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BJ Baldwin in the 2014 SCORE Desert Challenge

The third round of SCORE’s World Desert Challenge returns to where it all started in 1967.

Earlier this month, we wrote about the inaugural Baja 1000. Held fifty years ago, it was the first time SCORE raced in Tijuana and the organization didn’t darken the town’s doorstep again until 1995. Both times, of course, the race finished in La Paz.

READ MORE: SCORE-ing in SoCal: Classic Baja Metal to be Displayed at Lucas Oil Expo

This year, from September 20th-24th, the 21st SCORE Desert Challenge moves to Tijuana from Rosarito Beach. Featuring three full days of racing with a course consisting of a 23-mile loop, each class will run a total of six laps for 138 total miles in a split-format event.

There are no qualifying sessions, with starting positions being determined by draw on September 14th. Racers in car and truck classes will be able to pre-run the course over the next two days, while quads and bikes can do their pre-running on September 17th.

SCORE Desert ChallengeMotorcycles, quads and one group of car classes will race in split heats on September 22nd starting at a soul-crushing 6:30 a.m., and the day’s racing will conclude roughly twelve hours later at 6:20 p.m.

Other car and truck classes, including the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck and SCORE TT Legend divisions, are scheduled to run the first half of their race on September 23rd, a Saturday, and complete the final half their competition the next day. Racing for those classes will start each day at 8 a.m. and finish at 4:25 p.m.

READ MORE: SCORE Adds Two New Vintage Classes for 50th Baja 1000

The race will include a spectator-friendly start/finish line and ‘hot pit’ area located on the southeast outskirts of Tijuana, about 2.3 miles inland from Boulevard 2000 (Highway 201). The City of Tijuana and its tourism groups have offered SCORE a strong, multi-year contract, reflecting the confidence of Mexico’s fifth-largest metropolitan area.

Tijuana has experienced massive growth in recent years. With the 2017 event close to the U.S Border at San Diego, access should be easy, although a temporary border closure on race weekend due to construction is sure to be a thorn in many sides.

Starting on Saturday, September. 23 at 3 am and stretching to noon on Monday, September 25,  all traffic will be stopped from crossing the border between Tijuana and San Ysidro. All traffic during that time will be re-routed to the Otay Mesa point of entry, likely to cause long line-ups. So plan your trip accordingly!

“We appreciate all that Rosarito Beach did to launch the Baja version of the popular SCORE Desert Challenge, but as they were unable to host this year’s race, we are extremely pleased that the City of Tijuana, which has significantly more resources, is able to welcome this popular SCORE racing event,” said Roger Norman, who is SCORE President and CEO.

At last year’s race in Rosarito, Juan C. Lopez took the overall win in the Trophy Truck division. Billy Wilson came in close second. Most SCORE fans think this race belongs to Apdaly Lopez, who last year flew past the finish line, earning himself penalties for not stopping soon enough which cost him the win. Don’t count on him making those same mistakes again this year.

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