SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - MAY 2017

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

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Page 11 of 98

500 MILE 
GAUNTLET THE BEST OFF-ROAD RACERS CONVERGE ON ENSENADA TO WIN THIS LEGENDARY BAJA RACE By Dan Sanchez Photos By GetSomePhoto When the SCORE Baja 500 comes around, everyone comes out to compete for this legendary race that is incredibly important to gaining points towards a SCORE World Desert Championship. This year marks the 49th anniversary of the race which will take place between May 31st and June 4th 2017. This year, the race course is set to cover 515 miles long and will start and finish in Ensenada. “This course is tough and very technical,” said SCORE Race Director Jose Grijalva. “There’s more rain damage than in other years and it’s very long with more than 465 miles on dirt, leaving less than 48 miles on pavement.” According to Grijalva, there are a couple of sections of the race course that will be new to many racers. The first extends from Jaramillo to San Telmo Road and up to Rancho Coyote. The other is a new area after the Goat Trail. Both of these sections will be new to many of the racers and provide additional challenges. SCORE Trophy Truck, Trophy Truck Spec and Class 1 racers will also be able to compete in a Qualifying round for the top starting positions, which takes place Thursday June 1st. While many of the racers will compete to be at the start of each class, SCORE enthusiasts expect some of their favorite drivers to win the race. This includes last year’s winner Gustavo “Tavo” Vildosola Jr. who despite 115-degree heat, pushed through the exhaustion and took home the overall win. Robby Gordon fans will also recall that he had the fastest qualifying time in 2016 and has won four overall titles and five class wins at the SCORE Baja 500. Along with Gordon, and Vildosola, crowds are also looking at SCORE San Felipe 250 winner Rob MacCachren, who also has a great chance of winning the race, along with 2016 SCORE Trophy Truck Champion Apdaly Lopez who has remained consistent, finishing in the top three of every SCORE race last season. “This will be a special SCORE Baja 500,” said Jim Ryan, SCORE Marketing Director. “Not only is this the 49th anniversary of this event, but it is also the season that heads towards the 50th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000. Everyone is coming out to race these two events this year as they mean so much to off-road racing history, and the teams and racers want to have a race like the SCORE Baja 500 in the record books with their name on it.” This being the second race of the 2017 SCORE Desert World Challenge, it can provide a huge points lead, especially for those who won big in San Felipe this past March. This includes the 1X Pro Moto team of Mark Samuels, who along with Daymon Stokie and Ryan Penhall showcased they’ve got riding skills of their own, without Pro Moto Champion Colton Udall. With more UTVs slated to compete at the SCORE Baja 500, it could be anyone’s race if they can remain fast and make their vehicles last until the end of the race. The Pro UTV class is becoming much more competitive with faster vehicles and drivers who seemingly won’t quit easily such as Wayne Matlock who won the overall Pro UTV class in San Felipe. Marc Burnett in a new Can-Am Maverick and Alonso Lopez in a new turbo Polaris this season, will also be competing hard to win at the SCORE Baja 500, as well as Class 1 veterans Ronnie and son Brad Wilson who are coming back strong in Class 1, starting the season with a win in San Felipe. As the preparations are still under way, visitors to Ensenada, Mexico can have a great race experience by attending many of the pre-race festivities, as well as enjoying the sights, music, cuisine and friendly atmosphere in and around the city of Ensenada. SJ

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