Shining Moments–2021 SCORE World Desert Championship –

Shining Moments–2021 SCORE World Desert Championship

January 4, 2022

Another year to remember

Stunning, Superlative ‘Shining Moments’ all reflect
Four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship


Resiliency, dedication, determination, organization, intestinal fortitude, teamwork
Intense competition, creativity and camaraderie helped SCORE forge trail in 2021

    ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico—Rapidly recovering from the pandemic-abbreviated two-race 2020 season, the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship produced many lasting memories and shining moments that are clearly a testimony to the resilience, dedication, determination and intestinal fortitude of people everywhere. They all add to the growing legacy of SCORE International, which completed its 48th year as the World’s Foremost Racing Organization in 2021.
Still working under the lingering issues of the pandemic, the 2021 SCORE racing season will remain a tribute to the cooperative effort to work within the BioSecurity protocols demanded by the horrible virus and still afford the continuing opportunity for the extremely positive benefits of organization, teamwork, competition, creativity and camaraderie that are key elements of motorsports, albeit life, worldwide.

Television coverage of the pandemic-challenged four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship concludes on ESPN2 on Sunday (Jan. 9) with the premier of multiple airings of the BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
     The one-hour special show featuring the Granddaddy of all Desert Races will be broadcast on the World of X Games show on ESPN2. It is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET, but check local listings to confirm the time in your area.

