Granddaddy of All Desert Races to be televised as two-hour special on El Rey Network
ENSENADA, Mexico— As the World Series is to baseball, the Super Bowl to football and the World Cup to soccer, the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 continues to stands as tall at the pinnacle of the motorsports world today as it did when it began 51 years ago.
Last year’s epic 50th anniversary race, sponsored for the first time by BFGoodrich Tires, was held Nov. 12-18. It started in the heart of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico covering much of the majestic Baja California peninsula for 1,134.40 grueling miles. It finished in La Paz, Baja California Sur. It was the 50th anniversary of the race shrouded in mystery that continues to lure the world’s best racers and adventurers from around the globe who all continue to share the dream to conquer the Baja.
A total of 404 starters, competing in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads were part of last year’s annual odyssey. Racers came from 44 U.S. States and 28 countries. The 404 starters was the third most in the 50-year history of this great race (second most when it finished in La Paz) and the 237 finishers in 2017 ties the all-time mark set for this race in 2007 when it started in Ensenada and finished in Cabo San Lucas. The 237 finishers is the most in race history when it has finished in La Paz.
Over 300 entries, from 35 U.S. States and 20 countries are expected to compete in this year’s 51st anniversary celebration of the SCORE Baja 1000 which is revered worldwide as the Granddaddy of all Desert Races.
The world’s most iconic, oldest, prestigious and longest continuously held desert race, this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 will be a loop race of 806.76 miles in the northern state of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula. It will start for the 44th time and finish for the 25th time in Ensenada and dates for the race and race week festivities are Nov. 12 through Nov. 18. The race is annually the finale of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship, which has been held exclusively for the past three years in Baja California. The start/finish line compound will once again be adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
With a total time limit of 36 hours in the elapsed-time race, the motorcycle and quad classes will start at 4 a.m. (PT) on Friday, Nov. 16 and the car, truck and UTV classes will follow with their start on at 10:30 a.m. (PT) on Friday, Nov. 16. The fastest finishers are expected to complete the race in approximately 16 hours.
Online racer registration, this year’s course map, course notes and GPS files are all available on the SCORE website under race info on the SCORE Baja 1000 page atwww.SCORE-International.com.
It’s the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a driver. Since 1967, the mother of all desert races has been run over the mysterious, majestic Baja California peninsula every year except 1974 when an international fuel crisis forced a cancellation.
The SCORE Baja 1000 has captured the imagination of the entire world as entries have come not only from every state in the United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories Guam and Puerto Rico, but also has attracted racers from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Morocco, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay, Yugoslavia as well as the host country of Mexico.
Over the years, SCORE races have been televised in more than 100 nations worldwide.
The first known record run occurred in 1962. Dave Ekins and Bill Robertson Jr. timed their trip from Tijuana to La Paz on a pair of Honda 250 motorcycles. Ekins made it in 39 hours, 54 minutes, Robertson in less than an hour slower. There were no official timers, of course, and to establish that they had made the trip, the two motorcycle racers time-stamped a sheet of paper in the Tijuana telegraph office and time-stamped it again at the telegraph office when they arrived in La Paz. They began their journey at midnight in Tijuana.
Capitalizing on the pioneer effort of Ekins and Robertson, Chevrolet commissioned car builder Bill Stroppe to prepare a small fleet of trucks for the run to La Paz. Late that year they left Long Beach, Calif., and all of them reached La Paz. Advertising and publicity campaigns heralded the feat as “the roughest run under the sun.”
Enthusiast Ed Pearlman founded the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) and established the Mexican 1000. It started officially in Tijuana on October 31, 1967 with 68 entries. They actually motored at leisure speeds to Ensenada and restarted the next day, finishing in La Paz.
NORRA continued to organize the Mexican 1000, which came to be known as the Baja 1000. In 1968, Pearlman moved the start of the race to Ensenada, where it stayed with one exception until 1993. In 1972 NORRA started at Mexicali and ran the first half of the race down the east coast of the peninsula through the treacherous Three Sisters section. Pre-running for this race, Parnelli Jones and Walker Evans were among a group of competitors who nearly got swept out to sea during a tropical storm.
NORRA’s last race was in 1972. At that point, Mexican officials revoked NORRA’s permits to stage races in Baja. In 1973, a domestic group called the Baja Sports Committee produced the race.
