ENSENADA, Mexico — 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 1,000.
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 16 hours, 10 minutes and 36 seconds while averaging 49.48 miles per hour over the rugged, rain-soaked race course.
Their older brother Rodrigo Ampudia, 34, was a navigator for both his brothers during parts of the race.
Alan Ampudia started the race and drove to race mile 350. Aaron Ampudia then drove from race mile 350 to race mile to 695. Alan Ampudia got back in and drove from race mile 695 to the finish line.
Both class winners in different classes, it was their first SCORE Trophy Truck race win as the Ampudia brothers became just the third team of Mexican Nationals to win the legendary race.
First to accomplish it was the father/son team of Gustavo Vildosola Sr. and Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr. in 2010 and the son/father team of Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez and Juan C. Lopez at the 50th anniversary race in 2017.
“It was the gnarliest day ever,” said Alan Ampudia. “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 and 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. The puddles were insane.”
“Alan gave me the truck in first place physical and on time,” Aaron Ampudia said. “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 reigning Dakar Rally champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and Toby Price and Luke McMillin and Larry Roeseler.
Al-Attiyah and Price, finished second with a penalty-free time of 16:21:06 (48.96 mph) 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.
Finishing third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck after leading much of the race, McMillin and Roeseler covered the unforgiving course in a penalty-free 16:21:33 (48.93 mph), just 27 seconds behind the Dakar Duo.
Riding the No. 1x Honda CRF450X, Justin Morgan, 27, and his four-rider team raced to the overall motorcycle victory for his eighth consecutive overall motorcycle win in the SCORE World Desert Championship.
The trio crossed the finish line in 17:34:28 with an average speed of 45.55 mph.
Morgan split the riding with Shane Esposito, Max Eddy Jr. and David Kamo.
Morgan started and rode to race mile 35. Shane Esposito rode from race mile 35 to race mile 200. Eddy rode from race mile 200 to race mile 350. Kamo rode from race mile 350 to race mile 540 and Morgan rode again the final 260 miles to the finish line.
For Morgan it was his second overall win in the SCORE Baja 1,000 while it was also the second for Esposito, third for Eddy and fourth for Kamo.
Starting first among the motorcycles and never relinquishing the physical lead, the No. 1x team held off the field with Mexico’s Santiago Creel and his No. 66x team finishing second overall among the motorcycles in the elapsed time race.
Riding on KTM motorcycles, as rider of record, Creel’s teams also won the Pro Moto Limited class and were also second in Pro Moto 30.
The victory was also the 29th overall motorcycle win in this legendary race for American Honda.
Sixth overall and winning the Trophy Truck Spec class was A.J. Jones, while Rolf Helland was ninth overall and the winner in the SCORE TT Legend division.
Second generation SCORE desert racer and NASCAR veteran Brendan Gaughan captured the unlimited Class 1 win by more than an hour while finishing 20th overall among four-wheel vehicles. Sharing the driving duties with Gaughan where two other desert racing veterans in R.J. Anderson and Buddy Feldkamp.
Defeating 27 starters in his class and 48 total UTVs to win the overall UTV win title in this year’s race was Justin Lambert. He also won his Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class.
Jason Truby won for the third time in four SCORE events this year by capturing the Pro Moto 40 division. Winning the Pro Moto Ironman class over a field of 15 solo riders was Arthur Babcock.
Among the other class winner in 4-wheel vehicle classes were: Casey Currie (Hammer Truck Unlimited), Darren Skilton (SCG Boot-Chevy), Chase Warren (Class 10), Greg Sullivan (Class 5), J. David Ruvalcaba (Class 1/2-1600), Jim Butler (SCORE Lites), Kristen Matlock (Pro UTV NA), Herman Johnson (Pro UTV Unlimited), Lance Clifford (Baja Challenge), Mike Cafro (Pro UTV Stock), Gerardo Novelo (Class 7SX), Ruben Garcia (Class 5-1600) and Dennis Hollenbeck (Class 11).
Among the other motorcycle class winners were: Francisco Septien (Pro Moto 30) and Jeff Kaplan (Pro Moto 50).
Winning the Pro Quad class for the second straight race was Adolfo Arellano.
This year’s Baja 1,000 included 31 Sportsman racers competing in six classes. The fastest Sportsman class winners were Carlos Silva (SPT M/C), Danny Magdalena (SPT Quad) and Oscar Ramirez (SPT UTV Stock).