Baja 1000

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Rider at Mile 328 of the Baja 1000.
Four-wheel vehicle known as a Truggy.

SCORE Baja 1000 is an off-road race that takes place on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula in the third week in November. The Baja 1000 is part of the SCORE Championship Desert Racing Series that include the Baja 500, San Felipe 250 and the new San Felipe Challenge of Champions in place of the Primm 300 which had been the only SCORE race in the United States. The Baja 1000 allows various types of vehicle classes to compete on the same course - from such small and large bore motorcycles, stock VW, production vehicles, buggies, Trucks, and custom fabricated race vehicles. The course has remained relatively the same over the years, about every other being either a point-to-point race from Ensenada to La Paz, or a loop race starting and finishing in Ensenada.

The name of the event can be misleading as the mileage varies for the type of event ("Loop" of 600 to 850 miles starting and finishing in Ensenada, or "Point to Point" also known as the of 900 The first official race started in Tijuana, Baja California, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. The course length that year was 849 miles (1,366 km) and ended in La Paz, Baja California Sur, with the overall winning time of 27 hours 38 minutes (27:38) set by Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels while driving a Meyers Manx buggy.

From 1967 to 1972, the race was organized by the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) and grew in popularity with ABC's "Wide World of Sports" sending Jim McKay to cover the 1968 event, and attracting new participants like the late Mickey Thompson, Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones and movie actor James Garner. By 1971, major sponsors such as Olympia Brewing Company and Minolta Cameras began to support Parnelli Jones in his Dick Russell designed and Bill Stroppe prepared "Big Oly" Bronco and Larry Minor in a similar Stroppe prepared Bronco.

In October 1973, the price for a barrel of crude oil shot up 70% overnight as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) launched the Arab Oil Embargo. Fearful competitors would abandon the idea of competing and stay home, NORRA abandoned the race - despite assurances from the Federal government run Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) fuel prices would remain stable - and announced they would hold an event in the state of Arizona.

It was at that time in history, Baja California governor Milton Castellanos handed over sanctioning of the event to a non-profit Mexican corporation called the "Baja Sports Committee" (BSC). BSC renamed the event the "Baja Mil" (Baja 1000) and scheduled the race to run on the original dates chosen by NORRA. Though NORRA held a competing event in the United States that same weekend, BSC successfully ran the race from Ensenada to La Paz like the years prior. Unaware of the challenges, BSC found promoting Baja races more difficult than anticipated. Instead of giving up the race, the Mexican government requested help from Southern California Off-Road Enterprises (SCORE) in hosting and promoting future Baja races. Through negotiations with Mickey Thompson and his SCORE organization, the Government agreed to give exclusive rights to SCORE to hold Baja races and also reluctantly allowed SCORE to cancel the event for 1974 (a year where motorsport was curtailed in the United States because of the oil crisis). SCORE hired Sal Fish as president and took control of the Baja 1000 from that year on with the Baja 1000 race resuming under new control in 1975. In 2012, the racing organization was purchased by Roger Norman.

Prelude to the event[edit]

1962: The first timed run[edit]

When Jack McCormack and Walt Fulton of American Honda decided to hold a long-distance run to prove the reliability of Honda's new CL72 Scrambler, they approached well known off-road dirt biker and local Honda dealer Bud Ekins for suggestions. Bud suggested the Tijuana to La Paz route (Federal Highway 1) which was 950 miles (1,530 km) of rocks, sand washes, dry lake beds, cattle crossing, mountain passes, and paved road. Bud Ekins declined to perform the run because of Triumph Motorcycles ties, but Dave Ekins (Bud's brother) and Billy Robertson Jr. agreed to perform the trip for American Honda. After doing an aerial pre-run over the peninsula in Fulton's Cessna 180, they began the journey to La Paz just after midnight on March 22, 1962. While being followed by two journalists in an airplane and using telegraph offices at the Mexican border and in La Paz, Dave Ekins recorded the first official timed run in 39 hours 56 minutes (39:56) with a total distance of 952.7 miles (1,533.2 km). The event received coverage in the Globe, Argosy, and Cycle World magazines, earning awe and respect for Honda and the Baja run. The Globe and Argosy accounts also included close encounters with death and other dangers which Ekins claims were "colorful additions".