For two years (2016 and 2017), readers of USA Today newspaper voted the SCORE Baja 1000 as the No. 1 motorsports event in the world.
“Without the SCORE Baja 1000, there just wouldn’t be any desert racing,” said Roger Norman, SCORE International’s President and CEO. “The SCORE Baja 1000 continues to draw interest from all over the world and we now find second, third and even fourth generation racers appearing at the starting line with their family patriarchs cheering for their off-spring. This event continues to be the focal point of the SCORE World Desert Championship each year the celebration of our 50th anniversary will surely add another colorful chapter to the golden legacy of the SCORE Baja 1000.”
After the fuel crisis of 1974 forced local officials to cancel the event, SCORE International, founded by the late Mickey Thompson and headed soon after by Sal Fish (until 2012), was invited by the northern state of Baja California to hold the race in 1975. The SCORE Baja 1000 became a loop event starting and finishing in Ensenada. Roger Norman purchased SCORE International from Fish on Dec. 20, 2012.
In 1979, the government of Baja California Sur granted permission to resume the Ensenada-to-La Paz format and SCORE has used this route intermittently ever since.
The 1979 race was notable for Walker Evans’ overall win in a Dodge truck, the first truck to win the overall title of the race.
In its first 50 years, the SCORE Baja 1000 has started 43 times in Ensenada, three times in Mexicali (1972, 1993, 1994), twice in Tijuana (1967, 1995) once in Santo Tomas (1998) and once in Ojos Negros (1999). The legendary race has finished in Ensenada 24 times, in La Paz 21 times, in Mexicali two times (1993, 1994), twice in Cabo San Lucas (2000, 2007) and once in Ojos Negros (1999).
The famous and not-so-famous have tried their hand at conquering the Baja and they have come from all walks of life. Mark Thatcher, son of Great Britain’s then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher, raced in the 1982 SCORE Baja 1000. Celebrities James Garner, Ted Nugent and the late Steve McQueen all battled the Baja in the early 1970s and many racers from other forms of motorsports crossed over to try their skills.
Among the drivers from other arenas who have tested the Baja were Indy Car racers Rick and Roger Mears, Parnelli Jones, Danny Ongias, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Buddy Rice, Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Roberto Guerrero, Michel Jourdain Jr., Johnny Unser and Mike and Robbie Groff, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Boris Said and Brendan Gaughan, SCCA legend Elliot Forbes-Robinson, World Rally Championships’ Armin Schwarz, Armin Kremer, Andreas Aigner and Harri Pavanpera,, world motorcycle champions Malcolm Smith, Larry Roeseler and Destry Abbott, Motocross legends Ricky Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, XGames star Travis Pastrana, drag racers Don Prudhomme and Larry Minor and legendary SCORE founder and motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson.
The late Academy Award winning actor, racer and race team owner Paul Newman raced in the 2004 event. Jesse James, of ‘Monster Garage’ fame, and Hollywood film and TV star Patrick Dempsey both have raced in this classic several times.
This year’s race will commemorate the achievements of legendary desert racers like Rod Hall, Ron Bishop, Johnny Johnson, and Larry Roeseler. Hall, who will turn 81 on Nov. 22, has retired with an unbelievable record of 25 class wins (including one overall win in 1969), and is the only racer who competed in all 50 SCORE Baja 1000 races to date. Bishop, now deceased was the only racer who competed in the first 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races all on a motorcycle.
Johnson, now retired, had 15 class wins, amazingly in eight different classes.
Roeseler, has won 17 times in this race, including 13 overall wins (10 on a motorcycle). Roeseler won the unlimited Class 1 for four consecutive years (2004-2007), driving with the youngest of three racing brothers, Troy Herbst, in the Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheel desert race car that was known as the ‘Land Shark’. Roeseler is the only racer in the history of the event to win the overall 4-wheel in a truck and also in a car as well as the overall 2-wheel title as well. This year he will split driving with Luke McMillin in the No. 83 Ford F-150.
In 2008, Roeseler split the driving with driver of record and team owner and now SCORE owner Roger Norman (Starting with the 2013 season) when they were the overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy Truck champions and the pair was second in 2009. In 2010, Roger Norman drove solo the length of the peninsula and finished third overall.
