240 total starters, 146 finishers—24 States, Seven countries
NOTE2: all-time SCORE Baja 500 Overall winners at bottom of text
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – SoCal’s Hall of Famer Larry Roeseler captured one for the ages when he was declared the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck winner of Saturday’s BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
Clocked before penalties, the legendary 64-year old Desert racing warrior was the third vehicle to reach the finish line in the elapsed-time race.
Roeseler, 64, of Boulevard, Calif., climbed to the top of the ladder in his No. 43 Baja Jerky Cantina Racing Toyota Tundra built by ID Designs. He finished the grueling 466.00-mile race in a winning time of 10 hours, 16 minutes and two seconds with an average speed of 45.39 miles per hour.
Subsequently, the Competition Review Board (CRB) met two times and recommended penalties for SCORE to confirm and execute to San Diego’s Luke McMillin and Andy McMillin who drove the first two vehicles that physically crossed the finish line.
The CRB, an advisory group comprised of current and former desert racers, made their recommendations to SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva. Subsequently, Grijalva announced today that Luke McMillin, the reigning SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion, has been disqualified for a serious rule violation on the course and Andy McMillin, the 2019 SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion, was penalized with 30 minutes added to his finish time for passing under unsafe conditions in a controlled speed zone section of the race course.
With the penalty, Andy McMillin, 33, San Diego, finished second in a time of 10:19:59, averaging 45.13 mph in his all-wheel drive No. 31 McMillin Racing Chevy Silverado built by Mason Motorsports.
“SCORE appreciates the diligent work of the CRB in assisting in adjudicating these more challenging situations that can arise during one of our SCORE Baja races,” said Jose A. Grijalva, SCORE President and Race Director. “SCORE will continue to review and enforce the rules that are designed to keep racers, crews and spectators all safe.”
“Unfortunately, these two special decisions have impacted two of the most prominent and well-respected racers in the entire sport of desert racing and this is an example of the transparency SCORE has with the help of the CRB in these special situations.”
“While the race results are now official, SCORE is continuing to address some additional activities involving chase trucks that occurred during the event.”
WIN FOR THE AGES
For the iconic ‘Mr Baja’, the victory is his 12th overall win in this race and his 18th class triumph. He earned his first class win in the SCORE Baja 500 in 1972 and earned his first overall in 1975 riding with the late Bruce Ogilvie on a Harley-Davison motorcycle.
LR, as he is also known, won his first two 4-wheel overalls in this race in 2002 and 2003 as the second driver for Troy Herbst in the legendary Class 1 ‘Land Shark’ open-wheel desert race car.
For Roeseler, a member of both the AMA Hall of Fame and the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of fame, nine of his overalls in the SCORE Baja 500 were on motorcycles, two were in unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars and this was his first in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 950 horsepower unlimited custom trucks.
He also now has earned four career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins. His last SCORE Trophy Truck overall was last year as the second driver for Luke McMillin. Before last year, his previous win in the featured class was in 2008 SCORE Baja 1000 peninsula run from Ensenada to La Paz when he was the second driver for Roger Norman.
For his victory at the SCORE Baja 500, Roeseler also earned the $15,000 contingency bonus that was posted for the overall winner by BFGoodrich Tires.
This spectacular event, one of the top 10 motorsports events held in the world with over 100,000 spectators spread out along the course, a total of 240 starters raced in Pro and Sportsman Motorcycles for cars, trucks, UTVS, motorcycles and quads racing in 51 classes. Entries came from 24 U.S. States along with host Mexico, Bolivia, Canada, France, New Zealand and Peru.
Following complete data-tracking review and input from the Competition Review Board, preliminary results have now been made totally official. The results were pending the outcome of the competition review board recommendations regarding two classes, SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1/2-1600. Both classes have now been finalized with no additional penalties involving Class 1/2-1600.
There were 240 official starters, with 146 official finishers for a surprising 60.83 percent finishing rate considering the difficulty of the course in the elapsed-time race.
