Hometown heroes and brothers Alan and Aaron Ampudia made some lasting history Sunday by winning the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck title in the BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 1000 presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
The world’s oldest and most prestigious desert race was held this year over a rugged 800.5-mile course covering the northern part of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Baja California Norte.
A total of 264 vehicles left the start line early Saturday morning, featuring racers from 39 states and 22 countries. When the course closed at 11:27:28 p.m. PT on Sunday, there were 145 official finishers — a 54.92 finishing percentage, which was especially good considering the difficulty of the course made more difficult because of the more than four inches of rain that fell in the Ensenada area and around the course on race week.
The results were made official following complete data tracking review of the devices on each vehicle in the event early Monday morning. The final results are still pending final racer inquiries today.
Second-generation desert racers from Ensenada — brothers Alan, 28, and Aaron, 26 — split the driving in their No. 10 Monster Energy Papas & Beer Ford Raptor built by ID Design to a winning time of 16h10m36s while averaging 49.48 mph over the rugged, rain-soaked race course.
Older brother Rodrigo served as a navigator for both of his brothers during parts of the race.
Alan started the race and drove to race mile 350; Aaron then drove from mile 350 to mile to 695, with Alan back from race mile 695 to the finish line. Both men class winners in previous years, this was their first career SCORE Trophy Truck race win as they became just the third team of Mexican nationals to win the legendary Baja 1000.
Enjoying the victory celebration with his father, brothers, team and family at the finish line, Alan Ampudia commented: “It was the gnarliest day ever. This is a dream come true. This has been a dream for us since we were little. Watching Ivan Stewart, Robby Gordon and all the legends in this sport has inspired us. To be able to come out here with a stacked field like it was today — and come out on top through all the elements Baja threw at us this year with the rain and the mud — it was crazy. There are so many stories to be told. This is the greatest desert race in the world. Me and Tavo (Vildosola Jr.) battled for miles. Our truck was amazing. It was on rails today.”
Said brother Aaron: “Alan gave me the truck in first place, physically and on time. When I got out, we had a 14-minute lead on Luke (McMillin) and about an hour on everyone else. We pushed and made a little mistake. We had to stop and got some help from the MacCachren team so we really appreciate those guys. We got back to our pit and fixed the issues.
“It was a great day. We knew we had to put in a clean, solid race to have a chance to win, and that’s what we went out and did.”
Joining the Ampudia brothers on the podium were 2019 Dakar Rally champions Nasser Al-Attiyah/Toby Price and Luke McMillin/Larry Roeseler.
Al-Attiyah, of Qatar, and Australia’s Price, finished second with a penalty-free time of 16h21m06s (48.96mph) in Jesse Jones’ new Mason-Built No. 76 Ford F-250. Jones was scheduled to drive as well but a leg injury forced him to the sidelines.
Third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck after leading much of the race, Californians McMillin and Roeseler covered the unforgiving course in a penalty-free 16h21m33s (48.93mph), finishing just 27 seconds behind the Dakar Duo.
Including the three podium finishers, eight of the top 10 overall four-wheel vehicle finishers were SCORE Trophy Trucks. Fourth was Mike Walser (No. 89 Chevy Silverado-Mason); fifth was Rob MacCachren (No. 11 Ford F-150-Geiser); sixth in Trophy Truck and seventh overall was Ryan Arciero (No. 32 Ford F-150-Herbst-Smith); and seventh in Trophy/eighth overall was Robbie Pierce (No. 30 Ford Raptor-Jimco).
Sixth overall and winning the Trophy Truck Spec class was A.J. Jones (No. 279 TSCO-Chevy), while ninth overall and winning SCORE TT Legend was Rolf Helland (No. 37L Ford Raptor-Geiser).
Rounding out the overall top 10 and finishing second in TT Legend was Clyde Stacy (No. 5L Chevy Rally Truck V-16-Geiser).
Riding the No. 1x Honda CRF450X, Justin Morgan and his four-rider team raced to the overall motorcycle victory for his eighth consecutive overall win in the SCORE World Desert Championship. The trio crossed the finish line in 17h34m28s, an average speed of 45.55mph.
Morgan split the riding with Shane Esposito, Max Eddy Jr. and David Kamo. It was the second overall win in the Baja 1000 for Morgan and Esposito, third for Eddy Jr, and fourth for Kamo.
The victory was also the 29th overall motorcycle win in this legendary race for American Honda.
Second generation SCORE desert racer and long-time NASCAR Cup racer Brendan Gaughan captured the unlimited Class 1 by over an hour while finishing 20th overall among four-wheel vehicles in the No. 127 Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car. His winning effort was completed in 20h57m38 (38.19mph), Gaughan defeating 11 other starters in class for his first Baja 1000 class win.
Sharing the driving duties with Gaughan where two desert racing veterans, R.J. Anderson and Buddy Feldkamp.
Defeating 27 starters in his class and 48 total UTVs to win the overall UTV title was Justin Lambert, with a winning time of 21h00m43s in his No. 2918 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo.
Lambert also won his Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class.
In a class with 22 starters, winning the Trophy Truck Spec class for the second time this season was A.J. Jones in the 279 TSCO-Chevy. He finished the race with a penalty-free class-winning time 17h53m57s (44.72mph), sixth overall among four-wheel vehicles.
Second in TT Spec was Sara Price who drove solo the entire season, earning four second-place finishes in the No. 204 Geiser-Chevy. A surprise third was Jeff Bader in the No. 261 Brenthel-Chevy.
Winning for the third time in four races in the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship was Jason Trubey (Pro Moto 40, No. 444x Husqvarna FE501).
Winning the Pro Moto Ironman class over a field of 15 solo riders was Arthur Babcock (Honda CRF450X). In earning his first SCORE race win, Babcock covered the rugged 800.50-mile course in a penalty-free 23h14m13s
This year’s 52nd SCORE Baja 1000 included 31 Sportsman racers competing in six total classes. Fastest Sportsman class winners were Carlos Silva (SPT M/C, Honda CRF450X), Danny Magdalena (SPT Quad, Honda TRX450R) and Oscar Ramirez (SPT UTV Stock, Can-Am X3).
Among the other class winner in four-wheel vehicle classes were: Casey Currie (Hammer Truck Unlimited, Jeep Wrangler); Darren Skilton (SCG Boot-Chevy); Chase Warren (Class 10, Alumi Craft-Chevy); Greg Sullivan (Class 5, unlimited VW Baja Bug); J. David Ruvalcaba (Class 1/2-1600, VBR-VW); Jim Butler (SCORE Lites, Jimco-VW); Kristen Matlock (Pro UTV NA, Polaris RZR XP4 1000); Herman Johnson (Pro UTV Unlimited, Can-Am X3); Lance Clifford (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru); Mike Cafro (Pro UTV Stock); Gerardo Novelo (Class 7SX, Nissan Frontier); Ruben Garcia (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug); and Dennis Hollenbeck (Class 11, VW Sedan).
Among the other motorcycle class winners were Francisco Septien (Pro Moto 30, Honda CRF450X) and Jeff Kaplan (Pro Moto 50, Honda CRF450X).
Winning the Pro Quad class for the second straight race was Adolfo Arellano (Pro Quad, Honda TRX450R).
Because of two extremely challenging areas on the course, Class 7SX, Baja Challenge, Class 9, Class 11, Vintage Classes and all Sportsman classes ran a reduced course of 701.48 total miles.
The race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour special on ABC TV’s World of X Games programming on Jan. 4, 2020. The telecast will be produced by SCORE in association with award-winning BCII TV.