Special history was also made in 2010 when the father/son team of Gustavo Vildosola Sr and Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr drove to the overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy Truck victory to become the first Mexican nationals’ team to win the legendary race and it was a peninsula run from Ensenada to La Paz.
That landmark was reached again during the 50th anniversary when Mexico’s Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez and his father Juan C. Lopez split the driving to win the mammoth 2017 peninsula run from Ensenada to La Paz.
Lured by the same siren that enraptured the Ekins brothers in the 1950s, the SCORE Baja 1000 remains as the No. 1 target of adventurers the world over, not to mention the cadre of pro and semi-pro desert racers who consider it the fitting climax to their racing season each year.
WHERE THEY’RE FROM
To date registration for this November’s 51st SCORE Baja 1000, there are 140 total early entries with racers from 31 U.S. States and 15 countries officially signed up to compete. In addition to the United States, the U.S. Territory of Guam and host country Mexico, the other countries with racers entered are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Peru and Sweden.
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, Lucerna Hotels & Resorts-Official Hotel and official race title sponsor, 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.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamiento, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics.
Lucerna Hotels & Resorts 22nd 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, Lucerna Hotels and Resorts, Asociacion de Hoteles del Noroeste.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.
SCORE Baja 1000 Milestones
1962 – In March Dave Ekins and Bill Roberston Jr. ride The 1000 Miles of Baja for the first run ever.
1966 – In May Dave & Bud Ekins, with Eddie Mulder and Cliff Coleman Ride Again to finish the 1000
Miles of Baja and complete the First Non Assisted Ride.
1967 – October 31, Ed Pearlman puts together the First Official Mexican 1000 Race
From Tijuana to La Paz
-Vic Wilson/Ted Mangels first overall winner, driving a Meyers Manx-VW
-J.N. Robert/Malcolm Smith first overall motorcycle winner, riding on Husqvarna
1968 – Larry Minor the first person to win the SCORE Baja 1000 overall back to back in 1968-‘69
1969 – Rod Hall wins his only overall title in the race (with Larry Minor)
-Hall has raced in all 49 years and has a record 24 class wins
1973 – With a huge assist from Nico Saad, Mickey Thompson takes over the Mexican 1000 Baja race and forms SCORE
1974 – Sal Fish takes control of SCORE and runs it for the next 38 Years
-Only year that the SCORE Baja 1000 did not occur (due to U.S. Oil Crisis)
1975 – Malcolm Smith becomes the first to win both an overall 4-wheel and 2-wheel titles win he wins
the 4-Wheel with Dr. Bud Feldkamp in a Funco-VW. They won again in 4-wheel in 1977
1976 – BFGoodrich Tires begins a 40-plus year history racing in the SCCORE Baja 1000
-BFGoodrich Tires has won a race-record 28 4-wheel overall titles in this race
1978 – Larry Roeseler and Jack Johnson are the first to win the SCORE Baja 1000
three times in a row on motorcycles 1978, 1979, 1980.
1979 – PPI Begins Racing in SCORE with the Toyota Team and Ivan Stewart
-Frank De Angelo, with BFGoodrich Tires, start pits for racers at SCORE events
-Walker Evans wins the overall 4-wheel title earning the first by a truck
1982- Mickey Thompson wins his first and only SCORE Baja 1000 in a Raceco-VW
1990 – Bob Gordon wins the overall 4-wheel with his daughter Robyn and son Robby, marking the
first time for both a father/daughter and father/son overall win and Robyn is first female overall winner
1994 – SCORE Trophy Truck Class debuts; created by SCORE
-Jimmy Smith wins the first SCORE Trophy Truck title at the SCORE Baja 1000
1994-1997 – SCORE Trophy Truck runs as its own series, Jimmy Smith wins this race in 1994, Larry
Ragland wins in 1995, 1996 and 1997
1997 – Johnny Campbell wins his first of 11 overall mototcycle titles, all on Honda bikes
1999 – Larry Ragland wins the first SCORE Trophy Truck overall as part of the regular series to give
him four wins in five years in the marquee racing division
2000 – Dave Ashley and Dan Smith win the once-in-a-lifetime SCORE Baja 2000 from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas, held to commemorate the new millennium
-Team of Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab/Craig Smith/Steve Hengeveld win motorcycle overall
2004 – Larry Roeseler becomes only the second person in race history to win the overall on both 2-wheel and 4-wheel, earning the 4-wheel title with Troy Herbst.
