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50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500

baja 500

June 2-3, 2018—542.12 miles—Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico – The legendary Baja off road race turns 50 this year, it got it’s start under NORRA (National Off Road Racing Association ) in 1969 with 163 starters and 73 finishers. the 50th anniversary of the race starts with 321 official entries.

The 2018 SCORE World Desert Championship, a 4 round race series headed up by Roger and Elise Norman is proving to be a great success at the 1/2 way point with the conclusion of the Baja 500.

Their staff and all the other people that it takes to put on an event of this magnitude on time and safely is truly something to behold!

Co Grand Marshals Sal Fish (prior owner of SCORE) and the legend Ivan ” Iron Man” Stewart were very pleased to help present this event at the Start/Finish line area in front of Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in heart of Ensenada.

The course was a well planned and some said very difficult 542.1 miles around a loop course starting and ending in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. See the course map here.

With a posted 321 official entries it proved to be a very busy race course, the dust from a lot of prerunning was a key contributor to the problems that many of the lesser powered entries experienced. The SCORE Trophy Truck class and most of the 2 wheel entries finished but the finisher list grew shorter down the ranks. Find the official entry, finisher list and class summary here.

There were some penalties during the event, although incurred penalties did not change the outcome of any front runners a few driver​s​ suffered a DQ for various infractions which was certainly a heart break to find out later. Find the official penalty report here.

A great opportunity that is available to the public to show up and drive in a race without having to purchase all that goes along with having a race team and car is Wide Open Baja, The Norman family successfully ran a car in the 50th Baja 1000 in November 2017 and had hoped to complete the 50th Baja 500 as well, unfortunately around race mile 338.1 they had transmission problems and DNF. The team consisted of:  Roger Norman, Elise Norman, Michael Muncey, Fran Muncey, Shawn Evans.

Next time Fran!

The only finisher in the Baja Challenge class was BC-1 Eric Tedder New York, NY UNK 1 21:59:21.080. He was very excited at the contingency registration, the proud Irishman made his dream come true for sure.

There are many stories throughout the race and I look forward to publishing a video segment with more in depth accounts very soon.

Please enjoy some of the sights during contingency, the race start on course at the jump in the Ensenada wash and some of the finishers.

Words and Photos by Frank Robinson for Arizona Auto Scene.

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