As everybody knows by now, this last 2016 48th. SCORE Baja 500 is considered the most grueling Baja 500 of all times.
Full commitment, perseverance and some extra guts paid off, and we won this race, for ourselves, for our families and friends and especially for our Sponsors.
Thanks again to everyone of you.
#1949 Summers Alba Glazzkraft Racing Baja 500 Race Story By Alonso Lopez, Driver & Team Owner
First of all, I want to thank God for keeping us safe on this grueling race course. Our most sincere condolences to the families of the 2 fallen racers and to the family who lost their boy in such an unfortunate accident.
As you know, every race starts with the preparation of the race car, chase, supplies, and improvement on parts, from the experience of past races:
Summers Brothers designed and built a new set of thicker/stronger rear axles, the “Barbarian Furious”. Alba Racing rebuilt us a very reliable motor with their Stage-2 Kit. Glazzkraft made a brand new set of their full carbon fiber “Bomber Race Body Kit”. King Shocks rebuilt & added more valves to their IBP shocks to perform better in the San Felipe whoops. Rigid Industries provided us with a new more-efficient setup of lights for our new front bumper. Trinity Racing created a new stronger/thicker packaging for their dual slip-on brushed xxhaust system. Weddle Industries & @Montes Motores y Transmiciones de Competencia (out of Ensenada, BC, very well known for many champion race cars on class 16, 10, 5-1600, etc.) fully race prepped a brand new Polaris Transmission, including the Japanese Heavy Duty bearings supplied by Alba Racing. Schaeffer’s Oil formulated a new transmission oil to reduce components heating. OMF Wheels supplied us with a 10 sets of their new lighter wheel centers. Rugged Radios made sure that we have the best communications available. Slime provided the number 1 tire sealant on the market. BFGoodrich Tires / Jackson Motorsports assisted with the most amazing UTV tire all around (only 2 flat tires in more than 2,500 miles of Off Road Racing). Baja Pits provided reliable pit stops as always. Carlos Orozco and his team is a MUST TO HAVE on every race where they attend. Roots Off-Road framing the best still images and videos for our race team.
We headed for Ensenada early in the week with plans to pre-run most of the race course. Unfortunately, our pre-runner UTV had some fuel and electrical issues and we couldn’t make it work. We ended up doing less than 60 miles of the 477 race miles. Extremely disappointed in our cancellation of pre-running, we turned our focus to the race car. We headed to San Matias which many of you would recognize as the section where you can run wide open through massive whoops right along Hwy 3. Its a long and bruatl whoop packed section that can really test your machine. We went there with King to adjust the shocks on the race car and get them race ready. If they could handle San Matias then they could handle anywhere else on the course. While testing the race car we developed an electrical issue that took some time to figure out, it also freaked us out. The last thing we need this close to the race is a gremlin, an electrical one at that.
On Friday we headed downtown with our race car and the entire #1949 team to take part in the Baja 500 Tech & Contingency. After contingency while on the way back to camp, we started hearing some weird noises and developed a terrible vibration in the front end of the car. We quickly stopped at a gas station and got out of the car to find the front differential was smoking and oil was spraying everywhere. The front diff bearing broke and annihilated the entire differential. from there I drove slowly to our camp and changed the front half of the 4WD driveline and installed the spare differential. We took the car that evening to the “Papas & Beer Street Party” to display and to represent for our sponsors. The drive their showed no problems. After some food and fun we got the RZR out of the parking area to head back, we had to get ready for the race the next day but on the way back to camp I started to hear the same noise and feel that familiar vibration. I quickly shut off 4WD and drove at 10MPH the rest of the way to camp. We checked the front driveline again and discovered that it was bent. We then checked the rear driveline and discovered that it too was bent. We figured that we must have really damaged the drivelines while pounding the RZR through the San Matias whoops the day before. After stripping our pre-runner of its complete driveline we got it installed into the race car. It was now 4am on race day. I instructed the team to get as much rest as possible!
As we headed to staging the noises and vibration were still there. I told Pancho (my copilot), “No 4WD Pancho, you will have to help me a lot, to get through the Summit and the long wash after that as well as the silt beds.” He told me not to worry as he has raced his Class 16 car many times, and we will get through. We were about to take on one of the most brutal races in the world minus one of our biggest assets, 4 wheel drive.
We started the race 8th off the line and we just took it easy through the wash (after the terrible accident that we were aware of), and started getting used to do not have 4WD. The car drifts more than normal, but it only took me a little time to get used to it.
At RM8, I see a UTV stopped on the side of the course. A minute later I see the #1915 of Thomas Graves and the #1952 of Jonathan McVay fighting for positions. I pass the #1915 and half a minute later the #1952 moves to the side so I can pass him as well.We were in the race and moving along at a good pace!
At around RM18, I see the back of the #1958 of George Felix, and I remember something George and me were joking around about on Facebook few days back. I told Pancho I will get as close to him as I can in the next turn despite the heavy dust and silt. When I make a left turn to go up a hill I’m instantly blinded with dust, I back it down to just work through the dust and the next thing I see is the rear bumper of the #1958. I try to quickly stop but by the time I saw him it was too late. I hit George on his rear bumper, not hard, but still hit him. It’s been a story between George and I about hitting each other. Not in a mean way, but just as competitors.
I could then see that George was pushing another UTV in front of him. He had a chance to just leave that other UTV on the side but he kept pushing him forward and I’m like, “George, come on, you already helped him, now, MOVE”. He finally moves to the side, TOGETHER with the other car, that’s when I realize they were stuck bumper to bumper. We made the pass and moved on up the course. A few miles later on top of the mountain, we can see a huge bottleneck. I was in the middle of a smaller bottleneck on the 2014 SCORE Baja 500, and my race plan was a mess after that. So I stop and think for few seconds and tell Pancho “We will go on their right side until the point where we can’t move anymore, then we will go from there”. As we do that the #2930 of Sean Cook cuts in front of us. I’m like ok, you did that, now move forward. He moves only a few yards to the front and stops, so I put my car in reverse, then move to the side of Sean’s car, and keep moving, I cannot see much, as those little trees hold A LOT OF DUST on their leaves. When I feel that it is safe no more to continue moving along the hillside, I see an opening between two class 10 cars, and move to the left of the bottleneck, where the side of the hill is more even. Then Pancho tells me: “Do I get off the car, and find a safe path?” I tell him: “Yes please”. So he starts moving on the left of the many stuck cars, and I slowly follow him. Believe it or not, that side of the hill was flat as it can be. What all the other cars needed to do was just follow us or try to find that path. We were lucky. At the very end, I hear another pilot on my side yelling at us, like: “Fuc…. UTV’s, if you pass me I will hit you when I find you later, lalalalalala”, stuff like that. I’m like, “Dude, why you can’t tell your copilot to do the same as mine?” Instead of being all frustrated to wait and wait.
When we get to the front of the bottle neck, there was a Class 10 car at the bottom of the uphill, and 150 yards behind, a TT Spec just sit, waiting there, with no intentions to move or even try to pass the moron spectator that got stuck in the middle of the uphill. Both cars have their engine off. I cannot believe there were 50+ cars stuck only because the cars at front where doing nothing. We kept going and pass on the cliff side of the moron stuck at the middle of the uphill with no problems at all. We paid a small price though: We got a flat while going through the bushes and small pine trees but I couldn’t stop to change it, there is no room, and remember, other cars now hate us, and I can hear the roar of some cars moving already. So I waited until we find a sweet hidden spot to change the flat tire. The OMF Wheel took a serious beating from the big rocks but they along with the BFGoodrich Tires held together well.
We kept moving and when we made it to Ojos Negros our crew replaced our spare tire with a good one. Before getting to the “77”, I start feeling rocks and sand on my helmet shield and hands. I’m like, shit, maybe the front skid plate fell. We stopped with some spectators there, and Pancho checked on the problem. Somehow the front left axle got off the front diff (luckily for us, we were not using any 4WD, so there was no torque on it). Pancho strap the axle to the lower A-arm with some heavy duty zip ties, but a little later, we see the axle flying away from us. It was rocky and sandy just before getting to the highway. Our crew was waiting there, with all parts and tools ready, and we changed the axle, refreshed ourselves, and loaded an extra front axle just in case.
We then headed for the “Summit”. We were able to climb these rocky mountains with no problem at all, and by the time we got to the sand wash we could really feel the triple-digit heat in our face. I told Pancho to keep a close eye on the motor temperature as I knew we might have overheating issues. A few miles later I noticed that the car was starting to go over 206F and I told Pancho I would stop when we reach 210F. And we did so it was a long race from then on as I wanted to keep the engine together to finish the race. In fact, we stopped later when the motor reached 216F. We had to stop several times to cool down the motor and lost a lot of time doing so, but at the end, it paid off.
We got to the “Saldana” BajaPits, and the heat was terrible there, over 120F easy, at around 4:30pm. We kept driving, hoping the heat would lower once the sun started going down, but the heat remained. That’s when I saw the #2921 of Johnny Angal on our back; I let him pass and we exchanged positions several times, until I believe he stopped for good, his race was over due to heat.
