Shining Moments: 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship –

Shining Moments: 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship


January 2, 2021

SCORE Baja 1000 Sunday—ESPN2

Plethora of Shining Moments in pandemic-shortened
Two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship


Resiliency, dedication, determination, organization, intestinal fortitude,
organization, teamwork
, intense competition, creativity and camaraderie
helped SCORE International forge trail into the new normal

    ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico— While 2020 is a year that will be either forgotten totally or remembered with much disdain, the pandemic-abbreviated two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship produced many lasting memories and shining moments that are clearly a testimony to the resilience, dedication, determination and intestinal fortitude of people everywhere. They all add to the growing legacy of SCORE International, which completed its 47th year as the World’s Foremost Racing Organization in 2020.
We continue to learn many things from the negative aspects of the pandemic and the 2020 SCORE racing season will remain a tribute to the cooperative effort to work within the BioSecurity protocols demanded by the horrible virus and still afford the continuing opportunity for the extremely positive benefits of organization, teamwork, competition, creativity and camaraderie that are key elements of motorsports, albeit life, worldwide.

   Television coverage of the pandemic-shortened two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship concludes on ESPN2 tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 3) with the premier of multiple airings of the BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
     The one-hour special show featuring the Granddaddy of all Desert Races will be broadcast on the World of X Games show on ESPN2. It is scheduled to air at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT), but check local listings to confirm the time in your area.