Joining Roeseler and Andy McMillin on the podium was Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr. who took the final spot in third place.
Driving his No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor, Vildosola Jr, 39 of Mexicali, finished in a time of 10:18:09, just 15.3 seconds on corrected time behind A. McMillin.
“We knew it would be tough, I knew it would be ten hours, but it was every bit of what we expected, it was fantastic, stated the champion Roeseler. “I bet no one was disappointed. There were some good battles out there. There were places we were doing 130 and there were places we were doing two miles per hour just because of the rocks.”
“We started tenth and just kept pushing. I went back and forth with John T. Lennon (No. 73) a couple of times and then Ampudia (Alan Ampudia, No. 10) crashed, Tavo (Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, No. 21) got a flat and we saw Menzies (Bryce Menzies, No. 7) in the pit around race mile 300 and we realized we were fourth. We had no flats and didn’t do anything to the truck outside of sliding off the road a few times. It was just a very memorable race for us. My very first SCORE Baja 500 was in 1972 – I rode a 175cc motorcycle.”
“And here I am, over 40 years later and still hitting it. This is a very, very awesome finish and we’re really, really happy.
“Hats off to SCORE for producing another spectacular SCORE Baja race. I have been part of the development of this sport for over 40 years and I can really appreciate all that SCORE continues to do to improve the quality of its races.”
A. McMILLIN COMMENTS
After receiving the penalty, Andy McMillin commented, “I not only fully accept, but I also respect the decision made by SCORE in conjunction with the Competition Review Board. I feel very bad if I endangered anyone during this maneuver. I want SCORE Baja racing to continue for generations to come and unfortunately, I made a poor decision in the heat of the battle in the latter part of the race. These things happen, we must learn from our mistakes and move forward.”
Andy McMillin also remarked about his cousin Luke racing within three seconds of each other for over 100 miles to the finish, saying, “It was an amazing battle with Luke coming to the finish – what a driver, what a talent. We came all the way to the finish just trying to make up time and to keep as close as possible to him. Hats off to him for coming out with a brand-new truck and just laying it down. There’s no one I’d rather battle with than my cousin and my family. It was close all the way in, we were pushing really hard. It was just an amazing race.”
“Thanks to SCORE and everyone for putting this race on given the circumstances. For us to be able to come down here and do what we do and represent our sponsors, win or lose, days like today are why we race. It’s about battling all the way to the finish, pushing your vehicle, pushing your body, pushing your mind, that’s why all of us do it. What a way to cap off a long pre-run, hard work getting to the race, with all the logistics and the planning…it was one hell of a race day.”
LUKE McMILLIN QUOTES
At the finish line, Luke McMillin commented, saying “Mason Motorsports did a great job building this brand-new truck to come out to the SCORE Baja 500 – it ran flawlessly. It’s really impressive to come out with a brand-new truck and don’t have any sorts of issues. Everyone that helped put it together, we got to thank them because they’ve put together a great truck. It’s the first race for it, we’re on the podium, and that’s always good. It was a little bit frustrating because I had a big learning curve driving it. The all-wheel drive is very different and that makes it even more difficult.”
In regards to his course deviation, Luke McMillin said, “I made a big mistake and I’m very sorry. The last thing in the world I want is for anyone to be hurt at a race (no one was). I will accept any decision SCORE makes.”
VILDOSOLA JR REMARKS
Following his third-place podium finish, Vildosola Jr said, “It was a tough course. Just for the attrition and how the SCORE Trophy Trucks are going to finish today, we’re going to see it. We made the podium, but I didn’t drive us well enough to get to the top. I made some mistakes early that really cost us a lot of time and a couple of spots. It’s disappointing. We had two programmed pit stops for the race and ended up stopping eight times for different things. It’s not a winning formula to stop eight times in a SCORE Baja 500 or in any race. We weren’t able to recover in the end but we pushed hard and did what we could. We’re here, I’m proud of that and hopefully this finish puts us on the podium and makes a bad day much better.”
