After winning the Baja Sur 500, RPM Offroad was looking for another strong showing coming into the Baja 500. The number 17 of Eduardo Laguna came in to the race only 2 points out of the Score International championship lead with the number 5 of Apdaly Lopez hot on his trail 8 points out of the lead hoping to overtake the current points leader Tavo Vildosola.
Qualifying was at a completely new location in Uruapan, Baja California, which would test the drivers with a very technical and silty course. After the dust of qualifying settled Apdaly Lopez would be starting 5th on the road with Lalo Laguna starting 15th. Both drivers knew this was going to be a long and technical race and starting towards the front would help their chances of staying at the top of the points championship standings
The race started in downtown Ensenada, Baja California and raced East running on terrain that Score hasn’t raced on since 2008, running down the fearsome Rumorosa grade, across the scalding hot Laguna Salada dry lake bed, by the fish camps on the coast at Erendira and then back in to the famous Ojos Negros jumps to the finish.
“This years course is very technical and starting 15th I will have to pace myself for the first half and see where we are once we get across Salada. Hopefully then we will be closer to the front and able to make our move for the win.” said Trophy Truck 17 driver Lalo Laguna. The 17 was able to run a clean race until race mile 80 when a fluke rear upper link failure put them down for some time while the driver and co-driver replaced it.
After getting the truck back up and running Lalo knew he had to finish to maintain position in the points. An unfortunate collision with a tree and alternator issues put the truck in the pits again early at the start of the laguna Salada section of the race. The chase crew was able to repair the truck and send it back out. Lalo was able to keep the truck together for the remainder of the race coming home in 17th position.
Apdaly Lopez left the line strong in the number 5 RPM Offroad truck, maintaining pace with the front of the pack. He was able to hold his position and slowly pick one Trophy truck after another off across the desert. He lost a few minutes with a small brake line issue that was quickly resolved by a nearby chase crew. Aside from that the truck ran flawlessly from start to finish. Apdaly was able to make it to second on the road by the time the trucks came through Valley De Trinidad at race mile 320 close behind leader Luke McMillen. He paced the lead car until issues forced the McMillin truck down at Erendira.
For the last 100 miles the 5 truck was first on the road with veteran racer Rob MacCachren following closely behind. Apdaly was able to pull off RPM Offroad’s second Score International win in a row beating 2nd place Rob MacCachren by on 50 seconds. “It feels incredible to win the Baja 500. It was a very long and difficult race, having no flat tires and fast pit stops helped us to pull off the win. I want to thank Clyde Stacy for the opportunity to race for the team.”