TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico — Looking to add to its storied legacy of more than four decades as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, SCORE International returns to its racing roots this week. SCORE is launching something new with a tantalizing taste of something old at the history-making, internationally-televised Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge. The event is Round 3 of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship.
Having held over 150 races in Mexico in the last 40-plus years, this will be the first time that SCORE has held a race that has both started and finished in Tijuana, the growing metropolis immediately across the border from San Diego in Baja California. In 1967, the first SCORE Baja 1000 (then called the Mexican 1000) started at the bull ring in Tijuana and the 1995 SCORE Baja 1000 started in the wash near the Hotel Lucerna in Tijuana but no SCORE race has ever finished in Tijuana before this year.
In addition to the two starts in Tijuana, SCORE Baja races have been held numerous times in Ensenada and San Felipe, several times in La Paz, a few times in Mexicali, Santo Tomas, Ojos Negros and Cabo San Lucas, and once each in Loreto and Rosarito Beach.
Race-week festivities will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the Zona Rio area of Tijuana with racing Friday through Sunday east of Rancho Casian on the southeast outskirts of Tijuana.
With entries from 15 U.S. States and 14 countries, 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 BFGoodrich Tires 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.
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, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (PT) and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT). Media registration will be held in the same location on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT).
The colorful SCORE 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 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 groups in split segments on Friday starting at 6:30 a.m. (PT). Racing will finish on Friday at 6:20 p.m. (PT).
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 in one of thre groups on Saturday and final half on Sunday. Racing for those classes will start each day at 8 a.m. and finish at 4:25 p.m. (PT). 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).
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 sessions.
Moving to the largest city on the Baja California peninsula will be the special split-format, multi-lap Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge.
Among the racers who have drawn first starts in their respective classes along with the number of entries to date in their classes are: SCORE Trophy Truck – No. 16 Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., Chevy Silverado (seven entries to date); Trophy Truck Spec – No. 150 John Langley, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Mason-Chevy, (10); 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.
WHERE THEY’RE FROM
With 121 official entries to date, there are entries from 15 U.S. States and 14 countries. Nations are USA, host nation Mexico along with Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland. States with entries so far are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
“SCORE welcomes spectators to all of its races but consistently encourages safety and caution,” said Juan Tintos, SCORE Advisor. “The colorful Contingency day and Manufacturer’s Midway from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday in front of the Real Inn Hotel on Avenida Paseo de los Heroes in Rio Zona area of Tijuana will provide a great pre-race family atmosphere to see the incredible desert racing vehicle and meet many of the racers.”
“On race days, spectators are advised that Boulevard 2000 has heavy traffic at certain times of the day but that is the road to Rancho Casian from either Tijuana or up from Rosarito Beach. The course map is available on the SCORE website.”
Tintos added that there will be three main access points to the race course all of which will have Police presence including the start/finish line area 2.3 miles (4km) east of Rancho Casian off of Boulevard 2000. There will be parking, food vendors and restrooms in that area.
“Extreme caution and awareness is needed by spectators,” Tintos continued. “Spectators can use access roads to reach race mile 12 and race mile 18 at Los Panchos and La Nopalera but you must arrive before 5 a.m. because the road will be closed once the racing begins.”
The third access point will be from the toll free highway near Puerto Nuevo to Rosarito Beach in order to reach La Nopalera and Los Panchos near race mile 14.
“We can’t emphasis caution enough,” said Tintos. “We remind all spectators to view from high ground at a distance of at least 20 meters from the course and don’t park or watch the race from a curve.”
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.
ART SAVEDRA MEMORIAL SHOOTOUT
During the Friday 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.
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 Jaton Racing of Barcelona, Spain.
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.
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 BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.14-18, Ensenada, Mexico to La Paz, Mexico
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Title Sponsor of this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 and a top sponsor of the 50th SCORE Baja 500 in 2018, 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: 118 (as of 9/15/17)
(from 14 U.S. States, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,
Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland)
Racing Schedule(All times PDT – Schedule subject to change)
All segments 3 Laps Single Lap–23.4 miles Start Interval: One vehicle every 30 seconds