SAN DIEGO — As the race clock quickly clicks down to 24 days remaining before the green flag drops and as teams finalize logistics, vehicle prep and prerunning trips, entries continue to arrive from around the globe for November’s 46th anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja, the legendary granddaddy of all desert races.
This year’s legendary desert classic, the final event of the 2013 SCORE Desert Series, will be held Nov. 13-17 in Mexico on a brutally-rugged 883.00-mile SCORE signature desert race course.
With the rugged course traveling on both sides of the peninsula, the world’s most famous desert race will start and finish in Ensenada, Baja California Norte. It is the longest course in race history for a loop race, starting and finish in the same location.
With pre-running of the official race course opening on Friday, this year will mark the 39th time in the first 45 years of the storied race that it has started in Ensenada and it will be the 22nd time it has finished there as well.
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 and majestic Baja California peninsula.
Completing his first year as the new owner of SCORE International, based in Reno, Nev., Roger Norman has announced a first for SCORE as all Pro motorcycle, Pro ATV and Sportsman Motorcycle and Sportsman ATV classes will start on Thursday night, Nov. 14 at 11 p.m. with all the car and truck classes starting at approximately 9 a.m. Friday morning, Nov. 15 in the elapsed-time race where each vehicle will leave in various intervals.
November’s race will cover much of Mexico’s majestic Baja California Norte portion of the peninsula, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Baja California. Upwards of 300 entries, from nearly 20 countries and 40 U.S. States, competing in 41 Pro and 8 Sportsman classes for cars, truck, motorcycles and ATVs are expected to compete in this year’s international challenge.
SCORE is celebrating its 40th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2013. As the World Series is to baseball and the Super Bowl to football, the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 stands as tall at the pinnacle of the motorsports world today as it did when it began 45 years ago.
Norman has also announced that for the first time in race history, there will be qualifying for start position for several classes. Held on Wednesday and not open to the public because of safety concerns, qualifying will be held for SCORE Trophy and the unlimited Class 1, by class along with all Pro Motorcycle and Pro ATV classes with each division grouped together.
To date, in addition to the 31 U.S. States and the U.S. Terrietory of Guam, racers have entered from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan. With 24 days before the green flag drops on Thursdaynight, Nov. 14, late entries will be accepted up to the start of the race for each group.
SCORE BAJA, OF COURSE
SCORE has announced that this year’s race will have the longest course in history for the years when it is a loop race. This year’s single-loop course will be approximately 833.00 miles, starting and finishing in the heart Ensenada and covering both sides of the Baja California peninsula in the Baja Notre state from Ensenada on the Pacific Ocean over to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez and back. There will be eight physical checkpoints used during the race as well as over 70 virtual checkpoints.
The longest previous course distance in the 26 previous years it has been a loop race was 822 miles in 1985. The longest loop course since 2000 was 808 miles in 2003. The longest distance the course traveled in the history of this race was the once-in-lifetime 2000 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 which covered a total of 1,679.54 miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate the new millennium.
GPS files and course notes will be available Thursday night on the SCORE website at www.score-international.com.
SCORE BAJA CELEBS
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 Britian’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 motorsport disciplines 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, Brendan Gaughan, Brian Ickler and Justin Lofton, SCCA legend Elliot Forbes-Robinson, World Rally Championships’ Armin Schwarz, Armin Kremer and Andreas Aigner, world motorcycle champions Malcolm Smith, Larry Roeseler and Destry Abbott, Motocross/Supercross legends Ricky Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, XGames star Travis Pastrana, drag racers Don Prudhomme and Larry Minor, Person Watercraft racing star Chris MacClugage 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 have both raced this classic in the several times in the last 10 years.
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 75 on Nov. 22, has a record 22 class wins (including one overall win in 1972), and is the only racer who has competed in all 45 SCORE Baja 1000 races. Bishop is the only racer who competed in the first 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races.
Hall will be racing this year in the Stock Mini class where he will split the driving with his granddaughter Shelby Hall in a Hummer H3.
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 will share driving duties this year in SCORE Trophy Truck with Tim Herbst in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150. Roeseler won the unlimited Class 1 for four consecutive years (2004-2007), driving with the youngest of the three racing brothers, Troy Herbst, in the Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheel desert race car that was known as the ‘Land Shark’.
In 2008, Roeseler split the driving with driver of record, team owner and new SCORE owner Roger Norman where they were the overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy Truck champions and the pair was second in 2009.
Lured by the same siren that enraptured the Ekins brothers in the 1950s, the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 remains as the No. 1 target of racers 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.
Live pre-race and race days internet coverage produced by the SCORE Dirt LiveHD team will be airing on www.score-international.com. This race will also debut SCORE’s new tracking system that will also be accessed through the SCORE website. On-site in the start/finish line area, fans will be able to enjoy the live coverage of the race displayed on SCOREvision, SCORE’s new huge LED screen.