If you were given an unlimited budget to put together the ultimate team to go win the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, it’s hard to think of a more potent combination than Luke McMillin and Rob MacCachren. Fortunately, if you’re a fan of that combination, you can save your money; they’re now two for two on running it together over the past two years, this time conquering the 828.25-mile loop in 16:37:45 between start and finish in Ensenada. The win was also McMillin’s third in a row, after teaming up with Larry Roeseler in 2020. After the duo ran under MacCachren’s number last year to give him the class title, MacCachren sacrificed his second place spot in the standings to give McMillin a turn to claim the championship this year.
It was a spectacular weekend for the McMillin family in Baja, with Dan McMillin completing a 1-2 result for the brothers at just under 22 minutes off the winning time, while Roeseler’s streak of impressive ironman runs over the past few years continued with a third place finish. Dave Taylor and Mikey Lawrence completed the Trophy Truck top five, with the top Trophy Truck Legends team of Gustavo Vildosola Sr. and Ricky Johnson slotting in between them.
A Trophy Truck Spec entry managed the fourth overall time, though, as Elijah Kiger successfully defended his class win in the event from last year. Originally, Pierce and Riley Herbst had been the fastest truck in class, but more than 20 minutes in penalties dropped them to third in the division—behind both Kiger and Justin Davis, but still in the top 10 overall. The top Class 1 unlimited buggy belonged to Kyle Quinn to lock up the class title, but four Class 10 entries, led by winner Hiram Duran, were able to outdo their higher-powered counterparts.
In the continued battle for Pro UTV supremacy between the Open and Forced Induction classes, the more established FI entries came into the SCORE season finale with two overall wins in a row thanks to Austin Weiland. Weiland made it three straight in class with a Baja 1000 victory, but Branden Sims’ 20:37:09 in the Open class was nearly 40 minutes faster than Weiland’s 21:15:57. Craig Scanlon and Wayne Matlock joined Sims on the Open class podium, while defending Baja 1000 winner and SCORE World Desert Champion Phil Blurton and brothers Ronnie and RJ Anderson completed the top three in the Forced Induction class, and Matt Burroughs’ fourth place result gave him top honors in points as most of the five drivers separated by six points coming in would either miss the top five or fail to finish at all.
Among other notables, Mark Samuels and Justin Morgan continued their dominance on two wheels with the top Pro Moto Unlimited time, Jeff Proctor wrapped up his Baja racing career in Class 7 with another victory before stepping his Honda Ridgeline program up to the Trophy Truck class as an owner in 2023, and Kaden Wells added the Pro UTV NA class win. Wells’ victory, combined with a fourth place finish by incoming points leader Joe Bolton, swung the championship in Wells’ favor.
On the less fortunate side, high-profile DNFs befell incoming World Desert Championship points leader Christopher Polvoorde in Trophy Truck Spec, as well as a list of heavy hitters in Trophy Truck. Those who didn’t make it back to the finish line included Justin Lofton, Alan Ampudia, the Bryce Menzies-Andy McMillin duo, and the all-Australian team of Paul Weel and Toby Price, whose Trophy Truck burned to the ground; fortunately, nobody was hurt.
Coverage of the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000 will air on ESPN’s World of X Games in the coming months. The 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship will see the same four events return from this season, kicking off with the King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250 on March 29-April 2.
Check out Ernesto Araiza’s gallery from the event below!