Thumb-Robby-Win-SCORE-Baja-500-6-2-13With the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 now in the books, we wanted to take a look back at some of the class winners of the 502-mile off road race that was held last weekend in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

There were 276 vehicles that left the starting line of the 2013 Baja 500, with 162 of those reaching the finish time in the allotted time (a finishing percentage of 58.71 for the field). Racers from 25 different U.S. States and 15 different counties participated in this year’s race.

As is often the case, there are hundreds of unique stories that come out of every off-road race – especially those held in Baja. Here’s a brief look at some of the class winners from the race along with some comments from them after crossing the finish line.

Mike-Johnson-Alumi-Craft-Baja-500-6-5-13Ensenada, Baja California, MX – Alumi Craft takes another victory at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, their second Baja 500 win in a row. Alumi Craft racer Mike Johnson dominated the field of 22 class 10 cars during the grueling 500 mile race. Every Alumi Craft car that entered finished the race giving them four positions total in the top ten.

“We couldn’t be happier with our Alumi Craft chassis,” said Mike Johnson, “The package we have with Radar Tires, FOX shocks, Dave Folts Transmission and Danzio power is perfect. I have a 2008 Alumi Craft prerunner that I am really happy with. When my partner Mike Majesky and I were looking to get into class 10 we knew we wanted an Alumi Craft. I think they are well above everyone else in quality and design. I like the lightweight feel with no sacrifice in the strength department which comes from their applied knowledge of car building.”

Jagged-X-Polaris-Off-Road-Baja-500-6-5-13Minneapolis – After Jagged X/Polaris Driver Matt Parks won the opening round of the 2013 SCORE Baja championship, at the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, he knew he would need to share the driving duties for the second round, the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500.  Parks enlisted teammate Brandon Schueler, who races in the Best In The Desert series, to not only drive, but to start the race. The strategy would pay off with the Jagged X Team winning their second straight SCORE race.

“Schueler has more UTV racing experience that anyone out there and I knew he would do a great job in Baja,” Parks said.

Schueler and his co-driver Keith Redstrom took the green flag in the No. 1932 RZR XP 4 900 and kept a steady pace through the first fuel stop but encountered a huge bottleneck at the 100 mile mark where a long line of cars were stuck in a particularly nasty section. Once through the section, Schueler took after the lead UTV. Once in second place and 230 miles into the race, Schueler handed the RZR over to Parks and co-driver Jason Spiess.

Robby-Gordon-Toyo-Baja-500-6-4-13Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico – Toyo Tires captured a historic 1st and 2nd overall in the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 this past weekend.  Robby Gordon of Charlotte, NC, driving his #77 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires® Chevy CK1500 trophy truck, won the 501-mile race in a time of 10:04:36.  Finishing second was BJ Baldwin of Las Vegas, NV, piloting his #1 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy Silverado trophy truck in a time of 10:13:51.  Both drivers relied on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires for their decisive podium finish over a field of some 275 international competitors.

For the first time, pre-race qualifying was held a few days earlier on a section of the Baja 500 race course near Ojos Negros.  Robby Gordon qualified the fastest, ensuring a number one starting position.

Thumb-Robby-Win-SCORE-Baja-500-6-2-13Robby Gordon followed up his first-place qualifying effort on Thursday with a victory yesterday, as he pulled away from the Trophy Truck field to earn his second win in the Trophy Truck class at the 2013 SCORE Baja 500.

“It was a good day. The guys did a great job prepping the car – it ran all day long,” Gordon said. “The pit stops were awesome, awesome pit stops.”

Gordon’s efforts were nearly derailed just after the start of the race, however, as an area in the wash flooded by a broken water main the night before almost took the #77 Speed Energy Chevy out.

Roger-Full-Norman-SCORE-Baja-500-6-1-13The recent acquisition of SCORE by Roger Norman has been met with some apprehension by the motorcycle and ATV camps, and that’s understandable to a degree.

After all, as a Trophy Truck competitor, Norman’s much-publicized collision with a backmarker motorcycle competitor during the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 500, and his outspoken commentary regarding motorcycle and ATV safety afterward, have left many bike teams concerned over the future of these classes now that he has acquired the legendary sanctioning body, one which owes a great deal of its history and success to these classes.

Yet Norman’s presence on the starting line to see off every motorcycle and ATV entry in this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 field at least gave the impression that he doesn’t simply consider them as mere obstacles to the all-powerful Trophy Trucks and buggies that serve as Baja racing’s biggest draw. He is concerned about their future, and he wants to see the classes grow.

To that end, Norman has implemented changes to some of the bike and ATV classes, most notably in the Sportsman ranks, for this year’s 500, and if he is able to implement his plans fully, even more are in store for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in November.

“I think where we are right now is that we are on the ground floor,” Norman said. “There are a lot of things that we can do to increase the bike counts. One of the things is to make it a bigger event for the bikes and give it its own television show.”

Thumb-Caselli-Baja-500-Start-6-1-13Just minutes before the start of the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the motorcycle and ATV teams gathered at the starting line in Ensenada, the pre-dawn peace and quiet was occasionally shattered by staccato exhaust notes in anticipation of the start.

Gathered at the front of the line, four motorcycles, led by THR Motorsports/Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Robby Bell, was the picture of focus in anticipation of a repeat of the team’s 2012 race victory. Bell said that he just wanted to have a mistake-free race.

SCORE-Logo-12-20-11ENSENADA, Mexico — Below is the updated entry list, with vehicle, driver/rider of record, by class starting order for Saturday’s 45th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race. Racers have come from 25 US States and 15 countries.

The second-oldest desert race in the world, Round 2 of the three-race 2013 SCORE Desert Series, 289 official entries as of 7:30 p.m. Friday competing in 40 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.

With additional late entries expected on race morning in the 500.99-mile race, 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.

BFGoodrich-6-1-11While Robby Gordon going off first in Saturday’s 45th running of the Tecate Score 2013 Baja 500, the next three drivers on the course and seven of the top 10 will be running on BFGoodrich desert racing tires.

Team BFGoodrich members Bryce Menzies (3rd), Rob MacCachren (14th) and Dan McMillin (21st) lead a contingent of 30 racers on the tires that have won more races in Baja than any other tire – BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR and BFGoodrich T/A KRT.

BJ-Baldwin-Preview-Baja-500-5-31-13Baja California, Mexico – The Tecate SCORE Baja 500 has been a good race for BJ Baldwin. Not only does he love racing in Mexico but he has always done well at the annual 500 mile race. He has been a frequent sight on the podium and came very close to an overall win last year. After a long day nursing his wounded transmission, he finished 11 seconds behind the winner in 2012.

BJ was the first truck to qualify. “The first guy to qualify will hit every rock and bump on the course,” said BJ, “In rally racing they call it “sweeping the road.” BJ ended up qualifying in 5th place (see more on Off-Road.com’s coverage here). “It’s harder to keep track of the competition when you are out front,” says BJ, “When you are out front it’s tough to get good split times on the competition. After you go through, the crew moves to the next spot. They don’t always hang around to see how far back the others are. Sometimes it’s a radio issue. You get out of range by the time they come through. It’s better to stalk your prey than to try and outrun it.”