman with five each.
With four each are Robby Bell, Ted Hunnicutt Jr and Justin Morgan and with three each are Scot Harden, Mark Samuels and Jonah Street.
Also on the iconic overall winner’s list with one 4-wheel victory each are active racers B.J. Baldwin (2008), Kory Halopoff (2009), Mike Julson (1995), Curt LeDuc (1995), Harley Letner (2009), Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez (2015) and Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr (2016).
Among active racers, with four motorcycle overall wins is active racers Justin Morgan (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019), with three is Mark Samuels (2016), 2018, 2019) with two motorcycle overall wins each on two-wheels are Max Eddy Jr (2014, 2015), Justin Jones (2018, 2019), Ricky Brabec (2014, 2015) and Colton Udall (2013, 2016).
With one motorcycle overall win each are active racers Mike Childress (2005), Shane Esposito (2017), David Kamo (2013) and Roberto Villalobos (2017). MANUFACTURER CHAMPS
In the battle of manufacturers, several categories are presented.
Leaders in overall car/truck wins are Ford Truck (13), Chevy Truck (9), Funco, Chenowth and Toyota trucks with seven each, Jimco and Smithbuilt with three each, Sandmaster with two and with one each are Baja Boot, Chaparral, Jeep and Tatum.
Leaders in overall Tire manufacturers’ wins for cars/trucks are BFGoodrich Tires (32), Western Auto (5), Toyo Tires (4) and tied with two each are Firestone Tires, Goodyear Tires and Yokohama Tires.
The leaders in overall motorcycle wins are Honda (21), Husqvarna (12), Kawasaki (11), Yamaha (4) and with one each are Beta, Ducati and Harley-Davidson.
The leaders in overall engine wins for cars and trucks are Ford (15), Chevy (13), Volkswagen (13), Toyota (7), Porsche (5) and Jeep (1). CROSSOVERS
Among the drivers from other motorsport disciplines who have tested the Baja 500 have been Indy Car racers Rick and Roger Mears, Parnelli Jones, Danny Ongias, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Guerrero, Michel Jourdain Jr., Johnny Unser and Mike and Robbie Groff, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Boris Said and Brendan Gaughan, SCCA legend Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Pike’s Peak Hill Climb record holder Rod Millen, Drifting and Pike’s Peak champion Rhys Millen, World Rally Championship’s Armin Schwarz, Armin Kremer, Andreas Aigner and Harri Pavanpera, world motorcycle champions Malcolm Smith, Larry Roeseler and Destry Abbott, Motocross legends Ricky Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, Dakar Rally Champions Ricky Brabec, Cyril Despres and Marc Coma, XGames star Travis Pastrana, Sports Car champion Larry Connor, drag racers Don Prudhomme and Larry Minor and legendary SCORE founder and motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson. BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
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. SCOREscope 2020 SCHEDULE
Here is the REVISED three-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship (as of April 29, 2020) schedule of events, for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts
Nov.17-22, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
ABC TV AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will air on the ABC family of networks. The three-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. The shows are co-produced by SCORE International and SoCal’s award-winning BCII TV. SCORE SPONSORS… 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 www.SCOREInternational.com.
