Shaffer Motorsports Readies for 45th Annual SCORE, Baja 1000

Ensenada, Baja California
Shaffer Motorsports is putting the final touches on their Class 4 racecar before heading south to compete in the 45th annual SCORE, Tecate Baja 1000. The course changes year to year from a loop race to a full run down the peninsula. This year it will start in Ensenada and zig zag down the peninsula covering 1,121.55 miles of beautiful yet brutal terrain before it reaches the finish line in La Paz. Adding to the already challenging course, Hurricane Paul did severe damage in Baja Sur when it hit landfall only a few weeks ago. The peninsula experienced flooding, washouts and damage due to high winds that has caused some re-routing of the course.

“I just returned from prerunning up to mile 350,” said Mike Shaffer, “John Cantrell will run the middle section and Daniel Aeberli and Shawn Twitchell will bring it home. They are down prerunning the sections that were damaged right now.” The Baja 1000 is such an arduous race, most teams use multiple drivers. Keeping the drivers fresh and alert is crucial but the pit crews are equally taxed on raceday. “We will be using BFG pits for fuel, Baja Pits as a back-up and will have a total of seven chase trucks with three team members on board strategically placed to support the car during the race. “We have a great group of dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers that help us out in the shop and at the races,” said Mike, “They make it work, we couldn’t accomplish this without them.”

The team has been bitten by transmission problems in the past, it has been the weak spot on the car. In the aftermath of the Baja 500 where their hopes of a strong title run were dashed when the transmission failed, they stepped up to a Mendeola, S5 transaxle. The Mendeola is a stout, sequentially shifted, five speed transmission that should take care of any reliability issues in the future. “We didn’t get to do a thorough test on the new transmission like we had hoped,” said Mike, “But the S5 is a proven piece and the crew always does an excellent job prepping the car so we should be fine. It’s going to fast, rough and fun, just how we like it!”

Photography By Brian Binkert
Bink Designs /

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About Shaffer Motorsports

Mike Shaffer Driver & Crew Chief

Mike Shaffer has been racing for 28 years, starting with BMX and then age 16 in drag racing and his first desert race was fifteen years ago. Shaffer was driver of record for the 2011 SCORE Tecate BAJA 1000, finishing 2nd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 4. Shaffer was also driver of record for 2011 BITD Championship, finishing 3rd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 10. Shaffer was also driver of record for 3 Baja 1000 wins, 3 SCORE Championships and one BITD Championship in Class 1700, along with rock crawling National Championship and ARCA Championship. Mike Shaffer is the owner of Shaffer’s Offroad that helps customers build the vehicle of their choice, from bolt on accessories to custom one off vehicles.

Shawn Twitchell / Driver & Team Manager

Shawn Twitchell started desert racing motorcycles in 1972, went to drag racing in the 1980′s, circle track in the 1990′s and is now back in the desert driving with Shaffer-Motorsports. Twitchell was a driver in the 2011 SCORE Tecate BAJA 1000, finishing 2nd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 4. Twirchell was also driver for 2011 BITD Championship, finishing 3rd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 10. He has been a member of Shaffer-motorsports team since 2008 helping win three SCORE 1700 Championships. Twitchell is the Business Unit Manager for FMC Technologies’ Technisys Group. Desert racing is in their family encompassing four generations including his son Ian, who will co-drive for Shawn. Two of seven grand-kids are already earning their stripes in the pits and at the shop.

Daniel Aeberli / Driver

Daniel Aeberli has raced with the Shaffer-motorsport team since 2010. He was a driver in the 2011 SCORE Tecate BAJA 1000, finishing 2nd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 4. Aeberli was also driver for 2011 BITD Championship finishing, 3rd in class for the team’s first participation in Class 10. He also drove the first section of the 2010 SCORE Baja 1000. Aeberli was with the team in 2010, helping them win SCORE Primm and Class championship in Class 1700. Daniel Aeberli is the CTO of MediTron S.A. a Swiss medical distribution company that he co-founded over 20 years ago in Switzerland and President of M.D. Visuals a medical consulting company in Stateline, Nevada.

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