Four wheels vs two[edit]

Wanting to beat the existing motorcycle record and to help fuel sales of the Meyers Manx, Bruce Meyers used his original prototype buggy called "Old Red" for an attempt at breaking the record set by Ekins. After pre-running a course south to La Paz, Ted Mangels and Bruce Meyers started the record-breaking attempt back to Tijuana from La Paz at 10:00pm on April 19, 1967. With journalist from Road & Track magazine following the two to witness the attempt, the final official time was 34:45 beating Ekins' run by more than 5 hours. Upon returning to the United States, the journalist documenting the run sent out press kits with photographs and a news release with the headline "Buggy Beats Bike in Baja." to hundreds of magazines and newspapers. Soon, more stories of adventure, close calls, and broken speed records received media coverage around the world. Following the event, Bruce Meyers and his Meyers Manx became an overnight sensation and the competition between four wheels and motorcycles for the fastest Baja run began.

In the following months, more attempts at breaking the record would take place. One of the attempts included a multiple vehicle run organized by Ed Pearlman (Mexican 1000 founder) that ended in an official four-wheel drive record being recorded but with the overall time falling short of the record set by Meyers. On July 4, 1967, an American Motors Rambler American sedan would leave Tijuana at 9:00am to successfully break the record set by Meyers with an overall time of 31 hours.

History[edit]

As the timed runs recorded via telegraph became popular, a need for an organized event to compete for the quickest Baja run was starting to grab the attention of other competitors. Once Ed Pearlman caught word of Meyers' run, Ed convinced Dick Cepek, Claude Dozier, Ed Orr, Drino Miller and journalist John Lawlor to give a run to La Paz a try. In June 1967, Pearlman and group left Tijuana and immediately ran into mechanical troubles. This trip provided much downtime for Pearlman to brainstorm the idea of the National Off-road Racing Association (NORRA). After Pete Condos and Perlman put up the funds to incorporate NORRA, the group announced an official recognition of the previous record setters and created classes that related to the type of vehicle used to break the record. During the later part of summer, NORRA named the event the "Mexican 1000 Rally" and announced the first official race from Tijuana to La Paz was to be held on November 1, 1967.

Vehicles[edit]

Honda CRF450X; winner of the 2006 Baja 1000. Taken at the San Jose Motorcycle Show.

Although motorcyclists participate and are often the overall winners, many competitors drive modified or stock 3 or 4-wheel vehicles such as cars, trucks, ATVs and dune buggies. Race teams consist of factory-supported groups that build custom fabricated vehicles and provide chase vehicles via helicopter, to the much smaller and less glamorized sportsman teams competing in an all-stock vehicle with no chase vehicle support at all. Stock Volkswagen Type One Beetles are modified for use in off-road terrain, known as Baja Bugs, have been a common sight throughout the event duration, but the factory-supported all-spaceframe Trophy Truck entries are the most visible.

In contrast to the current factory EX supported modern race vehicles that overall the car and truck classes, Erik Carlsson drove a basically stock front wheel drive Saab 96 V4, finishing third in 1969 and fifth in 1970.

Baja course[edit]

  • Point-to-point: A point-to-point race is one that starts and ends in two different locations. The start is traditionally held in Ensenada but has been held in Tijuana and Mexicali as well. The course length varies for a point to point but is often over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) and ends in La Paz.
  • Loop race: A loop race is one that starts and finishes in the same location. Traditionally the race starts and ends in Ensenada but has started/finished in Mexicali as well. The course length varies from 600 to 850 miles, depending on the course route.

