“Every mile of every race there are situations that can end your day,” Rob MacCachren reflects from La Paz. “Crashes, fires, booby traps… Baja demonstrates this every year.” With 1121 treacherous miles to cover in the 45th Annual SCORE Baja 1000 and three dozen Trophy Trucks fighting to etch their names into history, there is little margin for error. Unfortunately for MacCachren and his teammates campaigning the No. 20 ROCKSTAR Energy Drink / BFGoodrich Tires / MasterCraft Safety truck, luck was not on their side.
Despite weeks of preparation the team lost first gear and reverse in their transmission early in the race. The transmission was swapped at Viscaino by the dedicated chase crew, but the setback would erase the fresh air MacCachren enjoyed by starting third off the line in Ensenada. “This race encompasses so many elements: Man versus man, man versus nature, and in our case man versus machine.” Robbie Pierce reflected. Pierce drove the middle leg of the race through the cold darkness of the desert night. “That is the siren song of Baja though. I am thoroughly exhausted right now; there is nothing left in the tank. Overcoming all of those elements will call me back here though.”
Pierce became stuck at Race Mile 822, teetering on the edge of a cliff in the middle of the night. While other racers including Ken Losch and Robby Gordon generously tried to recover the No. 20 Jimco truck, the situation was just too dangerous. Pierce watched the team’s victory pass them by as he waited for his chase crew to recover the truck. MacCachren took the reins again in Loreto and poured the coals to the ROCKSTAR Energy Drink / BFGoodrich Tires / MasterCraft Safety truck in an effort to secure the SCORE season championship.
Unfortunately with the loss in time, the Pacific tide was coming as MacCachren hurtled towards La Paz. The truck became soaked in salt water, causing the ignition to go into limp mode with under 50 miles remaining. As they continued to fight and claw towards the finish line, the power steering belt surrendered to the elements. MasterCraft Racing was not willing to make the same concessions though, and less than 20 miles from the checkers they replaced the belt and repaired the ignition for the final push to La Paz. 24 hours, 31 minutes, and 49 seconds after leaving the starting line in Ensendada MacCachren limped the No. 20 Trophy Truck across the line as the 20th four wheel finisher and 16th in class. Over 40% of the field would never be greeted by Sal Fish in La Paz, instead scattered about the Baja peninsula. While victory eluded the team this time, MasterCraft Racing’s spirits were not dashed knowing that they had made the best effort possible and did not let the wilds of Baja overcome their goal to reach the finish line.