SCORE Baja races are world famous for their toughness and natural beauty, and the Tecate Baja 1000 is the most famous of them all. November’s 50th annual Baja Mil was the longest and toughest course yet, and we got to do some pre-running with motorsports legend Marc Burnett, the 2014 SCORE UTV Pro champion and 2017 Class 29 Forced-Induction UTV Pro points leader. With a second in the San Felipe 250 and a win at the Tijuana Desert Challenge, Burnett and his Can-Am X-Team Monster Energy Maverick X3 X rs lead Class 29 by 20 points heading into the last and most difficult round.
Burnett, who was instrumental in the rise of freestyle motocross, SMP and the Boost Mobile FMX Tour, turned to four wheels after 15 years to race Class 6 Mini Trucks in SCORE races. Then he turned to UTVs and Can-Ams, winning the 2014 UTV title in a Maverick 1000R. He switched to Polaris briefly, but broke his ankle at a 2015 FMX event. He won the Baja 500 in 2016 but returned to Can-Am to race the new Maverick X3 X rs for 2017. As he pre-ran and marked the 50th Baja 1000 course, we got a chance to ride along in his Maverick X3 X rs and Max X3 X rs from Ensenada to Mike’s Sky Ranch and back to Coyote Cal’s on the Pacific Ocean.
BACK IN BLACK AND BAJA
Burnett is a Monster Energy athlete and Can-Am X-Team member, but his two- and four-seat X3 X rs pre-runners don’t sport the Monster Energy logo. Packs of the Monster Mav stickers ride in each glove box for local kids, and door bags carry octane booster for the turbo triples. Each is fitted with a Lowrance HDS5 GPS for course mapping and marking and a Rigid 40-inch Combo LED light bar. The Max X3 gets Can-Am’s accessory adventure roof rack ($549.99) for strapping down extra gas cans and gear for the overnight stay at Mike’s, and the Max is wired for sound with accessory speaker pods ($299.99). Both cars get a Drake fire extinguisher and cage mount and Can-Am’s Lin-Q spare tire rack ($449.99). The Max gets the lockable-bed 8-gallon cooler ($349.99).
Burnett’s SCORE/BiTD Monster Energy X3 sports S3 high-clearance suspension arms ($1050) with re-valved Fox IBP shocks, so the two pre-runners get the same setup. OMF beadlock wheels sport 32-inch ITP tires—the Max was fitted with Ultra Cross R Specs, while the two-seat X3 sported prototype ITPs. Marc puts serious sideloads on wheels, so he modifies the rear hubs to accept much thicker bearing-retainer clips and washers. We communicated with PCI radios, with Marc sending alerts about incoming traffic and dangerous corners to Lumpy and Jack.
Can-Am worked in conjunction with Yoshimura to develop its accessory X3 exhaust ($999.99) that is made from 304-grade stainless steel with a carbon fiber three-outlet tip. It’s 19 percent lighter than stock, sounds cool and doesn’t need an ECU re-flash. Burnett also uses Airdam clutches, Lucas Oil products, IMS, Antigravity batteries, and San Diego Powder & Protective Coatings powdercoating. The X3 X rs sported Beard five-point harnesses, while the Max had OEM belts. Both Can-Ams also had the drive axles covered with electrical tape and were loaded with spares and tools.
We had zero failures or problems on the two-day ride, and a great time was had by all. Can-Am did a great job on the X3 and all accessories, as both cars were decked out in mostly BRP accessory add-ons.
Mike’s Sky Ranch (Baja, Mexico)
607 Twining Ave.
San Diego, CA 92154
GPS 31.1096 * N, 115.6358* W
Coyote Cal’s Hostel
Erendira, Baja, Mexico