SIX SCORE TROPHY TRUCKS IN TOP 10
Including Roeseler, A. McMillin and Vildosola Jr, six SCORE Trophy Trucks were among the top 10 official finishers in this year’s SCORE Baja 500.
Finishing fourth overall and fourth in SCORE Trophy Truck was Daniel McMillin, 33, from San Diego. Andy’s cousin and Luke’s brother, Daniel McMillin completed the course in 10:37:51 (43.8mph) in his No. 23 McMillin Racing Chevy 1500, built by Mason Motorsports. Also driving for McMillin was Justin B. Smith of Las Vegas.
Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren, 56, Las Vegas finished fifth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck with a time of 10:47:30 (43.18mph) in his No. 11 MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150 built by Geiser Bros.
Roeseler’s Baja Jerky Cantina Racing teammate Chris Miller, 47, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., finished ninth overall and sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck in his No. 40 AWD Chevy built by Mason Motorsports in a time of 11:07:47 (41.87mph).
Also in the top 10 overall finishers were three trucks from the Trophy Truck Spec class along with the unlimited Class 1 winner.
Finishing sixth overall and winning Trophy Truck Spec was Jason McNeil, 43, El Cajon, Calif. in a time of 11:05:15 (42.03 mph) in his Geiser-Chevy. Eighth overall and second in Trophy Truck Spec was the team of Ryan Hancock, 45, Yuma, Ariz. and Brock Heger, 21, El Centro, Calif. in 11:06:55 in their TSCO-Ford
Finishing 10th overall and third in Trophy Truck Spec was Justin Davis, 28, Chino Hill, Calif. with a time of 11:08:03 (41.85 mph) in his Brenthel-Chevy.
Capturing the Unlimited Class 1 and finishing seventh overall in their No. 123 Jimco-Ford was the son father team of Brock Dickerson, 20 and his father Jeff Dickerson, 46, both of Brawley, Calif. They were clocked in 11:05:41 (42.00 mph).
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 25 overalls in the SCORE Baja 500 in the 28 years that this premier class has been part of this race. In this year’s race, SCORE Trophy Trucks captured seven of the top 10 overall finishing positions.
In 53 years of this race, Husqvarna has now earned 13 overall motorcycle victories and first since 1986 when Garth Sweetland and Scott Harden teamed for the victory. Honda leads with 22 overall motorcycle victories.
Among tire manufacturers, leading these is BFGoodrich Tires with 33 wins in 53 years.
In the overall pro 4wheel vehicles, Toyota has now earned eight overall SCORE Baja 500. It is the first for Toyota since 1999 when Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart won for the seventh time. Leading these manufacturers is Ford with 18 victories.
SCORE is celebrating its 48th year as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization.
The celebratory internationally-televised race started and finished in a health-protocol required closed-to-the-public SCORE compound located Northeast of downtown Ensenada, 80 miles south of the U.S. Border at San Diego.
SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva identified, plotted and marked another 466-mile spectacular race course to challenge the world’s best desert racers.
Running in a clockwise direction, the race will start and finish without spectators in the SCORE compound. The SCORE start/finish compound will be located Northeast of downtown Ensenada.
The race had an impressive course of 466.00 miles. It ran in a clockwise direction west to Ojos Negro then south down the middle and then up the Pacific Coast side of Baja California.
There were two physical checkpoints, 233 virtual checkpoints and two narrow virtual checkpoints for this race course. It also had 14 speed zones for a total of 74.9 miles.
The course went east through Ojos Negros and then South through El Alamo, the Goat Trail and Valle de Trinidad.
From there it went back west towards the Pacific Ocean going by and through Mike’s Sky Rancho, El Coyote Ranch and Rancho Meling. It then went through Santo Domingo Wash and San Simon Wash. The course then ran close to the Pacific Ocean going through San Quintin, Vicente Guerrero, Camalu, San Vicente, Santo Tomas and Uruapan before heading back northeast up to Ojos Negros and back to the finish line.
