Wednesday, May 2, 2007

19 defending class winners in lineup For 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500

19 defending class winners in lineup
For 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
May 1, 2007
Entries from 30 States, 11 countries
Hall, Roeseler, Nunez, O’Neal and Herbst leading 19 defending
Class winners back to 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race

409 already entered for June 1-3 race in Ensenada, Mexico, Round 3 of six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series

LOS ANGELES—With entries from 30 U.S. states and 11 countries climbing past record levels, Rod Hall, Larry Roeseler, Marcos Nunez, Jim O’Neal and Troy Herbst lead 19 defending class winners preparing for the upcoming 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
Round 3 of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature over 450 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, 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 Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
“SCORE Baja racing is like sending astronauts to Mars, it is so different and more challenging than any other form of motorsports,” said Rod Hall, who has 16 class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and is the returning Stock Mini class winner in Team Hummer’s Hummer H3. “No matter how many times you go back to Baja, it’s like you’re there for the very first time. Just when you think you have the rugged race course all memorized, out pops another of those Baja boulders to remind you who is the boss. Once you’ve been to a SCORE Baja race, you’ll never be the same again. And after you’ve gone once, you know you’ll be back again, no matter what.”
With late entries excepted up to race morning, over 450 entries are expected from 30 U.S. States from Hawaii to Rhode Island, Mexico, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa. The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday (June 1) 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 409 vehicles entered to date include 233 cars and trucks and 176 motorcycles and ATVs.
Among the entries are 19 of last year’s Pro class winners led by all three defending overall division champs.
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.
Besides Ragland/Collins, Bell/Norman and Prather/M.Cafro, other racers who will be back to defend their class titles this year are Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif./Troy Herbst, Las Vegas (Class 1, Smithbuilt-Ford), Gerardo Iribe, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 1-2/1600, Curry/ISRT-VW), Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. (Class 3, Ford Bronco), Marcos Nunez, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, 1600cc VW Baja Bug), Dan Chamlee, Summerland, Calif., (Class 7, Ford Ranger), John Holmes, Olivenhain, Calif. (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix (Class 8, GMC Sierra), Darren Hardesty, Ramona, Calif. (Class 10, AlumiCraft-VW), Tim Noe/Tom Watson, El Centro, Calif. (SCORE Lite, Jimco-VW), Terry Henn, Walnut, Calif. (Stock Full, Hummer H2), Rod Hall, Reno, Nev. (Stock Mini, Hummer H3), Rob Reinertson, Woodside, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150), Jason Trubey, Bullhead City, Ariz. (Class 21, Suzuki RMZ450), Jim O’Neal, Chatsworth, Calif. (Class 50, Honda XR650R).The two class winners from last year who have switched classes are: Dave Bonner, Norco, Calif. (from Class 5 to SCORE Lite), and Jim O’Neal, Chatsworth, Calif. (from Class 40 to Class 30).
Like the venerable veteran Hall, 68, of Reno, Nev., Roeseler, 49, of Hesperia, Calif., also has 16 class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Roeseler also has 11 overall race wins in this event, nine on a motorcycle and two in Class 1 with Troy Herbst.
Nunez and O’Neal both have eight class wins in this race while Troy Herbst has seven, Ragland has six and Moss has four.
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 Touareg midsize Sport Utility Vehicles will compete in a special SCORE Int’l Truck class.
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 DeVillers won four stages in the rally and finished 11th overall.
To date, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: Class 1 (47), SCORE Trophy-Truck (39), SCORE Lite (26), and Class 1-2/1600 (21).
Leading the Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (22), Class 30 (19), Classs 40 (18) and Class 21 (17). Class 25 for open ATVs has 17 entries. Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 44 entries and SPT ATV has 15.
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, who has won this race three times, is a NASCAR Team Owner/Driver and is entered in SCORE Trophy-Truck while Gaughan, who is a NASCAR Truck Series driver, is entered in Class 1.
Seven-time World Rally Championship driver 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.
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 in SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Jamie Galles, a former Trans Am and Toyota Atlantic racer, will be a co-driver for Josh Rigsby in Class 1.
Shawn Highland, a star of the international tour, will co-ride with Marc Burnett and 2005 SCORE Baja 500 overall motorcycle winner Mike Childress on the No. 15x Suzuki RMZ450.
The three celebrity drivers who are all SCORE regulars are SCORE Trophy-Truck drivers Cameron Steele, Jesse James and Max Thieriot. Steele, who is a TV sports announcer for Supercross, X Games and Champ Cars, has entered three classes once again—SCORE Trophy-Truck, SCORE Lite and Class 22.
James, 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.
Noted chassis builder Mike Julson, rising young Hollywood actor Max Theriot, journeyman Marc Francke and veteran desert racer Carmen Cafro all drew pole positions in their respective classes during the April 20 computerized drawing for starting positions for the popular race.
Julson, 49, of Descanso, Calif., will drive the No. 20 Jimco Racing Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck built in his Jimco raceshop. Jimco is the leading car chassis builder in desert racing and has earned SCORE Original Buggy Chassis Manufacturer of the year award 13 times.
Thieriot, 18, Petaluma, Calif., is a budding young Hollywood actor who races with his father Cam Thieriot and veteran desert racer Glenn Harris. Thieriot is currently sixth in Class 1 points for the year after finishes of ninth and seventh in the first two races of the year in the No. 101 RPS-Chevy.
Leading a veteran team that includes Dale Herron, James Hall and Jimmy Roberts, Francke, 32, Venice, Calif., drew first start in Class 22 to lead all of the motorcycle and ATV classes into the Baja desert. His team will ride the No. 2x Honda XR650R.
Cafro, 45, Vista, Calif., will lead a team of ATV champions to Mexico. Besides Cafro, teammates Lance Schoonmaker and Earl Thigpen all have ATV class wins in this race and they will ride the No. 2a Temecula Motorsports Honda TRX650 in Class 25.
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.
The 2007 SCORE Desert Series also includes the chase for the $75,000 Kartek Off-Road contingency bonus to be awarded to several 2007 SCORE Class point champions along with the run for the $12,000 Toyota True Grit and Toyota Milestone Awards.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Sunoco Race Fuels/Bryant Petroleum-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, American Racing ATX Series-official wheel, Slime-official tire sealant, Airstar America-official space lighting provider, Red Bull--official energy drink and Bosch Power Tools-official power tool. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Terrible Herbst Inc., Blue C Communications, Kartek Off-Road, Fram, Autolite, Prestone, Bendix, American Suzuki, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the SCORE Desert Series at


Check our blog for racing news updates, notes and random stories from the road.