ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—Desert 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 eternal legacy of all-time overall winners of the legendary SCORE Baja 500.
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 for the overall winner to help commemorate this year’s race.
Early entries have come from 15 States in the U.S.A. along with host country Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Italy and New Zealand.
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 10 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, May 23.
Overall winners in the SCORE Baja 500 are a virtual who’s who in the world of desert racing motorsports. And most of them made their names synonymous with the sport with their exploits in this popular race. Their accomplishments in this race have made them famous and their notoriety has made this race even more popular for four decades.
A book is surely being written about all of the multi-time overall winners of this magnificent SCORE desert race but suffice it to say for now that these heroes of SCORE Baja racing will never be forgotten. And more than a few of them are still competing vigorously for more etchings in the granite blocks of all-time champs of the SCORE Baja 500.
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. Mickey Thompson and his SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event 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.
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).
Overall champions of the SCORE Baja 500 are led by Larry Roeseler, still racing in the SCORE TT Legend class, with a race-record 11 overall wins, including a race-record nine on motorcycles. Ivan Stewart is one behind with a race-record 10 overall 4-wheel vehicle wins including the 1994 race which was the debut of the Sal Fish-created marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division.
Hollywood stunt driver supreme Bobby Ferro and former NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon each have four overalls in the SCORE Baja 500 as does ‘On Any Sunday’ film star Malcolm Smith (including one on a motorcycle). Gordon is still an active racer in SCORE Trophy Truck.
Lightning Larry Ragland has five overall victories and Dr. Feldkamp, Troy Herbst, the youngest of the three Herbst racing brothers and Bryce Menzies, a Red Bull international racer, each has three overall SCORE Baja 500 wins. Herbst and Menzies are both still racing in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck class.
Parnelli Jones is the former Indianapolis 500 winner who won the overall in the SCORE Baja 500 in 1970 and 1973 in the iconic purpose-built ‘Big Oly’ Ford Bronco.
Besides Roeseler’s nine overall motorcycle victories, Steve Hengeveld has seven overall two-wheel wins and Johnny Campbell has five. While Campbell is now a team owner and retired from SCORE Baja racing, Hengeveld has switched to four wheels and is a second-driver this year for COPSs Racing owner/driver John Langley in the Trophy Truck Spec class.
Starting with family patriarch, the late Corky McMillin, the McMillin family has combined for 10 overall victories in the SCORE Baja 500. Corky had two wins, his son Scott and Mark each had three and Scott’s son Andy has two overall SCORE Baja 500 titles including last year.
Three other capable McMillin family racers on the horizon looking for their first overall are Scott’s daughter Jessica and Mark’s sons Dan and Luke.
Also on the overall winner’s list with one 4-wheel victory each are active racers B.J. Baldwin (2008), Kory Halopoff (2009), Mike Julson (1995), Curt LeDuc (1995), Harley Letner (2009), Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez (2015), Rob MacCachren (1996) and Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr (2016).
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 from 9 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 has agreed to 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.