A desert racing “Super Team” of Bryce Menzies, Mexico’s Gustavo “Tavo” Vildosola Jr. and Andy McMillin split the driving to win the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by K&N.
The grueling race covered 1310.94 race miles as the season finale of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship. Menzies and company finished with a 2m03s margin over another Luke McMillin (Andy’s younger cousin) and Rob MacCachren. Completing the podium in third place was Mike Walser, Christopher Polvoorde and Ray Griffith.
Driving their AWD No. 7 Red Bull Ford Raptor SCORE Trophy Truck built by Mason Motorsports, Menzies won for the third consecutive race in 2023 to also earn the SCORE Trophy Truck season championship. The trio covered the unforgiving course in a total time of 22h35m33s with an impressive average speed of 58.03mph.
Menzies also became just the 10th SCORE racer to have earned the prestigious SCORE Baja Triple Crown award for winning the overall in all the historic SCORE Baja races — SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500, and SCORE Baja 1000.
“To win the second-longest SCORE race in history, it feels pretty special,” said Menzies. “I had a very smooth first section, with no flats or anything, Andy had one flat in his part but did a great job too and Tavo went through San Felipe and all the bumps and the cold weather.”
Left to right: Andy McMillin, Bryce Menzies and Tavo Vildosola Jr. celebrate their victory. Art Eugenio/Red Bull Content Pool
Andy McMillin added: “Bryce got me the truck in a great spot, first on the road and on time. Unfortunately, I had a flat tire early in my section and had to change it, so some of the guys behind us got closer. I really had to dig deep and continue to push forward. I knew that if we were still first at around race mile 640, in the Bay of LA, we were going to make dust in those big, fast roads and no one was going to be able to come around. We were able to make up some time there.
“This is a very grueling and demanding race on your mind, your body and your emotions and when you chase it for so long and you come up short, there’s a lot to be said about that. Bryce has been trying to win his first SCORE Baja 1000 for 13 years and he always came back and kept fighting. That says a lot about his character and the kind of person he is. I’m very thankful for them having me here racing for them.”
Vildsola Jr. said: “Having been racing down here for the last 25 years, I was very familiar with my section. The Valle de la Trinidad section is always very difficult, but it wasn’t as bad this time. The Goat Trail was ridiculously wet and it was really hard to even see anything in there. Luke (McMillin, No 1.) was making up time on me so I just put my shield up from Ojos Negros to the finish and kept pushing. It was an interesting final 120 miles. It feels great to win the race. We knew we were a great team and a lot of people expected us to win it. I’m glad we actually did it.”
This year’s “Granddaddy of All Desert Races” was a rugged run up Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula, starting for the first time in La Paz, Baja California Sur, and finishing for the 29th time in Ensenada, Baja California. Overall, this event ran the length of the peninsula for the 25th time in its 56-year history.
When the final checkered flag fell, a total of 178 official finishers from the 335 vehicles that left the starting line early Thursday in the elapsed time race.
Juan Carlos Salvatierra and his five-rider team overcame a pair of pre-running enjoys to earn Salvatierra’s first SCORE overall motorcycle race victory on his team’s No. 1x KTM 450SX-F in a winning time of 26h37m17s.
Salvatierra was one of the injured riders but he mustered enough to start the race in La Paz and ride a short distance before handing off the bike. Salvatiera, 42, had a team of four riders doing the bulk of the work in Shane Logan, Diego Llanos, Carter Klein and Corbin McPherson. Leading the entire race, the team finished in 26h33m41s, just over 13 minutes ahead of the 3x Husqvarna FE450 team led by Ciaran Naran.
Mexico’s veteran SCORE champion Gustavo Vildosola Sr, aged 70, finished a second-straight undefeated season in SCORE TT Legend (drivers over 50 years old) and win another season class point championship. Vildosola Sr. also won the SCORE TT Legend season point championship in 2018 with Scott Bailey as a second driver in a penalty-free time of 25h29m27s in the Mexicana Logistics No. 1L AWD Ford Raptor, built by Mason Motorsports. Vildosola finished seventh overall for the second consecutive year in additional to winning his class, tying the highest overall placement for his class since that he set last year.
Fresh from winning his first NASCAR Infinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Terrible Herbst Motorsports’ Riley Herbst unofficially blasted his way to victory over a race-high 36 starters in the Trophy Truck Spec class while also finishing eighth overall.
Herbst drove the middle section while his champion father Troy Herbst, 59, returned to race for the first time in six years while devoting his time to his son’s NASCAR career, started the race and drove the first section. Another third-generation Las Vegas desert racer Jordan Dean, 25, finished the race. Their finishing time was 25h33m14s. (Note: The Trophy Truck Spec results are under technical review for post-race engine inspection)
Winning the other three UTV classes this year included Jason Murray, (No. 2917 Can-Am X3) in Pro UTV FI, Lawrence Janesky (No. 1914 Honda Talon 1000R) in Pro UTV NA, and Lucy Block, with her daughter Lia Block (No. 3943K Can-Am Maverick R). While both Murray and Janesky are veteran SCORE champions, while this was the first SCORE race for Lucy and her daughter, who race in memory of Lucy’s husband and Lia’s father Ken Block who passed away this past January.
In his second season as the driver of record after over a decade as the team’s second driver, Kyle Quinn led a Wilson Motorsports team to victory in the unlimited Class 1. Quinn was the primary driver for the No. 100 Wilson Motorsports Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
Defeating a field of 11 starters in Class 1, splitting the driving with Quinn were John Herder and Greg Distefano. Quinn repeated his class win from last year’s SCORE Baja 1000 and the team overcame its 2023 struggles to earn its first finish and first win of the season with a time of 26h14m:51s.
Third-generation desert racer Cayden MacCachren, son of off-road racing legend Rob MacCachren, capped his first season with the new four-vehicle Polaris Factory team by winning his Pro UTV Open class as well as being the fastest of 54 UTVs in four different classes in this year’s SCORE Baja 1000. With Justin Morgan and Rhys Millen, he finished with winning time of 27h25m03s.