SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 105

A Preview Of The 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts BY SCORE JOURNAL STAFF There’s no doubt that this year’s 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts will be an exciting competition for those racers wanting to add a win at this prestigious race to their record. The race will take place in Ensenada, Baja California November 17-22nd and just like the SCORE Baja 500, and will be the second race of a two-race season that is taking place under health guidelines set forth by the Mexican government, state and municipal authorities. A Brief History The SCORE Baja 1000 is the oldest and most legendary of all desert races, that began from a recorded time run from Tijuana to La Paz by Dave Ekins and Bill Roberson in 1962. Other timed events followed to gain additional publicity and in 1967, off-road enthusiast Ed Pearlman founded the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) and established the Mexican 1000. It started officially in Tijuana on October 31, 1967 with 68 entries. NORRA continued to organize the Mexican 1000, which came to be known as the Baja 1000, and in 1968, Pearlman moved the start of the race to Ensenada. In 1972 Mexican officials revoked NORRA’s permits to stage races in Baja. In 1973, a domestic group called the Baja Sports Committee produced the race.  After the fuel crisis of 1974 forced local officials to cancel the event, SCORE International, founded by the late Mickey Thompson and headed soon after by Sal Fish (until 2012), was invited by the northern state of Baja California to hold the race in 1975. The SCORE Baja 1000 became a loop event starting and ending in Ensenada. In 1979, the government of Baja California Sur granted permission to resume the Ensenada-to-La Paz format and SCORE has used this route intermittently ever since. The 1979 race was notable for Walker Evans’ overall win in a Dodge truck, the first truck to win the overall title of the race. Roger Norman purchased SCORE International from Fish on Dec. 20, 2012. The race celebrated its 50th Anniversary in November 2017 and has been voted as USA Today’s Top Motorsports Event twice. Within the 52 years that the SCORE Baja 1000 has run, it has turned racers into legends of off-road motorsports. Many racers are happy to win the race, but even fewer have won it more than once. At the top of the list, Larry Roeseler “Mr Baja” has won a total of 13 Baja 1000 races in both two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles. Johnny Campbell won 11 of these races on two wheels followed by Steve Hengeveld who has won eight on a motorcycle, and Kendall Norman who has won it six times on a motorcycle. Last year, the SCORE Baja 1000 was unique in that it occurred under a rare downpour that left an 800-mile course wet and muddy, adding another level of difficulty to the racers. After a wet start, some of the top classes had first-time winners. Winning Overall was Alan Ampudia of team Papas And Beer, making it the team’s first SCORE Overall win and SCORE Trophy Truck division win. NASCAR racer Brendan Gaughn won his first SCORE Baja 1000 last year in Class 1, and Rolf Helland with Rick Johnson won his first class win last year in the SCORE Trophy Truck Legends class. Ampudia, with his brother Aaron, will return this year to take on the SCORE Trophy Truck competition and will start fourth after their finish at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. Likewise, Brendan Gaughn will be returning in Class 1 this year, after officially retiring from NASCAR earlier this season, and said he would focus on racing SCORE on a full-time basis. Last year’s Pro Moto winners were the unbeatable 2017 and 2018 Champion team of Justin Morgan with Mark Samuels. The two won the Pro Moto Unlimited class and the Pro Moto Overall, at this year’s SCORE Baja 500, making their dominance felt throughout the off-road motorcycle racing world. The team will again compete at this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 event, with Mark Samuels leading the 1x team which still consists of co-riders Justin Morgan and Justin Jones. In the very competitive Pro UTV classes, Justin Lambert of Team Cognito, pulled off his first SCORE Baja 1000 victory in the Pro UTV FI class last year by keeping his Polaris RZR together and maintaining a fast pace. Lambert will also be returning to the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts this year to keep his crown, as will Kristen Matlock in the Pro UTV N/A class. Matlock won her first Pro UTV N/A SCORE Baja 100 race last year, and at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, she won the class again as well as the Pro UTV class overall, making her one of the most competitive racers in all of SCORE’s UTV classes. A Two-Race Championship After the results of the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, the stage is also set for winners of each class to also collect a 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. Racers will have to challenge a 934.47-mile course that starts and finishes in Ensenada. While the winners of the SCORE Baja 500 definitely have an advantage towards a championship, most are concentrating on winning the race, and if their finishing positions are enough to win a championship, it will be a great end to a year full of challenges and tribulations. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-October-2020