What SCORE did in working through all of the issues involved with another pandemic year to be able to produce extremely well its normal four events while diligently working through the necessary elements involved with producing these major special events in Mexico was nothing short of phenomenal.
The success of the 2021 season was significantly enhanced by all of the governmental agencies and police groups that provided significant direction and assistance to SCORE.
Leading and overseeing all of the amazing efforts by the SCORE staff were Jose A. Grijalva, SCORE President/Race Director and Juan Tintos Funcke, SCORE General Manager.
Included in the primary group assisting Grijalva and Funcke with myriad details were SCORE Administrator Marco Durazo; SCORE Marketing and Sales Director Jim Ryan; SCORE Media Operations Director Dominic Clark; SCORE Assistant Race Director Rodolfo Fernandez Alcantara; SCORE Registration/Member Services Coordinator Eduardo Kawanishi; SCORE Contingency Vendor/Mexico Registration Director, Jacky Rocha; SCORE Course Personnel Director Hector Ponce and SCORE Logistics Director David Duenas. And special props to Audi Garcia who retired for health reasons just prior to the 2021 SCORE Baja 1000 after several years of dedicated service as SCORE Registration/Membership Services Director.
Also part of the SCORE ‘A Team’ this year that helped organize, plan and then implement the Protocol and Rescue Plan were Miguel Ceballos of Cruz Roja Mexicana and Rigoberto Loyoza of BRL (Baja Rescue Logistics).
Without the commitment and diligent work of this SCORE core group, there would not have been a 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship at all.
“There was a silver lining to the continuing pandemic tragedy in 2021 and one of them was how our SCORE staff stepped up, rallied together with the full cooperation and complete assistance from the Mexican government to create a platform that would allow us to hold all four of the prestigious events of the SCORE World Desert Championship in a safe and successful way,” stated Grijalva. “We can’t thank our dedicated staff, most of whom are volunteers, for all of their hard work, energy and cooperative spirit.”
“We also want to sincerely thank the racers and their crews who gallantly journeyed to Baja and whose undying efforts were displayed in four of the most amazing races SCORE has ever held. And they were all held again in the most unusual circumstances ever.”
At the culmination of the 48th season of the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the top five final overall point leaders were separated by just 27 total points. All SCORE races were held in Baja California for the sixth consecutive year.
Continuing under the continuing effects of the pandemic, SCORE was able to produce significant shining moments at all four 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship events.
Starting the season with the return of the SCORE San Felipe 250, presented by Ford, after a one-year absence because of the pandemic, Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies was the overall winner, leading a field of 269 official starters with racers from 27 U.S. States, host Mexico and 11 total countries.  The race started and finished for the first time at Eldorado Ranch (with no spectators) on the outskirts of San Felipe, Mexico on April 17-18. The challenging course was 280.2 miles and there were an amazing 72.49 percent finishers (195).
With 240 official starters with racers from 24 U.S. States, host Mexico and seven total countries, the BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, was held with no spectators allowed in the start/finish line compound on the outskirts of Ensenada, Mexico. Ageless Hall of Famer Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif. won the overall of the June 12-13 race. The rugged course was 466.00 miles and 60.83 percent were official finishers (146).
Returning to the winner’s circle for the second time in 2021 Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies was the overall winner, leading a field of 193 starters from 23 U.S. States, host Mexico and 10 total countries for the second SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels. The race started and finished with no spectators allowed in the s/f compound on the outskirts of Ensenada on Sept. 18-19. The exciting 400-mile race course saw 151 finishers, a superlative 78.24 percent.
Starting in Ensenada, Baja California, without spectators and finishing in La Paz, Baja California Sur with spectators allowed following health protocols, there were 299 official starters with racers from 35 U.S. States, the U.S. Territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, host Mexico and 17 total countries for the BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
The team of Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren and San Diego’s Luke McMillin teamed up in McMillin’s AWD SCORE Trophy Truck to capture the overall victory. With the second longest race-course in SCORE history finishing in La Paz at 1,226.35 miles, an astounding 68.94 percent of the rugged racers were finishers (206 total).
SCORE point regulations for 2021 had all four races counting for final points toward season point championships. Racers were allowed one substitute driver for the season but the driver/rider of record had to either start or finish the season-ending SCORE Baja 1000.
SCORE points are calculated on a set amount of start points and finish points for each race along with a variable amount for placement points for finishers based on the number of starters within each class.