Before getting to “Borrego”, while trying to move to the side to let other cars pass (I was worried of being hit from behind by a larger class car; the San Felipe 250 race went to hell when car #1209 hit us hard from behind and broke the transmission), I hit big black rock really hard and my steering wheel was shifted 90 degrees to the left. I immediately knew something was wrong with the front end. We got to our pit crew after Borrego and found out the wheel was bent but somehow the tire was still good. We changed the wheel and tire, and kept going.
The San Felipe whoops were brutal, I asked Pancho to get out of the car and add 5 clicks to the rear shocks and 3 clicks to the front. We were running very smooth after that. We got out of the San Felipe loop and when we entered the Dry Lake, it was extremly foggy, it almost felt like a light rain. I could not see shit! That’s where the controversial Virtual Check Point (VCP) was. We drove around it back and forth, trying to hit it, and on my GPS it showed that we hit it, and on Pancho’s (which had more zoom) it showed that we were on the side of it, very very close. This was the VCP in discussion regarding the final positioning before the awards ceremony. It wasn’t like we deliberated skipped it, we really tried hard to hit it and thought we did. The tracking system is not that accurate at all. W then kept driving to San Matias and the Mike’s Sky Ranch loop. That’s when we confirmed with our chase crew that there was only 1 car relatively close to us, 40-50 miles behind, #1954 of Kristen Matlock. I did the math, and with around 120 miles to go, if we could keep a safe pace and not break she wouldn’t be able to catch us.
At around RM440, we saw a car barely holding off a large cliff. The 4 car tires were off the track and hanging onto the cliff, I think trees saved it from going 100+ feet down. It was the #2905 of Marc Burnett. His copilot Fernando Flores came running to us to stop, with a sat phone in his hand. Marc came to me, and told me his car died on him and he had no control and went strait towards the cliff. He asked me if I could pull him off the cliff, but I was so worried that if we strapped both cars to each other and his car fell off that his car would drag mine with him to the bottom of the cliff. But if we didn’t help him his car could roll off of the cliff. In fact, there was a class 16 car that passed less than a minute in front of them, and obviously did not stop. Who would, under those circumstances in the hardest rocky part of that mountain? So, we strapped both cars, and I tried to pull him out. We were supposed to do it at the same time, and Pancho was on the outside of Marc’s UTV to make add weight against the cliff. Marc accelerated and I heard yells to move forward, I had the car in LOW, as we did not have 4WD. I pressed the gas smoothly and felt the strap pulling my car backwards, but somehow, both cars made it safe back onto the race course. After some long breaths, we unstrapped the cars, said goodbye, and kept moving. It should be noted that we DID NOT get CREDIT for the time lost while helping Marc.
We made it to the Ojos Negros valley and told our chase crew to wait 30 minutes and let us know if any other cars would pass by. But no UTVs would pass that point while they waited. When we got to RM465, it was foggy rain, I could see nothing. We drove slow, and the fog went away by the time we hit the Ensenada paved streets. It was wet and muddy there but we made it out of there carefully.
We got to the finish line and were told that we won, we were the top finishers in the Pro UTV class! I could not believe that we just WON the SCORE BAJA 500. By total surprise a few minutes later the #1983 of John Estrada crossed the finish line. There was no tracking on his car and we had no idea he was that close to us. If we would have known we would never have taken it that easy the last 120 miles, perhaps we wouldn’t have stopped to help Marc Burnett. Just kidding. We still would have stopped to assist him, thats what you do in Baja.
It took some explaining to SCORE about the VCP situation, they checked all of the data and finally agreed that we did hit the check point. They finally made our win official!
I want to congratulate John Estrada and Justin Quinn and their whole crew for getting a new car to this Baja 500 and finishing so well. I also want to give special congratulations to Kristen Matlock; it takes more than just balls to drive and finish this year’s Baja 500, and she drove it solo the whole way. Also to David Nance, his finish makes the points championship very interesting this year!
I want to thank and congratulate my chase crew. We are a small family team. We prep this #1949 Summers Alba Glazzkraft Racing Car by ourselves. We won this Baja 500 on a day that we barely made it to the start line with almost no sleep. It requires guts from every member of this team to pull this victory through.
I also would like to thank to all other sponsors, without your support, we couldn’t make it this far:
We will have a great race video in the coming days. We will keep you all posted and will see you all at Vegas to Reno!
Feature Vehicle: Alonso Lopez GlazzKraft 2017 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo
Alonso Lopez and GlazzKraft have once again built another phenomenal Polaris RZR race machine. Using the styling and technology they are known for, the team has put together a machine they hope will take them to the top throughout the rest of 2017 and into 2018.
The build started as a stock 2017 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. The RZR was then built from the bottom up, with only the power train and bottom chassis being retained from the original stock car, something almost all of the top racers in UTV desert racing now do.
The team designed the chromoly cage trying to improve the weight and performance from the previous 2 generations of chassis they have race on, using the SolidWorks® program and in the process developed a strong, lightweight car. The suspension was also designed using SolidWorks®, it took more than 1,000 hours to complete the RZR cage and suspension, studying Steel Strength vs. Steel Fatigue vs. Weight.
GlazzKraft took care of the RZRs signature look by installing their all-new GlazzKraft fiberglass 4-seat RZR body kit. They built the RZR entirely out of their shop in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. The build also will sport the all-new 32″ BFGoodrich KR2 UTV Tires paired with OMF racing wheels giving the vehicle the ultimate wheel tire combo.
The previous #1949 GlazzKraft machines have been displayed in every major show and expo and garnered attention due to its sleek and unique look. The Sand Sports Super Show, Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo, Camp RZR and the famous SEMA Show were all events that the other machines have displayed at. The new #2949 will surely be one that many will request to display their products on this show season as well.
The team has been racing for over 6 years now, and even when they were considered new to the sport, they have been winning races and championships.
In 2015, they raced the entire SCORE Off-Road Championship series, finishing 5th in points. They have also raced some BITD events with the upcoming Vegas To Reno being their initial run for the new machine.
During 2016, the team had podiums on 3 SCORE World Championship Desert Races, winning the Baja 500, and finishing the Baja 1000 in 4th place, just 14 minutes behind 3rd. They did that after a bad rollover at RM50 which slowed them.
The team was also awarded the 2016 RED KAP SCORE MILESTONE for completing every race mile of the Score World Desert Championship, the only UTV in the PRO N/A Class who accomplished that feat.
With these results, they WON the 2016 Score World Desert Championship in the UTV PRO CLASS in addition to winning the UTV OVERALL among Turbo, Natural Aspirated (No Turbo), Unlimited and Sportsman classes.
If their past has been that great, imagine what will happen with this beautiful new machine!
Its time, the 49th running of the SCORE Baja 500 is upon us and teams are either in Baja now or making their way down to pre-run for the grueling off-road race south of the border. In desert racing, Baja is king, both the 500 and the 1000 are the most sought after wins in all of off-road racing.
For the first time ever in Baja, UTVs make up the largest class in the race with 37 total entries across two classes. 26 forced induction (2900 class) and 11 naturally aspirated (1900 class) UTVs will compete on a 515 +/- mile race course that will begin in Ensenada take racers south along the pacific coast for almost 200 miles before traversing east towards the famous Mikes Sky Ranch, then down to San Felipe before making the turn north towards the hot and desolate Diablo Dry Lake Bed. From there racers will run a fun yet technical 200 miles back towards Ensenada. Last years race winner completed the Baja 500 in just under 13 hours.
Since 2013 only one non-Polaris UTV has won the Pro UTV class and that was Marc Burnett in his Can-Am. The past two years have been dominated by Factory Polaris racer Wayne Matlock. Matlock is primed to become the first Pro-UTV racer to win the Baja 500 three times in a row but this years race will see him face the stiffest competition ever in UTV Baja racing history. Factory Can-Am teams of Burnett, Sappington and Murray look to be the first to dethrone Matlock in two years while a full field of other Polaris racers are preparing to also capture their piece of Baja glory.
Alonso Lopez who won the Baja 500 in 2016 in the Naturally Aspirated class has now moved into the forced induction class piloting a new 2017 Polaris RZR XP Turbo, Justin Lambert is also competing for the first time in Baja in an XP Turbo. Other Factory Polaris racers taking on the FI class consist of Craig Scanlon, Jacob Carver, Branden Sims, Wes Miller, Mike Cafro, Brandon Schueler, and Cody Rahders. Polaris has without a doubt stacked the deck to maintain their Baja dominance while Can-Am aims to put their X3 on the board for the first time in the prestigious Baja 500.
Those following the N/A class will certainly have their eyes focused on Kristen Matlock who has been impressive in Baja to say the least. The “Iron Woman” will once again look to pilot her #1954 Factory Polaris RZR XP 1000 to a podium finish.