What SCORE did in working through all of the issues involved with the pandemic to be able to end up producing extremely well its two flagship events while diligently working through the necessary elements involved with producing two major special events in Mexico was nothing short of phenomenal.
Under the direction of Jaime Bonilla Valdez, Governor of the State of Baja California and the immediate supervision of Dr. Alonso Oscar Perez Rico, the Secretary of Health of Baja California, SCORE was able to put together the feasible protocol plan to conduct two of the most massively popular special events in all of Mexico.
In additional to all of the agencies and police groups that provided significant assistance, SCORE received special involvement and assistance in particular from Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda, Ensenada Mayor Armando Ayala Robles and Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism Mario Jesus Escobedo Carignan.
Leading and overseeing all of the amazing efforts by the SCORE staff were Jose A. Grijalva, SCORE President/Race Director and Juan Tintos Funcke, SCORE General Manager.
Included in the primary group assisting Grijalva and Funcke with myriad details were SCORE Adminstrator Marco Durazo, SCORE Marketing and Sales Director Jim Ryan, SCORE Assistant Race Director Rodolfo Fernandez Alcantara, SCORE Registration/Member Services Director Adreonna Garcia, SCORE Contingency Vendor/Mexico Registration coordinator Jacky Rocha, SCORE Course Personnel Director Hector Ponce, SCORE Logistics Director David Duenas and SCORE Logistics Coordinator Eduardo Kawanishi.
Also part of the SCORE ‘A Team’ this year that helped organize, plan and then implement the Protocol and Rescue Plan were Miguel Ceballos of Cruz Roja Mexicana and Rigoberto Loyoza of BRL (Baja Rescue Logistics).
Without the commitment and diligent work of this SCORE core group, their would not have been a 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship at all.
“There was a silver lining in the tragedy of 2020 and one of them was how our SCORE staff stepped up, rallied together with the full cooperation and complete assistance from the Mexican government to create a platform that would allow us to hold the two most iconic and prestigious events of the SCORE World Desert Championship in a safe and successful way,” stated Grijalva. “We can’t thank our dedicated staff, most of whom are volunteers, for all of their hard work, energy and cooperative spirit.”
“We also want to sincerely thank the racers and their crews who gallantly journeyed to Baja and whose undying efforts displayed two of the most amazing races SCORE has ever held. And they were both held in the most unusual circumstances ever.”
After cancellations and several postponements because of the pandemic, SCORE was finally able to produce shining moments at both the SCORE Baja 500 in September and the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. Both were held under abnormal circumstances in abnormal locations.
With 129 official starters with racers from 20 U.S. States and seven countries, the BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, was held for just the second time in San Felipe, Baja California Mexico. It was held on the rescheduled dates of Sept. 26-27. The rugged course was 493.0 miles and 60.47 percent were official finishers.
With 185 official starters with racers from 26 U.S. States and 14 countries, the BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, was held on the outskirts of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico on the extension of Avenida Ruiz. It was held in its normal window of Nov. 20-22 but outside of town instead of in the heart of downtown. With the longest and toughest loop race-course in SCORE history at 898.40 miles, an amazing 60.54 percent of the rugged racers were finishers.
And both of these races were held under strict BioSecurity Protocols with no spectators allowed in the start/finish line compound for any of the race activities and masks, social distancing, temperature checks and abundant hand-sanitizer for those who did have access.
Normally, both these epic SCORE Baja races would be held in the heart of Ensenada, the ‘Off-Road Capital of the World.”
While there are amazing unsung heroes in the background, the real stars of ‘The Show’ are the remarkable racers who come from all over the world to participate in the SCORE World Desert Championship.
Individually, they are some of most talented racers in all of motorsports and they are most assuredly world’s best in desert racing. Collectively, they have provided all of us as well as themselves, their teams, families, friends and SCORE’s fabulous fans with some significant shining moments to cheer about in remembering the good of 2020…
A senior vice-president of Monster Energy and winner of his Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class at the SCORE Baja 500 for his first SCORE race victory, Matt Burroughs, 51, Norco, Calif., also won the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship Overall point title. He finished second in his class at the SCORE Baja 1000 to secure the title.
Burroughs, who joined the Can-Am factory UTV team in 2017, split the driving in 2020 with Bradley Howe, Leona Valley, Calif. and Mitchell Alsup, Bakersfield, Calif. in the No. 2948 Can-Am X3 Turbo UTV.
Second in SCORE overall points and winning his first SCORE Trophy Truck season point title was San Diego’s Luke McMillin, 27, who finished with 232 points in his No. 83 McMillin Racing Racer-built Ford F-150.
Celebrating its 27th season as the marquee racing division in the sport, winning the season championship in SCORE Trophy Truck for high-tech, 950-horsepower unlimited custom trucks was Luke McMillin. He also is the SCORE Overall Truck point champion for 2020.
The youngest of the legendary three-generation Big Blue M racing machine, Luke McMillin, 27, drove solo to a third-place finish in the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 in September and capped his championship season by teaming with Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Larry ‘Mr. Baja’ Roeseler to win the season-ending 53rd SCORE Baja 1000 in November.
It was Luke McMillin’s first SCORE overall race win at the SCORE Baja 1000 and the race-record 14th for the legendary Roeseler, 63, Boulevard, Calif. It was also first career SCORE Trophy Truck race win for Luke McMillin and the fourth in SCORE Trophy Truck for Roeseler.