Climbing the ladder race-by-race, noted Northern California racer Phil Blurton enjoyed his first season competing full-time in SCORE by winning the SCORE Overall, SCORE UTV overall and Pro UTV FI class point championships in the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship.
Starting cautiously with a fourth place in class in the season opener, Burton, of Auburn, Calif. and his driving teammate Beau Judge, Rockland, Calif., finished in second place in each of the next two races and culminated their championship campaign by winning their class in the season-ending legendary SCORE Baja 1000 to earn their season crowns.
Blurton, 35, and Judge, 44, may have been rookies in the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship, but they have been honing their UTV driving skills competitively for over four years before their big splash in this year’s SCORE series.
Finishing his rookie season in SCORE racing, four-time UTV World Champion Blurton, a second-generation SCORE desert racer, was the driver of record in winning his first SCORE Baja 1000 title and his first overall UTV race win over 62 starters in four UTV classes while winning the Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class. He was timed over the formidable 1226.35-mile race course in 26 hours, 58 minutes and 57 seconds in his No. 2944 Can-Am X3. Blurton drove from the start to race-mile 430, Judge drove from race mile 430 to rm 1000 and Blurton got back behind the wheel to drive the final 226 miles.
In the legendary SCORE Baja 1000, Blurton had a victory margin in his class that had 29 starters of just under 41 minutes.
In their championship season, Blurton/Judge finished fourth in their class in the SCORE San Felipe 250 in April, and second in both the SCORE Baja 500 in June and SCORE Baja 400 in September to stay close in the hunt before pulling off their stunning championship victory in the SCORE Baja 1000.
Celebrating its 28th season as the marquee racing division in the sport, winning the season championship in SCORE Trophy Truck for high-tech, 1000-horsepower unlimited custom trucks was Las Vegas’ legendary Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren. He also ended up fifth in the 2021 overall point standings.
In a race full of ‘SCORE Super Teams’, admired as the GOAT in desert racing, MacCachren was driver of record for San Diego’s budding youthful super star Luke McMillin as the pair rose above the rest in a field of 299 starters to win the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck title in the iconic season-ending BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts in November.
Starting second physically on the road in the elapsed time race and splitting the driving in McMillin’s Big Blue M racing machine all-wheel drive 4 Wheel Parts/BFGoodrich Tires No. 11 Chevy Silverado (built by Mason Motorsports), the dynamic duo patiently worked their way to the front of the pack and finished the beautifully bodacious 1,226.35-mile race down Mexico’s majestic Baja peninsula in a stunning time of 20 hours, 45 minutes and 59 seconds with an astonishing average speed of 59.05 miles per hour. MacCachren drove the first 630 miles and McMillin the final 596 miles.
One of several ‘Super Teams’ competing in this race primarily because of the length of the course, Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee MacCachren, 56, stabled his aging two-wheel drive thoroughbred when invited to join the Big Blue M race team for this historic race and drive Luke McMillin’s AWD Chevy Silverado built by Mason Motorsports.
Using Luke McMillin’s No. 1 SCORE Trophy Truck, the McMillin family decided to give the popular ‘Mac Attack’ a shot at winning another SCORE Trophy Truck season point championship. MacCachren entered the race just two points behind Larry Roeseler so the McMillins graciously allowed MacCachren to be the driver of record and run MacCachren’s No. 11 on the No. 1 truck of the McMillins.
With a SCORE-record 18 career SCORE Trophy Truck individual race wins, MacCachren, who had 2021 race finishes of sixth, fifth and third entering the season finale, now has record-tying four career SCORE Trophy Truck season point championships (1994, 2007, 2018, 2021). He joins fellow Las Vegas desert racers Ed Herbst/Tim Herbst (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003) and B.J. Baldwin (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013) as the only four-time SCORE Trophy Truck season point champions.
Between Blurton in first and MacCachren in fifth, the other final overall top five overall point leaders were Trophy Truck Spec point champion Jason McNeil in second, and Pro UTV FI competitors Austin Weiland and Brandon Schueler. Ironically, Rob MacCachren’s 19-year old son Cayden MacCachren, a SCORE rookie racer, was the second driver for Schueler, finishing one position higher than his famous father in the 2021 SCORE overall point standings.
Winning his brutally tough Pro Moto Ironman class for solo riders for the second straight season, Bolivia’s Juan Carlos Salvatierra also earned the 2021 SCORE Overall Motorcycle point championship for the second straight year on his No. 725x KTM 450XC-F motorcycle. Overall, he rode solo on two wheels for 2366.55 total miles during the four-race season. After finishing second in the season opener in San Felipe, Salvatierra roared through the field to win his class in the final three races of the year.