Pro UTV FI (26)
2998 Bill Whittington
2913 Branden Sims
2989 Wes Miller
2905 Marc Burnett
2936 Jacob Carver
2971 Wayne Matlock
2944 Shane Redline
2946 Jose Juarez
2990 Steve Smith
2917 Derek Murray
2975 Mike Cafro
2914 Tyler Walker
2977 Justin Elenburg
2918 Justin Lambert
2919 Brandon Schueler
2931 Craig Scanlon
2912 Tony Riggs
2916 Cody Rahders
2948 Matt Burroughs
2968 Christine Giampaoli Zonca
2910 Scott Trafton
2967 Anthony Perez
2904 Cory Sappington
2929 Paul Wadlington
2949 Alonso Lopez
2930 Sean Cook
Pro UTV (11)
1955 Paul Champion
1998 Don Whittington
1962 Dodge Poelman
1985 Adrian Orellana
1907 Daniel Parker
1906 Mark Levrett
1912 Dave Sparks
1954 Kristen Matlock
1950 J.T. Holmes
1922 Aldo Salazar-2nd RS
1925 Matt Scarpuzzi-1st RS
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
9am-6pm Chassis Inspections Playa Hermosa Beach
Noon-6pm Pre-Tech/Transponder checks/Bracket Check-Playa Hermosa Beach
5pm-9pm Racer Registration Red Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
Thursday, June 1, 2017
9am-1pm Qualifying-SCORE TT, Legend, TT Spec, Class 1–
9am-6pm Chassis Inspections, Pre-Tech/Bracket Check—Playa Hermosa Beach
Noon-8pm Racer Registration Red Room, Riviera CC
1pm-6pm Media Registration Red Room, Riviera CC
7pm-11pm Monster Energy SCORE Kickoff Party–Monster Energy VIP area-S/F Line
Friday, June 2, 2017
9am-4pm Racer Registration Red Room, Riviera CC
9am-5pm Media Registration Red Room, Riviera CC
9am-5pm Contingency Row Blvd. Costero, next to Riviera CC
9am-6pm Tech Inspection Blvd. Las Dunas, next to Riviera CC
11:30am SCORE Media Conf. Cathedral Room, RivieraCC Center
6pm Mandatory Aircraft Pilot Meeting—Cathedral Room, Riviera CC
7pm Mandatory Racer Meeting Cathedral Room, Riviera CC
6pm-Midnight Monster Energy Papas Y Beer SCORE Street Party-Avenida Ruiz
Saturday, June 3, 2017
5am-Midnight SCORE Media Center Red Room, Riviera CC
START/FINISH: 515.77-mile course (Class starting order subject to change)
5:30am RACE START: MOTORCYCLES/QUADS (subject to change)—
Pro Moto Unltd, Pro Moto Ltd, Pro Moto 30, Pro Moto 40, Pro Moto 50, Pro Moto Ironman, Pro Moto 60, Pro Quad, SPT Moto, SPT Quad
(Start Intervals: Pro Moto Unlimited start one every 60 seconds. All other Pro M/C, Pro Quad, SPT M/C, SPT Quad classes start one every 30 seconds)
GAP –a minimum of three hour gap between M/C, Quad start and car/truck start
9:15am Honor Guard and Salute to Flag Ceremony (start/finish line area)
10am approx RACE STARTCARS/TRUCKS/UTVS (subject to change)—
Voss helps ‘Rockstar’ MacCachren roar to 3-peat Overall, SCORE Trophy Truck triumph at 49th SCORE Baja 1000
Udall team captures overall M/C crown; Ronny Wilson claims Class 1, Rhys Millen tops Pro UTV;
Robles Jr grabs Pro Quad; Winkelman-2 M/C classes, Other class winners include Davis, Lewis, Proctor,
Sims, Gera, Roberts, Ruvalcaba, Avina, Celiceo, Sanchez, Montoya, Cesena, Campbell, Petter, Hawley
ENSENADA, Mexico—Methodically mastering a radically rugged course and a celestial field of challengers, Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren rolled like a Rockstar, with an assist from co-driver Jason Voss, driving to the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory Saturday at the internationally-televised 49th annual SCORE Baja 1000. The victory in the Granddaddy of All Desert Races gave the veteran MacCachren a three-peat in the world’s toughest, roughest, longest and most prestigious continuously-held desert race.
When the results became official after review of the data loggers in each finishing vehicle by SCORE race officials on Sunday morning, the MacCachren/Voss duo had rocketed to a memorable race around the northern part of Mexico’s mysterious and majestic Baja California peninsula. The daring duo finished the mentally-draining, physically grueling, vehicle-destroying 854.50-mile race that started and finished in Ensenada in 17 hours, 12 minutes and 58 seconds while averaging a solid 49.63 miles per hour in the No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150.
In winning the iconic Granddaddy of all Desert Races for the third straight year, they defeated a field of 270 starters in cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. The starting grid included 31 starters in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks.
Season finale of the four-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship, this year’s competition was a loop race, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, 65 miles south of the U.S. Border at San Diego.
Racers from Mexico and Las Vegas finished second and third overall behind USA’s MacCachren/Voss duo. For the second straight year, Mexico’s Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez of Tecate, just 21 who won last year’s SCORE Trophy Truck season point championship, finished second in the No. 1 RPM Racing Chevy Rally Truck splitting driving with his father Juan C. Lopez in a time of 17:39:45 with an average speed of 48.38 mph. Third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in the new No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorspors Ford F-150 was Las Vegas Troy Herbst and Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif. in 17:42:10 at 48.27 mph.
UDALL’S MOTORCYCLE MAGIC
What originally was planned as a solo ride in the Pro Moto Unlimited class, went to a two-rider effort on Monday, ended up with a five-team effort to help the injured rider of record Colton Udall, Yucca Valley, Calif. finish the 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship undefeated with four straight victories.
With a whole lot of help from his friends after he was injured while pre-running on Tuesday night, taking the overall and unlimited class win for the fourth time in the last five years in this race was the Ox Motorsports team led by Colton Udall, Yucca Valley, Calif. Suffering a severely broken left collar bone while pre-running near Borrego Tuesday evening, Udall quickly adjusted his rider list for his 1x Honda CRF450X, moving one rider from his Ox Motorsports 3x motorcycle and quickly recruited two additional riders to pick up the slack for his 1x team. Regular teammate Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif., added additional miles to his racing sections, Australia’s Daymon Stokie was moved from the 3x team to the 1x and Udall recruited two addition riders who weren’t planning on racing this year in Justin Jones, Murrieta, Calif. and David Kamo, Boise, Idaho.
SCORE rules call for a rider of record to either start or finish a race, Udall wanted to win the race and the season point championship so he returned to Ensenada after surgery in San Diego to start the race and ride to the first turn some 100 yards from the start to fulfill that requirement.
Udall’s championship winning team rode their Honda over the rugged course to a winning time of 18:16:43 and an average speed of 46.75 mph. In splitting up the race, Udall gave the motorcycle to Kamo who rode to race mile 90. Jones took over at that point, went to race mile 300 where Samuels got on for the first time and rode to race mile 520. Stokie then took it to race mile 780 where Samuels got back on for the final victory ride to the finish. The win gave Honda its 26th overall win in the SCORE Baja 1000.
While Udall has now earned four overall race wins in the SCORE Baja 1000, Samuels and Kamo have won three each and this was Jones’ second straight.
After his team’s fourth win of the season, Udall commented, “These guys did an awesome job. I really see a difference in how people treat me. They say “What’s your team going to do without you?” We are going to win. We have a great team and it’s not just me. I took myself out of this race unfortunately. Mark, David, Daymon and Justin all rode an amazing race. These guys battled really hard against the 45x (Francisco Arrendondo) and unfortunately they (Arrendondo) had a mechanical issue but our guys rode really well and brought it home. That’s what it takes when it comes to the SCORE Baja 1000. You have to have a bike that is good and you have to have your riders all come together.”
“They didn’t need me. When I was pre-running down in Borrego I made a bad decision and had to pass a guy in the dust. I took myself where I shouldn’t have gone and ended up over the handlebars and stuck my shoulder into the ground and it broke. Fortunately I had people like Robby Gordon pulling me out of the desert and helping me out.
“I crashed on Tuesday night, had surgery on Wednesday afternoon and I was back down here on Thursday. About three and a half hours after I crashed we were already thinking about what our strategy was going to be for the race. We moved Daymon Stokie up from the 3x bike to the 1x bike and fortunately David Kamo was down here and came out of retirement. He is a three-time SCORE Baja 1000 champion and we earned those championships together. He raced about 90 miles and it took some of the work away from Mark and we got it done. We moved some things around and our team is solid. The way I helped on race day was by making sure every I was dotted and every T crossed.”
In earning the overall victory of the SCORE Baja 1000, MacCachren recorded his record 14th career SCORE Trophy Truck race win and Voss picked up his second career SCORE Trophy Truck race win.
MacCachren started his tri-fecta run in the SCORE Baja 1000 in 2014 with Andy McMillin and Jason Voss as additional drivers and last year won his second straight with A. McMillin. MacCachren, a six-time motorsports All-America driver who now has nine SCORE Baja 1000 class wins including four overalls, started the race and drove the first 498 miles and turned over the wheel physically in the talented Voss to drive the rest of the way to the finish line.
ROB MAC QUOTES
Said MacCachren after the race, “It is a good feeling. My first overall SCORE Baja 1000 win was in 2007 to Cabo and the feeling I got winning that race was second to none. We had a flawless day with 854.50 miles of the most brutal desert in Baja. We had over 80 people down here helping us with this race. We had 11 chase trucks and four fuel stops and lots of people at home rooting us on. It was a really good day.”
“We qualified fifth and hung out with everybody in the race and it slowly materialized. When we were first on the road we had an alternator wire that had broken off so we had to get that fixed. That put us down for about nine minutes. After that we were fourth on the road and we started working our way back up. Around mile 475 the Riviera truck (No. 3 Mark Post) and one of the Herbst trucks (No. 91 Troy Herbst) was still in front of us but they pulled over to pit so we went on by.”
“I gave the truck to Jason at mile 498. He was first on the road from there and just nailed it. He went across the cross-over road and gained five minutes on everybody. Waiting at the finish line we felt really good but nervous wondering if the truck was going to make it. The competition is so tough that you’ve got to push the truck and cross your fingers that it is going to make it. Larry Ragland won the overall in SCORE three races in a row and he was always somebody I looked up to and respected. I saw him this morning and I shook his hand and said “I’ve been thinking about you all day because of three-peat and I hope I can do that.” I’ve wanted to do that for a long time and we got it done. The course here is brutal.
“For the SCORE Baja 1000 you really have to be on your A game. You have to have all of your logistics and people put together and it was great putting two teams together to get enough resources to be able to do this race and be competitive. We had to have seven chase trucks on one side just to stay with the truck because the truck is moving along faster than the chase trucks and we don’t want to push them. The loops in the bowtie area were incredibly rocky and some other teams had flats and we capitalized on that.”
“It makes me hungry to win another one now. As every win happens you want another and next year being the 50th anniversary, winning that one would be special. My first SCORE Baja 1000 win was in 2007 and that was the 40th anniversary. Strategy starts 365 days before the race but I can say that before this race even started I was working on my 2017 plans. We have our motel rooms done here (Ensenada) and in La Paz. I’ve already spoken with Jason about helping in 2017 so hopefully that happens.”
PRO UTV OVERALL WINNER Winning the overall Pro UTV race was Drifting champion/Hollywood stuntman/Pike’s Peak Hill Climb record holder Rhys Millen of New Zealand. Racing in the Pro UTV (naturally aspirated) class, Millen split the driving with France’s Stephan Verdier, a Global Rally Cross/X-Games/Drifting star racer. They recorded a winning time of 22:06:46, averaging 38.64 mph in a Polaris RZR XP1000.
The impressive duo defeated not only 16 starters in their class for naturally aspirated UTVs, but also 21 starters in the faster Pro UTV FI (forced induction) class to earn their overall Pro UTV victory as well.
Winning the overall quad title for the third straight year was the veteran team led by Mexico’s Javier Robles Jr of Guadalupe Victoria. The Robles Jr team covered the course on a Honda TRX450R in 20:49:12, averaging 41.04 mph. Co-riders with Robles Jr on this difficult challenge were Josh Row, El Cajon, Calif./Felipe Velez, San Felipe, Mexico/Jose Meza Velez, San Felipe, Mexico on a Honda TRX450R.
TOP FIVE OVERALL
Completing the overall podium and the top five fastest times were all SCORE Trophy Truck racers. Finishing third in SCORE Trophy Truck was the team of Troy Herbst, Las Vegas/Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., in a time of 17:42:10 in the new No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Ford F-150. Fourth overall was Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola in 18:02:30 in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor and fifth overall in 18:09:42 was the team of Mark Post, Las Vegas/Ed Herbst, Las Vegas/Kyle LeDuc, Temecula, Calif. in the No. 3 Ford F-150.
The four class point leaders who enter this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 undefeated in their respective classes in four races in the 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship were Colton Udall, Yucca Valley, Calif. (Pro Moto Unlimited, No. 1x Honda CRF450X), Javier Robles Jr, Calexico, Calif. (Pro Quad, No. 1a Honda TRX450R), Victor Cesena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Class 5, No. 500 unlimited VW Baja Bug) and Mark Winkelman, Cedar Hill, Texas (Pro Moto 50, No. 507x Honda CRF450X).
In addition to his team’s win in Pro Moto 50 to give him a perfect 4-0 record in 2016, Winkelman also won the Pro Moto Limited class with another capable team. Racing to victory with him in the limited class were O’Neal/Austin Miller, Austin, Texas/Grant Statley, La Jolla, Calif./Schuyler Shoonmaker, Alpine, Calif./Mark Bradford, Santa Clarita, Calif.
MORE CLASS WINNERS
Among the other racers winning a class for the first time in 2016 were Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 1, Jimco-Chevy), Rod Lewis, San Antonio, Texas (Trophy Truck Spec, Jimco-Chevy), Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif. (Class 10, Custom-Chevy), Branden Sims, Pescott Valley, Ariz. (Pro UTV FI, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo), Gustavo Avina, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug), Rich Roberts, Prescott, Ariz.(SCORE Lites, Foddrill-VW), Jeff Proctor, San Dimas, Calif. (Class 2, Honda Ridgeline).
Rick Sanchez, San Vicente, Mexico (Class 8, Chevy Silverado), Bill Weber, Las Vegas (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Aaron Celiceo, San Diego (Class 7, Toyota Tacoma), J. David Ruvalcaba, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 1/2-1600, VBR-VW), Noe Gutierrez, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 11, VW Sedan), Shannon Campbell, Gilbert, Ariz. (Hammer Truck Unlimited, Custom-Chevy) Tony Gera, Santa Cruz, Calif. (Pro Moto Ironman, Honda CRF450X) and Mark Hawley, Anaheim, Calif. (Pro Moto 60, Honda CRF450X).
HALL-MARKS ALL OVER BAJA
This year’s race commemorated the achievements of legendary desert racers like Rod Hall. Hall, who turns 79 on Nov. 22, won Stock Full in the Rod Hall Racing Hummer H1 Alpha. Hall now has a race record 24 class wins (including one overall win in 1972) and he is is the only racer who has competed in all 49 SCORE Baja 1000 races.
Helping Hall, of Reno, Nev. reach another milestone in his illustrious career were his son Chad Hall, Reno, Nev., who now has 10 class wins, motorsports executive Frank DeAngelo, Greenville, S.C. and Shelby Hall, Rod’s granddaughter. Hall was diagnosed last December with Parkinson’s disease but has confirmed that he will go for his 25th class win in next November’s epic 50th SCORE Baja 1000 which will start in Ensenada and finish in La Paz.
SCORE BAJA 1000 MULTI CLASS WINNERS
Among the racers adding to their SCORE Baja 1000 legacy of multiple class wins with their class victories this year and their new totals were: Rod Hall (24 total class wins, Stock Full), Jim O’Neal (14, Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50), Jeff Kapland (13, Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50), Chad Hall (10, Stock Full), Rob MacCachren (9, SCORE Trophy Truck) and J. David Ruvalcaba (6, Class 1/2-1600), Lou Franco (6, Pro Moto Limited and Pro Moto 50), Justin Davis (4, Class 10) and Colton Udall (4, Pro Moto Unlimited).
HUSBAND/WIFE SECONDS Both driving solo in the two Pro UTV classes, Wayne Matlock and his wife Kristin Matlock of Alpine, Calif. both finished second in their respective classes after each started first. Wayne drove a Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo in the Pro UTV FI class while Kristin was behind the wheel of a Polaris RZR XP41000 in Pro UTV.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has produced the tire of choice for 28 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 28 of the last 31 years that featured a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005.
In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 87 SCORE Baja races including 31 in the SCORE Baja 500.
BFGoodrich Tires also provides unmatched pit support for pre-registered racers using their tires with five full-service pit areas along the race course out of and back into Ensenada along with complete radio relay the entire 854.50 miles.
BFGoodrich Tires also awarded $10,000 contingency bonus to this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 overall winners MacCachren and Voss who raced exclusively on their durable tires.
In addition to the 33 States represented on the entry list, racers came from 18 countries. In addition to the United States, entries came from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela and the US Territory of Guam.
SCORE COURSE ‘SUPREMO’
As it has for over four decades, SCORE put together another agonizingly memorable race course, this one for a loop race, with all of the foreboding, unforgiving terrain that the northern state of the majestic Baja California peninsula has to offer. SCORE CEO/President Roger Norman and SCORE Race Director Jose A. Grijalva designed and finalized this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 race course.
Starting and finishing in the heart of Ensenada in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, the course traveled in a counter-clockwise direction. It included the approximate 30 mile stretch to Ojos Negros which is used in both directions. Outgoing, the course went south from Ojos Negros through Santo Tomas and then ran along the picturesque Pacific Ocean for over 100 miles and then back across to the center of Baja California Norte.
The 854.50-mile course covered both sides of the peninsula and included four checkpoints and 122 viritual checkpoints. There were also a total of 14 speed zone restriction areas for a total of approximately 115 race miles.