2006 – 431 total starters, most in the history of this race from Ensenada to La Paz
–Andy McMillin/Robby Gordon win 4-Wheel overall, Andy is the youngest overall winner at 19
ROD LEWIS—Prominent Texas energy (oil) businessman, prominent international air-racing pilot
KEN LOSCH–Former SCCA Formula Mazda racer and Indy Pro Series owner/driver
BRAD LOVELL—multi-time Rock Crawling champion, short course off-road racer
ROGER LOVELL—Rock Crawling champion, short course off-road racer along with brother Brad
MORGAN LUCAS—NHRA Top Fuel drag racer
JUSTIN LOFTON—2009 ARCA champion, NASCAR Truck Series racer
KYLE LOZA–Freestyle MX, XGames Gold medalist
GARY MAGNESS—Hollywood film producer and international businessman
JEREMY McGRATH—former legendary supercross MX star
HERSHEL McGRIFF–first Carrera Panamericana winner and stock car champion
ROB MacCACHREN—8-time SCORE class champ, Stadium and Short Course racing champion, six-time AARWBA All-America, over 300 career race wins in desert, short-course and stadium won three straight SCORE Baja 1000 races (2014, 2015, 2016)
MIKE ‘MOUSE’ MCCOY—SCORE race champion, noted Hollywood stunt driver, star of Dust to Glory, 2005
CHRIS MacCLUGAGE—legendary IJSBA personal watercraft racing world champion
ANDY McMILLIN—Third generation McMillin Family racer-Corky’s grandson, five-time overall winner of the SCORE Baja 1000
CORKY McMILLIN—Founder-Corky McMillin Cos, patriarch of first SCORE 3-generation team, multiple Baja wins
MARK McMILLIN—Corky’s son, San Diego developer; 8 class wins, including 5 overall in SCORE Baja 1000
TYLER McQUARRIE—Formula Drift racing star, veteran of numerous racing disciplines, driving instructor
CHAD McQUEEN—actor and son of Steve McQueen
STEVE McQUEEN–movie and TV star
CASEY MEARS—NASCAR Cup racer, former desert racer, son of off-road star Roger Mears
RICK MEARS–4-time Indy 500 winner; younger brother of former off-road star Roger Mears
ROGER MEARS—1991 AARWBA All-America racer, desert racing legend, Indy Car Racer
SHEKHAR MEHTA–4-time winner of East African Safari
BRUCE MEYERS–originator of the Meyers Manx, world’s first desert race car (dune buggy)
MIKE METZGER—godfather of Freestyle MX
AK MILLER–American hot rodding and off-road racing patriarch
ROD MILLEN—Pikes Peak Hill Climb Record Holder, rally racer, Stadium racing champion
RHYS MILLEN—Rod’s son, Formula D Drifting racing National Champion, precision Hollywood Stunt driver
RYAN MILLEN—Rod’s son, accomplished Formula Drift racer
RICH MINGA—1987 SCORE Overall Point Champion, noted Hollywood stunt driver
LARRY MINOR—former drag racer and team owner
DANNY MODER—noted film cinematographer with over 20 on his filmography
PAULA MURPHY–one-time ‘world’s fastest woman’ racer
MICHAEL NESMITH–TV actor/musician “Monkees”; pioneer producer of CD music
PAUL NEWMAN—Actor, race car driver, philanthropist
GUNNAR NILSSON–Formula 1 driver
SERGIO NOLASCO–owner of Mexico’s finest Formula 3 road racing team
AARON NORRIS–motion picture and TV producer; brother of actor Chuck Norris
ERIC NORRIS—former NASCAR touring series driver, TV stunt coordinator, son of actor Chuck Norris
MARCO NOVELO—Mayor of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
TED NUGENT–rock ‘n’ roll singing star
DANNY ONGAIS–motorcycle, drag racing, road racing and Indy 500 racer
PAUL PAGE—Motorsports TV commentator
TED PAPPAS–Indy 500 racer
TRAVIS PASTRANA—Freestyle MX, Supercross star, X Games Superstar
CHRIS PAULSEN—Former Indy Car crew chief, owner of C&R Racing, columnist for National Speed Sport News
ROBBIE PIERCE—Former owner of MasterCraft and Impact, now Jimco owner
SAM POSEY–international race driver and motorsports TV commentator