SAN FELIPE, Mexico – Starting first as the fast qualifier for the race, Bryce Menzies never looked back as he roared through the Baja desert to defeat 269 starters in Saturday’s BFGoodrich Tires 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, presented by Ford.
Menzies, 33, powered his No. 7 Mason-built all-wheel drive Ford Raptor to lead the third-largest number of entries in race history to an awesome error-free, penalty-free winning time of four hours, 28 minutes and one second over the sun-drenched, rock-filled, silt-strewn 280.20 miles for at 62.73 mph.
Under sunny skies and warm temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit, Menzies, had plenty of competition behind him in a field of 35 of the marquee SCORE Trophy Trucks and 269 total starters — tying 2005 as the third-highest overall total of starters in the 34-year history of this race.
Chasing Menzies’ dust closely to the finish line were San Diego’s Luke McMillin and his cousin Andy McMillin, also from San Diego.
After roaring and rocking around the desert for over four hours, Luke McMillin, 28, finished second, just 15.54 seconds behind the winning Menzies in 4:28:16, averaging 62.67 mph in his sturdy No. 1 Big Blue M McMillin Racing Racer-built Ford F-150 that he has driven for just over seven years. Luke McMillin is the defending SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion
Finishing third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Andy McMillin, the 2019 SCORE Trophy Truck season champ who also won the SCORE San Felipe 250 that same year, in his No. 31 Big Blue M McMillin Racing Mason-built all-wheel drive Chevy 1500 in 4:35:17 with an average speed of 61.07 mph.
“We qualified P1 and started out front. It’s tough leading the whole race with those guys chasing you down,” Menzies said. “About race mile 60, Andy (McMillin) flatted which let Luke (McMillin) by, and he made up that minute gap in between so the whole race he was only thirty seconds back, so I was pushing as hard as I could towards the finish.”
“When I turned the corner on that last bit, it was really rough and I pushed as hard as I could, and turning that last corner they said I had twelve seconds on Luke. To think that 280 miles and we were only separated by 12 seconds. Unbelievable race. The truck ran flawless. This course was the funnest race course I have ever been on in San Felipe – all the washes were amazing, so many spectators out there, I’m just so glad to be back in a SCORE Baja race. We are running for a championship this year so it should be lots of fun.”
Riding solo on the fastest motorcycle class in the race, Derek Ausserbauer, 27, became just the fourth motorcycle rider in race history to win the top Pro Moto Unlimited class in race history. Ausserbauer, a veteran rider who has been on other prominent teams over the years as a co-rider, pulled off the victory in a SCORE race for the first time as a rider of record.
Ausserbauer blasted his way through the unforgiving desert in a time of 6:06.28 with an average speed of 45.89 miles per hour.
Combining a former champion with a SCORE rookie, Brandon Schueler and Caden MacCachren beat 63 UTVs in four different classes including a SCORE-record 33 in their Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class.
Schueler, 32, and MacCachren, 19, split the driving in their No. 2919 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo in a winning time of 6:17:46.
Caden MacCachren, who was making his first start in a SCORE race is the son of legendary Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren who finished sixth in SCORE Trophy Truck in this race.
Winning the Pro UTV NA (Naturally Aspirated) class that had 12 starters for the third consecutive San Felipe race was the first lady of SCORE racers, Kristin Matlock, 40. Matlock, whose champion husband Wayne Matlock finished in fourth place out of seven starters in the Pro UTV Open class, won her class driving solo once again in her No. 1954 Polaris RZR XP4 1000.
Atop the Pro UTV Stock class was Mike Cafro, 51, in his No. 3955 Polaris Turbo S. Cafro, a veteran SCORE race champion in different classes, actually raced in two classes, finishing fifth out of 33 starters in the mammoth Pro UTV FI class in his No. 2975 Polaris Turbo S sharing driving duties with teammate Jamie Kirkpatrick, 39, Olympia, Wash.
Also driving with Cafro in this race in his winning effort in the Pro UTV Stock class was Adan Ibarra, 40.
Capturing the checkered flag over seven starters in Pro UTV Open was Justin Elenburg, 43, in his No. 1870 Can-Am X3.
Racing in separate classes for a number of years, winning the unlimited Class 1 in their new No. 168 Alumi Craft Chevy was Shelby Reid, 53, and Cody Reid, 28.
Both former SCORE season class point champions, Cody Reid started the race, driving to race mile 158 where Shelby took over and drove virtually half of the race to the finish.
Leading the gregarious group of 77 racers with at least one class win in this race entered this year was Jim O’Neal (Pro Moto 50) who extended his SCORE race-high class wins to 19 (age group motorcycle) wins – all in the last 23 years. O’Neal, who has raced in all 34 SCORE San Felipe 250 races also has 38 starts out of 52 years in the SCORE Baja 500 and 39 starts out of 53 years in the SCORE Baja 1,000.
This year O’Neal was one of the riders on Giovanni Spinali’s winning team in Pro Moto 50. Spinali now has earned five class wins in this race as a rider of record.
Among the other 4-wheel vehicle class winners were Rolf Helland, Morris, Ill./Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif. (SCORE TT Legend-Drivers over 50, No. 37L Ford Raptor), Jason Coleman, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Trophy Truck Spec, No. 292 Herbst/Smith-Chevy) and Chase Warren, Phoenix (Class 10, No. 292 Alumi Craft-Chevy).
Other 4-Wheel victors included Jeff Proctor, Glendora, Calif. (Class 7, Honda Ridgeline), Scott Wisdom, Lake Forest, Calif. (SCORE Lites, No. 1221 Raceco-VW, Greg Sullivan, Helena, Mont. (Class 5, No. 508 Penhall-Chevy), Tim Spurgeon, Danville, Calif. (Baja Challenge, No. BC2 BTC-Subaru) and Luis Fernando Garcia, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 11, No. 1100 VW Sedan).
Among the other motorcycle winners besides Ausserbauer and Spinali was San Diego’s Edgar Cota, a motocross camp instructor, defeated nines starters in Pro Moto Ironman (solo riders) for his first SCORE victory. He rode the No. 723x Gas Gas EX450, a Spanish motorcycle making its SCORE Baja race debut.
Other moto class winners included, a pair of former SCORE Class point champions, Jano Montoya and Ryan Liebelt. Montoya, who lives in Winter Garden but is originally from Peru, led his Class 30 winners in his No. 325x KTM 450EXCF while Liebelt, Reedley, Calif., led his Class 40 team to victory on the No. 408x Yamaha WR450F.
Besides the significant 269 starters, there were an amazing 194 official finishers for an astonishing all-time SCORE-record finishing rate of 72.12 percent.