Red Bull’s Bryce Menzies wins the 2011 Score Baja 500

ENSENADA, Mexico—Starting first and never looking back, Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies won his second SCORE race of the year Saturday earning the overall 4-wheel vehicle and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the 43rd annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Menzies blasted his way over 452.84 miles of Mexico’s blistering Baja California desert in the No. 70 Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150 in a winning time of nine hours, four minutes, 52 seconds, averaging 49.87 miles per hour.
Following data tracking review of the vehicles, fellow Las Vegan Rob MacCachren was declared second and Andy McMillin, National City, Calif., third. MacCachren finished in 9:17:25, 12:33 behind Menzies. McMillin finished in 9:18:01. MacCachren, who won March’s MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 drove the No. 20 MasterCraft Safety Racing Ford F-150 while McMillin, the overall winner in this race last year with his father Scott McMillin, soloed this year in the No. 31 McMillin Realty Ford F-150. All three podium finishers recorded penalty-free races.
Round 3 of the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series saw 254 starters competing in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, Saturday and Sunday in Ensenada, Mexico. SCORE is in its 38th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization.
Entries came from 30 U.S. States from Hawaii to New York and the U.S. Territory of Guam along with the additional countries of Mexico, Canada, Finland, Germany, Guatemala Italy and Japan.
With racing continuing in the elapsed-time race that had a 23-hour time limit until 10:20 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday, both the start and the finish line were located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. It was the fourth straight year that both the pre-race activities and the finish were all held on this historic boulevard.  SCORE officials released the official results following complete data tracking review Sunday morning after the course closed.
The total number of starters (254) was tied for the 24th highest total with 1991 in the 43-year history of the popular race. The starting list included 160 cars and trucks and 94 motorcycles and ATVs.  The total of 160 finishers is the 14th-most number finishers in the event’s 43-year history, for a tremendous 62.99 percent finishing rate.
Johnny Campbell Racing gave American Honda the top two overall motorcycle finishing positions as Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif. and Quinn Cody gave Honda its 16th overall motorcycle victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and 15th straight title with their winning time of 8:47:07 at 51.76 mph on a JCR Honda CRF450X.  After data tracking review was completed in the elapsed-time race, they beat the twin Honda CRF450X of teammates defeated teammates Colton Udall, San Clemente, Calif., and Dave Kamo, Caldwell Idaho, by exactly 10 minutes as Udall/Kamo received time penalties for violations. Their times were the fastest of all vehicles on the course.
It was the second straight overall Tecate SCORE Baja 500 race win for Norman and Cody.  Norman now has five career race wins in this event in the last six years. It was the second triumph for Cody. Udall was teamed with Kamo for the first time as Johnny Campbell Racing dedicated the race to the memory of Udall’s former teammate Jeff Kargola, who died recently following a motorcycle riding accident in Baja. In Saturday’s race, the two JCR Honda vehicles actually crossed the finish line together, before Norman/Cody were declared official winners on Sunday morning. Udall and Norman were on their respective bikes at the finish.
Finishing fourth overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix/Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif., with a time of 9:25:09 in the No. 84 Flying Dutchmen Racing Chevy Silverado.
Completing the top five overall 4-wheel vehicles and fifth in SCORE Trophy-Truck was the brother team of Gary and Mark Weyhrich, Troutedale, Oregon, with a time of 9:26:59 in their No. 98 TSCO Motorsports Ford F-150.
Winning the Overall ATV title and Class 24 was the team of Brandon Brown, Umatilla, Ore./Jorie Williams, Longview, Wash./Kenny Sanford, Tacoma, Wash./Robbie Mitchell, Price, Utah/Christopher Kristensen, Vancouver, Wash., who worked together on their Honda TRX450R to cover the course in11:05:34, averaging 40.82mph.
In his rookie season racing with SCORE, Menzies, 23, opened the season by winning the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January and backed that up with a sixth-place finish in March’s MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 before his second SCORE Trophy-Truck victory Saturday.  His first SCORE race was last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 where he finished seventh.
“The crew did an awesome job,” commented Menzies after the race. “Every time I was in the pit it was just 30 or 40 seconds. When I got up to Borrego I made one mistake and hit a huge rock and we thought we broke a caliper off the truck but we stopped and checked it out. It was good so we kept going. Our goal is to win the championship this year.”
