Prelude to BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000—special race notes, statistics from the world’s most iconic desert race
To date—180 total entries from 26 U.S. States and 13 countries part of field; Race week-Nov. 17-22; Pre-running continues—898.40-mile course in BC, Mexico; S/F in Ensenada for finale of two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship Granddaddy of All Desert Races to be televised on ABC’s World of X Games
ENSENADA, Mexico—More than five decades in the making, this month’s BFGoodrich Tires 53rd annual SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, has a perspective like no other on the history of desert racing.
The SCORE Baja 1000 is at the pinnacle of motorsports as the most iconic, oldest, prestigious, toughest and longest continuously held desert race in the world.
Starting and finishing under strict BioSecurity health and safety protocols in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, race-week activities and the Granddaddy of All Desert Races itself will be next week (Nov. 17-22). With no spectators allowed, the start/finish line compound will be on the Eastern outskirts of downtown Ensenada, at the end of the extension of Avenida Ruiz.
Spectators will be allowed around the race course following the protocol directives.
Pre-running continues on the challenging 898.40-mile race course. Because of the Pandemic BioSecurity protocols, all race-week activities and the start/finish line area will be closed to the public. Spectators, adhering to the protocols, will be allowed to watch the race from around the race course. 53rd SCORE BAJA 1000
Many of the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s massive BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour special on ABC TV’s World of X Games programming.
Ensenada, “The Off-Road Capital of the World” 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.
Over 200 vehicles are expected at the start line with racers from nearly 30 U.S. States and as many as 15 countries anticipated. Long-time SCORE sponsor and race title sponsor BFGoodrich Tires has also posted a US$25,000 contingency bonus for the overall 4-wheel winner to help commemorate the renewal of this legendary SCORE race.
This year’s SCORE Baja 1000 will be a loop race record of a spectacular 898.40 miles in the northern state of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula.
It will start for the 46th time and finish for the 27th time in Ensenada and the race is annually the finale of the SCORE World Desert Championship, which has been held exclusively for the past five years in Baja California.
With a total time limit of 40 hours in the elapsed-time race, the motorcycle and quad classes will start at 4 a.m. (PT) on Friday, Nov. 20 and the car, truck and UTV classes will follow with their start on at 10 a.m. (PT). While the fastest vehicles are expected to cover the course in approximately 18 hours, all vehicles will have 40 hours from the time each starts to become an official finisher. LASTING LEGACY Here’s a brief look back at some of the plethora of special memories that this Granddaddy of all Desert Races is etching indelibly into the sands of time… LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 1
On November 17-22 of this year, the legendary SCORE Baja 1000, the world’s most iconic, oldest, prestigious, toughest and longest continuously held desert race, will celebrate its 53rd birthday, starting and finishing in Ensenada. We salute some of the stars and memories of this race.
Launching this legacy tribute, we recall two of the greatest racers who have participated in the SCORE Baja 1000—the late Rod Hall and Larry Roeseler. Both are Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees.
Hall, who passed away in 2019 at 81 after a long illness, competed in all of the first 50 SCORE Baja 1000 races and earned a race-record 25 class wins in his long and illustrious career.
Roeseler, who is also an inductee into the AMA (American Motorcycle Associat) Hall of Fame, will be at the starting line again for this year’s odyssey in Ensenada. Roeseler is second in all-time class wins with 17. Roeseler is the leader in overall race wins with 13, including 10 on a motorcycle, two on an open-wheel desert race car and one in a SCORE Trophy Truck. He will be the second driver this year for Luke McMillin in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 2
Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Sal Fish was President of SCORE from 1974 until Dec. 20, 2012.
Besides Fish, who raced before SCORE races before owning SCORE when he was the Publisher of Hot Rod Magazine, the famous and not-so-famous have tried their hand at conquering the Baja and they have come from all walks of life. Mark Thatcher, son of Great Britain’s then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher, raced in the 1982 SCORE Baja 1000. Celebrities James Garner, Ted Nugent and the late Steve McQueen all battled the Baja in the early 1970s and many racers from other forms of motorsports crossed over to try their skills. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 3
Among the drivers from other arenas who have tested the Baja were Indy Car racers Rick and Roger Mears, Parnelli Jones, Danny Ongias, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Buddy Rice, Sebastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi, Oriol Servia, Roberto Guerrero, Michel Jourdain Jr., Johnny Unser and Mike and Robbie Groff, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Boris Said and Brendan Gaughan, Formula 1 champion Jenson Button, SCCA legend Elliot Forbes-Robinson, World Rally Championships’ Armin Schwarz, Armin Kremer, Andreas Aigner and Harri Pavanpera, Pikes Peak Hill Climb record holder Rod Millen, Formula Drift and Pikes Peak champion Rhys Millen, Dakar Rally champions Nasser Al-Attiyah, Ricky Brabec and Toby Price, world motorcycle champions Malcolm Smith, Larry Roeseler and Destry Abbott, Motocross legends Ricky Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, XGames star Travis Pastrana, drag racers Don Prudhomme and Larry Minor and legendary SCORE founder and motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson.
