The 53rd running of the Score Baja 1000 saw 170 teams take the start at a new start/finish/Tech compound 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, 5 Pro Stocks and 5 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 in his Bombsquad RZR XP4 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 RM90. Driving the whole race solo, Iron Man Burnett moved up from 23rd to third, despite fatigue setting in and him 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 RM302, and Scanlon retired at RM433.
This year’s 53rd running of the Score Baja 1000 saw Honda side-by-sides 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 check point (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.
With Matt Burroughs winning the 500 and taking second at the 1000, he secured the abbreviated 2020 Pro Forced Induction UTV title. With a second behind Kristen Matlock at the 500 and a third at the 1000, Kaden Wells could well be the NA 1000 Pro champ, as more points are awarded for longer races. Or it could go to Matlock. After the 500, class leaders Burroughs, Matlock and Mike Lesle (UnLTD) all had six-point leads. With Watson winning the 1000 Unlimited UTVs and Lelse not finishing the 1000, he could well be class champion. We’ll have to wait for Score to tabulate and post series points.
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 1000 UTV RESULTS
Rd. 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