“This win gives us a huge jump on the points. I didn’t have one flat all day long. Not bent rims, no nothing. I was down here pre-running for close to two weeks so I think that paid off huge. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now. We’ve been doing a lot of testing with the truck and it is showing. The summit was real rocky but we just cruised over it and got to Borrego and let it fly from there.”
Menzies’ win was also the 28th overall 4-wheel victory win in this race for BFGoodrich Tires. He defeating an impressive field of 28 starters Saturday in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
Tenth overall among 4-wheel vehicles and eighth in SCORE Trophy-Truck was NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N. C. in the No. 77 Robby Gordon Motorsports Hummer H3. Gordon’s vehicle was his Dakar Rally truck it was the first time he drove it in a SCORE race while his normal desert truck is a Chevy CK1500.
Earning his second straight top 10 finish in SCORE Trophy-Truck was reality TV star Jesse James, Austin, Texas, in the No. 54 Chevy Silverado. James was also 13th overall. In San Felipe, James finished eighth overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Winning the unlimited Class 1 and finishing seventh overall among 4-wheel vehicles was the talented team of Steven Eugenio, Alpine, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, Oceanside, Calif., in their debut race in a new Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.  The pair won earlier this year in San Felipe in the SCORE Lite class.
Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., and Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., continued their stellar seasons Saturday. Matney won Class 8 in a Chevy Silverado for the second time this season and Class 11 in a stock VW Sedan for the second time as well in three races. Stacy remained undefeated with his third straight victory in Class 4 in a PSD-Chevy and also finished 18th in SCORE Trophy-Truck in a Chevy Silverado.
Also winning their third consecutive races in the 2011 SCORE Desert Series were Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger) and Jessica McMillin, National City, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150. Hanna is the defending SCORE season point champion in Class 7SX while McMillin is in her first season in Protruck.
Other car and truck class winners included: Jessica McMillin’s cousin Luke McMillin, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600, AlumiCraft-VW), Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif. (SCORE Lite, Jimco-VW), Sergio Salgado, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 10, Jimco-Honda), Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn. (Class 8, Chevy Silverado), Marc Burnett, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 6, Ford Ranger), Wes Bevly IV, Corpus Christi, Texas (Class 7-2, BajaLite-Chevy), Cody Kellogg, Cypress, Calif. (Class 5, unlimited VW Baja Bug).
Luke McMillin and Salgado are defending season point champion in their respective classes and won for the first time this season. For Matney and Bevly, it their second class wins of the year.
Winning their respective motorcycle and ATV classes for the second of three SCORE Baja races here were the teams led by: Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., (Class 25, Honda TRX700XX, Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 30, Honda CRF450X), Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X), Trevor Insley, San Clemente, Calif. (Class 21, Honda CRF450X), Jim Dizney, Alpine, Calif. (Class 50, Honda CRF450X), Donald Lewis, Marlborough, Conn. (Class 60, Honda CRF450X) and Carl Vela, Ardsley, N.Y. (Class 26, Can-Am Outlander800).
It was the second win of the year for Udall, Dizney, Lewis and Brown.
The rugged 452.84-mile course was a very similar to the last three years, although it is about 14 miles longer and the terrain has changed because of natural weather patterns that impact both sides of the race course on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez and in the middle in the summit section. The course, which runs in a clockwise direction, resembled a deflating balloon, winding east to Ojos Negros, down to near San Felipe, back West to the Pacific Ocean below San Vicente and back north east through Santo Tomas on the way back to Ojos Negros and then Ensenada.
In addition to season class point championships, the racers also competed for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings each race. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season.  Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 26th consecutive year, a total of 31 drivers remain eligible after Round 3 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series. Racers also competed for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.
Round 4 of the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series will be the 16th SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Primm 300 on Sept. 10-12 in Primm, Nev.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels -official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance and Slime-official tire sealant. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
While Tecate is title sponsor of the 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 500, additional race sponsors were the Office of the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.

