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.
I was fortunate enough to experience the Baja 1000 last year, a peninsula race, helping with logistics, pre-running, chasing and imagery for a Class 3000 truck driven by the Fines Double Racing Team. That race was 1200 miles of the most grueling (and beautiful) country I have ever driven across. It was tiresome, hot, dusty, frustrating and dirty….and something I would do again without a second thought. The experience was simply amazing, with a great group of dedicated guys focused on accomplishing a single task…finishing.
This year’s race will start for the 41st time and finish for the 23rd 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.
SCORE has put together another memorable race course, this one for a loop race, with all of the foreboding, unforgiving terrain the northern state of the majestically mysterious Baja California peninsula has to offer. Starting and finishing in the heart of Ensenada in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, the course travels in a counter-clockwise direction. It includes the approximate 35 mile stretch to Ojos Negros which is used in both directions. Outgoing, the course heads Southwest from Ojos through Santo Tomas and then runs South along the picturesque Pacific Ocean for over 100 miles.
Featuring seven checkpoints, the nearly 830-mile course covers both sides of the peninsula parallels Highway 1 for nearly half of the race, looping south back to the Pacific and then crossing over to the other side of the peninsula below Puertocitos. The course then heads back North along the tranquil Sea of Cortez, past San Felipe paralleling Highway 5 and up to the junction with Highway 3.
The rugged course then parallels Highway 3 traveling west then northwest back into Ojos Negros and to the finish line in Ensenada. Pre-running is scheduled to open on Friday, allowing competitors three weeks of practice time and logistics planning on and around the course.
With pre-running in its final days on the 821.38-mile race course, nearly 250 entries, from 30 U.S. States and 20 countries competing in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads are expected to take the green flag. While the fastest vehicles in the elapsed-time race are expected to finish in around 17 1/2 hours, all vehicles will have a 33 hour time limit from the time each started to become an official finisher in the epic event.
Streaming of contingency, start, finish, LIVE vehicle tracking at www.score-international.com;
motorcycles/quads start at 6 a.m. (PT), cars/trucks/utvs at 11 a.m. (PT) on Friday
A few more photos can be seen here: