SCORE Legends! | Bryce Menzies

Bryce also briefly raced a class 10 car in the desert before jumping into his Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck in 2010. He followed his Trophy Truck success in 2011 with another Baja 500 victory in 2012.

Bryce is swarmed with fans wherever he goes. The team prints up 10 thousand stickers before the race to hand out.

Bryce Menzies

Back to Back, Plus One, SCORE Baja 500 Overall Wins

By Mike Ingalsbee. Photos by GetSomePhoto and Jack Wright/
Excerpted from SCORE's "Racing Into History - Vol.1 & Vol. 2"

Bryce Menzies is an incredibly versatile racer who has amassed quite a record including 3 Baja 500 victories. Two of his wins came back to back. He burst onto the scene in 2010 after purchasing a Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck. He competed in only a couple offroad races that first year, one of which was the Baja 500. He would be back in 2011 for the entire SCORE International Off-Road Racing Series season where he won his first Baja 500, earned the Rookie of the Year title, and won the Trophy Truck points championship; all in that same season.  2011 was a huge year for Menzies in the dirt. In addition to his first Baja 500 win, and SCORE titles, he also won his first Pro-2 championship racing short course. He would go on to win TORC series short course championships in 2012, and 2013 also.

Bryce Menzies got his start in the dirt like a lot of kids, riding motorcycles in the desert. His casual riding progressed into racing. Competing in motocross events, he earned his share of bumps and bruises. He realized he would never get to the top where he wanted to be racing motocross, so he jumped into a single buggy short course race car. His introduction to 4 wheeled racing would reveal a pattern that has followed him throughout his career. He was immediately competitive in a new racing discipline; winning a single buggy short course championship that first season. Every time he moved into a new type of racing, early success followed. The small, underpowered single buggies he raced rely on momentum to make passes, and win races. Many of the best offroad racers ever to have turned a wheel, started in similar cars. Understanding momentum makes you fast, even when you are behind the wheel of a 900 horsepower Trophy Truck. It makes you smooth, and helps take care of your equipment. All those are vital to having success in desert racing. 

Bryce also briefly raced a class 10 car in the desert before jumping into his Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck in 2010. He followed his Trophy Truck success in 2011 with another Baja 500 victory in 2012. Winning back to back at the 500 is no easy task, especially in your 2nd and 3rd attempt. Incredibly he was in position to win 3 straight in 2013, but disaster struck in the late stages of the race. He was in contention for the win with only 100 miles to go when he slid wide in a turn and ended up on his side in a ditch. Unable to get back upright until help arrived, he lost precious positions on the course. After locals found him, and pitched in to get him back on 4 wheels, he was able to finish the race, but back in 5th place. It was an amazing recovery, but a third straight win slipped through his hands. 2013 might have resulted in 3 straight wins, but offroad racing is so unpredictable, you can never dwell on should have, could have, or would have. In 2014, Bryce was right back on top with his 3rd win at the 500!

“I actually had a similar incident to 2013 when I won my first 500 in 2011,” says Bryce. “We were leading the race coming back into the wash when we hit a huge puddle. We were deluged with water, and the truck just shut off. I was freaking out because we were only one mile to the finish; going for my first win. I started going over the truck, and switched to the other battery. It worked, the truck fired right up, and everything worked fine. Winning the Baja 500 is so special, so challenging. In 2012 I really wanted to back up my first win with a second straight. We had a perfect race that year. We started first, and never got passed all day. Just to win one is such a feat. I love the Baja 1000 just as much as the 500, but we have not been able so far to win one. Going back to back at the 500 was one of my most special races, but it put a huge target on my back, and a lot more pressure on me to win.”

According to Bryce, the Baja 500 is so special because of the challenges that it provides. First off is the terrain. You always have in the back of your mind that the race is not as long as the Baja 1000, so you have to sprint, but it’s long enough so that you still have to be smart. There are wide open rally roads where you can go really fast. In the sandy washes you have to keep watch of all your temperatures; sometimes you need to back off. In the mountains it gets really narrow and it can be rocky. You have to be constantly adapting to the terrain. You can also have wide temperature swings. If you go through a water crossing at night, you can be freezing cold. Crossing the dry lake beds it can be well over 120 degrees. It challenges every aspect of a driver.

It also poses many problems for the crew. The course always has several areas where they just can’t get to you if you have a problem like in 2013 when we landed on our side. Since it goes up and over the mountains, once you pit on the San Felipe side, those crew members are lost from the equation. They can’t get back to the other side without going all the way around. Your crew is very important because it’s so competitive. Any little problem will take you out of contention for the win. Whoever has the least amount of troubles usually wins. That’s why we spend up to a month prerunning the course. It’s grueling, but you have to do your homework. Once I see the course it’s easy for me to remember, but it changes so much in the last couple weeks before the race. Sometimes my co-driver will call out a rock, and when you get to the corner the rock isn’t there, or it’s now in the middle of the course. 

The challenge is amazing, but that’s not all that keeps Bryce coming back to the 500. Prerunning is hard work, but it is also a lot of fun. You have time to stop for tacos, or to take in the sights along the way. The fans are always so excited to see the racers down there. Bryce is swarmed with fans wherever he goes. The team prints up 10 thousand stickers before the race to hand out. The fans are like another crew that jumps in to help when they can. No matter where you are, there will always be some fans nearby that come out of nowhere to help. Off-road racing in Baja is their sport. The fans love the drivers, and the drivers love the fans. 

Menzies brings a lot of talent to the 500 every year. In addition to his Baja credentials he has raced on the snow at the Red Bull frozen rush. The unique competition pits short course, and offroad racers against each other racing down a ski slope in the winter. In addition to the challenge of racing on snow, there are tight turns and big jumps, all influenced by gravity on the steep slope. Bryce’s driving skills, and ability to adapt quickly came into play once more. He won the Red Bull frozen rush back to back in 2015, and 2016 racing against the best of the best. Bryce has also competed in the Silk Rally, and at Dakar in vehicles specially built for rally racing. Bryce also dabbled in the Global Rallycross series as Travis Pastrana’s teammate. He was the first driver to run the table at the famous Crandon World Championships. He won Pro-2, Pro-4, and the AMSOIL Cup Crandon World Championship, all on the same day. While training for a world record jump in his Pro-2 truck, Menzies smashed the record with a 379.2 foot jump over a ghost town. The previous record was 332 feet. During another training jump, he crashed; totaling the truck and breaking his shoulder. He set the Guinness World Record, but was unable to perform the live event planned; a bittersweet result. In order to compete for the win at the Baja 500, it takes skill, planning, and the will to send it if necessary. Menzies has proven he can do it all. 

SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 50th Anniversary Books!

New books celebrating the SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 50th Anniversary. Racing into History Volumes 1 & 2

  • Pictorial Celebrations of Both Races
  • Capturing the Historic 50th Anniversary race weeks from set-up to the finish line.
  • Massive 416 page & 432 page Commemorative Hardbound Books listing all entrants and finishers.
  • Race History highlights of the SCORE Legends.
  • Historic Vehicle Overview.
  • Historical Reference with SCORE Baja 1000 & 500 statistics for the past 50 years.