The late Academy Award winning actor, racer and race team owner Paul Newman raced in the 2004 event. Jesse James, of ‘Monster Garage’ fame, and Hollywood film and TV star Patrick Dempsey both have raced in this classic several times.
Among the other Hollywood celebrities that have competed in this race are Chuck Norris, Aaron Norris, Michael Nesmith and Larry Wilcox. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 4
With entries expected this year from nearly 30 U.S. States and as many as 15 countries, here are the countries that have had at least one entry in the Granddaddy of All Desert Races over the years:
The SCORE Baja 1000 has captured the imagination of the entire world as entries have come not only from every state in the United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories Guam and Puerto Rico, but also has attracted racers from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, China, Cyprus, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Norway, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay, Yugoslavia as well as the host country of Mexico.
Over the years, SCORE races have been televised in more than 100 nations worldwide. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 5
Part of the legacy of this iconic race, SCORE presents the racers who have been overall winners of the SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000 the SCORE Baja Triple Crown Award.
The nine individuals who have earned this amazing honor are: Dave Ashley, Robby Gordon, Rob MacCachren, Andy McMillin, Scott McMillin, Larry Ragland, Dan Smith, Ivan Stewart and Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 6
The first SCORE Baja 1000 in 1967 (called the NORRA Mexican 1000) started in Tijuana by the bull ring and finished in La Paz.
Since then the only other time the race has started in Tijuana was in 1995 when it also finished in La Paz.
Since those humble beginnings, Ensenada has hosted the majority of the SCORE Baja 1000 races. The race officially became the SCORE Baja 1000 in 1975 after the worldwide event was not held in 1974 because of the international fuel crisis.
While the race has been point-to-point around once every three years, it has finished twice in Cabo San Lucas (2000 and in 2007).
Overall, the world’s most well-known desert race has started 45 times in Ensenada, three times in Mexicali, twice in Tijuana, once in Ojos Negros and once in Santo Tomas.
Overall, the SCORE Baja 1000 has finished in 26 times in Ensenada, 21 times in La Paz, twice in Mexicali, twice in Cabo San Lucas and once in Ojos Negros. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 7
This race has been the proving grounds for racers and manufacturers. Looking first at the drivers with the most overall wins in the race, Larry Roeseler is clearly on top with 13 (including 10 on a motorcycle, two in an open-wheel desert race car and once in a SCORE Trophy Truck (driving with Roger Norman in 2008).
Tied for second in overall 4-wheel vehicle wins with five each are Andy McMillin, his uncle Mark McMillin, Larry Ragland and Malcolm Smith (including two on motorcycles). With four overall victories each are Rob MacCachren (including three straight years-2014, 2015, 2016) and Dan Smith (which includes one on a motorcycle).
With three overall 4-wheel vehicle wins are Dave Ashley, Doug Fortin, Robby Gordon, Ralph Paxton and Ivan Stewart.
Besides Roeseler with 10, the leaders in overall motorcycle wins are Johnny Campbell (11), Steve Hengeveld (8), Kendall Norman (6), Ty Davis (5) and with four each are Quinn Cody, Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Jack Johnson, Mark Samuels, Tim Staab and Colton Udall. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 8
In the battle of manufacturers, several categories are presented.
Leaders in overall car/truck wins are Ford Truck (14), Chevy Truck (10), Chenowth-VW (5) and Ford Bronco (4).
Leaders in overall Tire manufacturers’ wins for cars/trucks are BFGoodrich Tires (30), Western Auto (6), Firestone (4), Toyo Tires (4) and Calahan Cap (3).
The leaders in overall motorcycle wins are Honda (29), Husqvarna (11), Kawasaki (10) and Yamaha (2).
Combining all classes together, motorcycles have had the fastest of the fastest times of all vehicles 38 times and cars or trucks 14 times. SCORE Trophy Trucks have had the overall fastest time in seven of the last 11 years including the three by Rob MacCachren (2014, 2015, 2016). LEGACY—SCORE BAJA 1000, No. 9
SCORE has had few racers from Bolivia compete in a SCORE race but this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 will see a pair of Bolivian international rally racers and national motorcross champions—Juan Carlos ‘Chavo’ Salvatierra and Fabricio Fuentes, each competing as solo riders in the SCORE Pro Moto Ironman class.
