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BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000: Race Preview

The biggest and longest race of the SCORE World Desert Championship starts today, as 277 entries head into the desert for the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000. The fourth and final round of the 2022 season will see its annual cluster of Trophy Truck superteams and championship contenders attempting to assert dominance over an 828.25-mile course that both starts and finishes in Ensenada.

Bryce Menzies will lead an event-high 37 entries in the Trophy Truck class, and will team up with Andy McMillin once again as the duo looks to reclaim top honors. But they’ll have their work cut out for them against points leader Luke McMillin, who enlisted defending class champion (and second in points) Rob MacCachren to aid his chase for the title and will start second. That duo scored last year’s overall win in MacCachren’s truck to give him the series championship. Other notable Trophy Truck superteams include the pairing of Alan Ampudia and Tavo Vildosola in Ampudia’s truck, Ryan Arciero joining Cameron Steele in one of two Desert Assassins entries, and the all-Australian squad of Paul Weel and Dakar legend Toby Price.

Trophy Truck Spec comes in as the second-largest class at 28 entries. That division will see Christopher Polvoorde, winner of both the San Felipe 250 and Baja 400, attempt to extend his 14-point lead on Jorge Sampietro and secure the overall World Desert Championship. The other Unlimited division, Class 1, sees Kyle Quinn and Damen Jefferies separated by just five points as they go for the title. Defending race winners Elijah Kiger will start fourth in TT Spec and Brad Wilson will roll off third in Class 1, respectively.

Pro UTV Forced Induction boasts another solid entry list of its own at 27 teams, and a five-way title fight that sees Wes Miller, Edgar Garcia Leon, Justin Lambert, Matt Burroughs, and Marc Burnett separated by only six points. Still, it’s Austin Weiland who will start first; coming off of back-to-back wins in the Baja 500 and 400 after a DNF in San Felipe, he’s 43 points out of the lead, but with a third win in a row and the right combination of bad luck for those ahead of him, anything could happen. In the middle of the start order, 2022 Dakar Rally SSV champion and former SCORE Rookie of the year Austin Jones will roll off 11th, just ahead of last year’s Baja 1000 winner and SCORE World Desert Champion Phil Blurton.

The next-largest classes on the grid are Class 10 with 23 entries and Pro Motorcycle Ironman with 20. All told, 37 US states and 18 countries and represented on this year’s Baja 1000 entry list.

Live streaming of the start/finish line of the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000 will be available on SCORE web and social media channels as always, while a recap of the race itself will be broadcast as part of ESPN’s World of X Games in the coming months. The 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship season kicks off on March 29-April 2 with the 36th SCORE San Felipe 250.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.

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