The race had its traditional start from Ensenada to Piedras Gordas, then out to highway 3 around Rm 20.7 and went to Km33 and get back on the dirt. The course went past Rancho Grijalva to El Mezcal (Rm 39.6) and headed to Uruapan using La Lagrima Rd, a different road than in past years.
From Santo Tomas, the course went to the coast of the Pacific Ocean at La Calabera and ran down nearly 100 miles to San Quintin, Nuevo Odisea and then to El Rosario. The course traveled zig zag up the well known hill La Vivora, el Arenoso, and looped around from San Juan de Dios at approximate Rm305 to El Metate Rm 340, Los Martires Rm 363 and back to San Quintin on the east side of the highway and ran north to Col. Vicente Guerrero, Jaramillo and Colonet.
The course traveled a new route from Colonet to Llano Colorado and across to Valley de Trinidad. The race course went along the highway from San Matias to Villa del Sol then crossed the highway at El Chinero, north to Coabuso Junction and then out to Borrego, up Highway 1 and up the goat trail to checkpoint 4 Nuevo Junction. From there it went on to Catarina then back to Ojos Negros and from Ojos Negros back to the finish line.
The four checkpoints were located at Santo Tomas (CP 1–race-mile 88.15), El Rosario (CP 2–rm249.92), Vicente Guerrero (CP 3–rm469.15) and Nuevo Junction (CP 4–rm751.04).
After review of the data logging devices used by each vehicle in the race and with time penalties assessed accordingly for course deviations and/or speeding on short pavement sections used as part of the official race course, the results were declared official by SCORE International officials early Sunday morning.
As the finish line in Ensenada closed Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6:37 p.m. PT for motorcycles/quads and closed early Sunday at 1:02 a.m. PT for cars. trucks and UTVs, there were XXX official finishers in the 49th annual SCORE Baja 1000, it was obvious that another memorable and colorful chapter has been added to the legacy of this popular desert race in the magnificent Baja peninsula. The total number of finishers (162) was 60.0 percent of the total starters giving testimony to the extreme ruggedness of this year’s race course.
A total of 270 starters left Ensenada in two major groups—motorcycles and quads on Friday morning starting at 6 a.m. (PT) and cars and trucks starting at 10:30 a.m. (PT) Friday.
All vehicles had a 36-hour time limit from the time each left the start line in the elapsed-time race.
BEGINNING TO END
This year’s race started for the 42nd time and finished for the 24th time in Ensenada. The start line and finish line was once again be adjacent to the iconic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada with the first and last several spectator-friendly miles running up and back down the Ensenada Arroyo.
CBS SPORTS NETWORK COVERAGE
All races in the four-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship, along with the special SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience and qualifying for the SCORE Baja 1000 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway are once again airing in the USA and Canada on the CBS Sports Network. The spectacular shows feature not only SCORE Trophy Truck coverage, but also top action and highlights from many other classes of trucks, cars, UTVs, motorcycles and quads – making sure that the most exciting footage and most compelling stories continue as part of each race event broadcast.
Capping off the 2016 broadcast season, the SCORE Baja 1000 broadcast on CBS Sports Network will air as a full two-hour special for the second straight year.
ON THE AIR
2016 CBS Sports Network Original Broadcast Schedule (subject to change, check local listings)
· SCORE San Felipe 250 (first telecast-Sunday, April 17, 9 p.m. ET)
· SCORE Baja 500 (first telecast-Sunday, July 24, 9 p.m. ET)
· Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge (first telecast-Sunday, Nov. 13, 9 p.m. ET)
· SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying @SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience (first telecast-Sunday, Dec.18, 9 p.m. ET)
· SCORE Baja 1000 (two-hour special) (first telecast-Sunday, December 25, 9 p.m. ET)
This years SCORE Baja 1000 is shaping up to be one of the biggest contested battles ever for UTVs south of the border. Many story lines are shaping up adding to the excitement of this years 49th running of the Baja 1000. We will touch on a few here to help bring those of you who may be out of the loop up to speed. In addition, we have included just about everything you could ever want to know about this years Baja 1000 below with links to tracking, course map and how to come follow during the race. UTVUnderground.com will be in Baja full-force and providing you with up to the minute race coverage strait from the race course.
Wayne Matlock, competing in the Pro Forced Induction UTV class has been on a terror winning the last three Baja races he has competed in. Matlock is not in contention for 2016 SCORE season championship because he did not compete at the San Felipe 250 or Rosarito Beach Desert Challenge. Matlock did however win the 2015 & 2016 SCORE Baja 500 in addition to the 2015 SCORE Baja 1000. He will start on the pole making him a force to be reckoned with.
Burt Jenner gained UTV exposure a few years ago not only because of his driving ability but also because of his ties to his celebrity family. Burt’s father Bruce Jenner is a retired Olympic Gold Medalist who gained additional fame long into his retirement as the family patriarch of the Kardashian clan on TVs Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s reality show. Bruce has since sky rocketed into the public eye with his transitioning into a female (Caitlyn Jenner) bringing the transgender discussion into the everyday lives of people all around the world. Burt has been faced with both sides of his families fame, both from a good side and of course from the bad as well but one thing that is often overlooked when hearing his name is the pure driving talent Burt possesses. Burt has competed in Baja before, most recently behind the wheel of a trophy truck, and is a former winner of FORD’s Octane Academy. Jenner can wheel just about anything, now with a new Polaris RZR XP Turbo to compete in this year, Jenner looks to prove that he is for real behind the wheel of a UTV. He will leave the line just behind Matlock in 2nd position.
Cory Sappington has given himself the nickname of “The Godfather of UTV Racing” and some may debate that title, but its hard to argue that Cory has not been a strong driving force behind the development of UTV racing. Sappington will leave the line 3rd in the Pro Turbo (forced-induction) class and has plans of his own to put his yellow Can-Am Maverick Turbo on top of the box. Sappington has enjoyed podiums in Baja before and is one of the most experienced racers in the class. Sappington is often unfairly overlooked when discussing the top racers in the class. He doesn’t have the prettiest of machines, he doesn’t have all the latest and greatest chase equipment, but what he does have is talent as a driver, a tested and prepped vehicle & team and a will to not only finish but also to win.
Marc Burnett enters this years Baja 1000 with a 13 point lead over Mike Cafro for the 2016 SCORE season championship. What adds to this story is that its rumored to be Burnett’s last race as a Factory Polaris RZR racer while Cafro is entering the race as a new Factory Polaris RZR athlete. We are unsure as to what Burnett’s plans for 2017 are, but through the grapevine we have heard that he will be switching factories. Either way, we know Burnett is coming to Baja prepared to win the race and the season championship while Cafro also makes plans to do the same. Mike Cafro has been a guy traveling under the radar. Polaris however, has taken notice along with many others in the sport including us. Cafro will leave the line in the 3rd position while Burnett will leave the line thirty seconds behind in the 4th position.
Long time UTV racer, Cody Rahders, is set to take on this years Baja 1000 in his #2916 Polaris RZR XP Turbo. Rahders earned his factory sponsorship as a short course powerhouse but has yet to capture that same success as a desert racer. The young driver is certainly one of the fastest behind the wheel of a UTV but the question remains if he can keep his self prepped vehicle together across the long and brutal 854 mile Baja course. Should he finish on the podium or better, he will head into the 2017 desert racing season not as a dark horse but rather as a favorite. Rahders leaves the line in the 6th position.
Johnny Angal has seemed to of lost some of his RZR racing mojo this season. The former Baja 1000 winner has struggled this year in finding the podium in his RZR, despite his successes in his 6100 Spec Trophy Truck. From the outside, it may look like Angal has spread himself out too thin between the two vehicles and thus his RZR program is taking a hit. But those who know Johnny and his UTV Inc. team would also know that anything they do, they do right, and winning in his RZR is still a top priority. For this years race, Johnny has enlisted the help of long-time UTV racer and head of the Polaris RZR racing program, Craig Scanlon. Scanlon just recently launched his own Scanlon Motorsports Group RZR program. Scanlon has Baja racing experience with his previous team Jagged X and is not new to the challenge of competing for wins. Togeather the team of Angal & Scanlon look to put their names at the top of the Baja 1000 finishing order, something Angal has enjoyed in the past but would be a first for Scanlon. Their #2921 Polaris RZR XP Turbo leaves the line in 7th position.
