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The Baja 500

The “Baja 500” is one of several races organized and sanctioned by Southern California Off-Road Enthusiasts (SCORE). The 500 race is a 500-mile loop that starts and ends in Ensenada and loops around San Felipe. This Baja 500 is typically the second of four annual off-road races in Baja that SCORE organizes. It usually schedules late Spring (first week of June).

Off-Road Baja
Baja Off-Road Terrain

Baja 500 has the racers head in clockwise direction to face the highly technical course. The race will include more than ninety virtual checkpoints and four physical checkpoints along the 501-mile course. There are some incredible stretches, of course, such as the sixty-mile stretch along the Pacific and the 4,100-foot summit near the southern section of the course. The course is tight and, therefore, all the more exciting for racing fans!

SCORE Baja Race Classes

The Baja 500 is a major racing event that features various vehicle classes.  Typically, the off-roaders race in a prescribed loop that starts and finishes in Ensenada.  The course, however, stretches around the peninsula to include other major Baja California cities.  For this reason, cities like Rosarito Beach and San Felipe often see increasing tourism simply due to the racing event.  From trophy trucks to ATVs and motorcycles, the various classes are destined to keep the race fans well entertained.

  • Cars and Trucks
    • Trophy Truck
      • Truck: Open Production Unlimited
      • Legends: 50 years and older
      • Spec: Trucks with stock V-8 Engines (no 4×4)
    • Class
      • 1: Unlimited open-wheel 1 or 2 seats
      • 1/2-1600: 1600cc
      • 2: 2.2 liter dune buggy
      • 3: 4×4 Jeeps
      • 4: 2.2 liter open wheel.
      • 5: Baja Bugs.
      • 5-1600: Baja Bugs 1600cc
      • 6: V6 trucks
      • 7: Mini trucks
      • 7S: Stock mini trucks 3000cc
      • 7SX: Modified mini trucks 4000cc
      • 8: Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks
      • 9: Short wheelbase, 1-2 seats, 1600cc
      • 10: 1-2 seats, 2000cc
      • 11: Stock VW 1600cc
      • Lites Class 12: VW 1 seat, 1776cc (or 2-seats, 1835cc)
      • 17: Production 4×4 Jeeps
    • Stock Full: Stock full-sized trucks
    • Stock Mini: Stock mini trucks 4300cc
    • Baja Challenge: Baja touring car
    • Sportsman
      • Buggy:
      • Truck:
      • UTV: 660cc, 4×4
    • ProTruck: Limited Production Trucks governed by the Baja ProTruck Off-Road Race Series
  • Motorcycles Class
    • 20: 125cc or less, 2-stroke or 250cc 4-stroke
    • 21: 126cc – 250cc
    • 22: 250cc #
    • 30: Riders 30+
    • 40: Riders 40+
    • 50: Riders 50+
    • 60: Riders 60+
Quad in the Baja 500 at Sunset
  • ATVs
    • Class 24: 250cc or less
    • Class 25: 251cc+

Each vehicle type has it’s own class and they race amongst themselves. Awards are presented to winners in each class.

Baja 500 Festivities

Not surprising, the race is promoted from town to town and seems to be one of the highpoints of the approaching summer season.  As the race typically takes place in early June, it literally opens summer and the hotels, clubs, bars, and restaurants are all ready to accommodate the celebrating crowds as the converge for the racing.  One prior to racae, in Ensenada a kickoff festival will get the event started.  Performances, vendors, and racing enthusiasts will meet in this area as a way to kick off this major event and generate excitement among the enthralled crowds.  Major sponsors will also be promoting their products and services with giveaways and prizes to celebrate the race.

off-road motorcycle mexico
off-road motorcycle mexico

About SCORE International

Founded in 1973, the SCORE International organization was developed to promote off-road racing in both Mexico and the United States. The races, particularly the Baja 1000 as well as the Baja 500 of Mexico, lure drivers from all over the map, but they also attract thousands upon thousands of tourists who make the trip to Mexico especially to watch the race and share in the excitement. The group has become one of the world’s most renowned desert racing organizations.

For more information on the Baja 500, or to signup please visit the SCORE website.

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driving in Mexico baja california desert endless road

Visiting Baja During Race Time

Many travelers make a point to visit one of Baja California’s tourist towns during the Baja 500. For visitors that have never witnessed this event—it’s one of the best times to visit as adventure fills the air and the parties and celebrations seem non-stop. Even if you only catch a glimpse of the motorists as they speed by, it’s a great way to share in one of northern Mexico’s most popular events.

If you plan to attend as a participant or as a racer, please remember two things:

  • Get your mexinsurance before you leave from the convenience of your home, online
  • When your street legal towed unit comes off the trailer in Mexico it needs its own Mexico Insurance policy
  • Mexico Insurance covers the vehicles while on conventional roads intended to be driven on. Off-road activity, racing, etc are specific exclusions to the Terms and Conditions of the policy.
  • Off-road vehicles, street legal, can be covered as long as they are registered legally, while they are on roads intended to be driven by passenger vehicles and are considered vehicle type “motorcycle”. Motorcycle type vehicles do not include Medical Payments.

4 Responses to The Baja 500

  1. oh, I’m watching this show called "When The Dust Settles", about the Baja races, and the most bizarre thing! The Mexican cops pulled over the racers at one point… FOR SPEEDING!!