Sabotage and booby-traps[edit]

Each year there are reports of spectators sabotaging or booby-trapping the course by digging holes, blocking river flow, or burying and hiding obstacles. Racers are warned to beware of large crowds of spectators in remote parts of the course since it may indicate hidden traps or obstacle changes. Many of the booby traps are not created to intentionally injure the contestants but are created by the local spectators as jumps or obstacles for spectator entertainment and intriguing moments to be caught on videotape. The haphazardly-designed jumps, created by the spectators, are very dangerous as the contestants may inadvertently enter the booby-trap at unsafe speeds, resulting in damage to the vehicles or injuries to competitors or spectators. Awareness of booby traps and course alterations are often part of race-day strategy and convey an advantage to the best prepared teams — nonetheless given the danger the traps pose, it is customary for competitors to quickly communicate course hazards to other competitors through on-board radio communications and radio relay.

Popular Culture[edit]

  • In the film Timerider(1982), the hero Swann is competing in the Baja 1000 when he inadvertently stumbles on to a time warp experiment and is sent back to the Old West in the 1870s.
  • The documentary Dust to Glory (2005) follows contestants of the Baja 1000

Overall winners[edit]

Year Route Cars & Trucks Motorcycle
Drivers Vehicle Time Riders Vehicle Time
1967 Tijuana-La Paz United States Vic Wilson
United States Ted Mangels
Meyers Manx VW 27:38 United States J.N. Roberts
United States Malcolm Smith
Husqvarna 28:48
1968 Ensenada-La Paz United States Larry Minor
United States Jack Bayer
Ford Bronco 21:11:32 United States Larry Berquist
United States Gary Preston
Honda 20:38:28
1969 Ensenada-La Paz United States Larry Minor
United States Rod Hall
Ford Bronco 20:48:10 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson
United States J.N. Roberts
Husqvarna 21:35:52
1970 Ensenada-La Paz United States Drino Miller
United States Vic Wilson Miller
VW 16:07 United States Mike Patrick
United States Bill Bowers
Yamaha 18:31
1971 Ensenada-La Paz United States Parnelli Jones
United States Bill Stroppe
Ford Bronco 14:59 United States Malcolm Smith
Sweden Gunnar Nilsson
Husqvarna 16:51
1972 Mexicali-La Paz United States Parnelli Jones
United States Bill Stroppe
Ford Bronco 16:47 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson
Sweden Rolf Tibblin
Husqvarna 19:19
1973 Ensenada-La Paz United States Bobby Ferro
United States Johnny Johnson
Funco VW 16:50 United States Mitch Mayes
United States A.C. Bakken
Husqvarna 18:42:51
1974 No Race
1975 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Malcolm Smith
United States Dr. Bud Feldkamp
Hi-Jumper VW 18:55:49 United States Al Baker
United States Gene Cannady
Honda 18:22:55
1976 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Ivan Stewart Chenowth VW 12:17:28 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Mitch Mayes
Husqvarna 11:30:47
1977 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Malcolm Smith
United States Dr. Bud Feldkamp
Funco VW 15:10:42 United States Brent Wallingsford
United States Scot Harden
Husqvarna 14:37:07
1978 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark Stahl Chenowth VW 12:55:42 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Jack Johnson
Husqvarna 14:37:07
1979 Ensenada-La Paz United States Walker Evans
United States Bruce Florio
Dodge Pickup 20:48:27 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Jack Johnson
Husqvarna 19:48:04
1980 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark Stahl Chenowth VW 13:33:55 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Jack Johnson
Yamaha 12:45:13
1981 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark McMillin
United States Thomas Hoke
Chenowth VW 20:29:14 United States Scot Harden
United States Brent Wallingsford
Husqvarna 17:14:05
1982 Ensenada-La Paz United States Mickey Thompson
United States Terry Smith
Raceco VW 19:40:23 United States Al Baker
United States Jack Johnson
Honda 17:25:27
1983 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark McMillin
United States Ralph Paxton
Chenowth VW 20:29:14 United States Dan Smith
United States Dan Ashcraft
Husqvarna 14:48:10
1984 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark McMillin
United States Ralph Paxton
Chenowth VW 16:27:09 United States Chuck Miller
United States Randy Morales
Honda 14:34:34
1985 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Steve Sourapas
United States Dave Richardson
Raceco VW 17:54:55 United States Randy Morales
United States Derrick Paiement
Honda 17:44:42
1986 Ensenada-La Paz United States Mark McMillin
United States Ralph Paxton
Chenowth Porsche 18:26:28 United States Bruce Ogilvie
United States Chuck Miller
Honda 18:05:52
1987 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Bob Gordon
United States Malcolm Smith
Chenowth Porsche 13:15:04 United States Dan Ashcraft
United States Bruce Ogilvie
Honda 12:02:14
1988 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Mark McMillin Chenowth Porsche 18:07:09 United States Paul Krause
United States Larry Roeseler
