One of the biggest events of the off-road racing season is on the horizon, with the 2019 Baja 1000 set to begin on November 22.
The annual event sees some of the toughest and most talented drivers in the world go head-to-head over two gruelling days.
In 2018, there was a dramatic conclusion to the race. Cameron Steele was eventually named the event winner despite crossing the finish line behind four-time winner Rob MacCachren. The latter was hit with penalties after the Trophy Truck category race finished.
2019, Baja 1000 Schedule
November 19 - Registration
November 22 - Start of Baja 1000
November 24 - Baja 1000 Awards
For the event schedule in full, visit the Score International website.
The 2019 race will start and finish in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Ensenada has been frequently used as a landmark for the event, with the 2019 race the 45th time the spectacle has begun there in its 52 runnings.
Per the Rally-Raid Network, the motorcycle and quad classes will start their race at 4 a.m. local (12 p.m. GMT) on November 22, with the car, truck and UTV classes getting under way later in the morning at 10:30 a.m. local time.
"The course will run in a counter-clockwise direction after the two-way section to the Ojos Negro area and down along the Pacific Ocean and around near San Felipe before heading back up through Laguna Salada, La Rumorosa, the Pine Forest and back to Ojos Negro and the finish in Ensenada," said SCORE International (h/t Rally-Raid Network).
Here is the climax of the dramatic end to last year's race:
The SCORE International Twitter account looked at some of Steele's best moments from his previous win in anticipation of the upcoming race:
SCORE International @SCOREintl
Last year’s SCORE Baja 1000 Trophy Truck Winner, Cameron Steele! Are You Ready? @BFGoodrichTires @4WheelParts @MonsterEnergy @kingshocks @VP_Racing_Fuels @PolarisRZR @RacelineWheels @da_pab #offroadracing #baja1000 #racing #offroad #mexico #winning https://t.co/CLKRNQ1B9Q
Following his triumph a year ago, Steele will be back to defend his title again, although he is certain to face stiff competition.
MacCachren is also in the field, as he seeks to make amends for his near-miss 12 months ago. He was punished for an unsafe, illegal pass on a highway and speeding,
You sense the 54-year-old would have stewed on those calls since. It would have been especially frustrating to be the first racer to cross the finish line, only to see the win chalked off.
Carlos Apdaly Lopez, who helped Juan C. Lopez to a win in 2017, will be in contention too, as will Andy McMillin, who has been part of five winning squads in the desert race and is the current 2019 standings leader; he is on 330 points overall, 37 points ahead of his cousin Luke.
In the motorcycle class last year, Justin Morgan led home a Honda victory last year. He is not on the entry list for the upcoming spectacle, though, with one of his co-riders from last year—Mark Samuels—linking up with Colton Udall.