The American racecar and road car manufacturer Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus was back racing once again, but this time in the dirt at the world’s most enduring off-road race, the 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000, that took place on November 23rd. Not only was this a race to prove the street-legal, SUV’s worthiness of being off-road; but also a homage to a battle that took place nearly 50 years prior, between Steve McQueen and his original Baja Boot racing against Ford Motor Company’s, Bronco.
To push the test even further, Glickenhaus founder Jim Glickenhaus drove his new Baja Boot to Monterey, California for “Monterey Car week,” then to southern California for race testing, and finally into Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where it was raced for eight-hundred miles and won the “Class 2” category by a two-hundred twenty mile lead. Then it was driven all the way back home.
Many say this year’s Baja event was one of the most grueling to date, being the area saw more than four inches of rainfall during the three days prior to the race. The terrain was so treacherous, that the SCORE administration team decided to postpone the race twenty-four hours to fix washouts and impassable areas. When flags finally dropped on the following Saturday, it was a muddy excursion through the desert for every competitor. But there was no stopping the Glickenhaus Boot. Team drivers Darren Skilton, Viry Felix and Jon Krellwitz piloted the Boot nearly thirty-four hours and over eight-hundred miles of the worst terrain in race history, with no mechanical or tire issues — until nine miles before the finish.
“ It was an epic race down to the last minute.” Says Jim Glickenhaus. “When we were about nine-miles to the finish with an hour to go before timing out and a brake caliper cracked, seizing the front wheel, so everyone jumped into action . . . we chased out to the car, then hammered, pried, and even broke two wrenches trying to unbolt the wheels, but still managed to tear the wheel off, get it drivable and on the road to the finish line.”
But for the Glickenhaus competitor, Ford Motor Company, and their newly debuted Ford Bronco; it had succumbed to the desert race. Even with support from a large corporate team and Baja winning drivers, the vehicle could not continue and exited the race. By that point, the Glickenhaus Boot was leading by over two-hundred twenty miles of the new Bronco, and heading straight towards a Baja 1000 victory.