ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—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 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 registered as the SCORE Baja 500. In 1973, the Baja 500 was organized and produced by a local tourism group called the Baja Sports Committee.
What has become one of the world’s top motorsports events will be celebrated in a special way this year at the upcoming internationally-televised 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. Round 2 of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship will be held May 29-June 3 in Mexico’s Baja California, starting and finishing in Ensenada, the seaside port on the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of the golden anniversary of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world.
It is an elapsed-time race with staggered starts as the green flag on Saturday (June 3) will drop first for the motorcycles and quads at 5:30 a.m. (PDT) and approximately 10 a.m. (PDT) for the cars, trucks and UTVs.
Over 350 vehicles are expected at the start line with racers from as many as 30 U.S. States and 20 countries anticipated. Race title sponsor BFGoodrich Tires has posted a US$25,000 contingency bonus to help commemorate this year’s race.
ONLINE RACER REGISTRATION
Online registration, by class, for Pro and Sportsman cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads, is ongoing through the SCORE website. Information on all SCORE races can be found on the home page under the Race Info tab.
Official entries received after the drawing will be given the next available starting position within their respective classes. Online entries will be accepted until 8 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, May 23.
Following last year’s epic celebration of the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, this year’s SCORE World Desert Championship spotlights the special tribute to the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization.
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 event starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE to Roger and Elise Norman 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. Because of legal issues with original race promoter NORRA (1969-1972), SCORE had to call the race the SCORE Baja Internacional for over a decade. Sal Fish negotiated the ownership of the name and starting in 1991 it has been called the SCORE Baja 500, even though it was always called the Baja 500 by racers and fans alike.
Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja 500 as this year the popular summertime race will start for the 45th time there and finish for the 41st time there.
Only four times has the race not been held in Ensenada at all. Because of continuing friction between the government and land owners, Sal Fish moved the 1984 to the desert near Barstow, Calif., USA and again in 1989 for the same reason Fish moved the race to San Felipe.
Because of the growth of the population in Ensenada, Fish started and finished the race in Ojos Negros in both 1991 and 1992.
Again because the city couldn’t identify an appropriate route back into Ensenada, the race started in Ensenada and finished in Santo Tomas four times (1988, 1990, 1994 and 1995). In 1993, SCORE was forced to start the race in Ojos Negros and finish in Santo Tomas.
Without exception starting in 1996, the SCORE Baja 500 has started and finished in Ensenada. The race has started and finished for nearly two decades now in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center and left town and returned to the city by running up and the Ensenada Arroyo (wash) for nearly two miles each way in front of upwards of 50,000 spectators to the outskirts of town and on to the Ojos Negros area.
The most starters and finishers in the history of this great race happened in 2007 when 492 total vehicles officially started the race and 283 of them were official finishers.
Racers like Ivan Stewart, Larry Roeseler, Bobby Ferro, Parnelli Jones, Larry Ragland, Robby Gordon, Malcolm Smith, Dr. Bud Feldkamp, Troy Herbst, Bryce Menzies, Steve Hengeveld, Johnny Campbell and McMillin family racers—Corky, Scott, Mark and Andy—are all part of the legacy of all-time overall four-wheel and two-wheel vehicle winners of the SCORE Baja 500.
START ORDER/DRAW DEADLINE
The starting order within each class for this race will start with the finishing order from the recent SCORE San Felipe 250, if the individual entry is received by Monday, May 21 and paid in full by May 23. For racers who were DNFs in San Felipe but enter by the deadline, a special drawing will be held for them prior to the other entries that come in for each class.
The deadline for those that raced in San Felipe to activate their reserved start position is 8 p.m. PDT on Monday, May 21. Deadline for all additional entries to be included in the drawing for starting positions is on 8 p.m. PDTWednesday, May 23. The results of the drawing, to determine the remainder of the start order within each class, will be held announced on Friday, May 25.
No new entries will be accepted after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23. Late, on-site racer registration will be held on Wednesday, Thursday andFriday (May 29-30, June 1).
