SAN DIEGO — With pre-running opening Wednesday, the official 501-mile course map for the upcoming 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 was unveiled Tuesday night during Roger Norman’s Dirt Live HD Internet show at www.score-international.com. Entries from around the world continue to arrive for Round 2 of the 2013 SCORE Desert Series, to be held May 30-June 2 in Mexico’s Baja California Norte, starting and finishing in Ensenada, the seaside port on the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of San Diego.
SCORE is celebrating its 40th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2013 and this race is traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule. Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s 45th anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the original desert race produced by SCORE on July 26, 1974.
It is an elapsed-time race with staggered starts with the green flag on Saturday (June 1) dropping first for the motorcycles and ATVs at 6 a.m. with cars and trucks leaving the start line three and one-half hours after the last Sportsman ATV at approximately 10:30 a.m.
The race will feature a course of just over 501 miles that includes some new or seldom-used areas as several new festivities will be held surround the event as the celebration continues for the 40th season of SCORE International desert racing.
Pre-running on the race course begins Wednesday, except for the portion from the start to Ojos Negros (approximately 35 miles), which will be used in both directions during the race. This section may be run only the Thursday (May 30) and Friday (May 31) of race week and only in the outbound direction.
Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose Grijalva have designed a historic race course that 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 4,100 feet. The course will be another jewel reflecting the stark beauty of Baja California.
Featuring four checkpoints and more than 90 virtual checkpoints, the race will start and finish in downtown Ensenada on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, marking the sixth straight year this race has been able to finish on Blvd. Costero. Starting and finishing in Ensenada, this year’s tight and technical course will run in a clockwise direction for the 10th straight year.
The course runs East to Ojos Negros area, South through Tres Hermanos to near Lllano Colorado then East and Northeast up over the top of the 4,100-foot Summit, looping east and NE to Cahabuzo Junction South into the Laguna Salada desert running parallel to the Sea of Cortez to Borrego and then back Northwest, Southwest past and up by Mike’s Sky Ranch, followed by a West travel section, turning north at the Pacific Ocean then East, North and back West for the final charge back into Ensenada. The first 35 miles will be used both outgoing and incoming. The course also includes a magnificent 60-plus mile run along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. There are five highway pavement areas on the course, less than 15 miles total, with a maximum speed limit of 60 mph.
DOUBLE ANNIVERSARY RACE
To enjoy the history-making anniversary race, entries from up to 35 U.S. States and 15 countries are expected with competition offered in 40 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Entries have already been received from Hawaii to Florida in the U.S., the U.S. territory of Guam, along with entries to date from the additional countries of Australia, Austria, Belize, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and host country Mexico. A total of 211 entries have been accepted to date and an addition 90 are expected before the green flag drops.
QUALIFYING A FIRST
For the first time in SCORE Baja racing history, qualifying for starting positions will be held. On Thursday, May 30, qualifying for both the SCORE Trophy Truck and the unlimited Class 1 will be held over a special course near Ensenada. Qualifying will not be open to the public.
To date, there are a total of 37 SCORE Trophy Trucks and 21 Class 1 entries that will qualify for their starting positions on Thursday (May 30), marking the first time there has been qualifying in the storied history of SCORE Baja racing. For the top two car and truck classes, the start drawing identified their qualifying order in each class.
Receiving the first qualifying positions in their respective classes were B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas, in the No. 1 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy Truck and Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico, who drives the No. 117 Speed Energy RPM Racing RGM-Chevy open-wheel race car.
Tampa Digital Studios and Tempt Media Films will tape all qualifying vehicle for broadcast use on the ground and from the SCORE TV helicopter.
One of the top motorcycle desert racers in the world, Robby Bell, 26, of Menifee, Calif., has drawn the first starting position for the race. Bell a three-time SCORE season Class 22 point champion and he has four overall motorcycle wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 including last year. In the 2012 race, Bell and teammates David Pearson, Panaca, Nev. and Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., ended the 15-year win streak by Honda, giving Kawasaki its first Tecate SCORE Baja 500 overall win since 1996. Bell/Pearson/Hengeveld ride the No. 4x Monster Energy THR Motorsports Kawasaki KX450.
While SCORE Trophy Truck with 37 has the most entries of any class in the race including 4-wheel vehicles, other car/truck classes with double figure entries so far are Class 1 with 21, Class 10 with 20 and Class 1/2-1600 with 11.
Leading the Pro motorcycle classes is the open Class 30 with nine entries so far.
Class 24 leads the ATV classes so far with six and leading the Sportsman Motorcycles is the SPT M/C> class with 20 so far.
A BAJA FIESTA
Colorful race week festivities will include several first-time events for SCORE, starting with qualifying for SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1 followed by the Monster Energy SCORE Kick Off Party on Thursday, May 30 from 7 p.m. until Midnight at the start/finish line area in the heart of Ensenada. With donations for La Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexico’s Red Cross), the event will include a racer’s autograph party and vehicle display.
Friday, May 31 will see the day-long, pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and contingency festival in the start finish line area in Ensenada.
During the race on Saturday, June 1 the Monster Energy SCORE VIP hospitality area, will be part of the start/finish line compound. The Monster Energy SCORE VIP area will include live streaming from the race course as well as updated leaderboard and Internet tracking display of the race vehicles.
All of the week’s festivities will be aired both live and same-day including the race, on the Dirt LiveHD SCORE race week shows, airing via the internet on the SCORE website.
Online registration, with classes grouped into four Pro and two Sportsman levels is ongoing through the SCORE website. Questions regarding SCORE racer registration should be directed to Elise Norman at 775.690.2306.
Official entries received after the drawing are being given the next available starting position within their respective classes. Late entries received after May 24 or registering on-site will be assessed a $200 late fee.
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 Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Racer registration and Media registration will be held at the Riviera on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (May 30-31, June 1) and the SCORE Media Center will be there as well during the race with internet access and live race updates, vehicle tracking and unofficial elapsed times.
In the Cathedral Room at the Riviera will be pre-race media conference as well as the mandatory pre-race racer’s meeting on Friday (May 31). The post-race awards celebration will be in the outdoor Riviera open-air amphitheater at noon on Sunday (June 2).
The start/finish line for the race will once again be adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center as well.
DAKAR CHALLENGE 2013
This year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and Eldorado HDRA Reno 500 (July 12-14) are part of a special program where the combined best qualified car/truck finisher and combined best qualified motorcycle finisher in the two races will each receive special entry packages into the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America. Regulations and other information on Dakar Challenge 2013 are available at http://www.dakar.com/dakar/2013/us/dakar-challenge.html.