Busy pre-running begins Saturday in Mexico on rugged 420.11-mile race course for 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 June 1-3 race in Ensenada has entries from 31 States, 13 countries; LOS ANGELES-- With the course map, course notes and ...
Busy pre-running begins Saturday in Mexico on rugged 420.11-mile race course for 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
June 1-3 race in Ensenada has entries from 31 States, 13 countries;
LOS ANGELES-- With the course map, course notes and GPS coordinates released Monday, pre-race activity steps up significantly starting Saturday when the world's best desert racers officially begin their pre-running and course logistics activities for next month's record-setting 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the second-oldest desert race in the world.
Round 3 of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature over 475 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. It will be held June 1-3 in Ensenada, Mexico. Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 150,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the world's best desert racers in action at this year's race.
With late entries excepted up to race morning, over 475 entries are expected from 31 U.S. States from Hawaii to Rhode Island as well as Mexico, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday (June 2) 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 455 vehicles entered to date include 261 cars and trucks and 194 motorcycles and ATVs. There will be an 18-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race.
This year's massive field will challenge the very technical and rugged 420.11-mile course. Pre-running, or repeated practice driving and riding the course will be allowed up to the day before the race (Friday, June 1).
Back to defend their overall 4-wheel vehicle and SCORE Trophy-Truck title is the team of Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas, in the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Returning as the overall motorcycle and Class 22 champs is the team of Robby Bell, Murrieta, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X. Back to defend their overall ATV and Class 25 victory is the team of Danny Prather, Ramona, Calif./Mike Cafro, Carlsbad, Calif., on the No. 1a Honda TRX250R.
Starting and finishing in Ensenada on the majestic Baja California peninsula, this year's tight and technical course will run in a clockwise direction, running East into the middle of the peninsula, then South, followed by a West travel section, turning north, then East, North, Northeast and back West for the final charge back into Ensenada.
The race course is very similar to last year's brutally-tough adventure, with a few notable exceptions.
This year's course will not go through the Pine Forest east of Ojos Negros and the first 112.05 miles will be the same route as used in March's 21st Tecate SCORE Baja 250 through Tres Hermanos, El Alamo and down to Valle de Trinidad.
The most significant course change from a year ago is the addition of a new 50-mile stretch never before used in the 34-year history of SCORE Baja races. After winding back to the Pacific Ocean and up to Santo Tomas, the new section will run from Uruapan at race-mile 348.55 through the Cerro San Antonio mountains and back down to west of Ojos Negros at race-mile 398.29.
The clockwise direction of travel will also have the racers run down the infamous Simpson Hill, instead of the incredibly-tough uphill route used in 2005.
"This will be an extremely challenging race course," said Paul Fish, SCORE Vice-President who has worked closely with his uncle Sal Fish, SCORE President/CEO and Mexican officials in designing a dynamic race course.
"We have been able to add an amazing section on the way back to the finish and this area will provide many more stories to the legend of SCORE Baja racing. We sincerely appreciate all of the assistance we have received from local ranchers and government officials in defining the race route for this year's 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500. This year's course will also have the shortest two-way section we have ever had in this race."
On the Southern-most part of the course behind Mike's Sky Rancho, the course has again added length by going south and west around Rancho Meling before rejoining last year's course around Rancho Coyote.
The diverse terrain and altitude variation also includes an awe-inspiring sprint along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean of approximately 30 miles starting around race-mile 300.
Several crossover/celebrity racers are already entered in this year's race, led by NASCAR's Robby Gordon and Brendan Gaughan. Both second generation desert racers, Gordon, Mooresville, N.C., who has won this race three times, is a NASCAR Cup Team Owner/Driver and is entered in SCORE Trophy-Truck while Las Vegan Gaughan, who is a NASCAR Truck Series driver, is entered in Class 1.
Gordon, whose last win in this race was 2005, will again be pulling double-duty, competing in the SCORE race in Baja on June 2 and the NASCAR Cup race in Dover, Del.
Seven-time World Rally Championship race winner Armin Schwarz of Austria is returning to Baja for the second time to race in Class 1 and Pikes Peak Hill Climb record holder Rod Millen of New Zealand is back again to race in the Stock Mini class.
Supercross and AMA motocross legend Ricky Johnson, Encinitas, Calif., has signed on as a second driver in this race and the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 with Alan Pflueger, Honolulu, in SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Millen's son Rhyss Millen, also a Pikes Peak Hill Climb veteran and a national drifting champion, will be a co-driver for Chet Huffman, Northridge, Calif., in SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Jamie Galles, of Albuquerque, N.M., a former Trans Am and Toyota Atlantic racer, will be a co-driver for Josh Rigsby, Santa Fe, N.M., in Class 1.
Shawn Highland, Temecula, Calif., a star of the freestylemx.com international tour, will co-ride with Marc Burnett, Chula Vista, Calif. and 2005 SCORE Baja 500 overall motorcycle winner Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif., on the No. 15x Suzuki RMZ450.
Trigger Gumm, Mission Viejo, Calif., is a motorcycle long jump former world record holder who is entered in the unlimited Class 1.
The three celebrity drivers who are all SCORE regulars are Cameron Steele, Jesse James and Max Thieriot.
Steele, San Clemente, Calif., who is a TV sports announcer for Supercross, X Games and Champ Cars and whose wife Heidi Steele races in Class 7SX, has entered three classes once again--SCORE Trophy-Truck, SCORE Lite and Class 22.
James, Sunset Beach, Calif., whose wife is legendary motion picture star Sandra Bullock, is the CEO of the world-famous West Cost Choppers company and was the star of the old Monster Garage television series. He races in SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Thieriot, 18 of Petaluma, Calif., is a budding Hollywood actor with several supporting roles to his credit, races in Class 1 with his father Cam Thieriot and Glenn Harris, Camarillo, Calif., who are both veteran desert racers. Max Thieriot's film credits include The Pacifier (2005), Astronaut Farmer (2007) and a co-starring role in this summer's release of the Nancy Drew mystery movie. He drew the first starting position in the unlimited Class 1 which has a race-high 52 entries.
To date, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: Class 1 (52), SCORE Trophy-Truck (39), SCORE Lite (27), Class 1-2/1600 (23) and Class 51/600 (20).
Leading the Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (23), Class 30 (20), Class 40 and Class 21 (18 each). Class 25 for open ATVs has 16 entries. Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 50 entries and SPT ATV has 18.
The starting line area will once again be in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Boulevard Costero in downtown Ensenada, Mexico. The finish line will be where it was last year--inside the Campo de Softball Jose Negro Soto stadium at 11th Street (Calle Once) and Espinoza Avenue in Ensenada. The stadium is located approximately 1.5 miles east of the start line area. Vehicles will start in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race.
Pre-race festivities at the 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will include the colorful SCORE Midway and tech inspection between the San Nicolas Hotel and the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday (June 1). Racer registration will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the San Nicolas Hotel from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday (May 31) and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday (June 1).
The mandatory racer's briefing will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday (June 1) in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
At 11 a.m. on Sunday (June 3), the awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Hotel.
As SCORE officials finalize the course layout for this year's race, pre-running will begin on Sat., May 19.