Official practice, or pre-running, on the official race course for this year’s BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 will begin on Saturday, May 19.
The race will feature a course, when finalized over the next couple of weeks by SCORE CEO/President Roger Norman along with Race Director Jose A. Grijalva of approximately 510 miles.
When completed, the historic race course will be another memorable example of all that Mexico’s Baja California has to offer, including high-speed dirt trails, sandy, rocky and silty natural terrain, majestic Baja washes and canyons, stretches along the seashore with elevations from sea level to over 4,000 feet. The course will be another jewel reflecting the stark beauty of Baja California.
Colorful race week festivities will be expanded to help celebrate this big anniversary of SCORE’s first Baja race.
Chassis inspections will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday as well as pre-tech/Stella bracket check and installation on Playa Hermosa south of the city on Highway 1.
SCORE sponsor partner Monster Energy will present the Monster Energy SCORE Kick-off Party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the VIP area at the start/finish line in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
On Friday evening will be the Monster Energy Papas Y Beer street party on Avenida Ruiz from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight.
Thursday (May 31) and Friday (June 1) will see the two day-long, pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and contingency festival in the start finish line area in Ensenada. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day contingency row will be held for specific classes. Tech inspection on both of those days will be from9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the end of the manufacturer’s row.
During the race on Saturday, June 2 until the course closes on Sunday morning, June 3, the start/finish line compound will include the massive double-sided SCOREvision LED screen broadcasting race festivities and start and finish line interviews. Rat Sult and Donovan White will serve as hosts of the live streaming.
All of the week’s festivities will be aired both live and same-day including the race, airing via the internet on the SCORE website.
AT THE RIVIERA…
The Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, in the heart of Ensenada, will again be the site of many of the activities surrounding the SCORE Baja 500. Racer registration and media registration will both be held in the Red Room on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (May 30-31, June 1).
Racer registration will be held on Wednesday (May 30) from Noon to 8 p.m. PDT along with 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT on both Thursday (May 31) andFriday (June 1). On Friday, no new entries will be accepted after 4 p.m.
Media registration the Red Room will be held on Wednesday (May 30) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PDT and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT on both Thursday(May 31) and Friday (June 1).
The SCORE Media Center will be in the Red Room during the race (June 2-3) with internet access and live race updates, vehicle tracking displays including unofficial elapsed times.
In the Cathedral Room at the Riviera will be pre-race media conference at 11:30 a.m. PDT as well as the mandatory pre-race racer’s meeting at 7 p.m. PDTon Friday (June 1). The post-race awards celebration will also be in the Cathedral Room at noon PDT on Sunday (June 3).
The start/finish line for the race will once again be adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Blvd. Costero.
GRANDEST CO-GRAND MARSHALS
Legendary Hall of Fame former SCORE owner Sal Fish will join Hall of Fame retired racer Ivan Stewart as co-Grand Marshals for the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500.
Fish, the ‘godfather’ of desert racing who ran SCORE from its Baja start in 1974 for 38 years through the end of the 2012 season joins the iconic ‘Ironman’ Stewart to share duties for the special golden anniversary race that they both have been such a major part of over the years.
Fish, who will turn 79 on May 2 and Stewart who will turn 73 on June 4, will both be active parts of the celebration of the popular early summer race.
Gracious as always, Fish returns to SCORE for another celebration after being Grand Marshal of last November’s epic 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.
Racing since 1973, Stewart joined the Toyota factory team in 1983 for Cal Wells at Precision Preparation Inc. (PPI). He had a total of 84 career off-road race victories in stadium, short course and desert. Stewart had17 SCORE Baja 500 class wins (including 10 SCORE Baja 500 overall wins).
Below is the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule. For the third consecutive year all four races are being held in Baja California, Mexico. Here is the complete 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule:
32nd SCORE San Felipe 250, April 4-April 8, San Felipe, Mexico
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and official race title sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, 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 State Secretary of Tourism, 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 at www.SCOREInternational.com.