Salvatierra, 40, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, has raced nine years in the Dakar Rally, also mountain biking and triathlons. Considered the most important athlete in the history of Bolivia, in 2011, Salvatierra became the first athlete from Bolivia to race in the Dakar Rally. He is also a nine-time Bolivian National Motocross champion.
He capped his incredible season by riding solo on his No. 725x motorcycle in the 54th SCORE Baja 1000 to a winning tedious time of 34 hours, 39 minutes, 13 seconds over the brutally-tough 1226.35-mile race course.
With back-to-back class wins sandwiched between a sixth place to start the season and another sixth place to cap the season, SoCal’s veteran Jason McNeil won not only his Trophy Truck Spec class, but also captured the SCORE Overall Truck point title of the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship.
McNeil, 43, of El Cajon, Calif., is a veteran SCORE racer, and his FiberwerX team saw McNeil drive his No. 234 Geiser-Chevy solo to victory in both the SCORE Baja 500 and the SCORE Baja 400 in 2021.
Ethan Hagle, 29, Somis, Calif. and his brother Ben Hagle, 32, Somis, Calif., (Class 10, No. 1046 Alumi Craft-Chevy) paired up for driving duties and won the last two races of the year (SCORE Baja 400 and SCORE Baja 1000) to win their class and finish 10th in the 2021 SCORE Overall point standings. The also were crowned as the 2021 SCORE Overall Open-Wheel point champions as well with their season point total.
And, like Blurton, it was the rookie season in SCORE racing for second-generation SCORE racer Ethan Hagle.
With help from his co-driving father Brian, Cody Parkhouse, 34, Long Beach, Calif., earned his fourth career unlimited Class 1 point title in the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship.
Cody Parkhouse, who won his first three titles in 2012, 2013 and 2020, split the driving this year with his father in their No. 100 Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car.
The son/father duo won their class in this year’s SCORE Baja 400 and overcame a rare did not finish in the SCORE Baja 500 with a second-place finish in the season finale to earn their title the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship. They also finished 21st in overall points for the season.
SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee racing division in the entire sport of desert racing, had a total of 44 different trucks compete in this year’s race series.
While MacCachren teamed with Luke McMillin to capture the 2021 SCORE Trophy Truck season point crown, just three points separated the second and third place finishers in the final tally.
Finishing second in class was Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, Mexicali, Mexico in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor (Mason-built) and third was venerable Larry Roeseler, 64, Boulevard, Calif. in the No. 43 Baja Jerky Toyota Tundra (ID), who won this year’s SCORE Baja 500 and finished eighth in the season-ending SCORE Baja 1000. ‘Mr. Baja’ was a solo driver for the entire season.
Fourth in class was Alan Ampudia, Ensenada, Mexico in the No. 10 Papas Y Beer Racing Ford Raptor (ID), fifth was Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif./Bobby Pecoy, Anaheim, Calif., in the No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Ford Raptor (Geiser) and finishing tied for sixth in the final points were Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (Santa Ana, Calif.), in the No. 77 Speed Energy Chevy Silverado (R. Gordon) and Chris Miller, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. in the No. 40 Cantina Racing Chevy Silverado (Mason).
With victories in both the SCORE San Felipe 250 and the SCORE Baja 400 along with a pair of DNFs, finishing eighth was Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas in the No. 7 Red Bull Menzies Motorsports Ford Raptor (Mason) while ninth was Jax Redline, Amarillo, Texas in the No. 22 Chevy R-2 (Geiser) and 10th in the final 2021 SCORE Trophy Truck season points was Dan McMillin, San Diego/Justin B. Smith, Las Vegas, in the No. 23 4 Wheel Parts Chevy 1500 (Mason).
With four victories in the 2021 SCORE World Championship season, undefeated champions in their respective classes are five rugged SCORE racers: Rolf Helland, 62, Morris, Ill./Rick D. Johnson, 55, Barstow, Calif. (SCORE TT Legend, No. 37L Ford Raptor), Mike Cafro, 51, Fallbrook, Calif. (Pro UTV Stock, No. 3956 Polaris RZR Turbo S), Justin Elenburg, Mesa, Ariz. (Pro UTV Open, No. 1870 Can-Am X3), Ryan Liebelt, Reedley, Calif. (Pro Moto 40, No. 408x, Yamaha WR450F) and Giovanni Spinali, El Cajon, Calif. (Pro Moto 50, No. 510x Yamaha YZ450FX).
Including Blurton in Pro UTV FI, MacCachren in SCORE Trophy Truck, McNeil in Trophy Truck Spec, Parkhouse in Class 1 and Hagle in Class 10, a total of 10 classes have at least one racer in the final top 29 SCORE Overall 4-wheel point standings after the four-race 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship.
The classes among the top 29 2021 final point leaders are Pro UTV FI (6), Trophy Truck Spec (5), Class 10 (5), SCORE Trophy Truck (5), Pro UTV NA (2), Pro UTV Stock (2), Class 1/2-1600 (2) and Class 1, Pro UTV Open and Class 7SX with one each.
Besides Pro UTV FI, TT Spec, SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1, the other 2021 SCORE class point champions in the top 29 in the 2021 SCORE Overall final points are Ethan Hagle in Class 10, Mike Cafro in Pro UTV Stock, Kaden Wells in Pro UTV NA, Justin Elenburg in Pro UTV Open, Rolf Helland in SCORE TT Legend and Kevin A. Sanchez in Class 1/2-1600.
All undefeated in winning their respective classes this season, Cafro (Pro UTV Stock) is 12th in the final overall season points, Elenburg, (Pro UTV Open) is 18th and Helland (SCORE TT Legend Class (drivers over 50 years of age) is 21st in the final overall 2021 season points.
