Honda grabs pole at Baja 1000

A Honda motorcycle will be the first off the line at the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, which runs Nov. 10-16.

Formed in 1967, the Baja 1000 is the oldest and arguably best known of all desert races. This year's adventure will cover nearly 1,300 miles of Mexico?s rugged Baja peninsula, starting for the 33rd time in Ensenada and finishing for only the second time in Cabo San Lucas.

Over 400 entries from 40 U.S. and 15 countries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be part of this year's event, which also serves as the season-finale of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series.

The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. Nov. 13; the car and truck classes start three hours after the last ATV leaves the line.

Robby Bell in Class 22 for open motorcycles has the pole position, the result of a drawing held in September. Bell, 21, Sun City, Calif., will lead 22 entries in Class 22 for open motorcycles on the No. 1x American Honda factory Honda XR650R. His teammates are Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif. and Steve Hengeveld, Hesperia, Calif.

Drawing the first start in the ATV classes was the championship team led by Danny Prather, 27, Ramona, Calif., who will ride the No. 1a American Honda factory Honda TRX450R in Class 25. His teammates are Mike Cafro, Bonsall, Calif., Levi Marana, Ramona, Calif., and Marc Speath, Warner Springs, Calif.

Among the two-wheeled entries is Ron Bishop, Escondido, Calif., the only individual who has raced in all previous 39 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races on a motorcycle. Bishop, 64, will lead a five-rider team atop a KTM 525XC.

This year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the fourth consecutive year, airing on Dec. 30 on the NBC Television Network.