After months of anticipation, it’s finally time for the biggest race of the off-road season: the 54th edition of the SCORE Baja 1000, which kicks off this Thursday. The more than 1200-mile point-to-point route from Ensenada to La Paz will serve to crown this year’s SCORE World Desert Champions, and befitting its status as the crown jewel event of the sport, this year’s entry list is as strong as ever.
29 Trophy Trucks are on this year’s entry list, and as always, there will be plenty of superteams as top finishers from the San Felipe 250, Baja 500, and Baja 400 look to clinch this year’s race win and SCORE title with the help of their usual rivals and some talented special guests. Pairings of note in the premier division include Bryce Menzies and Andy McMillin, Rob MacCachren and Luke McMillin, Tavo Vildosola and Ricky Johnson, and Robby Gordon and Casey Mears. In addition, Alan Ampudia will team up with Gymkhana legend Ken Block and up-and-comer Jax Redline, while Cameron Steele will share driving duties with Ryan Arciero and Rhys Millen. They’ll all be chasing Baja 500 winner Larry Roeseler, who leads MacCachren by two points and Vildosola by nine coming into the event.
The celebrity entries aren’t limited to the Trophy Truck class, either. Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and Pikes Peak world record holder Romain Dumas joins Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus in Class 1, while two-time Dakar Rally motorcycle winner Toby Price will take on the Trophy Truck Spec division and 2016 Indianapolis 500 and 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Alexander Rossi makes his annual pilgrimage to Baja to join Honda’s factory efforts in Class 7.
Likewise, there are plenty of close points battles to be found elsewhere in the SCORE standings. Mario Fuentes leads Shelby Reid by a single point in Class 1, while Austin Weiland, Phil Blurton, and Brandon Schueler are separated by just four in Pro UTV Forced Induction. In Pro Moto Unlimited, Shane Redline and Derek Ausserbauer will look to settle their four-point championship gap while also trying to deny returning race and class champion Mark Samuels yet another Baja 1000 victory.
After this week, SCORE turns its attention to the 2022 season, with the 35th San Felipe 250 kicking off the festivities on March 29-April 3. All four events on the 2021 World Desert Championship calendar return for the coming season, with the Baja 1000 returning to a loop course in the middle of next November.