Tecate SCORE Baja 500
All-time Overall winners
Year—DRIVERS/RIDERS, VEHICLE
1969–Bud Ekins/Guy Jones, Baja Boot-Olds
Doug Douglas/Jim McClurg, Ducati
1970–Parnelli Jones, Ford
Bill Silverthorn/Gene Fetty, Husqvarna
1971–Bobby Ferro, Funco-VW
Malcolm Smith/J.N. Roberts, Husqvarna
1972–Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Gene Fetty/Bill Silverthorn, Honda
1973–Parnelli Jones, Ford
Howard Utsey/Mickey Quade, Husqvarna
1974–Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Mitch Mayes/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1975–Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Harley-Davidson
1976–Bobby Ferro/Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1977–Ivan Stewart, Chenowth-VW
Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1978–Bud Feldkamp/Malcolm Smith, Funco-VW
Brent Wallingsford/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1979–Malcolm Smith/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1980–Bob Gordon, Chenowth-Chevy
Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1981–Malcolm Smith/Bill Newbury, Chenowth-Chevy
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Yamaha
1982–Larry Ragland, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1983–Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-VW
Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1984–Larry Ragland, Chaparral-VW
Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1985–Ron Gardner/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Kurt Pfeiffer/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1986–Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Garth Sweetland/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1987–Bob Gordon/Tim Crabtree, Chenowth-Porsche
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1988–Mark McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Dan Ashcraft/Kurt Pfeiffer, Yamaha
1989–Robby Gordon, Ford
(no motorcycles)
1990–Robby Gordon, Ford
Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte, Kawasaki
1991–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Garth Sweetland/Paul Krause, Kawasaki
1992–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Larry Roeseler/T. Hunnicutt Jr./P. Krause, Kawasaki
1993–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Danny Hamel/L. Roeseler/T. Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1994–Ivan Stewart, Toyota (Trophy-Truck)
Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Ford
Paul Krause/Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Kawasaki
1995–Curt LeDuc, Jeep (Trophy-Truck)
Mike Julson/Bob Lofton, Jimco-VW
Paul Krause/Craig Smith, Kawasaki
1996–Rob MacCachren, Ford (Trophy-Truck)
Troy Herbst, Smithbuilt-Porsche
Paul Krause/Ty Davis, Kawasaki
1997–Ivan Stewart, Toyota (Trophy-Truck)
Mark McMillin, Jimco-Porsche
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1998–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1999–Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Jonah Street/Torsten Borstrom, Honda
2000–Larry Ragland, Chevy
Jonah Street/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2001–Mark McMillin, Jimco-Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda
2002–Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2003–Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2004–Alan Pflueger, Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2005–Robby Gordon, Chevy
Mike Childress/Mouse McCoy, Honda
2006–Brian Collins/Larry Ragland, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2007–Larry Ragland/Brian Collins, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2008–B.J. Baldwin, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2009–Rick D. Johnson, Ford
Bill Boyer/Donnie De Arman/Nicholas Blais/Rudy Iribe, Honda
2010–Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Ford
Kendall Norman, Quinn Cody, Honda
2011—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda

About the Author

Mike Lasher is a true Off Road enthusiast down to the core, Growing up in the back seat of a jeep exploring the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, as a kid, as so many of us did. Today Mike spends his free time on the trails with his family and friends in his Kawasaki Teryx or Jeep Wrangler. He also regularly competes in the Best in the Desert series and was second in points in 2009. For more information on mike you can visit www.lashermotorsports.com.

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