53RD SCORE BAJA 1000
The 53rd SCORE Baja 1000 saw 170 teams take the start at a new start/finish/tech compound on the Ensenada outskirts due to COVID-19 concerns, and 43 UTVs took the green flag on Friday morning to tackle the 899.7-mile grueling race. There were 23 Turbo Pros, 10 Pro Normally Aspirated 1000s, five Pro Stocks and five Pro Unlimited UTVs, and they had 40 hours to complete the race.
It took Wes Miller a little over 26 hours to take the UTV overall and 34th overall at the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000 in his Bomb Squad RZR XP 4 Turbo, topping the Turbo Pro class ahead of the Monster Energy Maverick Maxes of Matt Burroughs and Marc Burnett. Burroughs finished some 40 minutes behind Miller, with Burnett another 18 minutes back.
New, tight sections off of the start and out of Santo Thomas kept the pack together up to race mile 90, with Jason Murray in the early lead ahead of Miller, Justin Lambert, Craig Scanlon, Mike Cafro and Burroughs. Burroughs then stopped for repairs for an hour. Burnett blew an axle early and also changed his clutch, so he was last off of the start and up to 10th by RM 90. Driving the whole race solo, ironman Burnett moved up from 23rd to third, despite fatigue setting in, and damaging and having to replace two trailing arms from rock impacts.
The gnarly course took a heavy toll on the UTVs, with only 18 of 43 finishing within the time limit. Justin Smith made it 65 miles, Matlock made it 154 miles, Murray was out at RM 302, and Scanlon retired at RM 433. Smith exploded the secondary-clutch helix, and it shook so bad that it bent the transmission output shaft, as they had no replacement transmission.
TALONS ARE TOUGH IN BAJA
This year’s 53rd running of the 1000 saw Honda Talons win two Pro UTV classes. The Pro UTV NA class was won by a Raceco-built Talon 1000X-4 fielded by a private Chris Haines-managed effort fielding drivers Francisco Arredando (Guatemala), Jamie Campbell (brother of Baja legend Johnny Campbell) and Cisco Bio. The team initially looked to have taken the overall UTV win, but a 10-minute penalty for unintentionally missing a virtual checkpoint (VCP) moved them back to second overall UTV and 35th overall. The Haines Honda team topped a pair of Polaris pilots, with Adrian Oreliana 33 minutes back and Kaden Wells another 28 minutes back. Early NA 1000 leader Kristin Matlock was fourth.
Also impressive was the Honda Talon factory racing team, which topped the Pro UTV Unlimited category with drivers Eliott Watson, Quintin Tucker, Bud Ward, Brian Weatherly and Geoffrey Dunivin. They finished 54th overall.
UTVs TAKE THE SCORE OVERALL AGAIN
With Matt Burroughs winning the 500 and taking second at the 1000, he secured the abbreviated 2020 Overall and Pro Forced Induction UTV title, with help from Bradley Howe and Mitchell Alsup. After the 500, class leaders Burroughs (FI), Matlock (NA) and Mike Lesle (UnLTD) all had six-point leads. History is made again as Burroughs and the Monster Energy Maverick scored the most overall points for the season. SCORE awards placement (finishing) points by class size, and there were more Pro Turbo entries than any other four-wheel class. Wayne Matlock and Polaris were the first UTV SCORE overall champions in 2018.
Kristen Matlock prevailed in Pro N/A 1000 points and was 16th overall in series points, beating Kaden Wells by three points. With Watson winning the 1000 Unlimited UTVs and Lelse not finishing the 1000, Watson and Honda became the class champions, and they finished 2020 in 13th overall. Randy Emberton (Pol) won the UTV Pro Stock class ahead of Mike Cafro.
ABC first aired the iconic SCORE Baja 1000 in 1967 and 1968 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and now the ABC Family of networks will cover the 2020 Baja 1000, which will air in two dozen countries via syndication and ESPN International. Check your local listings.
SCORE 2021 UTV/ATV SCHEDULE
1. Feb. 9-14 San Felipe (250), Baja, MX
2. Apr. 14-18 Ensenada (Baja 500), Baja, MX
3. Sept. 14-19 San Felipe (Baja 400), Baja, MX
4. Nov. 15-20 Ensenada (Baja 1000), Baja, MX
SCORE BAJA 500 UTV RESULTS
Round 2: Ensenada, Baja, MX
Pro Turbo UTVs
1. Wes Miller/Pol 26:01:42.731
2. Matt Burroughs/C-A 26:41:30.93
3. Marc Burnett/C-A 27:00:50.112
4. Justin Elenburg/C-A 27:30:12.182
5. Mike Pratt/Pol 29:40:50.984
6. Jorge Cano/C-A 30:41:53.439
7. Brandon Schueler/Pol 31:20:19.604
8. Sean Cook/C-A 31:23:59.580
9. Alex Baker/C-A 33:34:20.753
Pro NA 1000 UTVs
1. Fransisco Arredondo/Hon 26:02:40.276
2. Adrian Oreliana/Pol 26:35:37.815
3. Kaden Wells/Pol 27:03:03.006
4. Kristen Matlock/Pol 28:03:43.600
5. Joe Bolton/Pol 31:42:45.559
6. Raul Padilla/Yam 37:40:00.135
Pro Unlimited UTVs
1. Eliott Watson/Hon 28:37:58.571
Pro Stock UTVs
1. Carolina Sanchez/C-A 34:11:48.741
2. Dave Davenport/C-A 35:55:13.489
3. Randy Emberton/Pol 39:16:03.262
See what goes into a race prepped Can-Am X3 here: https://utvactionmag.com/race-build-lonestar-racing-maverick-x3-x-rc/