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54th Annual SCORE Baja 500: Race Preview

One of the most famous events in desert racing makes its return this weekend, as the SCORE World Desert Championship takes on the Baja 500 for the 54th time on Saturday. The first motorcycles and quads roll off the start line at 4AM local time, while the top Trophy Truck will take to the course at 9AM. Racers will take on a 463.72 mile loop from Ensenada and back, with 20 hours to cross the finish line.

The 2022 season kicked off with some intense battles in the San Felipe 250, with Luke McMillin eventually prevailing over Bryce Menzies and Mike Walser on a Trophy Truck podium that was split by less than five minutes. As a result, they’ll be the first three starters in class on Saturday, followed by defending series champion Rob MacCachren and Tim Herbst. In total, 33 Trophy Trucks are on this weekend’s entry list, including six TT Legends entries led by Gustavo Vildosola Sr. at eighth on the start order.

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It’s far from the only class to boast such a large entry count, though. Trophy Truck Spec has 32 entries of its own, led by San Felipe winner Christopher Polvoorde, while 24 Class 10s and 25 Pro UTV Forced Induction entries will also make the trek. Chase Warren and Justin Lambert will attempt to build on their points leads in those respective classes after taking victories of their own in San Felipe.

Last year’s Baja 500 saw the legendary Larry Roeseler return to the top of the overall finishing order after Luke McMillin was disqualified for driving through a campsite and Andy McMillin received a 30-minute penalty for passing in a restricted area. It was Roeseler’s 12th overall win in the race and 18th in class, spanning half a century and both two-wheel and four-wheel classes. In fact, this year’s race marks the 50th anniversary of his first Baja 500 class win in 1972.

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Roeseler will start 27th in this year’s Baja 500 after taking a DNF in San Felipe. Other defending class winners on the entry list include Jason McNeil in Trophy Truck Spec (starting 24th), Branden Sims in Pro UTV Forced Induction (starting 21st), and Kaden Wells in Pro UTV NA (starting 1st). Last year’s Class 1 winner, Broc Dickerson, will start 21st in the Trophy Truck field.

The full 2022 SCORE Baja 500 entry list can be found here. Live coverage can be found as always via the SCORE website. Following the Baja 500, SCORE returns to action on September 13-18 for the 3rd Annual SCORE Baja 400.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.