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THE TORTURE TEST Preview To The 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts By SCORE Journal Staff Photos by Get Some Photo With the SCORE 2022 season in full swing, the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts is one of the most anticipated by both SCORE racers and fans alike. With crowds allowed back at the 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, many will want to come and gather in the streets of Ensenada, Mexico to witness one of the biggest races in off-road history. This year, the race will start and finish on the traditional Blvd. Costero, in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in downtown Ensenada. Residents have not seen the race start here since 2018 due to the Baja election cycle in 2019 and COVID restrictions, so they are happy to see it return to their city center. BRIEF HISTORY The SCORE Baja 500 was started in 1969 by NORRA, and is still considered one of the top motorsports events in the world. In 1972 the local Baja Sports Committee produced the 1973 event, and Mickey Thompson and his SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran, and later owned the SCORE organization for 39 years until he sold it in December of 2012. The first SCORE Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE International was held on July 26, 1974, in Ensenada as the first of nearly 160 SCORE Baja races. This year’s SCORE Baja 500 will be the 48th time it has started in Ensenada, and the 44th time it will also finish in Ensenada. The race’s long history isn’t complete without some of the more famous legends it has created, and memorable moments. The race’s first winners in the inaugural race in 1969 were Bud Ekins and Guy Jones in the iconic Baja Boot, who won the four-wheel division. Doug Dougless and Jim McClurg won the two-wheel moto division in a Ducati. Legendary racers such as Parnelli Jones in his iconic Ford Bronco vehicles won the race in 1970, and again in 1973. Bobby Ferro was perhaps one of the legendary drivers who also helped rocket the Baja 500 race into motorsports popularity. Ferro was the first to win the race twice in a row, once in 1971 and again in 1972. He went on to win it four more times in the early days of the race. Another legendary driver associated with the SCORE Baja 500 is Larry Roeseler who has won the race 12 times, nine of them on a motorcycle. Roeseler, who has earned the name “Mr. Baja” holds the record for the most overall wins in this race. Now at age 65, Roeseler is still racing and has an opportunity to win this race once again this season. One of the most iconic Baja racers who is predominantly known for winning this race, is Ivan Stewart. Stewart has won this race 10-times in his long career, and holds the title of having the most Overall Baja 500 wins in a four-wheel vehicle. He is one of the foremost Baja racers that came to prominence by being one of the first racers to drive solo and win more races that way. See more details on Stewart’s career in this issue. Within the motorcycle divisions, legendary riders such as Steve Hengeveld have won the race Overall seven times, followed by Johnny Campbell, Paul Krause, Justin Morgan, Bruce Ogilvie, and Kendall Norman, who has won the race five times Overall. STACKING THE START IN 2022 While some legendary racers and multi-time winners will compete again during the 2022 race, this season has its favorites stacked up for an exciting race in various classes. Within the premiere SCORE Trophy Truck class, Luke McMillin in the No 83 truck has been on fire over the past two seasons, winning races and finishing in the top three. Alongside McMillin is Bryce Menzies who has also been in the top starting positions for many of the SCORE races these past two seasons and continues to win races and finish in the top five. SCORE fans also know that you can’t count out legendary racers such as 2021 SCORE Trophy Truck champion Rob MacCachren, and 2021 SCORE Baja 500 winner Larry Roeseler to win this race as well. In the top motorcycle division, SCORE’s Pro Moto Unlimited, fans have witnessed a new emergence of racers who are extremely talented and can easily dominate the class. Juan Carlos Salvatierra dominated the SCORE Pro Moto Ironman class as champion over the past two seasons, and began the 2022 season racing in the Unlimited class, winning the SCORE San Felipe 250. Challenging Salvatierra is the 2021 Pro Moto Unlimited Champion Derek Ausserbauer who rode solo in this class, at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and finished third, but is very capable of winning this race. In the Pro UTV class, many racers have moved into the SCORE Pro UTV Open division, making it a premier class with many veteran racers moving here with new factory-backed vehicles that are breaking class speed records. Racers such as Wayne and Kristen Matlock are positioned to be a dominant fixture in this class, racing separately with their individual teams. Mike Cafro who raced in Pro UTV Stock and was the 2021 Champion is also well experienced and could also win the race, as he has done in the past. Craig Scanlon of the factory Polaris team is another top competitor, finishing third at this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250 race in April. LAST YEAR’S WINNERS While the race was under strict COVID protocols during the 2021 season, racers nonetheless came out to compete and win. In the SCORE Trophy Truck class, Larry Roeseler won the race after Andy McMillin earned penalties and Luke McMillin was DQ’d for an illegal maneuver on the course. In Class 1 Broc Dickerson took home his first-class win after moving up from Class 10, beating out numerous buggy veterans. In SCORE TT Spec, Jason McNeil won his first of three races Overall which led to a class Championship. Among the Pro Moto Classes, Jason Alosi and the 97x team won the race earning their first victory of the 2021 season. Juan Carlos Salvatierra also won his first race of the 2021 season in Pro Moto Ironman, and in Pro Quads, Jose Luis Velez won the race in a tough battle with Ricardo Villafana. THE GRANDEST OF GRAND MARSHALS When it comes to desert racing there is only one ‘Ironman’ standing at the top of the list of solo drivers/riders. San Diego’s iconic Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart has been named by SCORE as the Grand Marshal for the upcoming BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The legendary racer and Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee will also be celebrating his 77th birthday during race week, all part of the celebrations going on at this year’s event. In 2009, Stewart was also inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame, and in 2020, he was inducted into the prestigious Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Stewart retired in 2000 but began racing in 1973 winning 10 Baja 500 races Overall during his career. He joined the Toyota factory racing team in 1983 with Cal Wells at Precision Preparation Inc. (PPI) and had a total of 84 career off-road race victories in stadium, short-course, and desert racing. Stewart has a record 17-wins in the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Groups (MTEG) stadium series, 17 SCORE Baja 500 class wins, and three SCORE Baja 1000 wins, along with five SCORE Season class points titles including SCORE Overall Points Championships in 1990 and 1993. “My career has deep roots in SCORE racing, especially in Baja, Mexico, and it’s great to return as the Grand Marshal of this year’s SCORE Baja 500, the race that always falls around my birthday,” said Stewart. “With 10 overall victories and 17 class wins, it’s easy to say that I have had more success in the SCORE Baja 500 than any other race in my long career. I appreciate the fact that SCORE would remember me in this way and I am looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends and competitors and I will be shaking a whole lot of hands.”SJ

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