LOS ANGELES—With the release of the official course map, GPS files and course notes this week, pre-race activity increases significantly starting Friday when the world’s best desert racers officially begin their pre-running and course logistics activities for next month’s 43rd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the second-oldest desert race in the world.
Round 3 of the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature nearly 250 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be held June 2-5 in Ensenada, Mexico.
SCORE is in its 38th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization. This race is traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, and most the world’s best desert racers are expected to be in action at this year’s 43rd anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the original desert race produced by SCORE on July 26, 1974.
With late entries accepted up to race morning in the 454.69-mile race, entries so far have come from 25 U.S. States from Hawaii to New York and the U.S. Territory of Guam along with the additional countries of Mexico, Canada, Germany, Guatemala and Japan. The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday (June 4) for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three hours after the last ATV at approximately 10 a.m. The elapsed-time race will start and finish in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Boulevard Costero in the heart of Ensenada, leaving and returning into the city through the Arroyo Wash.
The talented field of veteran desert racers heading to Baja includes 14 defending class winners out of the 25 Pro classes that had finishers in last year’s race.
Last year’s overall race champions are among the early entries in this year’s race. The overall 4-wheel winner in 2010 was the son/father team of Andy and Scott McMillin, National City, Calif., who drive the No. 31 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck. Recording the fastest overall time while leading all motorcycles in last year’s race was the JCR Honda Racing Team riders Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Quinn Cody, Buellton, Calif., on a Honda CRF450X while the fastest ATV was the Honda TRX700X riding by Wayne Matlock/Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif./Wes Miller, Fallbrook, Calif.
The rugged 454.69-mile course is a very similar to the last three years, although it is about 16 miles longer and the terrain has changed because of natural weather patterns that impact both sides of the race course on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez and in the middle in the summit section. The course, which runs in a clockwise direction, resembles a deflating balloon, winding east to Ojos Negros, down to near San Felipe, back West to the Pacific Ocean below San Vicente and back north east through Santo Tomas on the way back to Ojos Negros and then Ensenada.
“Without all of the immense and considerable help we have received from Mexican officials and ejidos, we would have had a very hard time finalizing a course for this year’s race,” said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO/President since soon after it was founded in 1974. “This year’s race will be another testament to the wonderful relationship SCORE enjoys with the government and the people of Baja California. The course includes a new section about seven miles long on the way to the summit that is rough, technical and very picturesque. Overall, the race will be another scenic test of man and machine providing many more colorful adventures of SCORE Baja racing which as we all know is unlike any other racing in the world.”
The only pre-running that will be allowed on the first 36.83 miles of the course will be outbound only and only on Thursday and Friday, June 2 and 3. No inbound pre-running on the last 36.83 miles of the course will be allowed. Pre-running of the rest of the course will start and finish in the Ojos Negros area.
The four official race checkpoints, where all vehicles are required to make a quick stop, will be located at race mile 92.30 (Santa Catarina), rm211.89 (Borrego), rm318.20 (Northwest of Colonet near the Pacific Ocean) and rm411.98 (West of Ojos Negros). The course will also have 36 virtual checkpoints. All vehicles are also required to run International Rally Consultants tracking devices and live vehicle tracking will be available during the race at www.racetheworld.net.
The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks has a race-high 28 entries in this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
Besides the three overall winners, the other defending Pro class champions in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 entered this year to date are: Steve Appleton, Boise, Idaho (Class 1, Jimco-Chevy), Brian Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600, Kreger-VW), Dave Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Class 6, Ford Ranger); Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Ranger); Kent Kroeker, Valley Center, Calif. (Class 8, Dodge Ram2500); Sergio Salgado, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 10, Jimco-VW); Steven Eugenio, Alpine, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, Calif., (SCORE Lite, Prill-VW); Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 30, Honda CRF450X); Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X) and Joe Rice, Lomita, Calif./Rob Ransford, Chicago (Class 26, Can-Am 4X4).
The Sportsman class winners returning from last year as of today are: Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif. (SPT Car, Homebuilt-Buick) and Thomas Graves, El Cajon, Calif. (SPT UTV, Yamaha Rhino).
Rising Southern Nevada desert racing star Bryce Menzies along with Dan Martin, Shane Esposito and Roberto Ruiz all drew pole positions in their respective divisions during the April 23 computerized drawing for starting positions in the race. The draw was held at the SCORE headquarters in Los Angeles.
Las Vegas Menzies, 23, winner of this year’s SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January, received the first starting position for 4-wheel vehicles in the No. 70 Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150. In just his fourth SCORE race, this is also the first time in his budding career that he has drawn the coveted starting position in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
Martin, Monrovia, Calif., will start first in the unlimited Class 1 in the COPS Racing Chevy-powered Penhall open-wheel desert race car.
Esposito, Lake Elsinore, Calif. will lead the motorcycles and his team into the Baja desert on a Kawasaki KX450F in Class 22 for open motorcycles.
Ruiz, El Centro, Calif., is leading a multi-rider Class 25 ATV team on a Honda TRX450R.
While late entries will be accepted up to race morning, as of the Start draw, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: SCORE Trophy-Truck (28), the unlimited Class 1 (26), and Class 1-2/1600 and SCORE Lite with 11 each.
Leading the Pro Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (8).
Class 24 leads the Pro ATV classes with eight entries to date.
Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles 450cc and over has the most with 19 entries.
For the fourth straight year and just the fourth time in the 43-year history of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race, the colorful pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and Contingency, the start and finish line will all be located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. It will be the fourth time in race history that both the pre-race activities and the finish will be held on this historic boulevard.
The SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 3 on Blvd Costero. Racer registration will again be held in the Grand Ballroom of the San Nicolas Hotel. Registration hours will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 2 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday June 3.
The awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Hotel on Sunday, June 5 at 11 a.m.
In addition to season class point championships, the racers are also competing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings each race. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 26th consecutive year, a total of 38 drivers remain eligible after Round 2 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels -official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance and Slime-official tire sealant. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
While Tecate is title sponsor of the 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 500, additional race sponsors are the Office of the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.