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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Baja 500: Pre-event news - over 525 entries now expected.


With late entries accepted until race morning, an all-time entry field is already guaranteed for next weekend's 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the second-oldest desert race in the world. As of yesterday's 5 p.m. cutoff for entries not to be charged a late fee, 511 current official entries had been accepted by the SCORE International office in Los Angeles.

Round 3 of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, featuring a race-record lineup of nearly 500 entries competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be held June 1-3 in Ensenada, Mexico.

The amazing total marks the first time in the 34-year history of the popular desert racing organization that entries have passed the 500 plateau for a SCORE. The growing new total easily eclipses the 469 total entries at the old SCORE Parker 400 in 1998 and the 465 total entries received for this race last year, which was the first time a SCORE race in Mexico ever had over 400 entries.

"It will be cliche to say it, but this is absolutely, unbelievably amazing," said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO/President since soon after SCORE was founded in 1973. "This race was the first SCORE sanctioned and produced event in Mexico on July 26, 1974 and I was very proud to be part of that pioneering event that had a solid 279 starters. This year, I am extremely humbled to be part of this exciting landmark in the history of SCORE International that will end up having around 500 official starters next Saturday. SCORE and its incredible race staff of over 400 dedicated individuals are honored to help make history with these dynamic adventurers."

This marks only the fourth time in the over three-decade history of SCORE Baja racing that the entry list has reached more than 400. Last year's Tecate SCORE Baja 500 had 465 entries, last year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 had 449, and this year's Tecate SCORE Baja 250 in March had 423 official entries.

With this year's entry list already at 511, a new all-time SCORE record is also guaranteed for actual starters. The current overall SCORE record is 452, set at the old SCORE Parker 400 in 1988, and the current SCORE Baja racing record of 438 was set at this race last year. Third on the current all-time SCORE starters list is the 431 that started last year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 peninsula run from Ensenada to La Paz.

A race-record field of 54 unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars are set to attempt to capture the overall 4-wheel vehicle title in this year's Tecate SCORE Baja 500, unseating the marquee SCORE Trophy-Trucks, those high-tech, high-budget, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks who have won the overall 10 times in their 13-year history. There are also 39 SCORE Trophy-Trucks entered for next weekend's epic race.

And while the thundering herd of SCORE Trophy-Trucks and Class 1 race cars blast their way around the Northern part of the Baja peninsula, the growing field of motorcycles and ATVs, now at an amazing 224 total entries, will be waging their own special challenge against the elements, the competitors and their own mental and physical strength and stamina.

With late entries accepted up to race morning, nearly 525 entries are expected from 32 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 SCORE Baja race-record 511 vehicles entered to date include 287 cars and trucks and 224 motorcycles and ATVs.

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/Kendall Norman on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X. Back to defend their overall ATV and Class 25 victory is the team of Danny Prather/Mike Cafro on the No. 1a Honda TRX450R.

For the first time in race history, Volkswagen of America officially entered two of its Dakar Rally factory teams. Driven by American Mark Miller and South African Giniel de Villers, the two turbo-diesel VW Race Touareg SUVs will compete in a special SCORE Int'l Truck class. They will start between SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1.

To date, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: Class 1 (54), SCORE Trophy-Truck (39), SCORE Lite (27), Class 1-2/1600 (26) and Class 5/1600 (20).

Leading the Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (25), Class 21 and Class 40 (22 each) and Class 30 (21). Class 25 for open ATVs has 16 entries. Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 58 entries and SPT ATV has 22.

Miller, who has won the SCORE Trophy-Truck class twice in the SCORE Baja 500 (in 2002 with Larry Ragland and in 2003 with Ryan Arciero) was fourth overall in this year's Dakar Rally while de Villers won four stages in the rally and finished 11th overall.

In SCORE history, this will be the ninth race to have 400 or more starters, with the SCORE Parker 400 having that number six times, the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 twice and the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 once.

Reflecting the continuing popularity of SCORE desert racing, the number of starters in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 has jumped dramatically this decade. Starting with 219 in 2000, the event has increased each year--2001 (249), 2002 (258), 2003 (260), 2004 (300), 2005 (345) and 2006 (438).

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 adjacent to the San Nicolas Hotel 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.

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.

2007/05/25 | 15:46 CET | Editor: MR/HS/SCORE






















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