321 starters in Round 2 of four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship in Ensenada, Mexico;
Rugged race-record 542.12-mile race course over northern part of Baja California peninsula;
187 official finishers from 32 U.S. States, two U.S. Territories, 14 total countries represented
as the Golden tribute truly another race for the ages, contributing US$8 million to Baja economy…
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—In just over six months, SCORE International—the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization—has celebrated two Golden anniversary events, most recently the internationally-televised 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. This Golden Tribute followed last November’s remarkable remembrance at the iconic 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.
Round 2 of the four-race 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship was 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.
Here’s some notable numbers and magnificent moments to ponder while wistfully wishing that June and the legendary SCORE Baja 500 is here again…
GOLDEN BAJA 500
Five decades in the making and the culmination of months of exhaustive cooperative effort between SCORE International, the Baja California Secretary of Tourism, ProTurismo de Ensenada, ejidos, landowners, police agencies and military groups of Baja as well as the passionate people of Baja.
The world renown 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 was held over a rugged race-record 542.12-mile race course around the northern part of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez and back again to the Pacific Ocean, starting and finishing on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
The first green flag dropped at 3:30 a.m. PT on Saturday (June 2) in Ensenada and the running clock stopped to close the race at 8:28 a.m. PTon Sunday (June 3) also in Ensenada, the off-road capital of the world.
The Golden Anniversary course, designed and finalized by SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva was an astounding race-record 542.12 miles, running in a clockwise direction.
The legend-making, survivor-laced, did-not-finish strewn course which traveled by and through such notable Baja Caliornia peninsula areas, towns and cities as Arroyo Ensenada, Ojos Negros, the Goat Trail, Valle de Trinidad, San Matias Pass, Diablo Dry Lake Bed, Las Cuevitas Wash, Mike’s Sky Rancho, Rancho El Coyote, Rancho Meling, Vicente Guerrero, Camalu, Colonet, Colonet Wash, Santo Tomas and Erendira .
History will forever remember Las Vegas’ Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren, 53, as the 4-wheel, overall and SCORE Trophy Truck race champion. Justin Morgan, 25 of El Cajon, Calif., and his team will be eternally etched and recalled as the overall motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited race Ganadores in the Golden Tribute race.
MacCachren led from green flag to checkered flag physically in the elapsed time race, earning a penalty-free finishing time of 11 hours, 21 minutes 15 seconds averaging 47.75 miles per hour in his No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150. With the victory, the ‘Mac Attack’ increased his all-time career SCORE Trophy Truck race win lead to 17 in the 25-year history of the marquee racing division in the sport for high-speed, 950-horsepower, unlimited custom trucks.
Morgan, who had plenty of help from his co-riders Mark Samuels, 28, Yucca Valley, Calif., and Justin Jones, 25, Murrieta, Calif., had the fastest motorcycle in the race, finishing in a time of 11:54:58 (45.49mph) on his No. 7x Honda CRF450X.
There were 321 official starters and 187 official finishers (58.26 percent) racing in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.Racers came from 32 U.S. States, two U.S. Territories and 14 countries in the elapsed-time race over the race-record 542.1-mile course. The race had a 22-hour time limit to become an official finisher.
The 321starters was the eighth-most in the 50-year history of the race and the 187 finishers was the fifth-most in the 50 years of this legendary race.
Included among the 321 official starters were 245 cars/trucks/utvs and 76 motorcycles/quads.
THE ETERNAL PODIUM
Starting first and never passed while defeating a strong field of 321 starters including 33 in the marquee racing division for high-tech, 950-horsepower, unlimited custom trucks, MacCachren, drove to victory over a tremendously tough 542.12-mile race course, finishing in his trusty warhorse–No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150 (built by Geiser Bros of Phoenix).
MacCachren earned a victory margin of three minutes, 32 seconds over Luke McMillin, 25 of San Diego, who finished second overall in 11:24:47 at 47.50 mph in the No. 83 Mark Racing Ford F-150.