SCORE Baja 500 – Ensenada, Baja California MexicoAll-Time Overall champions (1969 thru 2019)
Year—DRIVERS/RIDERS, VEHICLE 1969—Bud Ekins/Guy Jones, Baja Boot-Olds
Doug Douglas/Jim McClurg, Ducati 1970—Parnelli Jones, Ford
Bill Silverthorn/Gene Fetty, Husqvarna 1971—Bobby Ferro, Funco-VW
Malcolm Smith/J.N. Roberts, Husqvarna 1972—Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Gene Fetty/Bill Silverthorn, Honda 1973—Parnelli Jones, Ford
Howard Utsey/Mickey Quade, Husqvarna 1974—Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Mitch Mayes/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna 1975—Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Harley-Davidson 1976—Bobby Ferro/Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna 1977—Ivan Stewart, Chenowth-VW
Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson, Husqvarna 1978—Bud Feldkamp/Malcolm Smith, Funco-VW
Brent Wallingsford/Scot Harden, Husqvarna 1979—Malcolm Smith/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Jack Johnson, Husqvarna 1980—Bob Gordon, Chenowth-Chevy
Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller, Yamaha 1981—Malcolm Smith/Bill Newbury, Chenowth-Chevy
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Yamaha 1982—Larry Ragland, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Chuck Miller, Yamaha 1983—Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-VW
Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna 1984—Larry Ragland, Chaparral-VW
Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna 1985—Ron Gardner/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Kurt Pfeiffer/Scot Harden, Husqvarna 1986—Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Garth Sweetland/Scot Harden, Husqvarna 1987—Bob Gordon/Tim Crabtree, Chenowth-Porsche
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki 1988—Mark McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Dan Ashcraft/Kurt Pfeiffer, Yamaha 1989—Robby Gordon, Ford (no motorcycles) 1990—Robby Gordon, Ford
Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte, Kawasaki 1991—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Garth Sweetland/Paul Krause, Kawasaki 1992—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr/Paul Krause, Kawasaki 1993—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Danny Hamel/Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki 1994—Ivan Stewart, Toyota (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Ford
Paul Krause/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki 1995—Curt LeDuc, Jeep (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Mike Julson/Bob Lofton, Jimco-VW
Paul Krause/Craig Smith, Kawasaki 1996—Rob MacCachren, Ford (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Troy Herbst, Smithbuilt, Smithbuilt-Porsche
Paul Krause/Ty Davis, Kawasaki 1997—Ivan Stewart, Toyota (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Mark McMillin, Jimco-Porsche
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda 1998—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda 1999—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Jonah Street/Torsten Borstrom, Honda 2000—Larry Ragland, Chevy
Jonah Street/Steve Hengeveld, Honda 2001—Mark McMillin, Jimco-Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda 2002—Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda 2003—Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda 2004—Alan Pflueger, Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda 2005—Robby Gordon, Chevy
Mike Childress/Mouse McCoy, Honda 2006—Brian Collins/Larry Ragland, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda 2007—Larry Ragland/Brian Collins, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman/Steve Hengeveld, Honda 2008—B.J. Baldwin, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda 2009—Harley Letner/Kory Halopoff, Tatum-Chevy
Bill Boyer/Donnie De Arman/Nicholas Blais/Rudy Iribe, Honda 2010—Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Ford
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda 2011—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda 2012—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Robby Bell/David Pearson/Steve Hengeveld, Kawasaki 2013—Robby Gordon, Chevy
Timmy Weigand/Colton Udall/David Kamo, Honda 2014—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Ricky Brabec/David Pearson/Max Eddy Jr, Kawasaki 2015—Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, Chevy
Ricky Brabec/Max Eddy Jr/Justin Morgan/Ian Young, Kawasaki 2016—Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, Ford
Colton Udall, Mark Samuels, Honda 2017—Andy McMillin, Ford
Francisco Arredondo/Shane Esposito/Justin Morgan/Roberto Villalobos, Honda 2018—Rob MacCachren, Ford
Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels/Justin Jones, Honda 2019—Andy McMillin, Chevy
Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels/Justin Jones, Honda NOTE: From 1994 through 1997 SCORE Trophy Truck ran as its own series
SCORE Baja 500 Overall Champions
Racers Cars & Trucks 11
*Larry Roeseler 10
Ivan Stewart 5
Larry Ragland 4
**Malcolm Smith 3
Bryce Menzies 2
**Dan Smith 1
Gus Vildosola Jr
*9 on motorcycle **1 on motorcycle Motorcycles 7
Steve Hengeveld 5
Kendall Norman 4
Ted Hunnicutt Jr
Justin Morgan 3
Jonah Street 2
Max Eddy Jr
Colton Udall 1
Ian Young Manufacturers Overall 4wheel Vehicle Trucks/SUVs* 13
Jeep *Includes 1994-97 (55 Total) Cars 7
Tatum *Includes 1994-97 (55 Total) Overall Engine Winners Cars & Trucks* 15
Oldsmobile *Includes 1994-97 (55 total) Motorcycles 21
Harley-Davidson Tires 4wheel vehicles (missing 4 years) 32
BFGoodrich Tires 5
Western Auto Tires 4
Toyo Tires 2