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A truck gets air during last year's Baja 1000. A truck gets air during last year's Baja 1000.

Baja 1000 race will go ahead next month despite fine, says tourism official

Environmental agency's suspension of off-road race called temporary

The Baja 1000 off-road motorsport race will proceed as planned next month despite federal authorities having provisionally suspending the event and fining the race’s sanctioning body, a tourism official says.

Amador Arteaga Sahagún, chief of Ensenada tourism promotion agency Proturismo, said that Score International is already arranging to settle the 507,000-peso (US $27,000) fine imposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) for environmental damage caused during last year’s race.

Vehicles destroyed protected cactus in the Valle de los Cirios protected area, which was included in the race route despite Score not having the required permission to do so, Profepa said.

Arteaga is adamant that the staging of this year’s event is not in any doubt and described its suspension as nothing more than a precautionary measure.

“There are some half-truths floating around, there is a fine against the company Score, it was just notified last week that it breached the environmental impact statement for the 2017 Baja 1000 because its request [to include Valle de los Cirios in the race route] was not presented in a timely manner. The fine is an administrative procedure; today we spoke to the Semarnat [federal Environment Secretariat] delegate and next week we’ll be resolving the issue,” Arteaga said.

“The company [Score] is taking the necessary steps to overcome all of this . . . [so that] the race, which is expected to have around 340 participants, is a complete success.”

Arteaga explained that the Valle de los Cirios, named after the cirio tree and located in the south of the municipality of Ensenada, would also form part of the route this year but stressed that Score had sought all the required permissions well in advance and that they would be approved once the outstanding fine has been paid.

“. . . We’re talking about an economic spillover of US $3 million . . . for a US $25,000 fine . . .a cancellation is not going to happen . . .” he said.

“It’s a race that cannot be stopped, it’s an administrative offense that we’re fixing, companies have to adhere to Mexican regulations and that’s what Score is doing.”

The 51st edition of the Baja 1000, one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world, is scheduled to take place between November 14 and 18.

Source: La Cronica (sp) 

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