Salvatierra, has raced nine years in the Dakar Rally, also mountain biking and triathlons. Considered the most important athlete in the history of Bolivia, In 2011, Salvatierra became the first racer from Bolivia to race in the Dakar Rally. He is also a nine-time Bolivian National Motocross champion.
He won the Pro Moto Ironman class in September’s SCORE Baja 500, his first SCORE race.
“Racing solo in the SCORE Baja 500 was like doing four stages of the Dakar Rally in one day. The SCORE Baja 1000 will be twice as demanding, but it is a challenge that I am willing to face,” says Salvatierra, who will compete on his No. 725x Villamontes Racing KTM 500 EXC-F motorcycle.
Fuentes, Villamontes, Bolivia, four-time Bolvian National Motocross champion who competed in the Dakar Rally from 2014 through 2019. He rides on a KTM motorcycle. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 10
With the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 this past September in San Felipe, it is interesting to note that there are 12 racers who have overall victories in both that race and the SCORE Baja 1000.
Clearly leading with way is legendary Larry ‘Mr Baja’ Roeseler who has 13 overall wins in the SCORE Baja 1000 and 11 in the SCORE Baja 500. Second was Johnny Campbell with 5 and 11 and third was Larry Ragland who had five in each of the iconic SCORE races.
The other races who have overall victories in both races and were racing in September in the SCORE Baja 500 along with their overall wins in each race are Andy McMillin (3 SCORE Baja 500, 5 SCORE Baja 1000), Robby Gordon (4, 3), Rob MacCachren (2, 4), Troy Herbst (3, 2), Scott McMillin (3, 2), B.J. Baldwin (1, 2), Gus Vildosola Jr (1, 1), (Justin Morgan (5, 3) and Mark Samuels (4, 4). LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 11
This year’s SCORE Baja 100 is anticipating over 200 entries from nearly 30 U.S. states and as many as 15 countries. In addition to over 175 news media personnel from around the world on-site, this year’s race will be featured as a one-hour special on ABC TV Network’s World of X Games programming. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 12
In 52 years of this great race, non-U.S. drivers have been the fastest overall winners in this race only five times, twice in the motorcycle division and three times in the four-wheel vehicle division.
In 1971 and 1972, Sweden’s Gunnar Nilsson won the motorcycle division of the race. In 1971 he team with legendary American desert racing star Malcolm Smith and in 1972 he won with follow Swedish countryman Rolf Tibblin. In both years, Nilsson won on Husqvarna motorcycles.
In 2010, Mexico son/father team of Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr/Gustavo Vildosola Sr became the first Mexican nationals and first non-Americans to win the four-wheel vehicle division when they drove their Ford F-150 to victory in the Ensenada to La Paz peninsula run.
In 2017 at the 50th anniversary race, Mexico son/father team of Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez/Juan C. Lopez became the second Mexican nationals to win the four-wheel vehicle division when they drove their Chevy Rally Truck to victory in the Ensenada to La Paz Golden celebration peninsula run.
In 2019, hometown heroes and brothers Alan Ampudia and Aaron Ampudia became just the third Mexican national team to capture the overall four-wheel and SCORE Trophy Truck title in this prestigious race.
Also of note in the motorcycle division in the 2016 race, Australia’s Daymon Stokie was one of three co-riders for the U.S.-based Ox Motorsports team with Colton Udall as rider of record. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 13
Looking at some overall stats from this legendary race, a total of 13,937 vehicles have started the first 52 races for an average of 268.02 starters per race. A total of 6,887 vehicles have finished the first 52 races for an average of 132.44 finishers per race. Percentage-wise, 49.42% is the average finishing rate for this great race.
In the first 52 years, the most ever starters came in 2006 when 431 vehicles left the start line and second most starters were the 40th anniversary race in 2007 when there were 424 total starters. Third most starters were the 50th anniversary race in 2017 when there were 404 total starters
In the first 52 years, the most ever finishers came in 2007 when 237 finished the 40th anniversary race, tied for first most finishers were the 50th anniversary race in 2017 when 237 also finished. The third most finishers in race history was in 2006 when 234 vehicles finished the race.
In the first 52 years of the world’s most famous desert race, the fewest number of starters was the first race back in 1967 when there were 68 starters and the race with second fewest number of starters was in 1973 when 143 started.
