Off Road

Renewed Menzies, McMillin Baja 400 duel ends in former’s favour

3 Mins read
Credit: Bryce Menzies

After abruptly retiring from the Baja 500, Bryce Menzies was able to turn around his SCORE International fortunes at the Baja 400 when he took the overall four-wheeler lead from Luke McMillin and never looked back. It is Menzies’ second straight 400 win and places him on the pole for the Baja 1000 in November.

McMillin beat Menzies in qualifying, but a flat tyre allowed Menzies to overtake him. Both drivers’ Trophy Trucks lost four-wheel drive during their runs, forcing them to re-adjust, while Menzies would also have a tyre go down though co-driver Oren Anderson quickly rectified the matter in just fifty seconds.

“It’ll take me fifty seconds just to get out and in (of the truck),” quipped Menzies.

“This race is so much fun. It’s very technical, very tight, but we had an awesome time. We only had one tyre go down all day. I had to go from learning to drive a four-wheel-drive to a two-wheel-drive so it made me have some fun today.”

The 500 marked a reversal of the San Felipe 250, where Menzies won the pole but finished second to McMillin; the duo also finished 1–2 at the 2021 400. McMillin’s older brother Dan joined him on the overall podium.

“I wish we could have pulled off the win,” began McMillin, “but we’re here, we’re on the podium, and we got a great starting spot for the Baja 1000, that’s what this race is all about.”

“We had some gremlins. We lost front drive early and that changes your driving style quite a bit because it goes from the front end pulling around the turns to the front end pushing through the turn. It is what it is. We had a flat tyre early and Bryce got by us, and then from there, we just drove it in and had a good day.”

Credit: Juan Carlos Salvatierra

Despite the bike failing to start early on and costing them thirty minutes to repair, Juan Carlos Salvatierra and the #10X Pro Moto Unlimited team continued their dominance over the two-wheelers with their sixth straight class and overall win. Salvatierra began the race before passing off to Arturo Salas, Clayton Roberts, and Shane Logan who saw it to the finish.

Forrest Minchinton was the early leader while Salvatierra addressed his bike problems, but he ran out of fuel shortly before reaching the first checkpoint. This allowed Ivan Delgadillo‘s #38X team to pull ahead before his bike lost its brakes.

While the race was mostly clean compared to the carnage of the 500, there were a handful of incidents with varying results. Pro Moto Unlimited winner Fernando Beltran hit a dog that suddenly jumped in front of him to cross the road which caused the rider to cartwheel off his bike before being helped up and returning. A passing-by SUV also attempted to beat Luke McMillin through a crossroad, with McMillin narrowly avoiding contact. The #98 Trophy Truck of Jose Mendez received a one-hour time penalty for a chase helicopter flying too low to the surface, though he failed to finish regardless of the infraction.

Among the non-regulars, the best finisher was Team Australia‘s Toby Price and Paul Weel as they were fifth overall in the second race of their American desert programme. SCORE newcomer Ken Stanick and his Canadian TT Spec team retired after 326 miles due to a mud puddle that caused the truck to overheat. Dennis Romero and the VatosLokos Racing UTV suffered a brake failure and rolled twenty-seven miles in.

Team Border ATV, making their début in the Sportsman Quad class with Gabriel Vazquez, was one of seven entries disqualified for missing the ninetieth Virtual Checkpoint and instead using a banned road.

Class winners

Full results, including overall classification, are available on the SCORE International website.

ClassOverall FinishNumberDriver/Rider of RecordTime
Baja Challenge128BC4Edward Muncey18:13:54.966*
Class 135100Brian Parkhouse9:26:15.837*
Class 1/2-1600701616Eli Yee10:43:18.285*
Class 21072085Jeremy Davis12:46:12.965*
Class 3129319Cesar Gutierrez18:47:38.956*
Class 598507Ramon Fernandez12:16:05.900*
Class 5-1600DNF553Cesar Omar IniguezN/A
Class 781700Dan Chamlee11:05:38.367*
Class 7F120702FGerrardo Novelo16:29:42.085*
Class 7SXDNF740Armondo DuronN/A
Class 10221009Jose David Ruvalcabra9:01:58.676
Class 111141145Hector Sarabia13:58:51.640
Pro Moto 3015325XJano Montoya8:398:55.698
Pro Moto 4029400XRyan Liebelt9:14:46.080*
Pro Moto 5033500XGiovanni Spinali9;26:26.468*
Pro Moto Ironman42730XFrancisco Septien9:40:47.953*
Pro Moto Limited25180XFernando Beltran9:12:03.418*
Pro Moto Unlimited1310XJuan Carlos Salvatierra8:27:47.291
Pro Quad197ALuis Ernesto Villafana8:51:35.811
Pro Quad Ironman10683AFaelly Lopez12:40:37.898*
Pro Stock UTV1133933Randy Emberton13:40:18.042
Pro UTV Forced Induction362954Austin Weiland9:30:18.495*
Pro UTV Naturally Aspirated551995Kaden Wells10:04:39.542
Pro UTV Open631876Mike Cafro10:30:47.552*
SCORE Lites1081205Miguel Cortez12:48:25.478*
Trophy Truck17Bryce Menzies7:59:26.916
Trophy Truck Legends2121LGus Vildósola8:58:53.550*
Trophy Truck Spec10204Christopher Polvoorde8:26:05.419
* – Received a time penalty

Sportsman

ClassOverall FinishNumberDriver/Rider of RecordTime
Sportsman Moto2297XJuan Tamayo9:56:18.739*
Sportsman Quad1103ARabago Dario9:45:04.078*
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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