ENSENADA, Mexico — Luke McMillin joined forces with Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famer Larry Roeseler to etch their names afresh in the lasting legacy of the BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1,000 by capturing the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory in the iconic event.
The pair defeated a field of 185 starters as well as outlasting the rugged 898.40-mile race course that was the longest in the history of SCORE long loop races.
When the final checkered flag waved, 185 vehicles left the starting line early Friday morning in the elapsed time race. When the course officially closed at 3:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, there were 111 official finishers for a 60 percent finishing percentage.
The results were made official following complete data tracking review of the devices on each vehicle in the event early on Sunday.
A third-generation desert racer from San Diego, McMillin, 27, and veteran Roeseler, 63, worked through the pack of lead SCORE Trophy Trucks that included Daniel McMillin, brothers Alan and Aaron Ampudia and all-time winningest SCORE Trophy Truck driver Rob MacCachren to earn the victory.
McMillin and Roeseler drove their No. 83 Mark Racing Racer-built Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck to a penalty-free winning time of 19 hours, 10 minutes and 25 seconds with an average speed of 46.86 mph.
“It was a great day. Larry (Roeseler) did an amazing job, he just kept it in line and had no downtime, which is exactly what you need to do in the first half of the SCORE Baja 1,000,” said Luke McMillin. “No one knows it more than Larry, he’s won this thing 14 times now. He brought me a clean truck, we were third and we were right up there with the top leaders when I got in.”
Luke’s brother Daniel, who won this year’s SCORE Baja 500, fell out of the race past halfway because of mechanical issues. Mexico’s Ampudia brothers, who won last year’s SCORE Baja 1,000, were slowed by a flat tire midway through the grueling race. MacCachren ended up second while the Ampudia brothers finished sixth in class.
Luke McMillin and Roeseler broke up the midway cluster of trucks and gradually got the breathing room needed to earn the victory on the brutally rough Baja race course. After penalties were assessed by SCORE adjusting the finishing times of the majority all finishers, Luke McMillin and Roeseler earned the victory margin of 11 minutes, five seconds over MacCachren.
Roeseler, who earned his race-record 14th career SCORE Baja 1,000 overall race victory, started the race and drove to race-mile 430 where Luke McMillin got behind the wheel and powered to the finish line on the Eastern outskirts of Ensenada. The victory is Luke McMillin’s first overall win in the Baja 1,000.
As a family, the McMillins now have earned a race-record 13 overall victories in the SCORE Baja 1,000.
Bryce Menzies and Andy McMillin completed the podium.
Continuing their winning ways individually and as a team, Mark Samuels and his teammates Justin Morgan and Justin Jones who won their 12th consecutive overall motorcycle title in a SCORE race on their No. 1x Slam Life Racing Honda CRF450X.
Winning their 10th straight race as a team in the SCORE World Desert Championship, the team finished the course in a penalty-free time of 20:50:30 with an average speed of 43.11 mph.
Seventh overall and winning the Trophy Truck Spec class was Jeff Bader. Ninth overall was Class 1 winner Cody Parkhouse.
Coming off of a three-year sabbatical from SCORE Baja racing, Francisco Arredondo, the 2017 SCORE overall and Pro Moto Unlimited season point champion, moved to a four-wheel class and give Honda its first overall UTV title over 44 starters in four classes while winning the Pro UTV NA (Naturally Aspirated) class.
Earning his first victory in the SCORE TT Legend Class was Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Robbie Pierce. Pierce, owner of the iconic Jimco Racing Products, teamed with Ricky Johnson and Barry Karaka for the win in the No. 20L Jimco-built Chevy Silverado.
Among the other class winners in this year’s epic event were: Jeremy Davis (Class 10, No. 1085 Jimco-Chevy), Wes Miller (Pro UTV FI, No. 2989 Polaris RZR XP Turbo), Rhys Millen (New Zealand) (Class 7, No. 727 RMR-Ford), Eli Yee (Class 1/2-1600, No. 1616 Kreger-VW), Carolina Sanchez (Pro UTV Stock, No. 3913 Can-Am X3), Paul Horschel (Hammer Truck Unlimited, No. 4419 Custom-Chevy), Miguel Pabloff (Class 5, No. 507 Penhall-Chevy), Tomas Fernandez (Class 5/1600, No. 555 VW Baja Bug), Justin Park (Class 7F, No. 714F Ford Ranger), Darren Skilton (Class 2, No. 2021 SCG Baja Boot-Chevy) and Marc Van Tassell (Stock Full, No. 8155, Toyota Land Cruiser).