In the first 52 years of this iconic race, the fewest number of finishers was in 1967 when there were 31 finishers and the second fewest number of finishers was back in 1978 when there were 56 finishers. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 14
Four of the most inspiring SCORE Baja 1000 legends are SCORE Baja icons Dr. Bud Feldkamp, Bobby Ferro, Malcolm Smith and Mark Stahl.
Between them, these four innovating desert racing pioneers accumulated 10 overall victories and 15 class wins in the SCORE Baja 1000.
Leading with five overall and eight class wins is Smith who had two overalls on a motorcycle and three in an open-wheel desert race cars. Two of Smith’s overalls were with Dr. Feldkamp (1975 and 1977) and one with ‘Baja’ Bob Gordon (1987).
Ferro, who is a legendary racer and Hollywood stunt driver, won the overall in 1973.
Stahl, who went on to race in NASCAR’s Cup series for 12 years and the ARCA stock car series for another 13 years, won the overall at the SCORE Baja 1000 in 1978 and 1980. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 15
While the magnificent mystery of the Baja peninsula speaks for itself, the masters of Baja have etched their names in the lasting legacy of the Granddaddy of all Desert Races with their class wins in the SCORE Baja 1000.
There are 16 sturdy desert racers who have earned 11 or more class victories in this race. History shows the master to clearly be the incomparable Rod Hall, who passed away last year at 81 as the only person to have competed in all 50 of the first SCORE Baja 1000 races while earning a race-record 25 class wins in this race, eight more than second-place Larry Roeseler who has 17 including a race-high 13 overall victories.
Tied for third on the all-time multiple class win list with 16 each in this race are Craig Adams and Richard Jackson. Tied fifth with 15 each are Chris Haines, Johnny Johnson, Jeff Kaplan and Donald Moss. Ninth with 14 class wins each is age group motorcycle racer Jim O’Neal. Tied with 12 class wins each are Lou Franco, Steve Hengeveld, Bob Johnson, Jack Johnson and Francisco Septien.
Tied with 11 all-time class wins in this race are Johnny Campbell, and Chad Hall.
Many of these SCORE Baja legends are expected to compete in this year’s race, including Roeseler, O’Neal, Campbell, Rod Hall’s son—Chad Hall, Moss and Septien. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 16 Included in the first 180 official entry applications of the more than 200 anticipated for this year’s renewal of the world’s most iconic desert race are racers from 26 U.S. States and 13 countries.
U.S. States represented in the field of competitors to date are from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Besides the United States and host Mexico, countries represented to date in the total entry field are from Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa. LEGACY—SCORE Baja 1000, No. 17
The official loop-race record 898.40-mile race course runs in a counter-clockwise direction after the two-way section to the Ojos Negros area and down along the Pacific Ocean and around San Felipe and the Sea of Cortez before heading back up through Cordillera de Molina and back to Ojos Negro and the finish in Ensenada.
The challenging race course then winds its way through four of Baja California’s infamously magnificent washes: Amarillas, Chanate, Huatamote and Matomi before heading through the San Felipe area along the Sea of Cortez and West through Cordillera de Molina and then back to Ojos Negros to the finish just on the Eastern outskirts in Ensenada.
The start/finish line compound, closed to the public because of established safety and health protocols, is located on the Eastern outskirts of Ensenada, at the end of the extension of Avenida Ruiz.
The course starts with a two-way section to Ojos Negros before heading down the Pacific coast through Uruapan, Santo Tomas, San Vicente, Colonet, Camalu, San Quintin and El Socorro.
The course then turns northeast back to Vicente Guerrero on the east side of Highway 1, through Pena Colorada/Santo Domingo wash, Rancho Meling, Rancho El Coyote, downhill on Simpson’s trail, Leandro Valley, Valle de Trinidad, San Matias pass and Las Cuevitas canyon.
There are four physical full-stop checkpoints and 359 virtual checkpoints. Physical checkpoints: CP1-El Socorro (race mile 206.60), CP2-Valle de Trinidad (rm407.95), CP3-End of Matomi Wash (rm602.85) and CP 4-El Alamo (rm838.50). The race route also has a total of 20 Speed Zones for a total of 106.13 miles.
All Sportsman classes along with Pro classes 7SX, 11 and 9 will run a reduced course of 767.06 miles. SCOREscope 2020 SCORE SKED
November 17-22, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico 2021 SCORE SKED
Here are the dates for the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship which will be held in Baja California, Mexico for the sixth consecutive year:
November 15-20, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico ABC TV NETWORK’S AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will air on the ABC family of networks. The two-races will air as specials on ABC TV Network’s World of X Games program.
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.