ENSENADA, Mexico — Colorful pre-race festivities begin today for the 44th anniversary celebration of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, but when the green flag drops on Friday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, the race will be as intense as it gets with the 2011 SCORE Desert Series season point championships on the line.
The granddaddy of all desert races, which is the season finale of the world’s foremost desert racing series which is completing its 38th year in 2011, will be a loop race held on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificently mysterious Baja California peninsula through Saturday starting and finishing in Ensenada, 65 miles South of the U.S. border at San Diego adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
With more than 275 entries expected to compete in 36 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, entries have come from 34 U.S. states and 16 countries. Among the entries are 27 Pro class winners from last year’s race as late entries will be accepted up until race morning.
This is the 44th anniversary of the race shrouded in mystery that continues to lure adventurers and manufacturers from across the globe who all share the dream to conquer the Baja.
It’s the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a racer. Since 1967, the race has been run over the mysterious Baja California peninsula every year except 1974 when the international fuel crisis forced a cancellation.
The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. on Friday with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 11:30 a.m., or four hours after the last Sportsman ATV leaves the line. Vehicles will start in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race and all vehicles will have a 32-hour time limit to become official finishers. The fastest vehicles are expected to complete the course in approximately 14 hours.
This year’s race will start for the 37th time and finish for the 21st time in Ensenada. The race will start and finish on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada.
With late entries accepted up until race morning, the 692.82-mile race course this year is a combination of much of the 2008 and the 2009 courses.
In addition to the 34 U.S. States represented on the entry list to date, racers have also officially entered from Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the US Territory of Guam.
While all the rugged regulars in desert racing are in Mexico, the lure of this amazing race also attracts crossover racers as well as adventurers from all walks of life.
The talented field of desert racing veterans includes 107 racers who have combined for 346 class wins in this race. In that group are 18 racers who have combined for a total of 39 overall victories in either the 4-wheel or 2-wheel category. Included in the past overall winner’s group are the last seven 4-wheel winners and the last 14 consecutive motorcycle overall champions.
Pre-race festivities on Thursday, including the vastly popular tech and contingency of all vehicles and the SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. The pre-race mandatory driver/rider briefing will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. Racer and media registration will both be held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel in Ensenada on Wednesday, Nov. 16 and Thursday, Nov. 17.
The post-race awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The featured SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks has 33 vehicles enters to date.
Starting second will be Mexico’s son/father team of Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola, who teamed last year to become the first Mexican national team to win the overall 4-wheel title of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Driving the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck, the Vildosolas, of Mexicali, were also the fastest vehicle overall in the race down the Baja California peninsula to La Paz.
Starting second among the motorcycles will be last year’s overall motorcycle winners in this race, Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Quinn Cody, Buellton, Calif. on the No. 1x JCR Honda Racing Honda CRF450X.
While entries will be accepted will be accepted up to race morning, late entries will be assigned the next available number and starting position within each class.
Besides SCORE Trophy Truck with 33, the car and truck classes with the most entries to date are unlimited Class 1 (24), Class 1/2-1600 (18), Class 6 and Class 10 (11 each) and SCORE Lites (10.
Among the motorcycle and ATV classes, Class 22 for open motorcycles has the most entries so far with 12.
Leading the six Sportsman classes in the race is Sportsman Motorcycle over 450cc which has 20 entries so far, Sportsman Motorcycle under 450cc with 13 and Sportsman ATV with 10.