For the 2017 Baja 1000, which is being recognized as the 50th anniversary of the event, race sanctioning body SCORE has created two new classes for period-correct race vehicles built before 1992. It’s going to be old-school cool fender-to-fender all the way down to La Paz, baby!
You can read the complete rules for the 1982 and older “Trailblazer” class and the 1983 to 1992 “Innovator” class on SCORE’s official website. But basically, the idea was to create an opportunity for buggies and 2WD and 4WD trucks from a bygone era ...well, I guess, two bygone eras... set up as they would have been in their heyday to add a little extra nostalgic flair to what’s shaping up to be a Baja 1000 for the ages this November.
Vintage off-road vehicles don’t have too many opportunities to shine, because realistically, racing one would be downright painful and your odds of breaking archaic technology under duress are pretty high.
But until today’s announcement, the NORRA Mexican 1000 and as of recently the Mint 400 have been the only high-profile off-road events with dedicated vintage classes, so it’s great to see SCORE opening its course to old iron as well.
NORRA’s competition also takes place over about 1,000 miles of Mexican racing in Baja, though the personality of that event is generally considered more low-key competition compared to SCORE’s official annual Baja 1000 and 500.
I have a feeling any 25-plus-year-old vehicles that end up entering this race will be on more of an exhibition mission than anything else, but it will be great to see them sharing the course with today’s heroes of desert racing.
Heck, maybe living legends like Rob MacCachren, BJ Baldwin, Bryce Menzies, the McMillins and Robby Gordon will take advantage of the opportunity to pay homage to their predecesors and find some old cars to compete in.
Or, oh man, can you imagine if Ivan Stewart dusted off a race suit and trotted out an OG red-and-yellow-on-white Toyota?
I sincerely hope some high-dollar teams decide to take the opportunity to go retro at this year’s Baja 1000. I’d take my Scout down, but, ...let’s see if I can finish saving up for new tires, first.
Anyway, the 50th Baja 1000 goes down in November and I hope to be there to get redemption after my team wiped out of the 500 after 45 miles.