SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 105

THE TOUGHEST RACE GETS TOUGHER Teams Gather To Compete In The World’s Biggest Off-Road Race By Dan Sanchez Photos by GetSomePhoto Perhaps the only thing tougher than this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 course, was a season filled with uncertainty, race postponements, and some teams unable to compete. Despite the obstacles during the 2020 World Desert Championship Season, SCORE International managed to hold two races, including the season finale of the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. Racers who attended the SCORE Baja 500 in September understood the difficulties in putting on a race such as this and had to comply with Mexico’s strict COVID-19 protocols designed to keep everyone safe. This also meant that the SCORE Baja 1000 would be much the same. No fans on the start/finish line or pre-race celebrations that have been a part of this race’s 53-year history.   Despite all this, racers weren’t going to miss participating in the most important, and significant off-road race that anyone could win. Participants from 26 countries came to Ensenada, Mexico to challenge themselves and their vehicles to one of the most unique SCORE Baja 1000 races to date. The Longest Loop Course…Ever SCORE’s President and Race Director, Jose A Grivalva, put together a very tough and technical course that added up to 898.40 miles of Baja terrain, the longest loop race on record. To keep the start/finish line closed to the public, SCORE race officials placed it just outside of town on a highway overpass at the end of Avenida Ruiz. Many of the racers said the start/finish was “surreal” with no fans, no cheering, and none of the usual sites and landmarks from Ensenada within sight. Nevertheless, all were eager to take on the challenge of a course that headed to Ojos Negros, down along the Pacific Ocean, around the tough terrain in San Felipe, out to the Sea of Cortez and back through Cordillera de Molina before heading back to Ojos Negro and the finish line in Ensenada. Along the way, racers also had to navigate through technical sections including, the Amarillas Change, Huatamote, and Matomi Washes. Without many areas for full-throttle high-speed stretches, racers on the course also had to make sure to go through four physical checkpoints and to speed zones to avoid accruing any penalties after they crossed the finish line. Contingency Days Introduced SCORE Racers During the first two days before the start of the race, racers lined up to speak with Rat Sult for their live streaming interviews that reached the large number of racers and fans that could not attend the race. With the amount of social distancing necessary, Contingency was spread over two days to get through most of the racers in attendance. Areas were set aside for sponsors to display their latest products, and to help racers get the most out of their equipment. Manufacturers such as King Shocks helped racers with parts and tuning shocks. VP Racing Fuels had an area outside of town with racing fuel. Other manufacturers like Raceline Wheels, PCI Race Radios, Baja Designs, NiteRider LEDs, Finish Line-IV Hydration, LiquidAider, and others were ready to help racers with getting their fuel and equipment set-up before the start of the race. Safety Under COVID-19 Ensenada was under strict COVID-19 protocol restrictions, that restricted the public from being at the race start/finish. It also meant that all SCORE staff, media, racers, and team family members in attendance, had to social distance, wash their hands, get their temperature taken and wear masks in all SCORE areas. This included registration and tech inspection areas, as well as in and around the city. These efforts were successful during the last SCORE Baja 500 held in San Felipe in September, and they were continued here in Ensenada for this race. Everyone complied to keep the areas safe. This also included having to make appointments to visit tech-inspection to keep team members at a safe distance, as well as complying with social distancing during the registration process. Frank DeAngelo Grand Marshal For this 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, two-time SCORE Person Of The Year and Off-Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame Inductee, Frank DeAngelo, was named as Grand Marshal. DeAngelo has played an important role in Baja racing for more than 40-years and is one of the most respected and trusted individuals in the sport. “It was an honor,” said DeAngelo. “I’ve been coming down here for 42-years, and this is like a second home to me. I represent BFGoodrich Tires when I’m here, and the company is also celebrating 45 years of being involved with SCORE. I went back and looked at who was chosen as Grand Marshal over the previous years, and I have to say, I’m in some pretty good company. It’s truly an honor to start some of the many racers that I’ve known for a long time, and I’m very happy to be here.” Ford Bronco Returns Contingency was also where the Ford Motor Company staged a return for the 2021 Ford Bronco R. The Class 2 race car was developed by Ford Performance engineers in collaboration with the Geiser Brothers to compete in the SCORE Baja 1000. Veteran Hall of Fame Inductee and SCORE Trophy Truck racer Cameron Steele was the driver of record for the Bronco R. The driving team for the race included ORMHOF Inductees and legendary racers Curt LeDuc, Johnny Campbell, and rock crawling champion Jason Scherer. Built as a tribute to the legendary racer and ORMHOF inductee/founder Rod Hall, the Bronco R was also driven by his granddaughter Shelby Hall. “Ford put a lot of time and effort in this vehicle to hit a certain customer,” said team driver Johnny Campbell. “I’m so excited to be a part of the Bronco R race program, “said LeDuc. “We’ve done a lot of testing this past summer, and this will be a good test for the truck as it’s going to be a very tough Baja course.” The Bronco R is powered by a fully stock Ford 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine and features a Ford 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The vehicle was built as a testbed for the new Bronco SUV and part of its extreme durability testing and getting calibrations for the vehicle’s “Baja Mode” traction control settings in Ford’s Terrain Management Systems. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-December-2020