United States Danny LaPorte
Kawasaki 17:53:16
1989 Ensenada-La Paz United States Robby Gordon Ford Pickup 18:04:07 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Danny LaPorte
United States Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
Kawasaki 17:53:16
1990 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Bob Gordon
United States Robyn Gordon
United States Robby Gordon
Chenowth Chevy 12:30:45 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
United States Danny LaPorte
Kawasaki 11:11:45
1991 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Larry Ragland Chevrolet Pickup 16:37:35 United States Larry Roeseler
United States Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
United States Marty Smith
Kawasaki 13:35:25
1992 Ensenada-La Paz United States Paul Simon
United States Dave Simon
Ford Ranger 16:53:02 United States Danny Hamel
United States Garth Sweetland
United States Paul Ostbo
Kawasaki 16:50:12
1993 Mexicali-Mexicali United States Ivan Stewart Toyota SR5 13:29:11 United States Danny Hamel
United States Larry Roeseler
United States Ty Davis
Kawasaki 13:57:23
1994 Mexicali-Mexicali United States Jim Smith Ford TT 10:28:56 United States Danny Hamel
United States Larry Roeseler
United States Ty Davis
Kawasaki 10:20:47
1995 Tijuana-La Paz United States Larry Ragland Chevrolet TT 20:14:12 United States Paul Krause
United States Ty Davis
United States Ted Hunnicutt Jr.
Kawasaki 19:31:19
1996 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Larry Ragland Chevrolet TT 14:38:59 United States Paul Krause
United States Ty Davis
United States Greg Zitterkopf
Honda 14:11:02
1997 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Larry Ragland Chevrolet TT 13:53:46 United States Johnny Campbell
United States Tim Staab
United States Greg Bringle
Honda 13:19:59
1998 Santo Tomás-La Paz United States Ivan Stewart Toyota 19:08:20 United States Johnny Campbell
United States Jimmy Lewis
Honda 18:58:48
1999 Ojos Negros-Ojos Negros United States Larry Ragland Chevy 14:26:36 United States Johnny Campbell
United States Tim Staab
Honda 14:15:42
2000** Ensenada-Cabo San Lucas United States Dan Smith
United States Dave Ashley
Ford 32:15:39 United States Johnny Campbell
United States Tim Staab
United States Craig Smith
United States Steve Hengeveld
Honda 30:54:12
2001 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Doug Fortin
United States Charlie Townsley
Jimco Chevy 14:35:42 United States Johnny Campbell
United States Tim Staab
Honda 13:51:40
2002 Ensenada-La Paz United States Dan Smith
United States Dave Ashley
Ford 16:19:03 United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Johnny Campbell
United States Andy Grider
Honda 16:17:28
2003 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Doug Fortin
United States Charlie Townsley
Jimco Chevy 16:24:02 United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Johnny Campbell
Honda 15:39:52
2004 Ensenada-La Paz United States Troy Herbst
United States Larry Roeseler
Smithbuilt-Ford 16:18:14 United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Johnny Campbell
United States Kendall Norman
Honda 15:57:37
2005 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Larry Roeseler
United States Troy Herbst
Smithbuilt-Ford 15:06:19 United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Johnny Campbell
United States Mike Childress
Honda 14:20:30
2006 Ensenada-La Paz United States Andy McMillin
United States Robby Gordon
19:15:17 United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Mike Childress
United States Quinn Cody
Honda 18:17:50
2007 Ensenada-Cabo San Lucas United States Mark Post
United States Rob MacCachren
United States Carl Renezeder
Ford 25:21:25 United States Robby Bell
United States Kendall Norman
United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Johnny Campbell
Honda 24:15:50
2008 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Roger Norman
United States Larry Roeseler
Ford 12:40:33 United States Robby Bell
United States Kendall Norman
United States Johnny Campbell
Honda 12:29:10
2009 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Andy McMillin
United States Scott McMillin
Chevy 14:19:50 United States Kendall Norman
United States Timmy Weigand
United States Quinn Cody
Honda 13:27:50
2010 Ensenada-La Paz Mexico Tavo Vildosola
Mexico Gus Vildosola
Ford F-150 TT 19:00:04 United States Kendall Norman
United StatesQuinn Cody
Honda 19:20:52
2011 Ensenada-Ensenada United States Andy McMillin
United States Scott McMillin
Ford Raptor TT 14:51:36 United States Kendall Norman
United States Quinn Cody
United States Logan Holladay
Honda 14:14:25
2012 Ensenada-La Paz United States BJ Baldwin Ford Raptor TT 20:00:59 United States Colton Udall
United States Timmy Weigand
United States David Kamo
Honda 20:09:30
2013 Ensenada-Ensenada United States BJ Baldwin Chevy TT 20:00:59 United States Colton Udall
United States Timmy Weigand
United States David Kamo
United States Mark Samuels
Honda 18:29:14
2014[1] Ensenada-La Paz United States Rob MacCachren
United States Andy McMillin
United States Jason Voss
Ford TT 22:31:27 United States Ricky Brabec
United States Robby Bell
United States Steve Hengeveld
United States Max Eddy Jr.
Kawasaki 24:24:01