Improving on his fifth place finish in San Felipe Ryan Arciero, 44, Lake Forest, Calif., deftly drove himself to the final spot on the podium with a third-place overall and SCORE Trophy Truck finish in his No. 32 Ford F-150 in 11:29:06 while averaging 47.20 mph.
For the second straight SCORE race, San Diego’s legendary McMillin family had three third-generation desert racers with top finishes. After third, fourth and sixth place finishes in San Felipe, the McMillins had second, fourth and fifth place finishes in the SCORE Baja 500.
While Luke McMillin finished in second place his brother Dan McMillin, 30, teamed with desert racing legend Larry Roeseler, 61 of Imperial, Calif., to finish fourth in the No. 23 Mark Racing Ford F-150 in 11:29:40 (47.16mph). The McMillin brothers’ cousin Andy McMillin, 31, finished fifth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in the new No. 31 McMillin Racing Chevy Silverado with a time of 11:30:53, averaging 47.08mph.
Truly a ‘Dyanasty in the Desert’, the first time for the McMillin family to finish three SCORE Trophy Trucks in the top five overall and in class, the first and second generation McMillin racers did it first in the 1981 SCORE Baja 1000 when the won three classes while finishing in the top five overall.
Mark McMillin, Dan and Luke’s dad, finished first overall and in Class 1, late family patriarch Corky McMillin (Mark and Scott’s father) finished second overall and won Class 2 and Scott McMillin, Andy’s father, finished fourth overall while winning Class 10.
Race title sponsor BFGoodrich Tires also paid a US$25,000 contingency bonus to MacCachren for his overall victory to help commemorate this year’s race. He earned the 32nd overall 4-wheel victory for his tire sponsor BFGoodrich Tires in this race. MacCachren ran on the new BFGoodrich Tires T/A KR3 tires.
SCORE BAJA 500 LEGACY
Looking at some overall stats from the SCORE Baja 500 race, a total of 13,093 vehicles have started the 50 races for an average of 262.3 starters per race. A total of 7,230 vehicles have finished the the 50 races for an average of 145 finishers per race. Percentage-wise, 55.2% is the average finishing rate for this legendary race.
In race history, the most ever starters came in 2007 when 492 vehicles left the start line and the second most starters was in 2006 when 438 started the race.
In race history, the most ever finishers came in 2007 when 228 finished race and the second most finishers was in 2006 when 221 vehicles finished the race.
In race history, the fewest number of starters was the first race back in 1969 when there were 163 and the fewest number of finishers was also in 1969 when there were 73 finishers.
This year’s 321 starters was eighth most in the 50-year history and the 187 finishers is the fifth-most in race history.
Overall there have now been 10 SCORE Baja 500 races with 300 or more starters.
With the 321 official starters being a solid eighth-most in the 50-year history of this great race., U.S. racers among the field ranged from Alaska,Hawaii, California, Washington and Oregon in the Pacific West, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexicoin the Mountain West, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the Northeast, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, Kansas and Texasin the Midwest and Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia in the South.
In addition to 32 U.S. States, racers came from 14 total countries. In addition to the USA, U.S. Territories Guam and Puerto Rico, racers came from Host Mexico, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Peru and Spain.
Pulling off a major upset by winning over a SCORE-record field of 35 starters in Pro UTV FI, 13 starters in Pro UTV and three starters in Pro UTV Unlimited, Kristen Matlock will be forever remembered as the overall UTV winner and Pro UTV NA (Normally Aspirated) class winner in the race. Matlock, 37, of Alpine, Calif., drove solo in Pro UTV NA to a winning time of 14:26:47 in her No. 1954 Polaris RZR XP4 1000 for a victory margin of over 31 minutes over the second place finisher among all 53 of the Pro UTVs that started the race.
A veteran competitor in her class and winner of her class in the season opener in San Felipe, Kristin Matlock’s victory was even more impressive by the fact that she defeated all of the normally-faster Forced Induction Turbo-powered UTVs as well.
Keeping things in the family, her husband Wayne Matlock, 40, finished second in the higher-powered Pro UTV FI class in a Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. The married couple both won their respective classes in the 2018 season-opening SCORE San Felipe 250 in early April.
