The mud has settled down in Baja, and the 2019 SCORE Baja 1000 is in the rearview window. A new, first-time champ took the checked flag at the race. Alan Ampudia crossed the finish line at the Baja 1000 with his first every Baja 1000 race win after completing his first full season in SCORE.
The second-generation desert racers from Ensenada, brothers Alan, 28 and Aaron, 26 split the driving in their No. 10 Papas & Beer, Four Loko, Flav, Toyo Tires, M3DS, King, Method Ford Raptor built by ID Design to a winning time of 16 hours, 10 minutes and 36 seconds while averaging 49.48 miles per hour over the rugged, rain-soaked racecourse. Their older brother Rodrigo Ampudia, 34, was a navigator for both his brothers during parts of the race.
Alan Ampudia started the race and drove to race mile 350. Aaron Ampudia then drove from race mile 350 to race mile to 695. Alan Ampudia got back in and drove from race mile 695 to the finish line.
“Both my team and I are excited to have won this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 overall. There is no better feeling than winning here in my birthplace,” said Alan Ampudia. “Due to the heavy rains, the conditions throughout the entire race were unpredictable and it could have been easy to get into trouble. My Toyo Open Country race tires helped deliver the performance I needed in such tough conditions.”
“Congratulations to Alan Ampudia on his first overall SCORE Baja 1000 win,” said Tim Chaney, vice president, marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “This legendary desert course was more difficult than ever, but our durable Toyo Tires Open Country M/T-R tires were up for the challenge.”
Prior to the start of the race, heavy rains rolled through the Baja California peninsula releasing as much as four inches of precipitation along the racecourse. This resulted in street flooding in the city of Ensenada and washouts along portions of the course. SCORE officials delayed the start of the race 24-hours in order to allow time for the waters to subside. Once the race was underway, competitors were challenged with a combination of heavy mud, newly exposed rock and overall changes to their once-familiar terrain.
“It was the gnarliest day ever, a dream come true,” Alan explained. “This has been a dream for us since we were little. Watching Ivan Stewart, Robby Gordon, all the legends in this sport. To be able to come out here with a stacked field like it was today and come out on top through all the elements Baja threw at us this year with the rain and the mud, it was crazy. There are so many stories to be told. Me and Tavo (Vildosola) battled for miles. Our truck was amazing. It was on rails today. The puddles were insane.”
“Alan gave me the truck in first physical on the track and on time,” Aaron Ampudia said. “When I got out we had a fourteen-minute lead on Luke (McMillan) and about an hour on everyone else, we pushed and made a little mistake. We had to stop and got some help from the MacCachren team, so we really appreciate those guys. We got back to our pit and fixed the issues. It was a great day. We knew we had to put in a clean, solid race to have a chance to win and that’s what we went out to do.”
Brother Rodrigo Ampudia lead the navigation efforts of the entire race for the team. “The race overall was an awesome event,” Rodrigo Ampudia explained. “It was cold coming over the summit; the plants were frozen. The water splashes were freezing. We just put our heads down and stuck to our plan and it worked. We are from Ensenada and this is our hometown race.”
This year’s Baja 1000 was one for the record books in more than one way. From having a delayed start for only the third time in the history of the race to the Ampudia brothers taking home the Baja 1000 win.
The 2019 SCORE season may be over, but the 2020 season kicks of in just about four months. The entire 2020 SCORE schedule is as follows:
- 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, March 25-29, San Felipe, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, June 3-7, Ensenada, Mexico
- 2nd SCORE Baja 400, Sept. 16-20, Ensenada, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.16-21, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photos provided by Toyo Tires