Baja 500: Race Preview

Baja 500 Report

With much of the attention to be centered around a SCORE-record 41 SCORE Trophy-Trucks on the starting grid, adventurers and the world’s best desert racers from across the globe are heading to Mexico for the 42nd Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the second-oldest continuous desert race in the world.

Round 3 of the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, featuring nearly 300 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be held Thursday through Sunday in Ensenada, Mexico.

Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 100,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the world’s most unique form of motorsport at this year’s 42nd anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the original desert race produced by SCORE on July 26, 1974.

With vehicles starting one every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, the fastest finishers should finish in around 13 hours and the time limit to become an official finisher will be 22 hours.

With late entries accepted up to race morning, entries have come from 26 U.S. States from Hawaii to Connecticut, along with the additional countries of Mexico, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan and the U.S. territory of Guam.

The green flag will drop for the 438.81-mile race at 6 a.m. on Saturday for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three hours after the last ATV at approximately 10 a.m.

The elapsed-time race will start and finish in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Boulevard Costero in the heart of Ensenada, leaving and returning into the city through the spectator-laden Arroyo Wash.

For the third straight year and just the third time in the 42-year history of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race, the colorful pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and Contingency, the start and finish line will all be located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.

It will be the second time in race history that both the pre-race activities and the finish will be held on this historic boulevard.

The SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, on Blvd Costero. Racer registration will again be held in the Grand Ballroom of the San Nicolas Hotel. Registration hours will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

The awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Hotel on Sunday at 11 a.m.

The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks has a SCORE-record 41 entries in this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500.

Introduced by SCORE’s pioneering and innovative president Sal Fish in 1994, seven of the 16 previous SCORE Trophy-Trick winners in the race are entered this year, including the last five.

The returning SCORE Trophy-Truck winners in this race are: Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif. (1995) who is a co-driver for Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix (No. 84, Chevy Silverado), Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas (1996) (No. 20, Ford F-150), Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (2005) (No. 1, Chevy CK1500), Brian Collins, Las Vegas (2006, 2007) who is a co-driver this year for Las Vegas’ Troy Herbst (No. 49, Dodge Ram1500), Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin (2008) (No. 97 Chevy Silverado) and Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif. (2009) (No. 71, Ford F-150).

Among the overall race winners entered this year are 19 drivers/riders who have combined to win 47 overall car/truck and motorcycle titles, including drivers and riders from eight of the last nine 4-wheel overalls and 9 of the last 10 motorcycle overall winners.

Leading the way with multiple overall wins in this race are Larry Roeseler with 11 overall victories (including nine on a motorcycle), Robby Gordon and Troy Herbst with three each in 4-Wheel, and in 2-wheel, Steve Hengeveld with six, Johnny Campbell with five, and Robby Bell and Kendall Norman with three.

In the field are 80 racers who have combined to capture a 180 combined class wins in the history of this race.

Leading this prolific group of returning multiple class winners is Larry Roeseler whose 16 class wins are the third-most in race history.

The other racers with the most multiple class wins in this race who are back to attempt to add to their winning totals are: Jim O’Neal (12 each), Marcos Nunez (9), Steve Hengeveld, Troy Herbst, Eric Solorzano and Arnoldo Ramirez (7 each), Nick Vanderwey (6), Pancho Bio, Johnny Campbell, Rick D. Johnson, Rob MacCachren, Mark McMillin and Scott McMillin (5 each) and Craig Adams, Dan Chamlee, Robby Gordon, Eizaburo Karasawa and Steve Sourapas (4 each).

The talented field of veteran desert racers in Baja this week includes 16 defending class winners out of the 24 Pro classes that had finishers in last year’s race, including last year’s overall 4-wheel vehicle winners Kory Halopoff/Harley Letner of Orange, Calif. (unlimited Class 1) and SCORE Trophy-Truck champion Rick D. Johnson/Brian Sallee, of Barstow, Calif. Also entered are the top 11 overall finishers from 2009.

While pre-running of the race course began on May 22, the only pre-running that will be allowed on the first 35.18 miles of the course will be outbound only and only this Thursday and Friday.

No inbound pre-running on the last 35.18 miles of the course will be allowed. Pre-running of the rest of the course has been starting and finishind in the Ojos Negros area.

Prominent Southern California industrialist and desert racer Ed Stout, who finished third in season points last year in his marquee class and earned a SCORE Toyota Milestone Award, received the first starting positions for 4-wheel vehicles in his No. 31 Stout Industries Chevy Silverado.

While late entries will be accepted up to race morning, as of today, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: SCORE Trophy-Truck (41), Class 1 (26). Class 1-2/1600 (15) and SCORE Lite (13).

