Andy McMillin Scores Four-Wheeled Baja 500 Win; Event Tallies 66.4-Percent Finish Rate
When it comes to competitive motor racing in the Baja California peninsula, you can always bet on a few sure things, such as dusty conditions, a bright sun, and attrition. The annual Baja 500 was held this past weekend and a young racer from a famous off-roading family has claimed first among the four-wheeled competition.
The winner, Andy McMillin, finished the Baja 500 with a time of 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 13 seconds, which was seven minutes ahead of the next closest trophy truck. Further down the line, uncle Mark took his own trophy truck to a ninth-place class finish while cousins Daniel and Luke crossed the finish for the Class 1 Unlimited and Class 1/2-1600, respectively. Last year, the father-and-son team of Scott and Andy finished first among all four-wheelers in the 42nd-annual Baja 1000.
Elsewhere in the field, racer Robbie Pierce had an interesting incident involving his co-driver and a cholla cactus. After replacing a power steering belt at race mile 22, Pierce's co-driver, "Turbo Tom" Geviss got pegged with some cactus and was forced to leave the truck at race mile 187. Pierce continued the race but experienced a throttle position sensor failure, causing the engine to run extremely rich. As a result of the spent fuel cell, Pierce fell from his fifth position and eventually finished 16th in class after coming to a stop just eight miles from the finish.
Longtime professional off-roader Rob MacCachren finished 22nd among the classified Trophy Trucks with a time of 14 hours, 5 minutes, and 3 seconds. MacCachren's biggest problem came at race mile 185, when he needed to replace the transmission in his No. 20 Jimco-built truck.
Representing the ladies in Class 6 was defending champion Heidi Steele. With co-driver Rene Brugger, Steele pushed her desert-prepped Ford Ranger to a second-place finish with a time of 13 hours, 9 minutes, and 10 seconds. The pair also achieved second in the 2009 event.
Classes 2, 11, and 17 combined to send eight starters but none completed the full 438.8-mile race distance. This year's Baja 500 witnessed 192 finishes out of 289 starters for a 66.4-percent finish rate.
Source: SCORE International, MasterCraft Racing, BFGoodrich Tires
Photos by ROMM, Inc.