ENSENADA, Mexico — Southern California’s amazing Larry Roeseler, the all-time winningest active racer in all of desert racing, enters this week’s 45th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 with 16 class wins, including 11 overall victories in this race. Roeseler will pace nearly expected entries, including 93 racers who have combined for 203 class wins in this popular summer classic.
The second-oldest desert race in the world, Round 2 of the three-race 2013 SCORE Desert Series, will feature nearly 300 entries, competing in 40 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. The event is being held Thursday through Sunday 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. This race is traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, and most of the world’s best desert racers will be part of the 45 years Tecate SCORE Baja 500 Glory, the original desert race produced by SCORE on July 26, 1974. This will be the second event of the new era of SCORE Desert Racing, since the prominent racing organization was purchased by former champion Roger Norman who purchased the iconic company on Dec. 20, 2012. The race is being filmed in High Definition by Tampa Digital and Tempt Media Films to be aired domestically and internationally on a date and networks to be finalized.
BREAKING IT DOWN
With late entries accepted up to race morning in the 500.99-mile race, entries to date have come from 25 U.S. States from Hawaii to New Jersey and the U.S. Territory of Guam along with the additional countries of Mexico, Australia, Austria, Belize, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Japan and Norway. One of the many sweeping changes the new SCORE is initiating, all sportsman motorcycle and sportsman ATV classes with run a reduced distance of 397.6 miles on the course designed and plotted by Norman and new SCORE Race Director Jose Grijalva.
The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three and one-half hours after the last ATV at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Motorcycle classes 22 and 21 will start in 30-second intervals, all of the other motorcycle and ATV classes will start one every 15 seconds and those classes and will have a 16-hour, 45-minute time limit to become an official finisher. There will be a 22-hour time limit to become an official finisher in the grueling race for all of the car and truck classes and those classes will start one every 30 seconds as well. With different time limits being used by SCORE for the first time because of safety concerns for the racers, also for the first time the Sportsman motorcycle and the Sportsman ATV classes will race over an abbreviated course of 397.6 miles.
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 fastest vehicles are expected to finish in approximately 10 hours.
ROESELER & TIM HERBST
Roeseler, 56, of Boulevard, Calif., is the second driver this year for Las Vegas’ Tim Herbst, 50, in the No. 19 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck. Tim Herbst, whose younger brother Troy races with Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., in the No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck, finished sixth in March’s Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.
Tim Herbst is the all-time winningest driver in the 19-plus-year history of SCORE Trophy Truck with 11 race wins while Roeseler has three career SCORE Trophy Truck race victories. Roeseler also teamed with Troy Herbst to capture the overall victory in this the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 in both 2002 and 2003 in a Ford-powered Smithbuilt open-wheel desert race care in the unlimited Class 1.
Roeseler is the only other competitor besides the legendary SCORE Baja racer Malcolm Smith, who has won the overall title in both a four-wheel vehicle and on a motorcycle in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Roeseler’s incredible SCORE Baja racing record for the three races SCORE produces annually in Mexico has him with 39 class wins including 26 overall victories. Roeseler has earned 11 career SCORE season class point titles.
In the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 Roeseler’s 11 overall wins (nine on motorcycles and two in 4-wheel) are the most in race history. His 16 career class wins in this race are third all-time behind semi-retired Rod Hall’s 18 and retired Ivan Stewart’s 17.
QUALIFYING A FIRST
For the first time in SCORE Baja racing history, qualifying for starting positions will be held. On Thursday, qualifying for both the SCORE Trophy Truck and the unlimited Class 1 will be held over a special course near Ensenada. Qualifying is being held at an undisclosed location and 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. 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 and part of the qualifying session will air live on the Dirt LiveHD race coverage at www.score-international.com.
SCORE 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, 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 will see the day-long, pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and contingency festival in the start finish line area in Ensenada. With three performances during the day at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., will be a special appearance of the Monster Energy Freestylemx.com show featuring XGames stars Kenny Bell, Dustin Miller and Rich Kearns.
During the race on Saturday, 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 ALL 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.
The race features a course of 500.99 miles (397.6 miles for SPT M/C and SPT ATV classes) that includes some new or seldom-used areas.
Pre-running on the race course began May 15, except for the portion from the start to Ojos Negros (approximately 41 miles), which will be used in both directions during the race. This section may be run only Thursday and Friday and only in the outbound direction.
SCORE President Roger 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 reflection of the stark beauty of Baja California.
Featuring four physical, full-stop 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 also five short highway pavement areas on the course, less than 15 miles total, with a maximum speed limit of 60 mph.
