Off Road

Luke McMillin headlines 2022 SCORE International World Desert Champions

3 Mins read
Credit: McMillin Racing

Brothers Luke and Dan McMillin had plenty to celebrate when the 2022 SCORE International season came to a close as they finished 1–2 in the final Trophy Truck standings. The former was one of twenty-nine drivers and riders who won a class championship in 2022, with other categories seeing points battles as narrow as two points.

Luke McMillin, who helped Rob MacCachren win the 2021 Baja 1000 and Trophy Truck title, was a top contender in the class from the start with a victory in the San Felipe 250. MacCachren, winner of the Baja 500, returned the favour by joining his #83 truck for the season-ending Baja 1000 to help McMillin win the event for the third straight year. Although Bryce Menzies presented the biggest challenge to McMillin by finishing runner-up in San Felipe and winning the Baja 400, a pair of retirements at the Baja 500 and 1000 dropped him to a distant fifteenth. Dan McMillin finished second at the 1000 to seal runner-up.

Juan Carlos Salvatierra completed his dominant 2022 with the Pro Moto Unlimited title. He was the best Moto rider overall in the first three races, and his team rebounded from a fuel pump failure at the 1000 for a podium to ice the championship.

The closest margin came in Class 7 and Pro Moto Ironman, the former of which saw Dan Chamlee ride 500 and 400 wins to edge out Scott Brady by only two points. In Pro Moto Ironman, Brandon Wright and Aaron Richardson traded blows, and although the latter finished second at the 1000 and one spot ahead, Wright held on with 465 points to 463. All but one of the UTV categories also enjoyed title battles with single-digit differences.

Unless one was only racing that event, winning the Baja 1000 usually also ensures a class championship albeit not always. Jorge Sampietro was fourteenth in Trophy Truck Spec at the 1000 while Elijah Kiger won, but the former’s 500 victory and latter’s poor showing in San Felipe enabled Sampietro to win the season-long title by sixteen points. Likewise, Hiram Duran won the 1000 in Class 10 but was ninth as he was hamstrung by a pair of retirements in San Felipe and the 400. Austin Weiland was the victim of a more extreme case as he won three of four in Pro UTV Forced Induction, but not finishing San Felipe relegated him to fourth.

On the other hand, 1000 success can also enable those trailing to leapfrog the leader for the title. Besides simply starting and finishing, points are awarded based on not only finishing position but the number of entrants in a given category; for example, winning a class with twenty drivers nets thirty points while winning one with fifteen yields twenty-five. As the Baja 1000 is the largest and final race of the year, it is typical for the entry list to be significantly larger than the other rounds, providing prime opportunities for those contending for championships.

Chamlee, Armando Duron (Class 7SX), Ryan Liebelt (Pro Moto 40), Edward Muncey (Baja Challenge), Giovanni Spinali (Pro Moto 50), and Kaden Wells (Pro UTV Normally Aspirated) repeat from 2021. Salvatierra and Mike Cafro (Pro UTV Open) also won titles last year, albeit in Pro Moto Ironman and Pro UTV Stock, respectively.

In order to be eligible for a class championship, one must run all four races. Consequently, eight categories did not have enough entries to crown a champion: Class 8, Heavy Metal, Hammer Truck Unlimited, Stock Mid-Size, TrophyLite, and all three Sportsman Four-Wheel divisions (Buggy, Truck, UTV Open). Brad Lovell‘s Ford Ranger Raptor was the lone entry in Stock Mid-Size and exclusively ran the Baja 1000.

The 2023 season, the fiftieth for SCORE, begins in San Felipe on 29 March.

2022 SCORE class champions

The full points standings are available at the SCORE International website.

Four-Wheelers

ClassNumberDriver of RecordTotal PointsRunner-UpMargin
Baja ChallengeBC4Edward Muncey446Frank DeAngelo299
Class 1138Kyle Quinn452Damen Jefferies11
Class 1/2-16001626Martin Rangel443Eli Yee35
Class 101009Jose David Ruvalcaba Adame479Ivan Tagle9
Class 111145Hector Sarabia355Alex Gonzales114
Class 3319Cesar Gutierrez295N/AN/A
Class 5507Ramon Fernandez456Martin Anguiano171
Class 5-1600553Cesar Omar Iñiguez Cortez383Luis Herrera268
Class 7700Dan Chamlee441Scott Brady2
Class 7F702FGerardo Novelo235Brandon Walsh5
Class 7SX740Armando Duron389Dario Serrano110
Pro Stock UTV3919Anibol Lopez Dominic396Douglas Cornwell20
Pro UTV Forced Induction2948Matt Burroughs485Edgar Garcia Leon8
Pro UTV Normally Aspirated1995Kaden Wells447Joe Bolton5
Pro UTV Open1876Mike Cafro443Craig Scanlon5
SCORE Lites1205Miguel Cortez441Oscar Alvarez151
Trophy Truck83Luke McMillin534Dan McMillin46
Trophy Truck Legends21LGus Vildósola467Clay Lawrence32
Trophy Truck Spec297Jorge Sampietro509Elijah Kiger16

Motos/Quads

ClassNumberRider of RecordTotal PointsRunner-UpMargin
Pro Moto 30325XJano Montoya434David Smith132
Pro Moto 40400XRyan Liebelt460Alirio Amado34
Pro Moto 50500XGiovanni Spinali359Vance Kennedy56
Pro Moto Ironman750XBrandon Wright465Aaron Richardson2
Pro Moto Limited180XFernando Beltran462Giovanni Aviles41
Pro Moto Unlimited10XJuan Carlos Salvatierra461Jason Alosi32
Pro Quad7ALuis Ernesto Villafana451Hector Chavez24
Pro Quad Ironman83AFaelly Lopez365Daniel Pirrie315

Sportsman

ClassNumberRider of RecordTotal PointsRunner-UpMargin
Sportsman Moto217XDustin Davis423David Navarro63
Sportsman Quad111AFidel Gonzalez454Dario Rabago Morales98
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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