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THE SCORE BAJA 400 PRESENTED BY VP RACING FUELS PREVIEW SCORE BaJa 400 Racing Returns To Ensenada By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo When the inaugural SCORE Baja 400 race premiered in 2019, it was the first time three SCORE desert racing events were held in, and hosted by, the city of Ensenada. The tradition continues with the 2nd SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing Fuels in Ensenada, but will have COVID protocols still in place. The SCORE Baja 400 began as a concept in which a fourth race would be added to the traditional three-race SCORE World Desert Championship season. According to SCORE President and Race Director Jose A. Grijalva, racers had wanted another Baja race that met the distance and challenges that made this experience special. The 2019 Inaugural Race Although the history of the SCORE Baja 400 is short, it’s also an amazing one that added more excitement to the SCORE World Desert Challenge. In 2019, the Inaugural race had no qualifying to determine who would get the top starting positions, so an event held at Baja HQ in San Clemente, California saw Brett and Christian Sourapas, sons of former SCORE champion Steve Sourapas, get the first starting position. The course was set to 390 miles that included Mike’s Sky Rancho, the Goat Trail, and other difficult sections of the Baja desert. The race was fast-paced and a nail-biter to the finish line. The Sourapas team rolled over ending their day but allowing the rest of the field some clean air to trade the lead position among racers like BJ Baldwin, and Andy McMillin. On the course, Baldwin held the lead physically, but with McMillin and Ryan Arciero starting further down in the pack and running second and third on the course, it was a very close race when these racers finally reached the finish line. In the end, Ryan Arciero had the best overall time and won the inaugural race overall, just edging out Andy McMillin’s time by only a couple of minutes. Other Battles During The Inaugural Race In Class 1, the battle for the win was just as tough as Cody Parkhouse, Brad Wilson, Justin Davis, and Mason Cullen all fought to get to the finish line first. After some well-timed pit stops, Parkhouse managed to stay out in second place on the course, but with a good time behind Justin Davis, who crossed the finish first. Parkhouse’s time was good enough to win the class putting Davis in second place. Other class winners at the inaugural SCORE Baja 400 included Jorge Sampietro winning in SCORE TT Spec, Hiram Duran winning in Class 10, Dan Chamlee winning Class 7, Wes Miller winning Pro UTV FI, Kaden Wells winning Pro UTV NA, and Rodrigo Ampudia winning the Pro UTV Stock class. In the Pro Moto divisions, it was the 1x team of Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels, and Ricky Dietrich winning their third straight Pro Moto Unlimited class win. Marco Pena won the Pro Moto Limited class, and Michael Skurkis won the Pro Moto Ironman class. A New Year, A New Race This year’s SCORE Baja 400 takes place September 14-19th on a more than 400-mile course. Pre-running will open on September 4th for racers to familiarize themselves with the various sections of the course. Because this race is a qualifier for the SCORE Baja 1000, starting positions for the SCORE Baja 400 will be determined by a qualifying event on Wednesday, September 15th for SCORE Trophy Truck, Trophy Truck Legend, Class 1, and Trophy Truck Spec classes. Contingency Day happens on Friday, September 17th, where SCORE emcee Rat Sult will be hosting an interviewing racers on the start and finish line podium. All of the excitement will be broadcast over the SCORE Vision screen for fans to see and hear, as well as live on the SCORE International website, Social Media pages, and the SCORE app. Race Day The 2nd SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing Fuels begins with the Motorcycle and Quad classes lining up at 6 am, Saturday, September 18th on the starting line. The first teams off are the Pro Moto Unlimited division racers that take the green flag with a 60-second split between racers. All other classes start one vehicle every 30-seconds. After a gap of three and a half hours, the cars, trucks, and UTVs gather at the starting line and leave at 10 am, starting with the SCORE Trophy Truck class. SCORE officials will launch one truck every 60-seconds. The remaining classes will start one every 30-seconds apart. All of the starting line action will be on the SCORE Livestream. Fans can also watch and listen to what’s happening on the course, via the Livestream tracking and Weatherman channel. Fans typically return in the early afternoon to see the moto and ATV classes come in from when their journey started before sunrise, and witness the class winners of this event. A few hours later, the SCORE Trophy Trucks will cross the finish line, but fans are aware that penalties for missing a virtual checkpoint or exceeding speed limits where there are restrictions, will alter how these vehicles finish. Those fans watching the SCORE Live Streaming feed will be able to calculate who the eventual winner may be. But waiting for SCORE officials to make the final call is always a great moment of celebration with the victors showering themselves with champagne and fans cheering for the occasion. On Sunday, September 19th, SCORE racers can pick up their trophies at the Torre Lucerna Hotel, for all of the first through third place racers in every class. SJ

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