Alan Ampudia bested the nearly three dozen Trophy Trucks on hand for the 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000 presented by 4 Wheel Parts, the final round of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship and premier desert race in North America. Ampudia’s official time across the finish line was 16:10:35.879, just over 10 minutes ahead of Jesse Jones’ truck shared by Toby Price and Nasser Al-Attiyah in second and Luke McMillin in third.
17 of the 28 Trophy Trucks entered made it to the finish line, plus four of the six Trophy Truck Legends vehicles that contested the race; Rolf Helland won the Legends class over Clyde Stacy by just three minutes. Brendan Gaughan topped the three Class 1 vehicles that completed the grueling 800-mile event, while AJ Jones kept an exciting Trophy Truck Spec championship battle interesting by beating Sara Price’s ironwoman effort to the finish line.
In Pro UTV Forced Induction, Justin Lambert topped defending champion Wayne Matlock by 19 minutes, with Matt Burroughs completing the podium. Kristen Matlock beat Kaden Wells in Pro UTV Normally Aspirated, while Herman Johnson scored the Pro UTV Unlimited victory.
A rain delay on Friday led to drastic course changes and a later start to the event, and both caused havoc for many of the biggest teams in the sport. Marquee names that failed to finish the event included the duo of Cameron Steele and Ricky Johnson, BJ Baldwin, and Tavo Vildosola in Trophy Truck; incoming points leader Brad Wilson and Rhys Millen in Class 1; former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button in Trophy Truck Spec; and Jeff Proctor and Alexander Rossi in Class 7. Rossi suffered a spectacular rollover in the early stages of the race, but was unhurt and able to continue driving for more than 100 miles after the incident.
The 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship kicks off with March 25-29’s San Felipe 250, the 34th edition of the current SCORE season opener. Next year’s Baja 1000 will take place on November 16-21 and will trade this year’s loop format for a point-to-point race that also kicks off in Ensenada, but ends in La Paz.