ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico — Setting down the microphone in favor of a steering wheel, TV action sports commentator and veteran SoCal desert racer Cameron Steele has drawn the first starting position in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for next week’s Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge.
With pre-running today, Saturday and Sunday, Steele, of San Clemente, Calif., will lead the field in the unique-format, multi-day, multi-lap race in his No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado into next week’s race. Steele, the popular TV personality, races in the featured SCORE Trophy class for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
Race-week festivities will be held next Tuesday (Sept. 19), Wednesday (Sept. 20) and Thursday (Sept. 21) with racing next Friday through Sunday (Sept. 22-24). The race features classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.
With less than two months remaining before the historic 50th anniversary race of the iconic SCORE Baja 1000, the City of Tijuana and the Tijuana tourism groups has given SCORE a multi-year contract that moved this race from nearby Rosarito Beach where it was held last year.
With no qualifying for any classes in this race, the drawing determined starting positions within each class.
Among the other racers who drew first starts along with the number of entries to date in their respective classes are: Trophy Truck Spec – No. 150 John Langley, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Mason-Chevy, (10 entries to date); Pro UTV FI – No. 2930 Sean Cook, Twain Harte, Calif., Can-Am Maverick X3 (race-high 14 entries); Class 1 – No. 168 Shelby Reid, Apple Valley, Calif., Jefferies-Chevy (nine entries); Class 10 – No. 1000 Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif., Alumi Craft-Chevy (seven entries); Class 5-1600 – No. 555 Tomas A. Fernandez, Monterrey, Mexico, VW Baja Bug (six entries) and Class 1/2-1600 – No. 1901 Roberto Romo, Mexicali, Mexico, Romo-VW (five entries).
Leading the motorcycles onto the course will be No. 33x of Garret Poucher, Valencia, Calif., Honda CRF450X (nine entries) in the Pro Moto Unlimited Class.
Online registration on the SCORE website at www.SCOREInternational.com will continue after the drawing until 5 p.m. this Sunday (Sept. 17) with late registration at the host hotel next Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 20 and 21).
Pre-running exclusively for all car, truck and UTV vehicles will be held this Friday and Saturday and pre-running exclusively for motorcycle and quad vehicles will be held this Sunday.
WHERE THEY’RE FROM
With 116 official entries to date and nearly 150 total expected by race day, the drawing included entries from 14 U.S. States and 13 countries. Nations are USA, host nation Mexico along with Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland. States with entries so far are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered desert race car
The first zero-emissions vehicle to complete the Dakar Rally (2017), veteran female international rally competitors Andrea Peterhansel of Switzerland and Emma Clair, of France will make history racing in the new Baja-e class for electric cars.
With rally racing experience also on motorcycles (Peterhansel) and quads (Clair), Peterhansel and Clair will pilot the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered electric car supported by Janton Racing of Barcelona, Spain.
The unique-format race will be held at a spectator-friendly start/finish line and ‘hot pit’ area located on the southeast outskirts of Tijuana to the east of the popular Rancho Casian area off of Boulevard 2000 (Highway No. 201). The actual start/finish line area and hot pits will be located 2.3 miles inland off of the highway. The official race course of 23.4 miles will see all classes cover a total of six laps for 140.4 total miles split into two parts.
Moving to the largest city on the Baja California peninsula will be the special split-format, multi-lap Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge, marking the first time in its storied history that a SCORE race has started and finished in Tijuana.
Running predominately on land owned by prominent developer Grupo Musquis, SCORE Race Director Jose Grijalva confirms that this year’s course is extremely beautiful and picturesque with more places to pass than last year’s course. He further stated that around four miles was actually part of last year’s course that started and finished just south of Rosarito Beach. The course runs in a counterclockwise direction with two checkpoints. Checkpoint 1 will be at race mile 12.05 and Checkpoint 2 will be at race mile 17.8.
Most of the terrain for this race course is on mountains, hills, valleys and local trails. In addition to Grupo Musquis land, the course also runs through areas like La Nopalera, Los Pancho’s and Ejido Mesa Redonda.
Race headquarters will be the Real Inn Hotel in the heart of the Rio Zona area of Tijuana on Avenida Paseo de los Heroes. Racer registration will be held in the foyer of the hotel’s Roma convention area on Wednesday, Sept. 20 (5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT) and Thursday, Sept. 21 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Media registration will be held in the same location on Thursday, Sept. 21 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Contingency/Manufacturer’s Midway will be held in directly in front of the headquarters hotel on the historic Avenida Paseo de los Heroes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 21) with tech inspection also starting at 10 a.m. and lasting one hour longer until 6 p.m.
