Dec 2022

The Baja 1000 is widely known as the most grueling off-road race in the world, a race that quickly humbles some of the toughest drivers, and this year was no exception. The 55th SCORE International Baja 1000 went down not only as one of the toughest loop races of 828 grueling miles but acted as the ultimate proving ground for our lights. Luke McMillin would go on to win his 3rd Baja 1000 in a row with the help of legendary Rob MacChren, with his brother Dan McMillin and Josh Daniel finishing second just behind him. Larry Roseler would round out third place, driving completely solo the entire race. This effort from Luke would make for the fifth consecutive Baja 1000 overall win for Baja Designs. Continuing the domination Baja Designs took first place in almost every class at the Baja 1000, including UTV, Motorcycles, and limited classes such as Class 11.

The Baja 1000 is a race that is highly anticipated by many as the most important race of the year as it is not only the longest non stop off-road race in the world but has some of the most challenging terrain in Northern Baja California that can seem brutal no matter how many times you race it. One key factor that sets this race apart from other off-road races is that over 70% of the race takes place at night as we have used this race to put our products to the ultimate test. Racing is at the core of Baja Designs and is our testing platform for new technology. We have used Baja racing and our time testing in the desert to validate products before going to market. This is a method that we are proud of, but not one that we have made public over the years. Sharing glimpses of these special BDX lights with the public before launch is our way of finally bringing this practice into the public eye.

After a victory at the Baja 400, Red Bull Teammates Bryce Menzies and Andy McMillin would set the pace up front but ultimately suffered two transmission failures. The crowd-favorite team of Tavo Vildosola and Alan Ampudia caught fire at race mile 160. They got it running again but were eventually out. Everyone was OK, as was the incredible paint on the truck. But the McMillin brothers ran up front and held their position with Dan in the lead, but after suffering some brake issues, Luke passed him and held onto the lead. They would cross the finish line 45 minutes before Larry Roseler arrived.

In Trophy truck spec Elijah Kiger was second across the line but ran a clean race without penalties to take the win. The number 244 truck of Oliver Flemate started 22nd, but had climbed into third place by mile 430. They lost an hour after crashing, but never gave up and made it to the finish in fifth place.

In the Trophy truck Legends class, Gustavo Vildosola Sr. would finish in first place, taking 7th overall at the Baja 1000 followed by Mark Winkleman, taking third place. Mark even was running our legendary Baja Designs La Paz Sol Tek lights, a light we designed almost 20 years ago. It was awesome to see it still on a truck racing.

Class 10 has increasingly become one of the most popular classes with over 23 entries competition is intense. It was Rafael Aguirre Martinez and 1016 Hiram Duran who were nearly bumper to bumper for hundreds of miles. Jose David Ruvalcaba Adame and Roberto Romo were also in the mix. After dueling with each other and surviving Baja, it is 1016 Hiram Duran who broke the 20-hour mark with a time of 19:40:53.956 for the win. The second was 1064 Justin Buckley. Third place went to Jose David Ruvalcaba Adame, who ran penalty-free.

Austin Weiland asserted his dominance in UTV, a driver who has time and time again out-paced his competition, earning him a first-place finish in Pro UTV Turbo, followed by Phil Blurton for a second-place finish. In Pro UTV N/A it was Kayden Wells, Zach Sizelove, and Elias Hanna rounded out the podium.

Wayne Matlock had a good run in Pro UTV Open which landed him third place in class.

In Pro UTV Stock, it was Antonio Mendez who would end up first in class, followed by Antonio Lopez and Broc Kelly.

In the Hammer Truck Unlimited class, it was Cole Johnson who found himself in a battle against Baja; just finishing alone is an accomplishment in itself. Cesar Omar Iniguez found himself in a similar situation racing against Baja, earning him a first-place finish in class 5/1600.

For what is considered to be the most challenging class to race at the Baja 1000, a class that captures the heart and soul of Mexico is Class 11, known as a stock bug. Oliver Flemate, who started the race in Trophy Truck Spec, hopped out of his truck to pass it off to his teammate and then got in Class 11, to which they were able to bring the bug across the finish line for a first-place finish.


In 1/2 1600 Eli Yet would claim first place with a time of 25 hours and 59 minutes with Martin Rangel and Matt Willert in second and 3rd place.

The 7X team of Mark Samuels dominated most of the race out front and took the win. The gap back to second place was over an hour. The 3X team of Forrest Minchinton finished second. The 10x of Juan Carlos Salvatierra was third. This race solidified SLR Motorsports’ dominance in Baja, making it their 5th consecutive Baja 1000 overall victory. On the 7X team was accompanied by Baja legend Kendall Norman and Justin Morgan.

There is one racing class at the Baja 1000 reserved for the most intense individuals, and that would be the Motorcycle Ironman class. It would be the 77X Bike of Tanner Janesky who would cross the line first, followed by 739X Aaron Richardson and 750X Brandon Wright. Racing entirely alone with no rider change for the entire 828 miles is an impressive accomplishment regardless of the finished result. Tanner Janesky spent 23 hours and 55 minutes on his motorcycle.

The 325X Bike of Jano Montoya ran a clean race earning him fist place finish in the Pro Moto 30 class followed by 319X bike of David Smith.

The Baja Bound 400X Bike of Ryan Liebelt took first place in the Pro Moto 40 class, followed by the 441X bike of Arlirio Amado.

Pro Moto Limited class, it was 180X Fernando Beltran, who took the top spot, followed by 103X Giovanni Avulse and 111X Carlos Castillo.

552x Vance Kennedy would be the only bike to finish in the Pro Moto 50 class in 24 hours in 36 minutes. This would be a similar situation of the Pro Moto 60 class for the bike of 649X bike of Guy Laycraft. Finishing the Baja 1000 at the age of 60 is a win itself and should be celebrated as a human success story.

The 103A quad Rabago Dario would take first overall for quads in the Sportsman Quads class, followed by 111A Fidel Gonzalez and 105A Francisco Valle. In the Pro Quad class 31A, Hector Chavez took first place, followed by 7A Luis Ernesto Villafa and 1A Ricardo Villafa. Rounding out the Sportsman Moto class, it was 214X David Navarro, who took first place, followed by 201X Casey O Donnell 201X and 218X Christian Espinoza.

The 55th Baja 1000 will go down as the toughest Baja 1000 to date, and we are excited we can offer a product trusted by over 80% of racers. We are so proud of what our racers have accomplished this year. Next year the Baja 1000 will run in reverse from La Paz to Ensenada, and you can guarantee we will be down there to support our racers. Baja Designs has spent 30 years in Baja using behind-the-wheel driving as real world testing for our lights and will continue to do so for the next 30 years. As long as there is racing in Baja, we will be there.