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Baja 500 2023: Celebrating 50 Years of SCORE Desert Racing Excellence’

Baja 500 2023: Celebrating 50 Years of SCORE Desert Racing Excellence’

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  • Las Vegas’ Menzies earns Overall, SCORE Trophy Truck win Saturday at BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 500
  • Saturday was inaugural ‘SCORE International Day’ in Ensenada
  • 240 total starters, 175 finishers-26 U.S. States, 11 countries on 473.67-mile course

    NOTE: Official complete results available at www.score-international.com

‘Celebrating 50 Years of SCORE Desert Racing Excellence’ this year, Las Vegas’ super star desert racer Bryce Menzies returned to the winner’s circle Saturday-in his favorite desert race, the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 500 over a field of 240 starters in his Menzies Motorsports All-Wheel Drive No. 7 Ford Raptor built by Mason Motorsports.
Menzies overcame the rugged, dusty, silt-laced, rock-strewn, 473.67-mile race course over part of the Mexican State of Baja California as well as his crusty competitors in a penalty-free time of nine hours, three minutes, and 38 seconds with an average speed of 51.99 miles per hour.

DIRT FAX
Round 2 of the four-race 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship was held on Saturday and Sunday in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Ensenada, ‘The Off-Road Racing Capital of the World,’ is located 80 miles South of the U.S. Border near San Diego.
With 240 starters from 26 U.S. States and 11 countries, 45 competition classes were offered for Pro and Sportsman cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads.
Most the world’s best desert racers were in action at this year’s celebration of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world.
All four 2023 SCORE races are being held on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the eighth consecutive year.
SCORE, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2023.

PODIUM FINISHERS
Lining up behind the masterful Menzies on the overall podium for this year’s race were Mike Walser, 56, Comfort, Texas with a penalty-free time of 9:13:22 as alternate driver for Dallas Luttrell, Las Vegas in the No. 87 Mason-built Chevy Silverado also in SCORE Trophy Truck while finishing an amazing overall third overall and capturing his Trophy Truck Spec class in the highest overall finish in SCORE history in his class was Jason McNeil, 45, El Cajon, Calif., with a corrected time of 9:33:37.

MENZIES MASTERY
Starting in third position after SCORE San Felipe 250 winner Luke McMillin and hometown favorite Alan Ampudia.
Menzies passed Ampudia who was having issues that eventually put him out of the race, then gradually worked his way around defending SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck point champion ‘The Luke’ McMillin.
After pushing his truck to catch up with McMillin who appeared to be slowing down, Menzies got by McMillin and had clean air as he ‘cruised’ through the bombastic Baja terrain to earn his ninth career SCORE Trophy race win and his fourth overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory in the SCORE Baja 500.
While Ampudia had an unfortunate DNF in the race, ‘The Luke’ battled back after down time dropped him out of the top 10 and ending finishing sixth overall and fourth in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck.

MENZIES' NUMBERS
Menzies, 35, first won in the SCORE Baja 500 during his rookie SCORE racing season in 2011, following that up with victories in 2012 and 2014 before his fourth race win in 2023.
Menzies ninth career SCORE Trophy Truck race victory ties him with the legendary Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart and the team of David Ashley/Dan Smith in sixth place on the all-time SCORE Trophy Truck race win list. SCORE Trophy Truck is the marquee racing division for high-tech, 1000-horsepower custom trucks.

MORE DIRT TRAX
The 240 total entries included racers representing 26 U.S. States, U.S. Territory Puerto Rico, and 11 countries. The countries with at least one racer so far are United States, host country Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, and Peru.
The rugged race course closed in the elapsed-time race early Sunday morning. Following complete data tracking review, later Sunday morning the results were made official by SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva.
Of the 240 starters, there were 175 official finishers for a finishing rate on the technically challenging course of a superlative 72.92 percent. The percentage of finishers is a clear example of the tenacity of the racer to make it to the finish line in the grueling challenge as well as a tribute to the remarkable improvement of the vehicles over the years.
The 175 finishers are the 10th-most in the history of this race.

MENZIES’ MEMO
Obviously elated with his journey bouncing around beautiful Baja, Menzies commented in post-race interview before literally hundreds of adoring SCORE Baja racing fans, “The race started out pretty good and then I earned myself a flat. It set ourselves back a little and then we had to put a little charge on, which was fun at the beginning. We caught back up to Alan (Ampudia, No. 10) and he had an issue, he was pulled over, and Luke (McMillin, No. 1) was about two and a half minutes ahead, so I knew I had a long way to catch him. I ran up in his dust up and over the Summit (race mile 100) and then he started to slow down a little bit, I think he had an issue. When I went to go around him, I clipped a rock and bent my steering, so it was off all day.”
“Once we got by him, we were very confident and we just put on a good charge and once we got Borrego (race mile 210) we heard we were about ten minutes ahead of everyone else, so I backed it off quite a bit going through San Felipe (race mile 240) because it was brutal there. When we got to Valle de la Trinidad (race mile 280) and made it to beach, it was super smooth. I took my eye off the ball for a second and clipped a massive rock. I thought I had broken something on the right rear, but fortunately it was just a rim and a tire. We got that back on and just cruised to the finish.”
“The coast section on the race course, I hadn’t done it since 2015, and it was one of the coolest sections in my life. We had some close calls here and there, but overall, it was an awesome day. Coming to the finish to win my fourth SCORE Baja 500 was really special. I was looking for redemption and I redeemed myself today. The SCORE Baja 500 is my favorite race.”

 

Source Score International
Photo from Bryce Menzies official FB page

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