MASSIVE CROWDS/MAJOR IMPACT
Local tourism officials have estimated a total of over 200,000 fans were spread around the desert during the race, including upwards of 50,000 spectators that watched the race in the start area Arroyo Ensenada off of the start alone.
Estimates for the total attendance for the two days of contingency on Thursday and Friday prior to the race were stated to be 90,000 total.
Baja California tourism officials also revealed preliminary numbers of economic impact from this race in Baja California of over US$8 Million.
LA PRENSA ORO
Media credentials issued for the Golden Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 500 was 304 total regular media, team media and commercial media. Countries covering the race were from the United States, Baja California, Mexico, Baja California Sur, Mexico and mainlandMexico along withadditional media from Andorra, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russiaand Spain.
SALIDA Y LA META
This year was the 45th time the race started in Ensenada and 41st time it finished in Ensenada, the Off-Road Capital of the World.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating 42 years as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades the company was title sponsor if this race and last November’s 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.
In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now been the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 89 SCORE Baja Races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500 and 29 in the SCORE Baja 1000 that includes a record-run of 20 years 1986 through 2005.
Helping commemorate the 50th anniversary of this Baja California treasure we know as the SCORE Baja 500, several special ceremonies were held in conjunction with the event.
Every entry received a one-of-a-kind, uniquely-designed commemorative ceramic bottle filled with some of Mexico’s finest Tequila along with a limited-edition full-size poster depicting not only the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center but also an artist’s perspective of the roughest, toughest, longest and most challenging race route in the history of the SCORE Baja 500.
SCORE Sponsor Monster Energy Drink hosted two pre-race parties. On Thursday night of race week, the Monster Energy SCORE welcome party was held at the Monster VIP area adjacent to the start/finish line. On Friday night several thousand fans attended the massive Monster Energy Papas & Beer SCORE Street Party was held by the popular Ensenada restaurant and bar on Avenida Ruiz at the intersection with Avenida Lopez Mateos.
On race morning two memorable ceremonies were held.
First at 6:45 a.m. after all the motorcycles and quads had left the start line and as the son was rising in the East, several hundred people gathered at the Ventana del Mar Plaza just north of the start/finish line for a colorful presentation and hoisting of the mammoth Mexican flag (82 feet wide X 46.9 feet high) that flies proudly over Ensenada.
Approximately 300 military personnel from the Second Naval and Second Military Region participated with much inspiring pomp, music and tradition which was viewed by several hundred people, including government officials, SCORE personnel and fans.
Following that stirring ceremony was the normal pre-race ceremonies on the top of the start/finish line ramp in front of the Riviera. Singing the U.S. National Anthem was SCORE registration assistant April Anne Seed which was followed by the Mexican National Anthem played in a joint effort by the Color Guard and band from the Autonomous University of Baja California in conjunction with units from the Second Naval and Military Region.
Among the dignitaries participating in both ceremonies on race morning were Baja California State Secretary of Tourism Oscar Escobedo, Ensenada Mayor Marco Novelo, ProTurismo de Ensenada President Nico Saad, SCORE owners Roger and Elise Norman, race co-Grand Marshals Sal Fish and Ivan Stewart as well as Municipal, State, Federal Police and National Gendarmery representatives.
For the first time ever, the Awards Celebration held just a few hours after the course had officially closed at 8:28 a.m. PT Sunday, June 3 was held on the start/finish line ramp on Boulevard Costero under a Baja-beautiful sun-drenched sky with several thousand racers, teams, sponsors, media and fans enjoying the closing festivities.
The event will be long-remembered also for two special Grand Marshals. Legendary Hall of Fame former SCORE owner Sal Fish joined 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 39 years through the end of the 2012 season joins the iconic ‘Ironman’ Stewart, who has 17 class wins (including an incomparable 10 4-wheel vehicle overalls) in the SCORE Baja 500, shared duties for the special golden anniversary race that they both have been such a major part of over the years.
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.
· 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, 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.