SCORE Journal


SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 61 of 104

52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts BaJa unleashes its biggest obstacles to racers and fans By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo The sun did not shine brightly on the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts last November. Heavy rains during pre-running damaged sections of the course, making some impassible and extremely dangerous to anyone trying to cross at high-speeds. During Contingency day, SCORE President and Race Director, Jose A. Grijalva, called for a 24-hour delay so that they could make repairs and re-route some flooded sections of the course. Although the entire schedule was pushed back, racers and teams thought the decision was prudent and allowed many to get additional pre-running time and some rest. On race day, light precipitation had the motorcycle and quad racers wearing jackets as they left early that morning, but by the time the opening ceremonies took place and the four-wheel vehicles left the starting line, the sun had dried various areas of the course, but it didn’t dry out all of the mud and deep puddles that were strewn across the Baja desert. The talk of the race was the teaming up of veterans and champions in the SCORE Trophy Truck Class. Andy McMillin teamed up with Bryce Menzies which made for an intimidating team. Not only were these two great, young, and experienced racers, but they also were driving a Mason AWD truck that both were very familiar with, and had the combined logistical resources for a winning combination. Luke McMillin teamed up with Larry Roeseler, two-drives with superior driving talent, drive, and experience that could also easily win the race. Other teams had similar talented drivers that crossed-over including NASCAR drivers Casey Mears in the Axalta SCORE Trophy Truck, and Brendan Gaughan in the South Point Class 1 car. Indy Car racers Alex Rossi was driving the Honda Racing Class 7sx Ridgeline, and Jensen Button was in a SCORE Trophy Truck Spec. Champion Dakar racers Nassar Al-Attiyah and Toby Price were called to drive for Jesse Jones in his SCORE Trophy Truck, which made the race seem like an “international all-star” event for SCORE fans. What all the racers didn’t expect, however, was the toll that the mud would take on their vehicles. Many slipped and slid around while others were so caked with mud, pit crews had to tear off body panels to reduce the weight. After a hard-fought battle with each other and the course, brothers Alan, Aaron, and Rodrigo Jr. Ampudia fought incredibly hard against the biggest odds to win the race overall. It was the first SCORE Trophy Truck win for the Papas And Beer team which ignited a huge celebration for the Ensenada based team and the city filled with fans. Andy McMillin finished 13th and although the truck suffered a transmission problem, teaming up with Menzies proved to be a great choice, as the teams rushed to repair the vehicle and allow McMillin to finish the race with enough points to take the Season Overall SCORE Championship. The Jesse Jones team of Al-Attiyah and Price stunned the crowd by finishing second, followed by Luke McMillin and Roeseler who finished in third place. In Class 1, it was Brendan Gaughan’s day, winning the one race that had eluded him and his dad over a long racing career. Most of the other Class 1 vehicles had an extremely difficult time with the mud and terrain and could not finish the race. This left Brandon Bailey to be one of the only three in class to finish in second place, along with Mason Cullen who finished in third. Throughout the season, Cullen finished fourth at the SCORE San Felipe 250, seventh at the SCORE Baja 500, third at the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400, and third at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. This consistency, however, was enough to propel him to the top of the class and finish the season with the Class 1 Championship, separated by only two points ahead of Brendan Gaughan. With the Trophy Truck Spec class, it was again a battle between A.J. Jones and Sara Price. Jones put in a spectacular run to win the class but with a consistent second-place finish record throughout the entire season, and again in this race, finished with two more points than Jones to win the Class Championship. In Class 10 the race for the win and a class championship was heated between Hiram Duran and Chase Warren. Warren ended up winning the race but was one point shy behind Duran who finished fourth in class and took the championship. The mud on the course also affected the Pro UTV racers, many of them having vehicle issues that stopped them on various sections of the course. This allowed Justin Lambert in the Cognito Motorsports Polaris RZR to be in the right position, take the lead and carry it to the finish line for his first SCORE win. Wayne Matlock finished second after making repairs and in doing so gained four extra points over sixth-place finisher Marc Burnett to win the Pro UTV FI championship. In the Pro UTV N/A class, Kristen Matlock finally got back to her winning ways, taking the class win in the race. It was not enough, however, to earn enough points to beat second-place finisher Kaden Wells for the class championship this season. The battle in Class 7sx continued between veteran Mike Leslie and Gerardo Novelo. Leslie’s vehicle suffered a mechanical issue that prevented him from finishing the race, allowing Novelo in his Nissan truck, to finish the race. Leslie however, earned enough points to win the class championship. No one doubted that the first motorcycle across the finish line would be the 1x team of Justin Morgan. Combining the last two years of victories, Morgan rode to an amazing 11 straight victories in a row and added another Pro Moto Unlimited Championship to his record. Santiago Creel in the number 66x bike finished second followed by Ray Dal Soglio of the 4x team, who finished third. Creel’s Pro Moto Limited 100x team retained their championship title by winning the class in this race and securing the championship by only eight points ahead of the 120x team of Marco Pena. It was frustrating for the Pro Moto Ironman competitors who came out in force to win this race. 15 riders battled through the muddy course but were stunned as Arthur Babcock came out to try and win his first Pro Moto Ironman race for his late friend and Pikes Peak champion Carlin Dunne, and took the class win. Tanner Janesky who won the SCORE Baja 500, finished second while Mike Skurkis had a rare DQ. Frustrated, but because of his top-three finishes in each of the races this season, Skurkis had a large points lead over the competition and earned enough to win the championship. The Pro Quad battle between Said Sanchez and Adolfo Arellano took a big turn at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The two have been exchanging first and second-place finishes all season and were going head-to head in this race. Arellano finished first to win the class and Sanchez finished third behind Javier Ibarra. The third-place finish wasn’t enough to beat out Arellano who ended up with the 2019 Pro Quad Championship, winning it by only four points ahead of Sanchez. While this season had one of the most exciting and unanticipated outcomes, it was one that showcased more top-level racers and competition that SCORE fans had not seen in a while. The level of off-road racing brought out the best in motorsports that will also be seen during the 2020 season, one that fans anticipate will be even more exciting.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - score-journal-JAN-2020