The 2022 SCORE International Baja 400 proved to be a treacherous and unforgiving 400-mile course through the heart of Baja, California, Mexico. Just a week before, Hurricane Kay passed through, leaving a substantial amount of damage to the course. But thanks to the hard work and countless hours from both locals and SCORE, the repairs were made, and the race was on. When the 200 racers took to the start, they began a race not only against themselves but a race against the terrain of Baja, which can be the hardest part of it all. But in the end, team Baja Designs would sweep the podium, with Bryce Menzies finishing overall, followed by Luke McMillin and Dan McMillin rounding out third place. Baja Designs would also take victory in Class 1, Class 10, Class 12, UTV, Class 3, and Moto.
The Baja 400 is a unique race; it fits in the SCORE season between the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000; while it isn’t a particularly short race, it isn’t long either. But what is most important about this race for the top classes is that the finishing result solidifies your starting position at the Baja 1000. Needless to say, the pressure was on for many in the hunt for the championship.
After qualifying first, Luke would set the pace for the Baja 400 with clean air in front of him, but it wasn’t long until Bryce was able to hunt him down and pass him after he experienced his first flat. Bryce maintained a steady lead until he reached a more technical part of the course at Uruapan, but the prerunning he did before the race really paid off. Staying true through the course holding his line, he took the overall win with a time of 7 hours and 59 minutes with an average speed of 49.29 MPH. Luke would finish second just shy of 3 minutes from him, now leading in the SCORE championship points. His brother Dan McMillin rounded out the podium in Trophy Truck.
Cody Parkhouse ran a smart race resulting in a first-place finish in class 1 buggy.
Brian Parkhouse: “This was an awesome course. Jose (Grijalva, SCORE’s President and Race Director) did a great job laying this course out. It was very technical. There was a lot of new stuff. It was cool how much new stuff there was. The course dried out a lot from last week. It is time to go celebrate.” – Race Dezert
In Class 10 Stan Porter would finish first physically but after corrected time and a penalty the first place was given to Jose David Ruvalcaba giving him 6 minutes in front of Stan.
Baja Design’s CEO Trent Kirby is in the hunt for the UTV Pro Stock SCORE championship with Cornwell Racing. Starting the race out strong, they had gained over an hour of a lead until a mechanical failure of a steering rack. After spending a few hours attempting to mend the UTV, they limped the car for a second-place finish. Fortunately, a finish was all they needed to lead the SCORE Championship in points.
One of the most competitive classes in SCORE is UTV Pro Turbo, and with 23 entries, Austin Weiland would take the overall in UTV, followed by Baja Designs team members Rodrigo Ampudia and Wes Miller.
Kaden Wells would take victory in Pro UTV NA, being the fourth fastest UTV across the finish line.
Kristen Matlock took home a third-place finish in the Pro UTV Open class equipped with our all-new Polaris Pro R Baja Designs lighting kit.
In class 12 known as “SCORE Lites” it would be Miguel Cortez who would finish first in class with a time of 12 hours and 48 minutes.
Our friends from Baja Bound Pro Moto 40 team of 400x bike with Ryan Liebelt, Justin Shultz, and Jason Tureby would take their Yamaha to a 1st place class finish. The 300x team Greg Bardonnex, Shane Schorno, and Andrew Puckett would bring their bike home 2nd in class.
As the dust settles on another successful race from SCORE International, the sights are now set on the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. Until then, we will be working very closely with our racers testing in the desert to ensure they will have an optimal lighting package for racing 800+ miles in Baja for a race mostly raced at night.