The event features three full days of racing. SCORE Race Director Jose Grijalva has put together a 23.4-mile loop course through the challenging hills in the area that each class will run a total of six laps over for 140.4 total miles for the race.
With the course running in a counter-clockwise direction, motorcycles, quads and one group of car classes will race in split segments on Friday (Sept. 22) starting at 6:30 a.m. Racing will finish on Friday at 6:20 p.m.
The other car and truck classes, including the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck, SCORE TT Legend the unlimited Class 1 and Trophy Truck Spec divisions will run the first half of their race on Saturday (Sept. 23) and final half on Sunday (Sept. 24). Racing for those classes will start each day at 8 a.m. and finish at 4:25 p.m. The featured SCORE Trophy Truck, SCORE TT Legend and Trophy Truck Spec divisions will start on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:25 p.m. PT.
ART SAVEDRA MEMORIAL SHOOTOUT
During the Friday (Sept. 22) racing action, two of SCORE’s historical VW Baja Bug racing classes (Class 5-1600 and Class 11) will hold the Art Savedra Memorial Shootout in memory of SCORE’s Tech Director who passed away recently. These classes will run both halves of their race on that day with a time-out between their sessions.
There will be a special trophy and bonus purse for this special part of the race.
Unique for SCORE, the 21st the SCORE Desert Challenge will use this race format that has all classes racing in five different groups for a total of six laps over a surprisingly rugged 23.4-mile race course (140.4 total miles) split into two, three-lap sessions.
While this is the first time in Tijuana, the SCORE Desert Challenge has been held 20 previous times since it first began in 1995. It was held in Laughlin, Nev., USA, from 1995 through 2012, in Plaster City, Calif., USA, in 2014 and in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico in 2016.
Tijuana is one of the five largest and fastest-growing metropolitan areas in all of Mexico. The city has also experienced tremendous growth in recent years, attracting investments by electronics, aerospace and medical tourism firms and is also regarded as one of the top cuisine destinations in the world, including craft beer production.
Tijuana has also recorded its best hotel occupancy rate in the last 15 years and has attracted additional hotel chains like City Express, Holiday Inn and the Hyatt Hotels among others.
Only two races in SCORE history have started in Tijuana. The first was the inaugural SCORE Baja 1000 (then called Mexican 1000) in 1967 and then again in 1995. In both of those years the SCORE Baja 1000 finished in La Paz.
EL REY NETWORK
The four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship in Baja California, Mexico along with the SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience/SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying in Las Vegas will all air on El Rey Network in the United States. International distribution is by way of syndication. The season-ending 50th SCORE Baja 1000 will have a two-hour show produced while the other race shows are and Las Vegas qualifying are each one-hour telecasts.
El Rey Network is a 24-hour, English-language lifestyle network targeting “Strivers,” viewers who hold strong core beliefs about the importance of family, independence, hard work, craftsmanship, and legacy.
Founded by maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, and curated by Rodriguez and his artistic collective, the network features action-packed programming, relatable heroes and aspirational stories that embrace today’s America. El Rey’s slate is anchored by signature series including the original drama “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” the one-on-one interview program “El Rey Network Presents: The Director’s Chair,” and “Lucha Underground,” a lucha libre wrestling series produced by Mark Burnett.
El Rey Network’s lineup also showcases a wide range of iconic feature films and television series including genre, action, and sci-fi/ horror. El Rey Network LLC is jointly owned by Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures, with a minority stake held by Univision Networks & Studios, Inc.
El Rey Network is available in 45 million homes across the country through cable and OTT providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 341 and Dish Network Channel 253. For more information on how to watch El Rey visit http://elreynetwork.com.
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Dana Brown, Dust2Glory has chronicled each of the four races in the 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship. D2G, which began shooting at the 2015 SCORE Baja 1000, continued up close and personal coverage capturing the robust racers in their amazing adventures in Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula through all four spectacular 2016 races. Dust2Glory is scheduled for release later this year.
The four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship and for the second time all four are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the complete 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
31st SCORE San Felipe 250, March 30-April 2, San Felipe, Mexico
50th SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.14-18, Ensenada, Mexico to La Paz, Mexico
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, Axial R/C-Official R/C Vehicle, El Rey Network-Official Television Partner, 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 Secretary of Tourism, Tijuana 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 atwww.SCOREInternational.com.
Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge
Sept. 22-24, 2017—140.4 miles (6 laps, 23.4-mile loop course)
Round 3 of four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Total Entries: 116 (as of 9/15/17)
(from 14 U.S. States, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,
Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland)