Results Story–44th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 6.3.12

June 3, 2012
259 starters challenge SCORE Baja course
Menzies blasts to Overall 4-wheel, SCORE Trophy Truck win;
Luke McMillin wins Class 1 at 44th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
Kawasaki’s Bell/Hengeveld/Pearson snap Honda’s 15-year overall motorcycle winning streak
Yamaha’s Row and team capture overall ATV victory over Honda and Can-Am teams
    ENSENADA, Mexico—Returning to the desert for the first time this year, Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies came back to Mexico Saturday to earn a second consecutive overall 4-wheel vehicle and SCORE Trophy Truck victory in the 44th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Menzies blasted his way over 450 miles of Mexico’s blistering Baja California desert in the No. 1 Menzies Motorsports Red Bull Ford F-150 in a winning time of nine hours, 13 minutes, 39 seconds, averaging 48.77 miles per hour.
In the second-closest finish in the storied history of this race, Menzie’s crossed the finish line second, but won on corrected time in the elapsed-time race by just 11 seconds over fellow Las Vegas B.J. Baldwin. Baldwin, who led much of the race in his No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Monster Energy Chevy Silverado, finished second overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck with a time of 9:13:50, averaging 48.75mph. Ironically, in 2008, Baldwin won this race in the closest finish ever by just seven seconds over Las Vegas Rob MacCachren.
Following final data tracking review of the vehicles and any necessary penalty assessments, third place overall was confirmed to be Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Ariz., in a time of 9:29:45 in his No. 76 Jones Motorsports Ford F-250.
The second-oldest desert race in the world, Round 4 of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series, featured 259 starters, competing in 36 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.
SCORE is in its 39th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization. This race is traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule and is the first desert race produced by SCORE on July 26, 1974.
Entries this year came from 34 U.S. States from Hawaii to New York and the U.S. Territory of Guam along with the additional countries of Mexico, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Spain.
With racing continuing in the elapsed-time race that had a 22-hour time limit until 9:17 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 fifth straight year that both the pre-race activities and the finish were all held on this historic boulevard.  SCORE released the official results following complete data tracking review Sunday morning after the course closed.
Pulling off a stunning upset in breaking the 15-year winning streak of Honda, Kawasaki’s Robby Bell led his team to the overall motorcycle victory while recording the fastest time of the race. Bell, Menifee, Calif./David Pearson, Panaca, Calif./Steve Hengeveld, Flagstaff, Ariz., split the riding time on the THR Motorsports Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F to a winning time of 9:10:03 with an average speed of 49.09 mph.
With the Johnny Campbell’s JCR Honda 1x team lead by Colton Udall slowed some by two crashes during the race, Kawasaki’s winning trio defeating the Honda team by two minutes, 28 seconds. Udall raced with David Kamo, Caldwell, Idaho and Tim Weigand, Valencia, Calif. to a time of 9:12:31. Udall injured his shoulder on his second spill and Weigand was forced to stay on the bike and ride the 48 mile final section to the finish line that he had not pre-run prior to the race.
In giving Kawasaki its first win in this race since 1996, the victory was Bell’s fourth overall win in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, Hengeveld’s seventh and Pearson’s first. It was also Kawasaki’s ninth overall motorcycle win in this challenging desert race.
Completing the top five finishers group was a pair of third-generation desert racing brothers. Finishing fourth overall among 4-wheel vehicles and fourth in SCORE Trophy Truck for the second straight race was the team of third-generation desert racer Dan McMillin, 24, La Mesa, Calif. and Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., with a time of 9:46:27 in the No. 23 McMillin Homes Ford F-150.
Luke McMillin, 19, El Cajon, Calif., won the unlimited Class 1 race and finished fifth overall in the McMillin Homes Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race care in 9:53:22. Luke McMillin also won Class 1 in March at the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
The third McMillin family team in this year’s race, Dan and Luke’s cousin Andy and their uncle Scott McMillin (Andy’s father), gave the family three top 10 overall finishes by finishing seventh overall among 4-wheel vehicles and sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck.  Andy and his father Scott were the overall 4-wheel winners in this race in 2010.
A surprising overall ATV winner, Yamaha’s veteran Greg Row, 48, brought in a couple of very special riders to his team to compete for the victory. Row, who was also the overall ATV winner in this race for three consecutive years (1990, 1991 and 1992), had a couple of very special riders on his team this year, both of whom are regular racers in US ATV series.
Among the riders with Row on a Yamaha YFZ450 were his son Josh and Dustin Nelson, a six-time QuadCross series point champion. With DJ Noerr also riding for the Row team, the Yamaha squad defeated the prominent Honda teams for Wayne Matlock and Brandon Brown along with Can-Am’s Josh Frederick. The Row team covered the course in 10:50:07 with an average speed of 41.53mph.
For Menzies, 24, the reigning SCORE overall and SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion in his rookie season in the SCORE Desert Series, the victory was his third career race win in SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks. The win was also the 29th overall 4-wheel victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 for BFGoodrich Tires, which Menzies runs on his race truck.
Menzies defeated a near-SCORE-record field of 36 SCORE Trophy Truck starters. The SCORE record for starters in the premiere desert racing class was 37 set at the 2006 Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
“What a tough race the SCORE Baja 500 is,” said Menzies at his team’s rousing finish line celebration. The course was definitely rougher and a lot more chewed up and a lot more silt than last year. For me it was definitely slower because I was in a lot of dust all day.”
“It’s so challenging. I thought we only had a four second lead on corrected time so I hucked it in at the finish and kinda did a donut. Not on purpose at all. That’s what a close race is all about. Running and coming up to the finish and you’re only seconds ahead or behind B.J. Baldwin who is such a great racer and it was neck and neck all the way, so we were pushing as hard as we could. I fought dust all day after starting 19th in class but I love coming to the finish and pushing the truck as hard as possible not knowing who is going to win until you get to the finish. It was just an awesome day. We were all over the road hitting rocks, ditches and trying to make up all the time. It made it such a great race. I love it.”
The total number of starters (259) was the 23rd highest total in the 44-year history of the popular race. The starting list included 156 cars and trucks and 103 motorcycles and ATVs.  The total of 181 finishers is tied for the sixth-most number of finishers with the 2004 in the event’s 44-year history, for an event-record 69.88 percent finishing rate.
Remaining undefeated for the 2012 SCORE Desert Series with their fourth straight class win was Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. (Class 3, Ford Bronco). For Moss, it was also his eighth class victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and the third for Carr.
Winning for the third time this season were Wes Bevly III, Corpus Christi, Texas (Stock Full, Ford F-150) and Andy Bell, Long Beach, Calif. (Stock Mini, Toyota Tacoma).
Also picking up his second class win this season in a car and truck class was Matt Cullen, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 10, AlumiCraft-VW).
Among the other first-time car and truck class winners this season were Jason Coleman, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Class 1/2-1600, Kreger-VW), Victor Herrera, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 7, Ford Ranger, Brent Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif. (SCORE Lites, Moulton-VW), Ricardo Garcia, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 7SX, Mike West, Chandler, Ariz. (Class 7-2, TrophyLIte-Chevy), Gavin Skilton, Anaheim, Calif. (Class 6, Honda Pilot), Jose Lopez, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 5, VW Baja Bug) and Chelsea Magness, Desert Hot Springs, Calif., (Protruck, Ford F-150).
Traveling all the way from Bristol, Tenn. and Bristol, Va., Justin Matney’s RPM Off-Road team, which opened the season with 11 total class wins in the two rounds in Laughlin in January, had a race-record eight entries in this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and added an impressive five more class wins to their season total. RPM now has earned a spectacular 18 class wins in the four rounds of the 2012 SCORE Desert Series.
Winning their respective classes for RPM in Ensenada were double-winner Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va. (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug and Class 2, Mason-Chevy), Rodolfo Iribe, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 8, Chevy Silverado), Derek Fletcher, Abington, Va., (Class 4, PSD-Chevy) and Jim Bunn/John Matney, Bristol, Va. (Sportsman Buggy, Geiser Chevy).
In all, seven of the eight RPM vehicles finished with Juan C. Lopez, Tecate, Mexico eighth in SCORE Trophy Truck (Chevy Silverado), Stacy and Justin Matney teamed up for a second-place finish in Class 1 (Geiser-Chevy). Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 6, Ford Ranger) did not finish this race
RPM’s Stacy now has two wins in Class 5-1600 this year and three in Class 2 while Iribe is undefeated with four, Fletcher has three in Class 4 and Bunn/Matney have three in SPT Buggy.
Winning their respective motorcycle and ATV classes for the second of three SCORE Baja races here were the teams led by Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas (Class 30, Honda CRF450X), Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Class 40, Honda CRF450X) and Marc Prince, Malibu, Calif. (Class 50, Honda CRF450X). It was the sixth class win in this race for Kaplan.
Jim O’Neal, Simi Valley, Calif., led a team in Class 21 to victory on a Honda CRF450X to give him 16 career wins in this race and Richard Jackson, Action, Calif., earned his 14th class win in helping rider of record Al Perrett of Canada captured Class 60 on a Honda CRF450X.
Among the other first-time motorcycle and ATV class winners this season were Gabriel Williams, Provo, Utah (Class 20, Honda CRF250X), Manuel Jimenez, San Felipe, Mexico (Class 24, Honda TRX450R and Carl Vella Ardsley, N.Y. (Class 26, Can-Am Outlander800).
The fastest sportsman motorcycle racer was Carlos Sanchez, Chula Vista, Calif., who led a team to victory on a Husaberg 450. The fastest Sportsman 4-wheel vehicle was Nick Tonelli, Huntington Beach, Calif., who won the SPT Truck in a Ford Ranger for his third class win of the season.
The rugged 450-mile course, which ran 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.
Not only was there a significant variety of terrain on this desert race course, elevations ranged from sea-level to the 4,155-foot summit at race mile 110.47 with temperatures fluctuating between the low 50s to the 100s Fahrenheit between the Pacific Coast, summit, dry lake beds, washes and Sea of Cortez.
In addition to season class point championships, the racers were also competing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings each race. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes were also attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck Pro class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season.  Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 27th consecutive year, a total of 24 drivers are still in the hunt for the awards for the 2012 SCORE Desert Series after the first four rounds in the five-race series.
Racers were also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award. All categories, except Engine Builder and Original Buggy Chassis Manufacturer, will be determined by public on-line voting while Engine and Buggy awards are determined by season points.
With season point championships on the line, the season-finale of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series will be the 45th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races.  This year’s anniversary event will be a race down Mexico’s  Baja California peninsula run, Nov. 14-17, starting in Ensenada, Baja California and finishing in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
Tecate Beer is the title sponsor of the three SCORE Baja races.
MasterCraft Safety is co-title sponsor of the 26th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Desert Series are:
-BFGoodrich Tires, Official Tire
-Volkswagen of America, Official Vehicle
-Sunoco Race Fuels, Official Race Fuel
-Slime, Official Tire Sealant
-Symons Ambulance Company, Official Ambulance
-Bilstein, Official Shock Absorber
-Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Official Mexican Auto Insurance
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Baja 1000 are:
-Coca-Cola, Official Soft Drink
-Volaris Airlines, Official Airline
-Lightforce Performance Lighting, Official Driving Light
Additional SCORE Sponsors are – Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Las Vegas Events, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2012 SCORE Desert Series at
Tecate SCORE Baja 500
All-time Overall winners
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
2012–Bryce Menzies, Ford
Robby Bell/David Pearson/Steve Hengeveld, Kawasaki