Off Road

2023 SCORE World Desert Championship golden anniversary schedule revealed

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Credit: Art Eugenio/Red Bull Content Pool

2023 will mark the fiftieth year of operation for SCORE International, and the desert racing sanctioning body intends to celebrate with some slight modifications to the World Desert Championship schedule. While the same four races remain in their respective slots, the season-ending 56th Baja 1000 on 16 November will literally go in the opposite direction by beginning in La Paz in Baja California Sur before heading north and finishing in Ensenada.

Excluding instances where it is a loop, the Baja 1000 typically starts in Ensenada and goes south with La Paz as the destination. By flipping direction, the crown jewel race begins in La Paz for the first time ever, while Ensenada is the finish line for the twenty-ninth time. Other cities to host the 1000’s start include Mexicali (1972, 1993, 1994), Ojos Negros (1999), Santo Tomas (1998), and Tijuana (1967, 1997). Mexicali (1993 and 1994) and Ojos Negros (1999) have also been the site of the finish, as has Cabo San Lucas in 2000 and 2007.

Rob MacCachren won the overall in 2021.

“What an extremely phenomenal precious treasure we all have in SCORE International and to be able to be part of celebrating the Golden anniversary of SCORE in 2023 is extremely humbling and inspiring for all of us at the same time,” stated SCORE president and race director Jose A. Grijalva.

“Mexican races are the cornerstone of SCORE and to have all four races south of the border for the eighth consecutive season and eighth time in SCORE’s long history is a distinct honour and a wonderful privilege. We welcome the challenge to continue to add to the illustrious SCORE Baja racing legacy. And to finish the season with the iconic SCORE Baja 1000 always attracts racing extremists from around the world and 2023 will be a one-of-a-kind experience with the Granddaddy of all Desert Races starting in La Paz for the first time and finishing in Ensenada.”

The 2023 season begins with the 36th running of the San Felipe 250, and its week begins on 29 March while racing takes place on 1 April. Held in the town of the same name, it is the shortest race on the calendar and has hosted the opener since 2013 after claiming the spot from the Laughlin Desert Challenge. San Felipe is one of two rounds that feature qualifying for Trophy Truck, Trophy Truck Legends, Trophy Truck Spec, and Class 1 entries, which will be conducted two days prior to the race. Luke McMillin is the defending overall winner.

Finishing results from San Felipe set the start order for the 55th Baja 500 in Ensenada, which begins on 3 June. MacCachren triumphed in an especially brutal 2022 Baja 500 two months ago.

SCORE remains in Ensenada for the third leg with the 4th Baja 400, with racing commencing on 16 September. The results from the 400 will determine the starting lineup for the 1000. Bryce Menzies won the 2021 edition.

Teams that do not run the 250 or 400 but enter the other two events will receive their starting spots via random draw.

2023 SCORE World Desert Championship

1San Felipe 250San Felipe29 March – 2 April
2Baja 500Ensenada31 May – 4 June
3Baja 400Ensenada12–17 September
4Baja 1000La Paz to Ensenada13–18 November
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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