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52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000 presented by 4 Wheel Parts: Weekend Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Sara Price (1); Andy McMillin (2); Wayne Matlock Racing (3)

The biggest, baddest desert race in North America is finally upon us. The 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000 presented by 4 Wheel Parts caps off the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship in Ensenada this weekend, and as always, all of the sport’s biggest names will be on hand to try and take home the win in the most iconic event of the season. There’s no holding back at the Baja—it’ll take the right mix of strategy and aggression, tons of talent, and a little luck to hold the checkered flag at the end of the grueling event.

The 800.50-mile trek around the Baja California peninsula begins at 3AM PT on Friday for motorcycles and quads, and 10:30AM PT for trucks, cars, and UTVs. Prior to on-site racer registration, more than 275 entries had already signed up for the legendary race, including 35 of SCORE’s signature Trophy Trucks (six of which will run in the Legends class). 109 former winners are on the entry list as of Monday, and they have 304 victories in this event among them.

The headline Trophy Truck class is led by Andy McMillin, who won the first two events of the SCORE season and finished second to Ryan Arciero in the inaugural Baja 400 in September. McMillin will have some extra help as he attempts to lock up the overall SCORE title: Red Bull teammate Bryce Menzies will share driving duties in one of a number of superteams assembled for this year’s event. Similarly, defending Baja 1000 winner Cameron Steele has added Ricky Johnson to his squad for the week, while Larry Roeseler will join Luke McMillin.

But perhaps the most interesting driver combination in the Trophy Truck class belongs to the #76 entry led by Jesse Jones. He’ll welcome two of this year’s Dakar Rally winners, car winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and bike and overall winner Toby Price, to the team as they look to double up on Dakar and the Baja. Both Price and Al-Attiyah have sampled all types of racing the world over, with the Australian frequently moonlighting in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks events in his native Australia and the Qatari driver having scored 70 career WRC points.

Elsewhere, 26 drivers will headline Pro UTV Forced Induction, the premier UTV class in the event. Marc Burnett will look to defeat defending overall SCORE champion Wayne Matlock for this year’s title, while Baja 400 winner Wes Miller will lead the field into the race course. Sara Price will attempt to ironwoman the event in Trophy Truck Spec as she chases down the class title from the second starting spot, while Class 1 points leader Brad Wilson will hope to hold onto his 24-point class lead over Mason Cullen.

Tech and contingency for the 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000 presented by 4 Wheel Parts take place on Wednesday and Thursday, before racers will look to conquer the course on Friday and Saturday. As always, the race will be streamed live on SCORE’s website and social media channels before airing on ABC’s World of X Games at a later date. Sunday’s awards ceremony will wrap up the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship season, as racers will begin preparing for the start of the 2020 season with March 25-29’s San Felipe 250.

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