SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - October 2018

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 67 of 127

The Grand Finale A new decade of the SCORE BaJa 1000 begins in November 2018 By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo As the SCORE Baja 1000 moves into its 51st year, the race still brings the excitement and challenges as it did during the very first race in 1967. Over the years, challengers and champions of off-road racing have attempted to win this most prestigious race, with the 2017 Champion Apdaly Lopez who won the 50th-anniversary race last year. The race is the culmination of four grueling races, but throughout the 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship season, some unexpected events have shaken-up the desert. Always at the top of the SCORE Trophy Truck pack, Rob MacCachren has dominated the season and is currently at the top of the points standings in the SCORE Trophy Truck division. His year began winning first place overall at the SCORE San Felipe 250, the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, and most recently earning a second place finish at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana 22nd SCORE Desert Challenge. After winning the SCORE Baja 500, MacCachren could add a fifth SCORE Baja 10000 victory to his record All bets are off, however, when it comes to the SCORE Baja 1000, but there’s no doubt that MacCachren and the Rockstar Energy Team know how to win this race. He’s done it four times already, winning three of them in a row, (2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016), and teams up with equally talented racers such as Andy McMillin and Jason Voss to do it. It’s rumored that at the 51st SCORE Baja 1000, McCachren will once again team up with Jason Voss, and with a starting position up in front of the competition, he and the Rockstar Energy team may be able to add a fifth overall win to their record. Expecting The Unexpected Every experienced Baja racer will tell you that preparation and logistics are key to winning the SCORE Baja 1000, but in the end, you never know what’s going to happen. Last month’s overall win at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana 22nd Desert Challenge by Cameron Steele, proves that determination is a powerful tool to winning in Baja. He finished second at last year’s race and second again at the SCORE San Felipe 250 season opener. His momentum might be enough for the Desert Assassins to come together again for a great victory, and finish off the season on a huge high. Steele led most of the race in 2017 and finished second No matter what the expectations are for Steele, or many of the other racers who plan to compete in November, the fact is that there is always huge competition at the SCORE Baja 1000. Along with MacCachren and Steele, there’s a handful of other racers who consistently win in Baja and have the experience and teams to do it again. One of these is most certainly Andy McMillin, who is a five-time race winner and can win the race on his own, or driving with an experienced team. The same can be said for his cousins Luke and Dan McMillin. Luke has brought new attention to the capabilities of the McMillin clan and finished in the top three at both the SCORE San Felipe 250 (finishing third), and at the SCORE Baja 500 where he finished second. Dan McMillin also finished third at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 and fourth at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, but could also have a great podium finish at this year’s race. Along with the McMillin’s, one can’t dismiss anyone from the RPM Off-Road race team, including team owner Justin Matney in his 4WD Trophy Truck, and 2017 Overall Champion Apdaly Lopez. Lopez has not had a great 2018 season, but he still has the number 1 on his race truck for a reason. While he doesn’t have enough points to regain the SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck championship this season, he can win this race if he gets a good position. Lately, he’s been teaming up with his dad Juan Carlos Lopez who is also extremely experienced, but Lopez can win this race solo if he needs to and you can bet that he’s going to give it all he has. Apdaly Lopez, Andy McMillin and Luke McMillin are also contenders for winning this year’s 51st SCORE Baja 1000 The 7x team of Morgan, Jones and Samuels have dominated Pro Moto Unlimited this season Pro Moto Challengers With such competition at this year’s race, the SCORE Trophy Truck division will definitely have its fan favorites to win, but it will be equally so within the Pro Moto divisions. Last year’s winner Francisco Arredondo and his team, narrowly won the race with competition from Colton Udall, Mark Samuels and his team of talented riders. This year, the 7x team is led by Justin Morgan who teamed up with Samuels and Justin Jones to win the Pro Moto Overall at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and at the SCORE Baja 500. Jones also rode to victory at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana 22nd SCORE Desert Challenge to lead the pack of talented racers into a possible championship season this year. Shane