One of the biggest stories heading into this years race is the involvement of Arctic Cat and its big name ambassador Robby Gordon. Three Arctic Cat’s are entered into the race with some talented names attached to them as drivers. The machines are all entered into the Pro Turbo class leaving many to wonder if they will show up with a new platform to compete in or if they are simply entering some Robby Gordon Speed prepped Wildcat-X machines. Jaime Romero Sr. in the #2903 will be the first of the Arctic Cats to enter the course leaving the line in the 10th position. He will be assisted in driving duties by longtime UTV racer Sean Cook amongst others. Leaving in the 12th position is the #2933 Arctic Cat assigned to former founder of Dragonfire Racing, and longtime Trophy Truck and Class 1 racer Todd Romano. Todd has tons of Baja experience but is also known for being an abuser of equipment. He often runs the pace, but always seems to be left to salvage a finish due to mechanicals. Romano will be assisted by another experienced UTV Baja racer, Hans Waage, who has enjoyed his share of Baja glory back when UTV racing was more of a “Frankenstein” type of class. Another of Romano’s teammates this year is TJ Flores. Flores is not only a talented and fast off-road racer, he comes with tons of off-road experience as both a Class 1 and Trophy Truck driver amongst other vehicles he has competed in. Flores brings a wealth of mechanical and course knowledge to the team. Whats interesting is Sheldon Creed, another extremely fast and young driver, also listed as part of this team but Creed also is Driver Of Record (DOR) of the #2974 Arctic Cat which starts in the 16th position. Sheldon will be assisted by the legend himself, Robby Gordon, who is set to take on the Baja 1000 behind the wheel of his #77 Trophy Truck. The makeup of this three car team has many wondering what the strategy will be and just what these big name and very fast racers will be driving? The team has been in Baja pre-running together, doing lots of homework in preparation for this race. If this is the coming out party for the rumored new Arctic Cat then they certainly will be getting the attention they desire with these names piloting. What remains to be seen is if an Arctic Cat can finish well. Having this lineup of drivers means it will be up to the machine, and of course some Baja luck!
Branden Sims has experienced his share of Baja 1000 glory. Sims was part of the 2014 team with Johnny Angal that won the last peninsula run of the Baja 1000. This year, Sims will be back in his own #2913 Polaris RZR XP Turbo and will share driving duties with friend and fellow Polaris RZR athlete Jake Carver. The two make up a formidable team, both extremely fast and fit racers. Sims has extensive knowledge of his vehicle and has a lot of talent when it comes to driving both in dust and darkness, something all racers will be faced with. Together the duo looks to not only finish but win this years rac. They will leave the line in 9th position.
Justin Lambert may be starting in the 14th position but finishing 1st is his goal. The factory Polaris RZR athlete has been on a terror this season in BITD, winning every race he has started. Lambert finished second at this years Baja 500 and heads into this years Baja 1000 with high hopes of a successful run at the 1000. While Lambert may not have the decades of Baja experience like others competing, he definitely is not a rookie. He has competed the past few years south of the border, he and his team certainly know what it takes to win the race. Like the Baja 500, Lambert and his Cognito Motorsports team have entered their #2918 Polaris RZR XP1000 into the Pro Turbo class. Having won multiple overalls this year at BITD, it is known that the naturally aspirated RZR of Cognito Motorsports can run with all the big boys. Then again, Lambert is one of the big boys!
The most successful team in all of UTV racing is without question the Factory Polaris RZR team of Jagged X. Brandon Schueler holds more UTV racing championships than anyone competing in the sport and while a championship this year looks to be a long shot while (currently sitting in fourth in the points) a win at the Baja 1000 is still very attainable. Schueler this year will team up with long time co-driver and reigning King Of The Hammers Blake Van De Loo along with hot shoe driver Mitch Guthrie Jr.. Like Rahders, Guthrie Jr. made his name on the short course tracks of Lucas Oil and WORCS and made the transition to desert for 2016. Guthrie Jr. has challenged for wins and podiums all year with his biggest finish being a win at this years UTV World Championship in the Production class. Together, they look to combine Jagged X’s un-matched support and experience with one of todays fastest young drivers. The #2919 Polaris RZR XP Turbo of Jagged X will leave the line deep in the field in the 17th position and will have their work cut out for them to make up time and positions.
Nothing ever seems to be easy for brothers Jason & Derek Murray. The #2917 Can-Am Maverick X3 drew an 18th start position, but we think most who have raced the Baja 1000 will agree that this is the one race that lends itself enough time and mileage to make a run to the front, and if anyone can make a run its the brothers of Murray Motorsports. The Can-Am backed racers have worked hard the past couple of months to refine their new X3 race machine. The new Maverick X3 is the most talked about UTV on the market right now but with only a couple in competition its still a rather unproven platform. The Murray’s look to legitimize the X3 in this years Baja 1000 and after a rough outing at last months BITD Bluewater Desert Challenge the team knows how important a solid finish in Baja is to both Can-Am and its faithful. The Murray Motorsports program is one of the most consistent programs in all of UTV racing. We have watched the Murray’s compete since day 1 and one thing always proves itself to be true and that is you will see Jason & Derek cross the finish line. With the UTV worlds eyes on them, they will look to put their X3 on top of the box for the first time ever in Baja and possibly steal the season championship in the process
Leading a field of 15 Pro Naturally Aspirated UTV teams into the unforgiving Baja terrain will be the talented Kristen Matlock. Kristen will enter her factory backed #1954 Polaris RZR XP1000 with the plan of being the first to “IRONWOMAN” the Baja 1000 behind the wheel of a 4-wheel vehicle. Kristen has landed on the podium in just about every race she has entered and is coming off of a 3rd place finish at this years Baja 500. Like her husband Wayne, Kristen is one of the most experienced Baja racers in the entire race and plans to put her knowledge, skill and equipment to the test. She will certainly run the risk of fatigue by attempting to take on a race that could last well beyond 20 hours. She has worked hard to prepare herself physically while logging extensive hours of practice and pre-running. We always try to remain neutral in saying who we would like to see finish on top, it goes without question that we would love to see Kristen do well and make history behind the wheel of her Polaris RZR!
Starting just behind Kristen in the Pro Naturally Aspirated UTV class is racing legend Rhys Millen. The Pikes Peak and rally racing icon will pilot his #1967 Polaris RZR XP1000 with a shared goal of winning. Millen has what we believe to be one of the most advanced UTVs ever built for competition. With a focus on weight savings, vehicle balance and reliability, Millen has poured his many years of race car development into building a one-of-a-kind RZR that rivals any custom off-road machine we have ever seen. Rhys has competed in Baja and found success in other vehicles, should he find the podium this week at the Baja 1000, he will certainly add his name into the top racers of the sport heading into 2017.
Firing off the line 3rd in the Pro Naturally Aspirated UTV class will be the reigning Baja 500 class winner and championship points leader Alonso Lopez. Lopez has found the podium in each of his three SCORE races this year but his win at the Baja 500 gave him the legitimacy he has been competing for. Lopez will drive his #1949 Polaris RZR XP1000 with hopes of locking down the season championship and earning his first Baja 1000 win in a UTV. His unique RZR has been one of our favorites since the day he unveiled it, but up until this year struggled to make it last through the long and harsh Baja races. It seems as if Lopez has finally got his RZR figured out and dialed in and we think this could be his year!
A total of thirty-five UTVs have entered the race in the Pro Forced Induction (20) and Pro Naturally Aspirated (15) classes as of 11.14.16. This makes up the largest UTV field ever seen for a Baja 1000 race. The names and teams competing certainly prove once again that this isn’t the UTV class of old but rather one of the most competitive and fastest growing classes the sport has ever seen. Can-Am, Polaris and Arctic Cat are all invested into this race and whether they will admit it or not, will be focused on just who will win the OEM battle. This race is never given, it always will lend itself to the team and racer who puts in the most homework, performs the best prep and who races wisely.
UTVUnderground.com is heading south with a full team to chase this years race and bring you back all the Pre, Live and Post race coverage you could ever want. Track the race with us online in our forum at www.UTVUnderground.com/Forum and on all of our social media channels @utvunderground.
Pro Naturally Aspirated Starting Order
1. 1954 Kristen Matlock – Factory Polaris
2. 1967 Rhys Millen – Factory Polaris
3. 1949 Alonso Lopez – Polaris
4. 1958 George Felix – Polaris
5. 1991 David Laurence – Polaris
6. 1929 John Stagerman – Arctic Cat
7. 1955 Paul Champion – Polaris
8. 1910 Ryan Mcintire – Polaris
9. 1998 Bill Whittington – Polaris
10. 1962 Dodge Poelman – Polaris
11. 1923 Ben Bischoff – Polaris
12. 1901 Greg Row – Polaris
13. 1913 Dean Action – Polaris
14. 1939 Dan Fresh – Polaris
15. 1907 Daniel Parker – Polaris
F A C T S H E E T (as of 11/14/16) 2016 SCORE Baja 1000
WHAT: 49th Annual SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, final round of four-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship WHEN: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 15-20, 2016
WHERE: START/FINISH: Ensenada-Baja California, Mexico (65 miles south of U.S./Mexico Border at San Diego) WHO: Nearly 275 entries from 32 U.S. States, and 17 countries, participating in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and Quads COURSE: TOTAL MILEAGE: 854.50 miles (4 physical checkpoints, 122 visual checkpoints plus the finish line). Start/Finish on Blvd. Costero, adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada. SCORE has put together another memorable race course, this one for a loop race, with all of the foreboding, unforgiving terrain the northern state of the mysterious Baja California peninsula has to offer. Starting and finishing in the heart of Ensenada in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center, the course travels in a counter-clockwise direction. It includes the approximate 30 mile stretch to Ojos Negros which is used in both directions. The race will have its normal start from Ensenada to Piedras Gordas, then out to highway 3 around Rm 20.7 and will go to Km33 and get back on the dirt. The course will go past Rancho Grijalva to El Mezcal (Rm 39.6) and head to Uruapan using La Lagrima Rd, a different road than in past years.