All Sportsman classes, Class 7SX, Baja Challenge and Class 11 raced on a reduced course of 389.56 miles.
Domestically, the race will be televised on a delayed basis on the World of X Games show on ESPN2 as co-produced by SCORE International and award-winning BCII TV of Los Angeles. Action Sports television announcer/Baja adventure tours host/Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and SCORE Trophy Truck champion racer Cameron Steele is the on-camera host of the TV show.
All four 2021 SCORE races are being held on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the sixth consecutive year.
SCORE Live streamed throughout contingency and during the 27 total hours that the course was open on the SCORE website and on the new SCORE TV app. Colorful Rat Sult is in sixth season as the host of SCORE Live. Assisting him for this race were veteran announcer Dave Arnold and Matt Moghaddam.
Because of the significant health and safety protocols developed by SCORE in conjunction with and the approval of state and local health authorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all race-week festivities and the start/finish line compound were restricted access only and closed to the general public. The SCORE race start/finish compound was located Northeast of downtown Ensenada.
Thousands of spectators, adhering to the protocols, watched the race from around the race course.
This year’s SCORE World Desert Championship is another special tribute to the iconic SCORE Baja 500. The race is returning to its home in Ensenada after being moved last year and held in September in San Felipe because of the health pandemic.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization. Mickey Thompson and his 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 in December of 2012.
The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 in Ensenada as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
After being held last year because of the health pandemic in San Felipe for just the second time in race history, this year’s SCORE Baja 500 will start for the 47th time in Ensenada and finish for the 43rd time in Ensenada.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
BFGoodrich Tires, the official tire of SCORE for 45 years, received two awards for the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. BFGoodrich Tires was honored after the 2020 season as the SCORE Contingency Company of the year for the 30th time as well as being voted the SCORE Pit Support Team of the Year for the 32nd time.
BFGoodrich Tires has been the choice of 34 of the 52 overall winners of the popular SCORE Baja 500 and 31 of the 53 overall winners of the legendary SCORE Baja 1000. BFGoodrich Tires is also the title sponsor of both of the iconic races again in 2021.
BFGoodrich Tires also has been the choice of 28 of the 34 overall winners of the SCORE San Felipe 250, all three SCORE Desert Challenge races, the lone SCORE Challenge of Champions in San Felipe, the one SCORE Baja Sur 500 and the inaugural SCORE Baja 400.
Presenting sponsor for this year’s BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500 is 4 Wheel Parts, the official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner of SCORE and the SCORE World Desert Championship.
Round 3 of the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship will be the 2nd SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels. It will be held in Ensenada, Mexico from Sept 14-19.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCORE-International.com.
2021 SCORE SKED
Here are the remaining two dates in the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship which will all be held exclusively in Baja California, Mexico for the sixth consecutive year:
· 2nd SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels—
September 14-19, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
November 15-20, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
ESPN TV NETWORKS AGAIN IN 2021
For the third straight year, the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship races are airing on the ESPN family of networks. The four-races will air as specials on the World of X Games program on ESPN2. The BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, is scheduled to air on July 25. Check local listings for exact time.
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 journalists Sam Posey and Jack Arute.
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.
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 and PCI Race Radios.
SCORE Official Partners: 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, Ensenada Hotel and Motel Association, Ensenada Tourism Marketing Committee and Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCORE-International.com.
BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 500
presented by 4 Wheel Parts
Round 2 of four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship
June 12-13, 2021—466.00 miles – Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Total Starters: 240 Total Finishers: 146 (60.83 percent)
(from 24 U.S. States, host Mexico, Bolivia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Peru)
TOP OVERALL FINISHERS
(following complete data tracking and Competition Review Board review)
Pro Cars, Trucks & UTVs
1. 43 Larry Roeseler, 64, Boulevard, Calif., Toyota Tundra (ID), 10:16:02 (45.39 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2. 31 Andy McMillin, 33, San Diego, Chevy Silverado (Mason), 10:19:59 (45.13 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)