Wells, 23, Hurricane, Utah (Pro UTV NA, No. 1995 Polaris RZR XP1000) won his class and was 17th in final points. Winning his class point title for the third time in four years, Wells had all podium class finishes, two first places, one second and one third place this season.
Sanchez, 26, Ensenada, Mexico/Fernie Padilla, Las Vegas (Class 1/2-1600, No. 1621 Alfa-VW) won two races and finished second in class in the other two to finish 23rd in the final 2021 overall points.
Both undefeated with four class wins each in 2021 to earn their respective age-group motorcycle class championship were Ryan Liebelt and Giovanni Spinali.
Liebelt, 41, Reedley, Calif., won the Pro Moto 40 (riders over 40 years of age) class on his No. 408x Yamaha WR450F. Sharing riding duties with Liebelt have been James Justin Shultz, Lake Forest, Calif./Steve Tichner, Reno, Nev./Jason Trubey, Henderson, Nev./Brandon Wright, Hesperia, Calif./Shane Esposito, Temecula, Calif.
Spinali, 55, El Cajon, Calif., topped Pro Moto 50 (riders over 50 years of age) class on his No. 510x Yamaha YZ450X. His primary co-riders this season were John Griffin, 51, Julian, Calif., Jim O’Neal, 75, Santa Barbara, Calif. and Earl Roberts, La Jolla, Calif.
Winning three out of four 2021 SCORE Baja races to win their respective class point titles were Justin Park, Encinitas, Calif. (Class 7F, No. 714F Ford Ranger), Armando Duron, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 7SX No. 758 Ford Ranger, Greg Bardonnex, Vista, Calif. (Pro Moto 30, No. 308x, Yamaha WR450F), Juan Carlos Salvatiera, Bolivia (Pro Moto Ironman, No. 725x KTM 450XC-F) and Scott McIntosh, 61, Davie, Fla., (Pro Moto 60, No. 628x Honda CRF450X).
Among the other 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship class point champions are Doug Satterfield, 44, San Diego, (SCORE Lites, No. 1229 Meco-VW), Greg Sullivan, Helena, Mont. (Class 5, No. 508 Penhall-Chevy), David Heredia, Hacienda Heights, Calif., (Class 5-1600, No. 571 1600cc VW), Edward Muncey, 50, San Diego (Baja Challenge, No. BC4 BTC-Subaru), Alex Gonzales, 35, Palm Desert, Calif., Mexico (Class 11, No. 1196 VW Sedan), Christopher Gil, Buelton, Calif. (Pro Moto Limited, No. 109x Honda CRF450X and Derek Ausserbauer, 28, Solvang, Calif./Colton Udall, 34, San Clemente, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited, No. 5x Honda CRF450X).
Ausserbauer had a particular exciting season, starting with a solo ride to victory in the SCORE San Felipe 250 followed by three more podiums including a second place in the SCORE Baja 1000 to secure his first SCORE season point championship and sixth for Udall.
While everyone else was capturing their first, 17 of the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship class season point champs have now won at least two season titles in their respective careers.
Leading this austere group of SCORE champions is age-group motorcycle racer Jim O’Neal who now has a SCORE-record 23 season class point titles. Dan Chamlee continues to be second all-time behind O’Neal with 17 career season class point crowns, Rob MacCachren won his 10th all-time SCORE season point championship in 2021 (including four in SCORE Trophy Truck) and Francisco Septien now has earned nine titles. Colton Udall earned his sixth crown in 2021.
Rick D. Johnson now has five career class titles and Luke McMillin has earned his fourth crown as has Cody Parkhouse, Earl Roberts and Giovanni Spinali.
With three championships each now are Jason Trubey and Kaden Wells while with two each are Greg Bardonnex, Shane Esposito, Edward Muncey, Justin Park and Juan Carlos Salvatierra.
Bardonnex and Esposito were both part of two title-winning teams this season while Muncey, Park and Salvatierra added their second consecutive crowns.
The 2021 Sportsman motorcycle point champion with one race win, two seconds and a 10th place was the team led by Scott Borden, 49, Steamboat Springs, Colo., riding his No. 201x Yamaha YZ450F.
Here are the dates for the four-race 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship which will be held exclusively in Baja California, Mexico for the seventh consecutive year:

  • 35th SCORE San Felipe 250—

March 29-April 3, San Felipe, Mexico

  • BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—

June 1-5, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

  • 3rd SCORE Baja 400—

September 13-18, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

  • BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—

November 15-20, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
For the third straight year, the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship races are airing on the ESPN family of networks. The four-races will air as specials on the World of X Games program on ESPN2. The BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. (PT) on January 9, 2022. Check local listings for exact time.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalists Sam Posey and Jack Arute.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International. The shows are co-produced by SCORE International and SoCal’s award-winning BCII TV.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Optima Batteries-Official Batteries, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino and PCI Race Radios.
SCORE Official Partners: The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, Ensenada Hotel and Motel Association, Ensenada Tourism Marketing Committee and Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at