From Santo Tomas, the course heads to the coast of the Pacific Ocean at La Calabera and runs down nearly 100 miles to San Quintin, Nuevo Odisea and then to El Rosario. The course will travel zig zag up the well known hill La Vivora, el Arenoso, and will loop around from San Juan de Dios at approximate Rm305 to El Metate Rm 340, Los Martires Rm 363 and go back to San Quintin on the east side of the highway and run north to Col. Vicente Guerrero, Jaramillo and Colonet.
The course will travel a new route from Colonet to Llano Colorado and across to Valley de Trinidad. The race course goes along the highway from San Matias to Villa del Sol then crossing the highway at El Chinero, north to Coabuso Junction and then out to Borrego, up Highway 1 and up the goat trail to checkpoint 4 Nuevo Junction. From there it will be on to Catarina then back to Ojos Negros and from Ojos Negros back to the finish line.
This year’s race course has 14 speed zones for a total of approximately 115 miles.
This year’s race course features 4 outlying checkpoints where each vehicle is required to quickly stop before continuing on. The checkpoints will be located as follows: Checkpoint No. 1—Santo Tomas (race mile 88.15), No. 2—El Rosario (rm 249.92), No. 3—Vicente Guerro (rm 469.15), No. 4—Nuevo Junction (rm 751.04).
Schedule of Events:
TUESDAY, Nov. 15–(All times PST)
9a.m. – 4 p.m. SCORE Chassis, Pre-Tech Inspections & Transponder checks, Playa Hermosa Beach, 1.1 miles south of Riviera del Pacifico CC
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Racer Registration, Red Room-Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center (adjacent to S/F)
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16–(All times PST)
10a.m. – 4 p.m. SCORE Chassis, Pre-Tech Inspections & Transponder checks, Playa Hermosa Beach, 1.1 miles south of Riviera CC
10a.m. – 7 p.m. –Racer Registration, Red Room-Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center (adjacent to S/F)
1 p.m. – 6 p.m. — Media Registration, Red Room-Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
7 p.m. – Midnight – SCORE Baja 1000 Goes Green, Monster Energy SCORE Party, (adjacent to S/F) Everyone welcome
THURSDAY, Nov. 17–(All Times PST)
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Racer Registration, Red Room-Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Media Registration, Red Room-Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Volunteer Registration, Corona Hotel parking lot OR rear of Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Contingency Row, Boulevard Costero, next to Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
9 a.m. – 6 p.m. — Technical Inspection, End of Contingency Row
11:30 a.m. – SCORE Media Conference, Cathedral Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
7 p.m. — Mandatory Racer Meeting-Cathedral Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
7 p.m. – Midnight – Monster Energy SCORE Papas & Beer Fan Fest, Avenida Ruiz (adjacent to Papas Y Beer) Everyone welcome
FRIDAY, Nov. 18–(All Times PST)
5:30a.m. – 11:59p.m. – BFG Tires/Baja California Secretary of Tourism/SCORE Media Center—Red Room, Riviera CC
6:00 a.m. – RACE START – Pro Motorcycles, Pro Quads, Sportsman Motorcycles, Sportsman Quads
STARTING ORDER (Subject to change): (One vehicle every 30 seconds)
Motorcycles—Pro Moto Unlimited, Pro Moto 30, Pro Moto 40, Pro Moto Limited, Pro Moto 50, Pro Moto Ironman, Pro Moto 60, Pro Quad, SPT M/C, SPT Quad
9 a.m. – Opening Ceremony, Honor Guard, Salute to the Flag, start/finish line area, Blvd. Costero
10:30 a.m. (APPROX) RACE START – Cars, Trucks, UTVs (minimum 3 1/2 hour gap between groups)
STARTING ORDER (Subject to change): (One vehicle every 60 seconds for TT, Class 1, every 30 seconds for other classes) Cars and Trucks–TT, 1, TT Spec, 2, HTUnl, 10, 8, 1/2-1600, SL, 5, HM, 3000, TL, 7, Pro UTV FI, Pro UTV, Pro UTV Unl, PT, 5-1600, 3, BC, SF, 7SX, 3700, 1700, SM, 9, 11, SPTUnl Truck, SPT Buggy, SPTLtd Truck, SPT UTV
TIME LIMIT: All cars/trucks will have a 36-hour time limit from the time each starts.
Race in Progress — Posting of Unofficial Results — SCORE Media Center, Red Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
SATURDAY, Nov. 19–(All Times PST)
12 a.m. – course close – BFG Tires/Baja California Secretary of Tourism/SCORE Media Center—Red Room, Riviera CC
Race in Progress — Posting of Unofficial Results — SCORE Media Center, Red Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
SUNDAY, Nov. 20–(all times PST)
8 a.m. – Noon — BFGoodrich Tires/Baja California Secretary of Tourism/SCORE Media Center—Casino Room, Riviera CC
9 a.m. — Posting of FINAL UNOFFICIAL Results—Red Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
10 a.m. — Awards Celebration-Cathedral Room, Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center
WEBSITE:www.score-international.com SANCTION: Sanctioned/produced by SCORE International
President—Roger Norman; Race Director–Abelardo Grijalva; Tech Director—Art Savedra; Assistant Race Director—Marco Durazo; Course Worker Coordinator—Hector Ponce MARKETING: Marketing by Promote Mexico LLC:
President–Roger Norman; Vice President–Elise Norman; Director of Sales and Marketing–Jim Ryan; Registration Director—Krista Anderson; Semi Transporter–Carlos Coral; Attorney–John Alessio; Media Operations Director—Dominic Clark BLACK BOXES: SCORE requires that special ‘black boxes’ ARE mandatory on all entries. As well as Anube Stella3 tracking devices SCORE LIVE: Live pre-race and race days internet coverage produced by the SCORE Live team will be airing on www.score-international.com. SCORE’s tracking system may be accessed through the SCORE website as well. On-site in the start/finish line area, the live coverage of the race will be displayed on SCOREvision (provided by Tecnovision), SCORE’s huge, double-sided LED screen. Official SCORE Sponsors: Bud Light-Official Beer, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Vision Wheel – Official Wheel, Axial R/C-Official R/C Vehicle, Muck Daddy-Official Hand Cleaner, CBS Sports Network-Official Television Partner, Wide Open Excursions- Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
Official SCORE Partners: 4 Wheel Parts, Coca Cola, The Satellite Phone Store, PCI Race Radios.
Additional SCORE Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Visit Baja California Sur, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamineto, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, McKenzie’s Performance Products, Advanced Color Graphics. Rosarito Beach SCORE Desert Challenge Special Partners: Vi Ayuntamiento de Playas de Rosarito, Cotuco de Playas de Rosarito, Comite de Mercadatecnia Playas de Rosarito, Baja California Secretary of Tourism.
TOP RACERS: SCORE Trophy Truck: 11 Rob MacCachren/Jason Voss, 21 Gus Vildosola Jr/Gus Vildosola Sr, 97 B.J. Baldwin, 31 Andy McMillin/Larry Roeseler, 15 Billy Wilson, 45 Gary Magness, 76 Jesse Jones/Toby Price, 19 Tim Herbst/Brett Sourapas, 91 Troy Herbst/Ryan Arciero, 200 Robby Gordon/Damen Jefferies, 23 Dan McMillin/Chuck Hovey, 83 Luke McMillin, 1 Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, Juan C. Lopez, 16 Cameron Steele/Pat Dean, 6 Steven Eugenio/Larry Connor, 48 Jimmy Nuckles/Armin Schwarz, 17 Eduardo Laguna, 4 Justin Matney/Ricky Johnson, 10 Aaron Ampudia/Alan Ampudia/Rodrigo Ampudia, 20 Pat O’Keefe/Jeremy McGrath; Class 1: Brad Wilson/Kyle Quinn, Shelby Reid/Darren Ebberts/Dale Ebberts, Cody Parkhouse/Brian Parkhouse, Ronny Wilson/Brian Wilson, Justin Davis, Jon Walker, Jaime Huerta Jr, Morgan Langley/Kory Halopoff, Jamie Galles; Trophy Truck Spec: Chad Broughton, Elias Hanna, Jordan Brenthel, Jonathan Brenthel, Javier Quiros, Lee Banning; Class 2: Jeff Proctor/Jason LaFortune; Class 10: Cody Reid, Todd Winslow/Matt Winslow, Rafael Navarro IV, Sergio Salgado, Clay Lawrence, Mike Lawrence; Class 8: Aaron Ampudia/James Burman; Class 1/2-1600: Ramon Bio, , J. David Ruvalcaba; SCORE Lites: Eric Palacios, Miguel Tornel Jr, Luis Barragan; Class 5: Victor Cesena; Class 7: Dan Chamlee, JT Holmes, Ikuo Hanawa; Pro UTV FI: Marc Burnett, Mike Cafro, Derek Murray/Jason Murray, Brandon Schueler, Cory Sappington; Pro UTV: Alonso Lopez, David Nance; Class 5-1600: Hector Hurtado, Tomas A. Fernandez, Erich Reisen; Class 3: Donald Moss; Baja Challenge: Kyle Tucker, Bill Weber; Stock Full: Rod Hall/Chad Hall, Greg Foutz; Class 11: Noe Gutierrez, Rene Rodriquez, Eric Solorzano; Pro Moto Unlimited: Colton Udall, Francisco Arredondo; Pro Moto 30: Chris Schultz; Pro Moto 40: Colie Potter, Jano Montoya, Mike Johnson; Pro Moto Limited: Mark Winkelman, Fernando Beltran; Pro Moto 50: Mark Winkelman; Pro Moto 60: Mark Hawley, Pro Quad: Javier Robles Jr.
