Are you planning on coming to Ensenada for the Score International Baja race? Crossing the border isn’t that bad, but doing it right is key. Get ready for full blast because it’s time to pull a Luke McMillin and head down to Baja California!
Here are some tips to help you have the best time when visiting for any of these Score International Race series:
Load your UTV up on the trailer, it’s time to drive that Raptor down to the mecca of off-road racing in one of the most wild-west locations on the map! Seriously, the number of vintage Broncos, old Beetles, and other awesome trucks and machines is unreal down here.
One of the coolest parts about the Baja Racing series is that anyone can register. Just pay the entrant registration fee (this year it was around 2k), and let er rip!
Trophy trucks, UTVs, Motorcycles, and even ATVs/quads are allowed to run the course down in Baja, and each class division takes off at a different time. My personal favorite is to watch all the souped up Volkswagen Beetles (they call them Vochos) because they are a tradition and one of the first vehicles used in this desert racing series.
Pre-running the event happens earlier on in the week, so you have plenty of time to check out the course and make proper adjustments.
Gain Access To Media Coverage!
Don’t forget to check Score International’s schedule for the event to find out when you can get your media press pass—this year you had to go on the Wednesday before the event or you were too late.
It would be totally awesome to film the Baja Races from behind the scenes!
Treat it like a camping trip. Come prepared to survive—the days are warm but the nights are cold down here in the desert, and many people don’t realize how cold it’ will get when they set up in wilderness areas to watch the racers drive by.
Here are some supplies you’ll want to bring no matter what:
Water is the most important, people! This is a desert race. But also, don’t forget those spare UTV parts for just in case your clutch belt takes a shit. BFGoodrich tires are the favorite. down here in Baja because of how well they handle the rugged terrain, but any set of all terrain’s inflated slightly under spec will do just fine.
As for arriving in Mexico, the easiest way is to just drive through Tijuana from San Diego.
While you’re in Northern Baja, don’t forget to take advantage of the rock solid Mexican food like chipotle shrimp quesadillas and lobster in the Puerto Nuevo area just before Ensenada or really any popular-looking taco stand.
My favorite tacos by far is a place called Ojos Negros right next to Hussong’s Cantina.
You might also try Errante Cafe for a 5-star quality breakfast or lunch. Basically, Mexican food is the best thing that ever happened.
Sure, the beaches of Northern Baja aren’t as beautiful as some of the other places in Mexico, but there are great surf waves in places like San Miguel.
For surfing, I recommend K38 wave above all else—this reef break is almost always firing, the locals are super nice, and there are plenty of good food options nearby.
Anywhere in Ensenada’s main tourist area is great for checking out while you’re doing here in Baja. My best advice for a first timer would be to head down to Hussong’s Cantina and eat at their taco place next door (Ojos Negros Tacos). They have the best ribs tacos on the planet!
I heard Mike’s Sky Ranch is an amazing place to rip around on anything off road. You don’t have to be Mark Samuels, Andy Mcmillin, or Kendall Norman to have a good time ripping around in the highlands of baja with clean air and the ocean not too far off in the distance.
Aside from that, anywhere on the sidelines of the race is a decent place to set out the chairs—just be careful not to get in anyone’s way!
FYI, the race starts at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center Cathedral Room in downtown Ensenada, and the ambiance is incredible. I would have expected a bit more of a party scene for the 2022 Baja 1000 race, but the vibe was more race-focused with a classy edge.
You can watch the racers start off from a beer garden on the front lawn of the cultural center, or walk down the side of the road where there is gambling and merchandise. Overall, I was very impressed with the security at the event, and the exposure to the culture of the Baja races is like none other.
When I have a motorsports race team, we will definitely be entering the Baja races to compete with the likes of Cameron Steel, Larry Roeseler, and Rob Maccachren.
It’s important to be aware of the race map — it changes from year to year. Sometimes the Baja 1000 starts in Ensenada and spans the entire Baja Peninsula all the way to La Paz, but other years the finish line loops back around to the starting line in downtown Ensenada.
So grab your Ford, Honda, Can-Am, Polaris RZR—whatever you’ve got—bring it down to Baja for an epic off-road race. And don’t forget to show up for the NORRA Mexican 1000 in April of 2023!