SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - May 2019

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

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Page 9 of 92

BaJa’s Greatest Challengers The SCORE Baja 500 Is The One Race That Turns Man And Machine Into Legend By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo In 1969 the first Baja 500 race attracted 163 racers who were ready to conquer the Mexican desert in a challenge that stretched approximately half the distance of the Mexican 1000, the first official timed race there in 1967. Now in its 51st year, the SCORE Baja 500 race is expected to attract more than 300 racers in a variety of vehicle categories, who want to have their names listed in the prestigious group of those that have conquered it. Some at the top of the list include multiple Overall Race winners such as motorcycle and four-wheel champion Larry Roeseler, who has won the SCORE Baja 500 race overall 11 times on two and four wheels. Another is Ivan Stewart who is probably one of the most recognizable names in all of off-road motorsports. Stewart has won the SCORE Baja 500 overall a total of 10 times while driving solo, earning him the nickname “the ironman,” given to him by Mickey Thompson. Numerous other racers have made their name winning the SCORE Baja 500 multiple times in their respective race classes, including off-road racing legend Rod Hall, who has a total of 25 class wins spanning back to the first Baja 500 race in 1967, and motorcycle racer Jim O’Neal who has more than 20 class wins in this race. Seeing the accomplishments of racers such as these is one of the many reasons why the SCORE Baja 500 attracts the world’s best off-road racers. Following last year’s 50th Anniversary, this year’s race will include some of its past winners who want to add another to their list. This includes racers who have won the SCORE Baja 500 Overall multiple times, such as two-time winner Apdaly Lopez (2015, 2017), three-time winner Bryce Menzies (2011, 2012, 2014), Robby Gordon, who won the race three times in a row in Class 8 (1988, 1989, 1990), and once in a SCORE Trophy Truck (2005). A Must Win For 2019 Championship Also included among these prestigious race winners is two-time overall winner Andy McMillin (2010, 2017) who in this year’s race, will be first off the starting line in the SCORE Trophy Truck division, after his win at the season opener SCORE San Felipe 250. This places McMillin in a great position to lead the race and hope for a trouble-free sprint across the Baja desert. Following close behind him will be Ryan Arciero, who will be starting in second place and who nearly won in San Felipe while starting first and held on to the physical lead throughout the race to finish in second. Since SCORE Trophy Truck racers like to start mid-pack, this year’s race also gives veterans like Dan McMillin, Zak Langley, Luke McMillin, and Cameron Steel a great chance at winning the race, should the leaders slow down or have vehicle trouble. Last year’s winner, Rob MacCachren will be starting farther back but SCORE Trophy Truck racers know that he and the Rockstar Energy team are always a threat and could possibly come from behind to take the race again this year. Tight Competition Expected In Other Classes This second race of the SCORE World Desert Challenge will also be an important race for those looking for a championship season in 2019. Some of the tightest competition so far has been in Class 1, where Brad Wilson, Shelby Reid, and Justin Davis are battling to dominate the class and will make the SCORE Baja 500 a race to see who wins this class and take the lead towards a championship. The Trophy Truck Spec class is no different, with AJ Jones, Sara Price and Brad Lovell who drove spectacularly during the SCORE San Felipe 250 in April. Fans will be anxious to see who will compete and win to take the lead in the points championship for this class. Within the Pro UTV classes, SCORE fans will be cheering Wayne Matlock in the Pro UTV FI class and Kristen Matlock in the Pro UTV N/A class. Despite some minor issues in San Felipe, both won their classes but the SCORE Baja 500 will bring out some tougher competition for them to battle against. Both Matlocks have said they will be racing solo again and claim they are ready for the extra competition. Pro Moto Racers Ready Within the Pro Moto divisions, SCORE fans are looking to see who will challenge the reigning 1x Pro Moto Unlimited champions of Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels, and Justin Jones. While they seemingly cruised to a victory in San Felipe, the 4x team of Ray Dal Saglio and the 66x team of Santiago Creel will gather up their best riders to challenge the 1x team. Undoubtedly this will be a hardcore sprint for these motorcycle racers that will put their skills and knowledge of the terrain to the ultimate test. SJ

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