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BRYCE MENZIES WINS THE 2022 SCORE BAJA 400 Menzies Outruns The Competition By Stuart Bourdon Photos: Get Some Photo At the start of the 3rd SCORE Baja 400 presented by VP Racing Fuels, Bryce Menzies had just qualified to start first, and while it was obvious that his time on the short but savage qualifying track was lightning fast and superbly driven, it was not yet clear exactly where in the Baja 400’s deck of cards Menzies would be shuffled. Menzies talked about the challenges pre-running the 3rd SCORE Baja 400 racecourse. Tropical Storm Kay had developed into hurricane status on its march north up the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Bringing strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding to the Baja California peninsula, the storm had packed a wallop. “It’s been a wild ride with weather and rain rearranging the landscape, washing out roads, and turning dry canyons into rivers of mud,” he said. Strategic pre-running has always been important to Menzies’s success in desert racing. The storm in Baja had made it even more critical. “We’ve been busy pre-running to see the condition of the racecourse after the storm and to learn exactly which roads are now best for race support vehicles,” said Menzies. “We wanted to be aware of any storm-related hazards, washouts, or last-minute course changes that may affect our overall race plan.” Winning By Seconds It would seem that for some time now, Menzies and Luke McMillin have been circling around each other over several seasons, vying for that top spot on the podium. For example, at the 2021 SCORE San Felipe 250, Menzies and McMillin were first and second, respectively, with about a 16-second difference between them. At the 2021 Baja 400, it was McMillin in first with Menzies just five-and-half minutes behind. For the 2022 SCORE San Felipe 250, it was McMillin’s turn again, ahead of Menzies by about two minutes. In a world of long-distance desert races with split times between winning and getting second-place in just a matter of minutes, the focus on pre-running and race prep paid out in spades for Bryce Menzies and his entire team. It turned out that he had qualified for second start, right behind Luke McMillin. “Because the ground was so wet, dust won’t be such a huge issue. Starting behind somebody won’t make as big a difference as it normally would during those first few miles,” he said. Miracle At Uruapan At the start of the SCORE Baja 400, it was clear that McMillin and Menzies would take-off at a very fast pace. “We started the race second and we’re keeping our position relative to Luke,” said Menzies. “At about race mile 60, Luke got a flat. That put him down long enough for us to get by easily and safely. Then we lost the front drive unit on the truck at about the 200-mile mark. We had rear-wheel drive, but the front differential was just dead weight now.” Menzies had to compensate and quickly re-learn how to drive a two-wheel-drive truck in the middle of the race. “As if that wasn’t bad enough, on the way back in, still leading by just a few minutes, I get a flat.” Menzies paid tribute to his co-pilot Oren Anderson. “He did a tire change in 50 seconds outside Uruapan. I still don’t know how he did it, but he did. He’s a miracle worker. That’s why I stay in the truck.” Menzies went on, “That tire change bought us enough time to stay out front. We went as fast as we could the rest of the way to the checkered flag.” The fast pace and quick tire change allowed Menzies to keep McMillin behind him. “Luke (and the rest of the McMillin racing family) is always coming on strong and it’s awesome to have a family team like that to keep you motivated,” said Menzies. “It keeps us testing, prepping, and pushing. We know that if we have any issues, Luke’s not far behind. We can’t risk unnecessary failures with competitors like the McMillins. It’s been an interesting rivalry so far this season. Now we’re headed to the SCORE Baja 1000 with a first-start position.” It should be interesting, to say the least. Video Of Bryce Menzies’s Win

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