In July of 1974, at the invitation of the government of Baja California and Ensenada businessmen, Mickey Thompson brought his SCORE organization (originally developed for Short Course Off Road Events, with grandstand viewing) to Mexico for the first of many point-to-point desert races on the peninsula (and in the U.S.).
Mexico had cancelled NORRA’s permit to run races after the June 1973 Baja 500 in order to facilitate a new Mexican owned organization, the Baja Sports Committee or BSC, to run races. They had a November 1973 Baja 1000 (Ensenada to La Paz, via San Felipe and Bahía de los Angeles) which had many issues and a June 1974 Baja 500 that was boycotted by many racers. Fearing a terrible loss to the state’s economy, the governor of the state turned to Mickey Thompson to bring world class racing back to Baja.
This first Score Baja race was about 400 miles long and called the Baja Internacional. Norra held the legal ownership of the name ‘Baja 500’ for 17 more years before allowing Score to use it, officially (casually, everyone had been calling it the Baja 500 all the years).
Below is the preliminary map of the race course. Mickey also designated a one-hour ‘down time’ at Mike’s Sky Rancho for each race vehicle. This unique idea was for safety, allowing repairs, or just rest before restarting. Mike’s was about at the halfway point and had a large camping area for such an activity. The downtime concept was never repeated. Seems that racers are ‘amped-up’ and making them wait an hour there was counter productive.
The following 20 photos were taken the day before the race in Ensenada at pre-race inspection and the impound parking lot; as well as at Mike’s Sky Rancho showing the camping area and the racers arriving to the checkpoint. Photography by 16-year-old, David Kier.
Mike’s Sky Rancho
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Here is the cartoon map of the 1974 Baja Internacional race course (thanks to Score for reviving it this past year):