Esposito carries the 1x team this year and could still win in Ensenada The 1x team is headed by Shane Esposito, and despite a fourth-place finish in San Felipe and a second place finish at the SCORE Baja 500, he and his team of riders including Max Eddy and Tyler Lynn, can’t be counted out to take the Pro Moto Unlimited class win at the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. The same can be said for Santiago Creel and his team of riders on the 66x bike, who finished in second at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Tijuana 22nd Desert Challenge. Creel also has a talented team of riders, not only in Pro Moto Unlimited, but also in Pro Moto Limited, and Pro Moto 30 classes where they are in contention for a championship. UTV Champs Battle Another spectacular race to watch at this year’s 51st SCORE Baja 1000 is the amazing action from UTVs battling the course and each other. As these vehicles increase in speed and capability, they don’t hold back and with champion racers such as Wayne Matlock. Marc Burnett, Brandon Schueler, Brandon Sims, and many others, anyone can win. Despite the tough competition within the Pro UTV Forced Induction class, they still have to contend with Kristen Matlock in the Pro UTV N/A class who has shown she can beat them all, and could possibly win the Pro UTV Overall Championship if she pulls off another win at the SCORE Baja 1000. The Matlocks, Wayne and Kristen, are the dominant force this season in the Pro UTV classes and will be difficult to beat in Ensenada Pre-Race Experiences The start of the 51st SCORE Baja 1000 actually begins at the 2018 SEMA Show that takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada October 30th thru November 2nd. The SEMA Show is where the automotive aftermarket and racing industry gather to showcase the latest products and innovations the market has to offer. During the show, SCORE brings the Baja Experience and Qualifier Presented by BFGoodrich Tires to attendees, showcasing the vehicles, people, and passion the industry has for Baja racing. The build-up to the race continues on the evening of October 30th during the SEMA Show, where SCORE Trophy Trucks, and Trophy Truck Legend, vehicles compete for starting positions during the SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifier Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. SEMA attendees will be allowed into the event for free with their show badge, with complimentary buses leaving for the event that takes place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The power, agility, and action of the event, gives spectators an idea of what these vehicles can do, and they’ll be present for the Dana/Spicer Fastest Qualifier Award, given to the SCORE racer who has the fastest lap times to start first at the SCORE Baja 1000. From Vegas To Ensenada Once qualifying is done in Las Vegas, teams and fans will head to Ensenada to begin preparations for the approximately 806.76-mile loop course that will start and finish in Ensenada. Racers will have a 36-hour time limit for racers to complete the grueling course. The race festivities begin with Contingency Day, where both SCORE fans and teams gather together to celebrate the race and enjoy the music, food, and drink before the seriousness of the race takes place. On race day, Friday, November 16, motorcycle and quad classes will start at 4 a.m. (PST) with the car, truck and UTV classes following at 10:30 a.m. (PST). The course is a loop race this year and includes five checkpoints and 192 virtual checkpoints. Starting in Ensenada, racers will head out of town to Kiliwas and out to Hwy 3 towards San Matias, then over to the desert in San Felipe. South of San Felipe it loops around the Amarillas Wash and comes back to Old Puertecitos Road on Huatamote Wash. It then heads south to the Sulphur mines and turns right to loop back using Matomi Wash to Old Puertecitos Highway. From Puertecitos to Gonzaga Bay and before Coco’s Corner, the race course turns south again and extends across a new trail that will take racers back to the main road out to Chapala. Here, the course goes across Hwy 1 and does a loop behind Cataviña where there are tons of silt and nasty hill climbs. Near Cataviña the course goes back across the peninsula on the east side of Hwy 1 and heads north to Rancho Victoria and more silt areas before and after this ranch in the Rm 490 to Rm 510 area. The course then drops down to El Rosario Wash and heads north to San Quintin on a fast smooth road that has never been raced on. Here the course runs north and hits the coast to Santo Tomas, taking pavement to Uruapan and back to Ojos Negros and to the finish in Ensenada. The five checkpoints will be located north of San Felipe (race mile 177.34), before Highway 1 on Chapala Road (rm 378.27), Highway 1 in San Quintin (rm 597.81), end of Vicente Guerrero Wash (rm 633.85) and in Santo Tomas before Highway 1 (rm 733.02). Because of the horrendous silt beds, Class 11 (stock VW sedans) and all Sportsman 4-wheel vehicles classes will be allowed to eliminate the Cataviña loop, taking pavement from rm 379.22 to rm 478.38. SJ

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