SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - May 2018

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

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Page 26 of 120

A Chance For Glory Racers And Fans Prepare For The 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 By Dan Sanchez Photography By GetSomePhoto There’s no doubt that SCORE racers want to win every SCORE Baja 500, but the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 is special. Next to the SCORE Baja 1000, the “500” is one of Baja’s most legendary races that has propelled several desert racers into legendary status. Icons of this off-road race include Larry Roeseler, who has won the race overall 11 times, nine on a motorcycle and two in a Trophy Truck or Buggy. Ivan Stewart has won the race 10 times overall, most of them driving solo. Larry Ragland has won it overall five times. Riders such as Steve Hengeveld, (seven-time winner) and Johnny Campbell, (six-time winner), have dominated the race on motorcycles in the early 2000’s. With a long list of additional Off-Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame inductees and racers who have won the race more than once, the SCORE Baja 500 is the one event that every off-road racer wants to compete in and win to get their names in the record books. Admiring the race from a different perspective is former SCORE owner Sal Fish. With 39 years of running the organization, Fish says that the SCORE Baja 500 was made for the “regular guy,” racers who don’t have the team and logistics to take on 1000 miles of Baja terrain. Because of the distance, most racers agree it’s the perfect race for them, one that combines high speeds like the fast-paced SCORE San Felipe 250, but without the excessive wear and uncertainty that the long-mileage of the SCORE Baja 1000 places on a team and racers. The Stage Is Set For The 50th Anniversary Racers and fans know that starting position for this race is key. Veterans of the SCORE Baja 500 like to start somewhere in the top five positions. This allows them to keep the leaders within reach, without having to push as hard, which can lead to a breakdown on the course. Last year, starting positions were set from a 2.98-mile qualifying course that put the race’s eventual winner, Andy McMillin, in the fifth spot off the starting line. This year, the starting positions are set from the racer’s overall finish at the San Felipe 250 this past April. Within the premier SCORE Trophy Truck division, SCORE San Felipe winner Rob MacCachren will head out into the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 first, followed by Cameron Steele, Luke McMillin, Andy McMillin, Ryan Arcerio and Dan McMillin, who will start in sixth place. With a course that stretches approximately 542.12-miles, the longest in its history, these racers leading the pack will make it extremely difficult for others that start behind them. Surprisingly, this includes some veterans and past winners, including Robby Gordon who won the race four times will start in 19th place, and 2017 SCORE Trophy Truck Champion Apdaly Lopez, will start in 21st place. Although these racers can never be counted out, and Baja can always change the odds, one can never count out anyone at the end of the day. Heavy Competition in Pro Moto Unlimited Class Within the Pro Moto classes, last year’s winners were the 45x team of Francisco Arredondo. This year, the 7x team of Justin Morgan and Mark Samuels proved they are strong and already lead the points standings in the Pro Moto Unlimited class, winning at the SCORE San Felipe 250. While these two riders are definitely tough to beat, Santiago Creel stepped up his game this season, sporting several teams, two of which are competing in this top moto class. His 66x team and 4x team finished second and third in San Felipe, and are definitely going to give the 7x team a challenge in this fast-paced race. The 1x team can’t be counted out, however. Led this year by Shane Esposito, the team finished fourth in San Felipe. Last year they won the Pro Moto Unlimited championship winning three of the four races of the season, and they are definitely not going to give up on retaining the crown for the 2018 season. UTV Classes Are Going All Out Within the fastest growing segment of the SCORE World Desert Challenge, the Pro UTV classes will make this 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 a great race to watch. The competition within the various classes is exceptional which makes the 50th race anybody’s for the taking. No one doubts, however, the potential that Wayne and Kristen Matlock are at the top of their game this season. Coming out of a huge win during the SCORE San Felipe 250, Wayne took the Pro UTV Forced Induction win, while Kristen won the Pro UTV Normally Aspirated class win. In UTV racing, however, anything can happen. Experience plays an important role in the race and UTV veterans like Brandon Schueler, Marc Burnett, Alonzo Lopez, and Rhys Millen are sure to have just as good a chance at winning the race. The advantage for the Matlocks, however, is that they’ll be starting first in each of their respective classes. That gives them the advantage of clean air if they can get clear of the vehicles ahead of them and maintain a fast pace. Class 1 and Class 10 Buggies Ready To Battle The 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 will also provide fans with a great battle of the buggies. In Class 1, the competition may be between 2018 SCORE San Felipe 250 winner Justin Davis, and team Wilson, consisting of Brian and Brad Wilson, who finished second and third in San Felipe. The battle for the win at the 50th is sure to be between these three, but fans will also be cheering for Shelby Reid, a veteran of the race and a tough enough competitor that no-one will see coming until she’s crossing the finish line first. In Class 10, there will also be a battle between 2018 San Felipe 250 winner Chase Warren, Corey Goin, Cody Reid, and Brock Dickerson. Goin came in second in San Felipe, followed by Reid in third. Dickerson had problems but it would be a huge mistake to count out the 2017 Class 10 champ who dominated the season. This will also be a class to watch how these three battle it out on the Baja terrain, but there is also a hand full of other racers in this class, including Rafael Navarro IV, who will also have a good chance of winning if things go smoothly on the course. No matter what the class, the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 will definitely be the race to attend and watch. History will be made in Ensenada, and those lucky enough to be a part of the action will have their names added to the record books and become a part of off-road racing’s elite competitors. Watching The Spectacle There are many events spectators can be a part of during the 50th BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 500. Contingency is perhaps one of the most exciting for fans, as they get to meet teams and legendary racers, along with participating in the celebration of the event on the main streets of Ensenada. This year, Contingency is broken up into two days, so that fans and racers can have enough time to meet, and simply because there’s just too many participants to fit it into one full day. The first day of Contingency starts at 9am on Thursday May 31st and continues all day until 5pm that evening. The day isn’t over, however, as racers gather together again at the Monster Energy SCORE Kickoff Party, happening at the Monster Energy VIP area at the start and finish line in the center of town at 7pm. Contingency continues the following day, Friday June 1st, in the same area with more vehicles, and teams taking over the center of town. During both Contingency days, the entire celebration will be covered in a Live Stream that can be seen on the SCORE International website and through the SCORE app. The day ends with another party, the Monster Energy Papas Y Beer SCORE Street Party on Avenida Ruiz. Race Day The Start/Finish line will awaken early at 3:30 am with the sounds of motorcycles and quads as they prepare to leave first for the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. One of the great spectacles of the race is the Honor Guard and Flag Ceremony that takes place at the Start/Finish line at 7:15 am. With music, military honor guard, and dancing, it’s a great taste of the Mexican culture and an honorary tradition that showcases the relationship that the town of Ensenada, and the country of Mexico, have with SCORE International. After the ceremony, the starting line roars to life again at 8am with the start of the SCORE Trophy Trucks and the rest of the four-wheel classes. Watching and listening to these vehicles take off from the starting line is an exciting experience that reminds fans what off-road racing is all about. Once the vehicles leave the starting line, watch the live action on the SCORE app or on the Live Feed on the SCORE International website. All of the vehicles have a time limit to finish the race so fans can head back out to the Finish line in the early evening to see who crosses the finish line first, and to catch the action and excitement of who will be set in the record books for the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. SJ

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