MORE MULTI CLASS WINS
Besides Roeseler, the other racers entered this year with the most class wins in this race are: Jim O’Neal, Class 21(16), Steve Hengeveld, Class 22 and Donald Moss, Class 3 (8 each), Troy Herbst, SCORE Trophy Truck and Eric Solorzano, Class 11(7 each), Scott McMillin, SCORE Trophy Truck and Nick Vanderwey, SCORE Trophy Truck (6 each), Mike Cafro, Class 25, Johnny Campbell, Class 40, Dan Chamlee, Class 7, Rob MacCachren, SCORE Trophy Truck, Mark McMillin, SCORE Trophy Truck and Kendall Norman, Class 22 (5 each) and Robby Bell, Class 22, Robby Gordon, SCORE Trophy Truck, Class 7SX, Eizaburo Karasawa, Class 50, Adam Pfankuch, SCORE Trophy Truck, Greg Row, Class 25, and Darren Skilton, Class 7200 (4 each).
The racers entered with three career class wins each in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 are: Vic Bruckmann, SCORE Lites, Steven Eugenio, SCORE Trophy Truck, Mike Johnson, Class 30, Mike Julson, Class 1, Scott Myers, Class 21, J. David Ruvalcaba, Class 1-2/1600, Hector Sarabia, Class 1/2-1600 and Clyde Stacy, Trophy Truck Spec/Class 5-1600/Class 1 (3 each).
SUPERSTAR SCORE TROPHY TRUCKS
With the world’s top desert racers competing, of the 37 entries so far in SCORE Trophy Truck are12 racers who have combined for 65 race wins out of the 105 total races since the class debuted in 1994. There are also eight previous winners in this race entered and a total of 14 from SCORE Trophy Truck season point champions including the last seven straight winners.
In the 19-plus-year existence of the marquee racing division in all of the sport, SCORE Trophy Trucks have been the overall 4-wheel winners in this race 15 times.
Among the former SCORE Trophy Truck season champs, the star-studded field also includes not only four-time winner Tim Herbsts, but also former titlists B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas (2006, 2008 and 2012 in the No. 1 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado), Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (1996 and 2009 in the No. 77 Speed Energy Team Gordon Chevy CK1500), Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif. (1997 who is driving with Nick Vanderwey this year in the No. 84 Flying Dutchmen Chevy Silverado), Mark Post, Las Vegas (2007 with MacCachren who is driving the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150), Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Ariz. (2010 who drives the No. 76 Jones Motorsports Chevy Siverado) and Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas (2011 who drives the No. 70 Red Bull Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150).
Menzies, who has three career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins, has also won the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 for the last two straight years.
Probably the biggest fan favorite in the race will be Mexico’s father/son team Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildsola Jr, who won the season-opening Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March in the No. 21 Red Bull Vildsola Racing Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck. Gus Sr now has three career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins, two with his son Gus Jr and one with MacCachren.
While Honda motorcycles have dominated this race since 1997, winning 15 straight overalls and 16 total wins prior to last year, Johnny Campbell’s JCR Honda team will face two factory-supported teams who are attempting to pull off the victory, one each from Kawasaki and KTM.
JCR’s rider of record this year is Tim Weigand and he will be joined once again by Colton Udall and David Kamo riding the No. 1x JCR Honda Honda CRF450X.
Kawasaki broke Honda’s 15-year winning streak last year with a superstar team led by Robby Bell, who won this race three times (2006, 2007, 2008) when riding for American Honda. Bell returns as rider of record on the No. 4x Monster Energy THR Motorsports Kawasaki KX450F with the same teammates–David Pearson and Steve Hengeveld. Pearson is an experienced SCORE Baja racer and Hengeveld has now won seven total overall motorcycle titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007) in this race on an American Honda motorcycle and last year on a Kawasaki. Bell drew the first start for this race as well. They have added a fourth rider for this race, SCORE rookie Taylor Robert.
For their challenge, KTM has merged two teams into the No. 2x KTM Factory Bonanza Plumbing KTM 450SX-F with Kurt Caselli as rider of record with Mexico’s Ivan Ramirez as the primary riders although they have added the rider of record for their second team in the veteran Mike Brown as a third rider for this race. Caselli/Rameriz were the overall motorcycle winners in San Felipe in 2012. Caselli won the series championship in two US series in 2012—WORCS and the AMA Hare & Hound.
The longshot in this year’s race would be Kendall Norman who is riding as an independent this year after several seasons with the JCR Honda team. Norman has won it five times overall when racing for JCR Honda.
Second to Honda’s 16 overall wins in this race is Husqvarna with 12 followed by Kawasaki with nine and in third place is Kawasaki with nine Yamaha in fourth place with four.
In the race for tire manufacturer victories in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, SCORE sponsor BFGoodrich Tires has won an amazing 29 overall 4-wheel vehicle victories.
While SCORE Trophy Truck with 37 has the most entries of any class in the race, other car/truck classes with double figure entries so far are Class 10 with 22, Class 1 with 21, Class 1/2-1600 with 14, Class 7200 with 10 and Class 19 with 10.
Leading the Pro motorcycle classes are the open Class 22 and Class 30 (riders 30 years old and over), each with 11 entries so far and Class 21 with 10.
Class 24 leads the ATV classes so far with 10 and leading the Sportsman Motorcycles is the SPT M/C> class with 17 entries so far.
For more information, visit www.score-international.com.