47TH TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000
ou know when you gently drive your
street car onto gravel or grass, hear a
clunk, feel a nasty jolt and think, “Uh-oh…
what’s the damage?” Imagine those heart-sinking moments one thousand times
every hour, at anything up to 100mph,
and you’ll have some idea what it’s like to
race a production truck on the Baja 1000.
Which is why accepted standards of
mechanical sympathy must be ignored.
Participants know that the daddy of off-road races is naturally violent in a way not
conveyed by countless sexy, slo-mo videos.
Baja is crazy-brutal, fast and, aside from a
few miles of pavement, unrelenting.
Yet I knew it was a chance of a lifetime
to join off-road ace and six-time Baja 1000
racer Ryan Millen and his cool right-hand
man Mark Sasaki in the cockpit of the
production-based, Stock Full class Toyota
Tundra TRD Pro for one grueling section.
Driving duties for the 1,275-mile
adventure from Ensenada ( 80 miles south
of San Diego) down to La Paz, near the tip
of the Baja peninsula, were divided
between former freestyle motocross rider
Andy Bell, BMX Vert legend Jamie Bestwick,
my man Millen and Toyota’s Ted Moncure.
Moncure co-founded Long Beach Racers,
which would provide service and support
for the Tundra on its south-bound odyssey.
LBR’s SoCal near-neighbors, the famed
Herbst Smith Fabrication shop, prepped
the truck for its 30-plus hours of torture.
Ryan, Mark and myself were in for the
third and longest stint, which went from
A ridealong on the 47th
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
gave RACER a chance to
witness first-hand Toyota’s
Stock Full Class victory
with a production-based
Tundra TRD Pro truck.
Ryan Millen - a
smooth and fast
off-road racer. Also
very tolerant of the
ballast in the back
seat of his truck.
GOOD JOB, SIR
WORDS David Malsher
MAIN IMAGE Tony Di Zinno