Nearly 200 racers saddled up on Saturday morning for the 2nd Annual SCORE Baja 400, the third race of the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship and final round before the season-defining Baja 1000 in November. Little did they know that when Bryce Menzies qualified on the pole in the middle of the week, he’d have no plans to give up the top spot.
Despite a DNF in the Baja 500, momentum was firmly on Menzies’ side, as he posted a winning time of 8:26:59 with no penalties to take top honors in the 400-mile race. Just like the season-opening San Felipe 250, Menzies and Luke McMillin would lock up the top two spots, while Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren would complete the overall podium.
Alan and Aaron Ampudia were just under two minutes out of a podium finish in fourth, while Dan McMillin completed the top five and Cameron Steele teamed up with inaugural Baja 400 winner Ryan Arciero for sixth. All told, an impressive 23 of the 30 Trophy Truck starters made it to the finish, but incoming points leader Andy McMillin wasn’t among them as he suffered a major incident. McMillin and co-driver Johnny Nelson were unhurt.
Cody Parkhouse would claim top honors in Class 1 by more than 20 minutes over Brendan Gaughan, while Jason McNeil would become the year’s first repeat winner in the Trophy Truck Spec class. McNeil would take the win by just under two minutes over Ryan Hancock and Brock Heger, while Bryce Swaim and Dakar Rally champion Toby Price would complete the podium. The Pro Moto Unlimited class results were held back as of Sunday pending review and decision by the SCORE Competition Review Board.
In the Pro UTV divisions, Austin Weiland was best among the group with a winning time of 10:18:58 in the Forced Induction class. He’d beat Phil Blurton, who scored his second straight class podium, and Justin Lambert for top honors in the division. Kaden Wells made it back-to-back victories in the Normally Aspirated class, coming in ahead of Paul Barnhart Jr. and San Felipe winner Kristen Matlock. Finally, Mike Cafro and Justin Elenburg remain perfect in the Stock and Open classes, respectively, after taking their third straight wins of the season.
Full results from the 2nd Annual SCORE Baja 400 can be found here.
From here, there’s only one more chance to take a SCORE World Desert Championship in 2021, and it’s the biggest opportunity of the year. The 54th Annual SCORE Baja 1000 will see its usual slate of superteams in the Trophy Truck class, as well as the conclusion of a number of thrilling championship battles. Tech and contingency will take place on November 16-17, with the chase from Ensenada to La Paz kicking off on Thursday, November 18.
Check out Ernesto Araiza’s full gallery below!