ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—Great expectations are seldom achieved in reality, but overall expectations were significantly surpassed when looking back on the memorable four-race 2017 SCORE World Championship, held entirely in Baja California, Mexico for the second time.
SCORE International celebrated its 44th year as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization in 2017 with even greater expectations anticipated in 2018 for SCORE’s 45th desert racing season that will include the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Showcasing the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship, the epic 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 was truly an event for the ages. Starting in Ensenada, Baja California and finishing 1,134.40 dusty, crusty, musty miles later down Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula in La Paz, Baja California Sur, the iconic race had an amazing 404 total starters and 237 heroic finishers.
The 404 starters were the third most (second in the 21 times it has finished in La Paz) in the history of the Granddaddy of all Desert Races and the 237 finishers tied for the most-ever in the history of the legendary race (most ever when when it finished in La Paz).
In four races on the 2017 schedule, there were a total of 965 starters in cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads for an average of 241.25 starters per race. Competitors came from 45 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories Guam and Puerto Rico along with 32 total countries from Finland and Great Britain to China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and from Canada to Brazil and Argentina.
There were also just over 1,100 total news media personnel from 12 countries credentialed for the four events on the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship schedule.
Over 10,000 team members were part of the SCORE Baja 1000 and Mexico tourism officials announced estimated attendance for the four SCORE Baja races as over 700,000.
“People only dream about a spectacular season like SCORE had in 2017 and we were honored and humbled to be a part of it,” commented Roger Norman, SCORE CEO/President since he and his wife Elise Norman, SCORE Vice-President, purchased the company on Dec. 20, 2012. “This year was a tribute to the talent and grit of SCORE desert racers who were provided a remarkable platform to perform by SCORE’s dedicated, creative and hard-working team of staff and volunteers.”
“When we remember 2017, we must also salute the remarkable premiere of the inspirational Dust 2 Glory theatrical action sports documentary developed by Dana Brown. Looking back, 2017 will always be viewed as a significant landmark in the legendary history of SCORE International. “
“As superlative as 2017 was, 2018 will be even more spectacular as we plan, organize and produce four memorable SCORE Baja races, spotlighted by the 50th anniversary running of the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 when it is held (May 30-June 3).”
2017 SCORE AWARDS NIGHT
A night of champions will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. The evening will salute the champions of the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship as well as honoring the 2017 SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year award winners and recognizing the 31 winners of the 2017 SCORE Milestone awards given to racers who completed all 2,057.97 dusty, crusty, challenging, grueling and unforgiving SCORE Baja desert racing miles of the four-race season.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. PT for free museum tours, with a cocktail reception starting at 6 p.m. PT, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. PT and the awards at 7:30 p.m. PT. The awards will be streamed live around the world on the Internet through the SCORE Live platform on the SCORE website. Tickets are on sale at 2017 SCORE Awards Night Tickets here.
BRIEF LOOK BACK
Closing the books on 2017 on New Year’s Eve, here’s a brief look back on the four SCORE Baja races that comprised the 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship.
The season started with the 31st SCORE San Felipe 250 (March 30-April 2) followed by the 49th SCORE Baja 500 (June 1-4), the Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge (Sept. 22-24) and concluded with the legendary 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000.
SCORE SAN FELIPE 250
Returning after a one-year absence to a race he relishes so much, Las Vegas’ Hall of Famer Rob MaCachren, 52, masterfully and methodically manipulated and succinctly stormed his way past the competition and through the relentless desert race course to the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory at the 31st annual SCORE San Felipe 250.
Round 1 of the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship was held on a super-challenging, technical 271.9-mile course during a sensationally stunning sunny Saturday in Mexico that started and finished in quaint San Felipe on the northeast portion of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula along the tranquil waters of the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border in Calexico, Calif.
The race started and finished on the picturesque malecon in the heart of San Felipe for the first time in the 31-year history of the SCORE San Felipe 250.
A total of 204 official starters raced in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, utvs, motorcycles and quads. Entries came from 25 U.S. States, host Mexico, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany and Guatemala. The race had 143 official finishers and a very high finishing rate of 70.9 percent in the very challenging elapsed time race that had a 13.5-hour time limit.
SCORE BAJA 500
Adding to the McMillin family legacy, San Diego’s third-generation desert racer Andy McMillin drove hard enough and consistent enough to earn the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck class victory at the 49th SCORE Baja 500.
Round 2 of the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship was held in Mexico’s Baja California Norte, starting and finishing in Ensenada, the seaside port on the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of San Diego.
Defeating a field of 233 starters including 33 in the marquee racing division for high-tech, 900-horsepower, unlimited production trucks, McMillin, 30, drove to victory over a tremendously tough 513.76-mile race course, finishing in the No. 31 McMillin Ford F-150 in 10 hours, three minutes, four seconds, averaging 51.12 miles per hour.
After qualifying fifth two days prior to the race, McMillin quickly drove to the front of the voracious pack of world class drivers, earning a victory margin of three minutes, 32 seconds over Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., who finished second overall in 10:06:36 at 50.83 mph in the No. 4 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck.
For McMillin, whose cousins Dan McMillin and Luke McMillin were also racing in their own SCORE Trophy Trucks, it was his third class win and second overall triumph in the SCORE Baja 500 and his ninth career SCORE Trophy Truck race win. Luke finished fourth overall and in class while Dan finished 15th overall and 13th in SCORE Trophy Truck.
Storming back from a 19th qualifying run, Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, who won the season-opening 31st SCORE San Felipe 250 in April, deftly drove himself up to the final spot on the podium with a third-place overall and SCORE Trophy Truck finish in the No. 11 MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150, just 15 seconds behind Matney in 10:06:45 while averaging 50.81 mph.
