Baja 1000: The Granddaddy of all Desert Races

Motorcycle and Truck racing at Baja 1000

When: Once a year in the Fall. The 2008 race will be held November 20-23.

Where: Baja, Mexico

car stops at the pit during the Baja 1000 raqce in Ensanada, Baja Mexico

The granddaddy of all desert races, the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is North America’s best known off road race attracting adventurers from around the world. Only half of the racers will finish this incredible test of endurance where mechanical failures and vehicle flip-overs are all part of the ride.

Held every November in the treacherous and unforgiving Baja California Peninsula, this infamous race pits man and machine against the rugged terrain of the barren Mexican desert.

baja 1000 route map

2005 Baja 1000 Race Route

Click image to download .pdf

The “1000” comes from a very loose estimate of the race’s length in miles. The gut-punding course change every year ensuring a competition full of unexpected and unpredictable events.

Past routes have been either a point to point race from Ensenada to La Paz, or a loop starting and ending in Ensenada. The 2008 race will be a loop similar to the 2005 Route (seen left).

The danger and excitement of the Baja 1000 has lured professional NASCAR drivers, action sports athletes, celebrities, casino owners and weekend warriors for over thirty years. Some of the more famous participants in recent years have included Jesse James, NASCAR champion Robby Gordon and action sports stars Cameron Steele and Travis Pastrana.

The reward for all the kidney-thumping, chassis-bending fun – cash prizes from $1000 to $30,000, depending on the vehicle class.

How Do I Enter the Baja 1000?

baja bug running the baja 1000 off road race
Class 11 Stock VW Bug
monster energy drink's baja trophy truck seen running the baja 1000
Monster Energy’s Trophy Truck

What sets the Baja 1000 apart from other off road races is the broad spectrum of vehicle classes allowed to participate: stock or modified cars, motorcycles, buggies, trucks, ATVs and Razor scooters… Okay, maybe not the Razors.

Where else can you see a 1969 VW Bug running the same course as a million dollar Trophy Truck?

With 15 different vehicle classes to choose from nearly anyone who can come up with the entry fee and a properly modified (for safety) vehicle can enter.

What’s it Gonna Cost Me?

The entrance fees for the 2008 race are $1625 for a motorcycle or quad and $2075 for a car or truck – that includes insurance and a SCORE membership. For more information, contact SCORE at 818.225.8402 or go to

The cost of purchasing and prepping a Baja race vehicle is limited only by the depth of your pockets. Expect to spend somewhere between $3,500 for a Class 11 stock bug to over a million dollars to run a top notch Trophy Truck.

For more information on Vehicle Classes and the costs associated with running them check out this article at And don’t forget to factor in travel costs, hotel, gas, beer and other miscellaneous expenses.

The World’s Best Spectator Event

Can’t get your car together this year?  Go anyway; the Baja 1000 affords a truly unique spectator experience.

The race course runs through a thousand miles of spectacular desert terrain – most of which is open for camping, hiking, biking, rock-climbing, surfing, fishing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, sea-kayaking and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of.

Outside major cities Baja is wide open and wild with very few rules and regulations. You can drive your 4×4 to just about any point on the course, pitch your tent and wait for the action to come to you.

tents on a beach in the Sea of Cortez, Baja

There’s nothing like laying in your sleeping bag, huddled around a fire pit near the side of a dirt road as a Trophy Truck thunders by ten feet from your head. Try that one at a NASCAR track.

Fortunately, the November race coincides with some of Baja’s best Sea-Kayaking weather (summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees). Load your camping gear on your Kayak – paddle all day – pick a beach and camp out. No permits required!

Baja 1000 – The Party

This is a world class event and it attracts nearly 200,000 spectators from around the globe. In the days leading up to the race Ensenada turns into one giant party. Tecate is the main sponsor of the race, and there’s no shortage of beer flowing.

tecate girls posing in front of a truck in the baja 1000

And, did I mention the Tecate Girls?


Baja Motorcycle Tours

Multi-day Baja Buggy Trips


The story of armatures built their own car at Desert Dingo Racing

Or these Silicon Valley Geeks who decided to get away from the computer for a while and enter The Baja.

The Baja Coalition is is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization formed to represent, assist, educate, empower, promote, preserve, and improve class 5-1600 Baja Bug off-road racing.

Also be sure to watch Dust to Glory, an amazing documentary about the 2003 Baja 1000.

About the Author

CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
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