SCORE stands for “Southern California Off-Road Experience“. The organisation was founded in 1973 by the popular American off-road and dragster pilot Mickey Thompson. Sal Fish, who was publisher of the well-read US off-road and tuner magazine “Hot Rod“ back then, was hired by Thompson as president of SCORE, and under the management duo of Thompson/Fish became the leading off-road event in America within a few years.
A crucial break-through came in 1975 when the monopoly organisation for off-road races gave Mickey Thompson and Sal Fish control to run the Baja 1000 – the most important off-road race in the world, an event that even the Dakar Rally took as a model. In 1992 SCORE merged with the rival High Desert Racing Association (HDRA), effectively strengthening SCORE's position.
The cooperation with television station ESPN, which broadcasts most SCORE events live, turned SCORE into a household name amongst US motorsport aficionados.
Races in 2007:
24.-27. January Laughlin Desert Challenge
Tecate SCORE Baja 250
Tecate SCORE Baja 500
SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup III
SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
The vehicle classes: From beetles to monsters
To contest the SCORE races vehicles are currently divided into 15 different categories. And just about anything goes: From near-standard VW Beetles “Bugs“ delivering around 80 hp to the 850 hp Trophy Trucks.
Buggies presently start in six classes, with Armin Schwarz and his All German Motorsports team in the top category “Class 1 Unlimited“, which fans also reverently dub “Monster Bugs“. With an engine output of between 350 and 800 hp and weighing between 1140 and 2500 kgs, the rear-wheel-drive Class 1 Unlimited Buggies reach a top speed of up to 220 kph. Thanks to the extremely robust construction of the Monster Bugs and through the practically endless wheel travel of up to 61 cm on the front axle and 66 cm at the rear (limited by the rules) these desert beasts can reach unbelievable speeds even in the worst terrain.
Belonging to the bug class are also the more harmless contemporaries like the “Class 9“ beetle which, with its 80 horsepower, reaches at top speed of 130 kph.
Trucks also take part in six different classes. They start relatively harmlessly in the “7S“ class with 175 to 265 hp, a wheel travel of up to 31 cm at the front and 41 cm in the rear and a top speed of 160 kph.
Particularly spectacular here are the Trophy Trucks as technical top-league players. These prototypes are specially constructed for off-road sport, with their silhouette body having to resemble a standard pick-up truck. From a power unit with up to a seven litre capacity, these giants deliver between 650 and 850 horsepower. The regulations stipulate a wheel travel maximum of 66 cm front and 91 cm rear. Extreme tyre dimensions of 37 inches ensure that nothing can hold up the Trophy Trucks. Regular competitors in this category are the ex-ChampCar and current NASCAR pilot Robbie Gordon as well as multi SCORE Champion Ivan “Ironman“ Stewart.
Lining up in other classes are a mix of standard Jeep Cherokee XJ vehicles from 1984 to 2001 model years to slightly modified and hence almost standard Beetles. A field of several hundred vehicles is more the norm than the exception, making the SCORE races one huge party.