In addition to 28 U.S. States, racers came from 13 total countries. In addition to the USA, racers from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain were part of the field.
TIJUANA SCORE DESERT CHALLENGE
A pulsating prelude to the spectacular season-ending 50th anniversary of the iconic BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 in November, RPM Racing’s Josh Daniel played it straight and consistent to win the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck title at the internationally-televised Tijuana 21st SCORE Desert Challenge. Round 3 of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship, was a three-day, split-format race.
Having held over 150 races in Mexico in the last 444 years, this was the first time that SCORE has held a race that has both started and finished in Tijuana.
With entries from 15 U.S. States and 14 countries, the majority of the cars, trucks, UTVs, finished their race on Sunday (Sept. 24) after running the first half on Saturday (Sept. 23). Motorcycles, quads and a few car/truck classes raced on Friday in two sessions to open the event.
As a substitute driver for driver of record Justin Matney, co-owner of RPM Racing of Bristol, Tenn., Daniel started fourth in the first half of the elapsed-time race to hold off his teammates to hold the overall lead he earned in Saturday’s first half to earn his first career SCORE Trophy Truck victory. Driving in the No. 4 Geiser Bros-built 4-wheel drive Chevy Rally truck, Daniel, of Vista, Calif., covered the six 23-mile laps (138 miles total in a time of 1 hours, 38 minutes, and 16 seconds to pace the field of 124 starters .
Growing into the most powerful racing team in the desert, RPM drivers swept the SCORE Trophy Truck division and a fourth driver won the SCORE TT Legend class.
The unique-format race was 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.
SCORE BAJA 1000
As the final checkered flag drew a nostalgic end to a golden historic race on Nov. 18 in La Paz, Mexico’s youthful superstar Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez teamed with his veteran father Juan C. Lopez to etch their name indelibly as the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck winners at the 50th annual BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula.
The season-finale of the four-race 2017 SCORE Desert World Championship saw 404 official starters and 237 official finishers in the history-making race.
The world’s most iconic, oldest, prestigious and longest continuously held desert race, this year’s 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 was held over a 1,134.40-mile rugged race course down Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula, starting in Ensenada, Baja California Norte and finishing in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
The Lopez tandem became the second Mexican Nationals’ son/father team to win this legendary race overall. They join Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr and his father Gustavo Vildosola who were the first to accomplish this feat when they won the point-to-point Ensenada to La Paz race in 2008.
As Baja itself claimed many of the frontrunners, turning great races into survival-mode finishes with several did not finishes, Apdaly, 22 and his father Juan C., 43 of Tecate, blasted through the terrain and the competition to earn a hard-fought struggle to capture the Golden checkered flag.
After two years of finishing second in this race behind Rob MacCachren, the third time was the charm as the Lopez team finished the unforgiving 1,134.40-mile race course in 19 hours, 53 minutes, 36 seconds with a very impressive speed average of 57.02 miles per hour in the No. 1 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck.
It also marked the 29th overall 4-wheel victory in the last 32 years for long-time SCORE sponsor BFGoodrich Tires who added a special Golden statue to their dynamic resume. BFGoodrich Tires also presented Lopez with a special record-contingency bonus of US$50,000 to honor his golden anniversary race victory driving on BFGoodrich Tires, a desert-racing staple for over 40 years.
SCORE Trophy Truck recorded the top five overall placements among 4-wheel vehicle classes, when the dust settled officially finishing second to Lopez was Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., in the No. 16 Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado in a time of 20:52:45 (54.33mph) and completing the podium in third place overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Dan McMillin, La Mesa, Calif., with a time of 21:13:10 (53.47mph), in the No. 23 Mark Racing Ford F-150
Fourth finisher overall was Billy Wilson, Corpus Christi, Texas, with a time of 21:22:41 (53.06mph) in the No. 15 Bevly/Wilson Racing Ford Raptor and fifth overall finisher and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Chris Miller, La Jolla, Calif., with a time of 22:20:09 (50.80mph) in the No. 40 Toyota Tundra.
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
50th SCORE Baja 500, May 30-June 3, Ensenada Mexico
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Dana Brown, ‘Dust 2 Glory,’ premiered successfully on over 550 screens in the United States on Dec. 6, 2017.
The Mexico premiere will be held at 27 Cinepolis theaters in Baja California and mainland Mexico.
The documentary chronicled each of the four races in the 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship. D2G, which began shooting at the 2015 SCORE Baja 1000, continued up close and personal coverage capturing the robust racers in their amazing adventures in Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula through all four spectacular 2016 races. Executive Producer is BCII’s Bud Brutsman.
D2G MEXICO PREMIERE TICKETS
The dates – January 16, 17 and 18 – will vary by theater/city. Some theaters will show it just once during one of these days, some may show it on two or all three of the days, and some may show it multiple times per day. The website link below shows available days/times by theater.
Like the U.S. premiere, tickets may be purchased in advance on this website. Space available, tickets may be purchased on-site at the individual theaters on the day/time of show.
The version that will be shown in Mexico will be the same released in the United States last Wednesday and will have Spanish sub-titles on the screen.
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 are all airing on El Rey Network in the United States. International distribution is by way of syndication. The season-ending 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 will have a two-hour show produced while the other race shows are each one-hour telecasts. The Las Vegas event will air at 2 p.m. PT on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 and the race show will air at 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018.
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.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire & Official Race Title Sponsor, 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 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 at www.SCOREInternational.com.
2017 SCORE World Desert Championship Class Point Champions
(following all 4 races. DOR/ROR must have started or finished minimum of three races; one must have been SCORE Baja 1000)
(Class, Driver/Rider of record, Hometown, Vehicle make/model, Points; Class wins in parenthesis)