Leading the Pro Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (13) along with Class 21 and Class 30 (11 each). Class 24 leads the Pro ATV classes with 16 entries to date.

Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 27 entries and there are also 15 SPT ATVs to date.

Besides the Halopoff/Letner and Johnson/Sallee teams, other defending Pro class champions in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 entered this year to date are: Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5, VW Baja Bug); Marcos Nunez, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, VW Baja Bug), Robert Pickering, Las Vegas (Class 6, Ford Ranger), Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Ranger); Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif. (Class 10, Lothringer-VW); Brent Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif./Brian Burgess, Riverside, Calif. (SCORE Lite, Moulton-VW); Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 11, VW Sedan), Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., (Stock Full, Lexus LX570); Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas/Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M. (Class 30, Honda CRF450X); Eizaburo Karasawa, Japan (Class 50, Honda CRF450X); Nick Nelson, Tehachapi, Calif./Brandon Brown, Eumantilla, Ore. (Class 25, Suzuki LTR450); Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif. (Class 24, Honda TRX450R) and Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo. (Class 26, Arctic Cat).

This popular SCORE early summer race began in 1969 under the auspices of the old NORRA organization and SCORE began its enduring run with it on July 26, 1974. This year will be the 37th anniversary of the first SCORE race in Baja.

In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season.

Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 25th consecutive year, a total of 26 drivers remain eligible after Round 1 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.

Included in the nearly $300,000 in contingency posting and cash purse for the race is the special $10,000 MasterCraft Safety cash contingency bonus for qualified racers in the car and truck classes.

Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull-official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, MasterCraft Safety, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.

Additional sponsors in Baja are the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.

In 2010, BFG Goodrich Tires is proudly celebrating its 35th year of desert racing in Baja with SCORE International.

For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series at

Tecate SCORE Baja 500
All-time Overall winners
1969–Bud Ekins/Guy Jones, Baja Boot-Olds
Doug Douglas/Jim McClurg, Ducati
1970–Parnelli Jones, Ford
Bill Silverthorn/Gene Fetty, Husqvarna
1971–Bobby Ferro, Funco-VW
Malcolm Smith/J.N. Roberts, Husqvarna
1972–Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Gene Fetty/Bill Silverthorn, Honda
1973–Parnelli Jones, Ford
Howard Utsey/Mickey Quade, Husqvarna
1974–Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Mitch Mayes/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1975–Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Harley-Davidson
1976–Bobby Ferro/Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1977–Ivan Stewart, Chenowth-VW
Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1978–Bud Feldkamp/Malcolm Smith, Funco-VW
Brent Wallingsford/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1979–Malcolm Smith/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1980–Bob Gordon, Chenowth-Chevy
Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1981–Malcolm Smith/Bill Newbury, Chenowth-Chevy
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Yamaha
1982–Larry Ragland, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1983–Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-VW
Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1984–Larry Ragland, Chaparral-VW
Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1985–Ron Gardner/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Kurt Pfeiffer/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1986–Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Garth Sweetland/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1987–Bob Gordon/Tim Crabtree, Chenowth-Porsche
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1988–Mark McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Dan Ashcraft/Kurt Pfeiffer, Yamaha
1989–Robby Gordon, Ford
(no motorcycles)
1990–Robby Gordon, Ford
Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte, Kawasaki
1991–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Garth Sweetland/Paul Krause, Kawasaki
1992–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Larry Roeseler/T. Hunnicutt Jr./P. Krause, Kawasaki
1993–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Danny Hamel/L. Roeseler/T. Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1994–Ivan Stewart, Toyota (Trophy-Truck)
Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Ford
Paul Krause/Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1995–Curt LeDuc, Jeep (Trophy-Truck)
Mike Julson/Bob Lofton, Jimco-VW
Paul Krause/Craig Smith, Kawasaki
1996–Rob MacCachren, Ford (Trophy-Truck)
Troy Herbst, Smithbuilt-Porsche
Paul Krause/Ty Davis, Kawasaki
1997–Ivan Stewart, Toyota (Trophy-Truck)
Mark McMillin, Jimco-Porsche
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1998–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1999–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Jonah Street/Torsten Borstrom, Honda
2000–Larry Ragland, Chevy
Jonah Street/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2001–Mark McMillin, Jimco-Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda
2002–Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2003–Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2004–Alan Pflueger, Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2005–Robby Gordon, Chevy
Mike Childress/Mouse McCoy, Honda
2006–Brian Collins/Larry Ragland, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2007–Larry Ragland/Brian Collins, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2008-B.J. Baldwin, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2009-Rick D. Johnson, Ford
Cameron Corfman/Craig Smith, Beta