Off-road veteran Rob MacCachren added another accomplishment to his Hall of Fame record Saturday, overcoming a field of 259 starters and a ridiculously-rugged race course to capture the Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory in the BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
MacCachren worked his way to the front of the field in his sturdy No. 1 Ford F-150 to an admirable error-free, penalty free winning time of nine hours, 22 minutes and 47 seconds with an average speed of 49.37 miles per hour over the gut-wrenching 463.12-mile course.
“It was a very good day,” MacCachren said at the finish line. “We started out to race on our pace. The three all-wheel-drive trucks in front of us were pulling away a little bit at a time.”
“When Bryce (Menzies) lost a motor that put us third on the road to the bottom of the Summit. It is an unbelievable mountain pass; it takes probably 20 minutes to get down it. It is awesome. Half way down we caught up to (Mike) Walser but then he took off again; but then he got a flat and we got by him for good.”
“Then we started hauling ass knowing Luke (McMillin) was 10 minutes ahead of us. I couldn’t see his tracks anymore after a while. So that meant we were first on the road. I just had to maintain the gaps back to (Broc) Dickerson and (Alan) Ampudia. We started taking it easy and being cautious and careful about everything and it went well. SCORE outdid themselves again designing a tough, challenging course. Hat’s off to my crew as well. And no flats on my BFGoodrich Tires. They’re absolutely the best!”
Under sunny skies, light winds with mild temperatures in the mid-70s F on the western side of the course and upwards of 100 on the eastern side. Finishers called it “the most beautifully brutal course ever” in the history of this legendary desert race.
Round 2 of the four-race 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship was held this week in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. the race started, finished and colorful pre-race activities returned for the first time in four years to the heart of Ensenada. Tourism officials estimated over 200,000 fans for the event which included tech and contingency on Friday and the race itself on Saturday and Sunday. Ensenada, ‘The Off-Road Capital of the World’, is located 80 miles south of the U.S. Border near San Diego.
Following MacCachren closely to the finish line for one of the closest podium finishes in race history was SoCal’s young gun Broc Dickerson.
Dickerson, 21, who has significant short-course and desert racing experience despite his young age, just not in SCORE Trophy Truck, started 20th physically and finished the course just one minute, 24 seconds behind MacCachren on corrected time in 9h24m11s in the No. 34 TSCO-built Ford Raptor with an average speed of 49.25mph.
Completing the podium in third place was last year’s race winner, ageless Hall of Famer Larry Roeseler, 65, with a time of 9h35m43s in the No. 43 Baja Jerky Cantina Racing Toyota Tundra with an average speed of 48.27mph.
Starting fourth in the elapsed-time race out of 31 starters in his class, MacCachren, in his dependable two-wheel drive Geiser-built truck, was positioned behind San Diego’s Luke McMillin, Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies and Texas’ Mike Walser.
The “G.O.A.T. of off-road racing” with nearly 300 career race wins in the desert, short-course and stadium, MacCachren, 57, is the reigning SCORE Trophy Truck point champion, the marquee racing division created by SCORE in 1994 for1000 horsepower, unlimited custom trucks.
Content to maintain his position to see how the race unfolded, McMillin built a lead of nearly 10 minutes on the field nearly more than half-way through the race before his steering box went out which cost him valuable time. The motor in Menzies truck blew early in the race and MacCachren got around Walser when his truck had a flat tire.
After getting past McMillin, MacCachren just weaved his way through slower traffic of motorcycles and quads to hold onto the victory by holding off Dickerson and Roeseler.
With his victory, MacCachren also picked up a $20,000 contingency bonus from BFGoodrich Tires, his tire manufacturer and SCORE Baja 500 title sponsor and SCORE Official Tire.
The victory was MacCachren’s SCORE-record 19th career SCORE Trophy Truck race win. It was also his seventh class win in this race including three overall triumphs.
The race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour special on the ESPN2 World of X Games programming as well as being syndicated internationally. It is scheduled to first air at 9 p.m. PT on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Besides the 259 starters, there were 174 official finishers for a finishing rate on the technically challenging course of a surprising 67.2 percent. The finishing total of 174. The total of 174 is the 11th-most finishers in the 54-year history of the race.
Switching from the unique Pro Moto Ironman class for solo riders after winning two straight season class point championships, Bolivia’s legendary athlete and Dakar Rally veteran Juan Carlos Salvatierra won the Overall Motorcycle and Pro Moto Unlimited Class for the second straight 2022 race. Uniquely, Salvatierra won this year’s SCORE Baja 500 with a four-rider team from four countries-USA, Argentina, Boliva and Mexico.
Salvatierra’s team from San Felipe and the SCORE Baja 500 was Mexico’s Arturo Salas and USA’s Shane Logan. Joining them for the SCORE Baja 500 has an additional rider on the four-nation team was Argentina’s Diego Llanos.
Together the Salvatierra team completed the race course on their No. 10x KTM 450SX-F in a time of 10:32:33 with an average speed of 43.99mph.
Salvatierra, 40, started the race and rode just one mile before handing it off to Salas Jr, 19, of Tecate, Mexico, who rode to race mile 70. Logan, 20, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., rode from race mile 70 to mile 160. Llanos rode from race mile 160 to race mile 250, Salvatierra rode from race mile 260 to race mile 315. Logan rode from race mile 315 to race mile 360 and Salas rode from race mile 360 to the finish line.
“Thank God each of us on our team had a good race. No crashes, no problems, no issues and I was super stoked to be able to ride the bike with a seat this time (he had to ride his final section in San Felipe without a seat). We are so happy. Two years ago it was a dream to just participate in the SCORE Baja 500 and I won the Pro Ironman class.”
“I couldn’t have dreamed that I would win the Pro Moto Unlimited class. It is a dream come true. This race was very technical and rough. It was very physical and demanding on the body. I haven’t had blisters on my hand in a long time, not even in the SCORE Baja 1000 or when I did the Ironman, but I got blisters here. I had no issues with my tires.
“I want to thank SCORE International and all the Mexican fans that show up to greet all the riders. It is great out on the course. This result wouldn’t be possible with all our team members and my mechanic from Bolivia and Arturo Salas’ family. We made a strong and powerful team.”
SCORE Trophy Trucks have now won 25 overalls in the SCORE Baja 500 in the 29 years that the premier racing class has been part of this race. In this year’s race, SCORE Trophy Trucks captured the top 11 overall finishing positions.
KTM earned its first overall motorcycle win in this race.
Among the tire manufacturers, BFGoodrich Tires has now won the overall victory for the 35th time in 54 years.
In the overall pro 4-wheel vehicles, Ford has now earned 14 Overall wins and in overall engine wins, Ford now has 16 wins.
OVERALL UTV WINNER
Defeating 50 UTVs in five different classes and 24 in his own class alone, Austin Weiland, 29, El Cajon, Calif., was the Overall UTV and Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) winner with a penalty-free time of 11:51:00 in his No. 2954 Can-Am X-3. He averaged 39.08 mph and won the UTV Overall by nearly 15 minutes.
Winning the other Pro UTV classes were Mike Pratt, 54, Draper, Utah (Pro UTV Open, No. 1867 Polaris RZR Turbo S), Zach Sizelove, 28, Hesperia, Calif. (Pro UTV NA-Naturally Aspirated, No. 1925 Honda Talon 1000R) and Anibal Lopez, 39, Mexicali, Mexico (Pro UTV Stock, No. 3919 Polaris Turbo S.