It was his third career SCORE class season point championship for Luke McMillin, his first two being in 2010 and 2011 in Class 1/2-1600.
Adding to the lasting legacy of the family racing history, Luke’s older brother Daniel McMillin, 32, won the SCORE Baja 500 overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck.
With help from his co-driving father Brian, Cody Parkhouse, 33, Long Beach, Calif., earned his third career unlimited Class 1 point and his first SCORE Overall Open Wheel point title in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship.
Cody Parkhouse, who won his first two titles in 2012 and 2013, split the driving this year with his father Brian, 60, in their No. 127 Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
The son/father duo won their class in both races to earn their title the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. They also finished fourth in overall points for the season.
Winning his brutally tough Pro Moto Ironman class for solo riders in both 2020 races, Bolivia’s SCORE rookie Juan Carlos Salvatierra also earned the 2020 SCORE Overall Motorcycle point championship on his No. 725x KTM 500EXCF motorcycle. Overall, he rode solo on two wheels for 1,291.40 miles.
Salvatierra, 39, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, has raced nine years in the Dakar Rally.
He rode solo on the No. 725x motorcycle in the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000 to a winning tedious time of 33 hours, 36 minutes, 49 seconds over the brutally-tough 898.40-mile race course.
In all, eight of the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship season class point titlists won their individuals classes in both races this past season.
Besides Parkhouse in Class 1 and Salvatierra in Pro Moto Ironman, also pulling off twin wins in 2020 were Gustavo Pinuelas, Mexicali, Mexico (SCORE LItes, Jimco-VW), Edward Muncey, San Diego (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited, Honda CRF450X), Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Pro Moto 30, Honda CRF450X), Vance Kennedy, Peoria, Ariz. (Pro Moto 50, KTM 500XCW) and Carlos Silva, Mexicali, Mexico, (SPT M/C, Honda CRF450X).
Besides Salvatierra, SCORE had four other rookies who made the presence felt in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. Remarkably, four of the five won the class point crowns in their respective classes.
Randy Emberton, El Cajon, Calif., finished third in the Pro UTV Stock class in his Polaris RZR Turbo S which was good enough to secure his season class point title.
Second-generation desert racer Trey Hernquist, Encinitas, Calif., won Class 5 in his Custom-Chevy unlimited Baja Bug including winning his class in the SCORE Baja 500.
Another second-gen desert racer, Eliott Watson of El Centro, Calif., won the season title in the Pro UTV Unlimited class with a second and a first in class in 2020 in his Honda Talon 100R.
Third-generation desert racer Pierce Herbst, Las Vegas, is the youngest son of multi-time SCORE champion Tim Herbst and he finished second, just one point out of first, in the ultra-competitive Trophy Truck Spec class in his Herbst/Smith-built Chevy Truck. He finished fourth in his class out of 10 starters in the SCORE Baja 500 and second out of 17 starters in his class in the SCORE Baja 1000.
While everyone else was capturing their first, 15 of the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship class season point champs have now won at least two season titles in their respective careers.
Daniel Chamlee captured his 16th SCORE career Class 7 title to move into a tie for second on the all-time career win list, Larry Roeseler won his 12th career SCORE class point title, Clyde Stacy won his 10th career title, Francisco Septien won his eighth crown in 11 years, Cisco Bio won his fifth title, Santiago Creel now has five season championships in his four-year SCORE racing career and Nick Vanderwey also picked up his fifth career SCORE title.
Capturing their fourth SCORE class season point titles in 2020 were John Holmes and Justin Morgan while earning their third career SCORE class crowns in 2020 were Mark Samuels, Adolfo Arellano, Steven Eugenio, Luke McMillin and Cody Parkhouse while grabbing his second straight SCORE class crown was Mike Hales.
car/truck/UTV classes are, Eli Yee, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600, No. 1616 Kreger-VW), Randy Emberton, El Cajon, Calif. (Pro UTV Stock, No. 3933 Polaris RZR Turbo S), Mike Hales, Rogers, Ark. (Hammer Truck Unlimited, No. 4421 Jeep Wrangler), Trey Hernquist, Encinitas, Calif. (Class 5, No. 501 VW Baja Bug), Justin Park, Encinitas, Calif./Josh Tieman, Carlsbad, Calif. (Class 7F, No. 714F Ford Ranger and Brandt Anderson, San Juan Capistrano/John Holmes, Cardiff, Calif., (Class 7SX, No. 742 Ford Ranger.
Besides Salvatierra and the Samuels team, among the other rider of record class point champions in Pro motorcycle classes are Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Pro Moto 30, No. 370x Honda CRF450X), Vance Kennedy, Peoria, Ariz. (Pro Moto 50, No. 522x KTM 500XCW) and Fernando Beltran, Ensenada, Mexico (Pro Moto Unlimited, No. 180x Yamaha YZ250F).
With their class win in the SCORE Baja 1000, winning the Pro Quad class in 2020 is the team led by rider of record Adolfo Arellano, Tijuana, Mexico (No. 1a Pro Quad, Honda TRX450R).
“We truly are excited about what 2021 holds for all of us both in our lives in general and in the beautiful Baja desert,” commented SCORE’s Grijalva. “With the continuing cooperation of the Mexican authorities, the doggedly determined dedication of our SCORE staff, the exciting energy and limitless talent of the world’s best desert racers along with the sustaining support of our family of sponsors and our indefatigable faithful fans, 2021 will undoubtedly provide another amazing chapter in the history of SCORE International.”
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:

  • 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, presented by Ford—

April 14-18, San Felipe, Mexico

  • BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—

June 9-13, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

  • 2nd SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels—

September 14-19, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

  • BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—

November 15-20, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
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 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