**Officially the race was called the Baja 2000 (1726 miles) for the year 2000.

Notable competitors[edit]

American actor Paul Newman was the oldest participant when he competed in the 2004 event at age 80.[2] Template:Peter Brock: - Brock Racing Enterprises -aka BRE, built cars/truck for the Baja from 1967 to 1972 Template:John Morton: - Four time SCCA National Road Racing Championship Driver,

Current and past classes[edit]

Trophy truck vehicle
Class 10 vehicle
Stock Mini vehicle

Cars and Trucks[edit]

Motorcycles[edit]

  • SCORE Class 20: 125 cc or smaller two-stroke and 250 cc or smaller four-stroke motorcycles.
  • SCORE Class 21: 126 cc to 250 cc.
  • SCORE Class 22: 250 cc or more.
  • SCORE Class 30: Riders over 30 years old.
  • SCORE Class 40: Riders over 40 years old.
  • SCORE Class 50: Riders over 50 years old.
  • SCORE Class 60: Riders over 65 years old.
  • SCORE Sportsman MC > 250cc: Sportsman riders 250cc (2-stroke) or 450cc (4-stroke) or greater.
  • SCORE Sportsman MC < 250cc: Sportsman riders 250cc (2-stroke) or 450cc (4-stroke) or less.

ATVs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Clark, Dominic. "MacCachren/A. McMillin/Voss ‘Rockstars’ earns Overall, SCORE Trophy Truck win at 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000". SCORE International. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "SCORE crown jewel since 1967 (October 6, 2005)". Desert Racing. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Burns, Josh. “Kendall Norman, Quinn Cody Earn 2010 SCORE Baja 1000 Motorcycle Victory.” Off-Road.Com. http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/race/kendall-norman-quinn-cody-earn-2010-score-baja-1000-motorcycle-victory-52939.html November 18, 2010 Retrieved 1:35 p.m., Sunday, April 6, 2014 (PDT).
  4. ^ [http:// http://www.dealernews.com/dealernews/article/e-commerce-pioneer-bikebandits-ken-wahlster "E-commerce pioneer bike bandit’s ken wahlster"]. Dealer news. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°52′05″N 116°38′01″W / 31.86806°N 116.63361°W / 31.86806; -116.63361