HISTORY OF START/FINISH: In the 48-year history of the SCORE Baja 1000, this will be the 42nd time the race has started in Ensenada and the 24th time it has finished in Ensenada. The last time this race ended in Ensenada was last year.
ENGINE WINNERS: In 4-wheel vehicle competition, Ford motors have produced 17 overall winners, Chevy motors are second with 13 overall winners, VW motors have with 12 overall winners, followed Porsche with 3, Toyota with 2, and Dodge with 1.
CHASSIS WINNERS: Among 4-wheel vehicles, Ford has produced the chassis for 15 overall winners while Chenowth has produced the chassis for 10 overall winners, followed by Chevy with 9, Toyota, Funco, Raceco, Jimco and Smithbuilt with 2 each and Miller, Hi-Jumper, Dodge, and Meyers Manx with 1 each.
MOTORCYCLE WINNERS: In motorcycle competition, Honda leads with 25 overall victories, followed by Husqvarna with 11, Kawasaki with 10 and Yamaha with 2.
CAR & TRUCK TIRE WINNERS: Among tire manufacturers in the car and truck classes, BFGoodrich Tires leads with 27 overall winners, followed by Western Auto with six, Firestone with four, Calahan cap and Toyo with three each and Armstrong, Gates, Goodyear, Mickey Thompson and Tectira with one each.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for nearly four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has produced the tire of choice for 27 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 27 of the last 30 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 84 SCORE Baja races including 31 in the SCORE Baja 500.
BFGoodrich Tires also provides unmatched pit support for racers using their tires with five full service pit areas and more than 200 support crew personnel spread along the race course and complete radio relay the entire race course.
BFGoodrich Tires will also award $10,000 contingency money to the overall winners of this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 running exclusively on their tires.
UNITED NATIONS: Entries in the internationally-showcased race have come from 32 U.S. states and 17 countries. In addition to the 32 U.S. States, racers have entered from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand Thailand and the US Territory of Guam.
OVERALL POINTS SHOWDOWNS
In the motorcycle category, Colton Udall leads the Pro Moto Unlimited class as well as the overall motorcycle points with 221 while Pro Moto 40 (riders over 50 years old) class point leader Mark Winkelman is second with 215 points. Pro Moto 40 (riders over 40 years old) class point leader Jano Montoya is third with 208 points, fourth is Mike Johnson with 204 points (second in Pro Motor 40) and fifth is Francisco Arredondowith 203 points (Pro Moto Unlimited).
Among the car and truck classes, just 23 points separate the top five who are from three different classes. Leading the overall point standings and the Class 10 leader is the father/son team of Todd Winslow/Matt Winslow with 242 points. Second overall and in Class 10 is the son/father team of Rafael Navarro IV/Rafael Navarro III with 239 points. Tied for third with 223 points each are SCORE Trophy Truck point leader Billy Wilson and Trophy Truck Spec point leader Chad Broughton. Fifth overall and third in Class 10 is Sergio Salgado with 219 points.
REVVING THE RPMs
RPM Racing, based in Bristol, Tenn., has five entries again in this year’s SCORE Baja 1000.
With team principals Justin Matney and Clyde Stacy, who have captured 11 SCORE season class point titles between them as key drivers, RPM Racing has three entries in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division along with one in unlimited Class 1 and one in Sportsman Unlimited Truck.
Entered in SCORE Trophy Truck are defending season point champion Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez in the No. 1 Chevy Rally Truck, Matney in the four-wheel drive No.4 Chevy Silverado and Eduardo Laguna in the No. 17 Chevy Rally Truck. Derek Fletcher is racing in Class 1 in the No. 106 RPM-Chevy and Jim Bunn is driving in the Sportsman Unlimited Truck class.
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK QUALIFYING
Helped by a huge assist from short-course racing champion co-driver Kyle LeDuc, Riviera Racing’s Mark Post earned the first starting position in SCORE Trophy Truck.
A special SCORE Baja 1000 Qualifying, presented by BFGoodrich Tires, was held on Nov. 1 under the lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Off-Road Track. The qualifying event was held in conjunction with the SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience the SEMA Show in Las Vegas In front of an appreciative capacity crowd at the LVMS Off-Road Track, LeDuc, who has won four Pro 4 season point championships in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series of short-course stadium events, blistered the dirt, recording a top qualifying time of in three minutes, 5.62 seconds with an average speed of 40.73 miles per hour in Post’s No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150. The 5,000-pound race trucks are designed for the pounding of open desert racing resulting in average speeds in qualifying 10-20 miles per hour less than they will average during the actual races.
LeDuc, of Temecula, Calif., is part of a three-driver team for this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 that includes Post and Ed Herbst both of Las Vegas. Both champion SCORE desert racers, Post and Ed Herbst are two of the winningest drivers in the history of SCORE Trophy Truck. Ed Herbst has 11 career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins and four season point championships while Post has seven career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins and one season point championship in SCORE Trophy Truck.
Second was co-driver Ricky Johnson of Trabuco Canyon, last year’s top qualifier for driver of record Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn..
Completing the podium as third quickest was former NASCAR team owner/driver and champion desert racer Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C.
Rounding out the top five SCORE Trophy Truck qualifiers were Craig Potts, Scottsdale, Ariz., who was fourth and fifth was Las Vegas’ MacCachren.
MORE TIGHT POINTS
Several classes enter the 49th Baja 1000 with very tight title point’s races for the SCORE season championship in each class. Classes that seem to have the closest battles for the 2016 championships are SCORE Trophy Truck, Class 1, Trophy Truck Spec, Class 10, Class 7, Pro UTV FI and Pro Moto 40.
Billy Wilson has a six-point edge over Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez and 24 points over Gary Magness in SCORE Trophy Truck. In Class 1, a three-way battle looms between Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (211 points, No. 153 Jimco-Chevy), Jaime Huerta Jr, San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico (206, No. 175 Racer-Chevy) and Brad Wilson’s uncle Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (196, No. 138 Jimco-Chevy).
In Trophy Truck Spec, Chad Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif. leads with 223 points (No. 202 BajaLite-Chevy) followed closely by Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (216, No. 274 Chevy 1500) and Gonzalo Pirron, Quartz Hill, Calif. (203 No. 252 Chevy Silverado) while in Class 10 things are even closer with father/son leaders Todd and Matt Winslow, Clovis, Calif. (242, No. 1081 Alumi Craft-Chevy) followed by Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif. (239, No. 1009 Alumi Craft Chevy) and Sergio Salgado, Mexicali, Mexico a distant third (219, No. 1088, Jimco-Honda).
In Class 7, Dan Chamlee, Summerland, Calif. (152, No. 700 Ford Ranger) leads JT Holmes, Reno, Nev. (Ford Ranger) by just five points (147) while in Pro UTV FI Marc Burnett, Lakeside, Calif. leads (213, No. 2905 Polaris RZR XP1000Turbo) with Mike Cafro, Fallbrook, Calif. second (200, No. 2975 Polaris RZR XP1000) and Derek Murray, Eastvale, Calif. third (191, No. 2917 Can-Am Maverick Max).
The closest point’s race in the motorcycle classes is in Pro Moto 40 for riders over 40 years old. Jano Montoya, Winter Garden, Fla. (208, No. 404x KTM 450XCW) has a four-point lead over Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas (204, No. 455x Honda CRF450X) and an eight point lead over Colie Potter, Las Vegas (200, No. 400x Honda CRF450X).
This year’s race will also commemorate the achievements of legendary desert racers like Rod Hall, Ron Bishop, Johnny Johnson, and Larry Roeseler. Hall, who will turn 79 on Nov. 22, has a record 23 class wins (including one overall win in 1972), and is the only racer who has competed in all 48 SCORE Baja 1000 races. Bishop, who died in 2014, is the only racer who competed in the first 40 SCORE Baja 1000 races.
Hall will be racing this year in the Stock Full class where he will split the driving with his son Chad Hall. Johnson, now retired, had 15 class wins, amazingly in eight different classes. Roeseler, has 17 class wins in this race, including a record 13 overall wins (10 on a motorcycle). Roeseler will share driving duties this year in SCORE Trophy Truck with Andy McMillin in the No. 31 NexGen Fuels Ford F-150.
BACK FOR MORE
Another testament to how much this race means to the sport of desert racing, winners of 19 of the 22 Pro classes that had finishers last year are back in the starting field for this year’s race.
Among the crossover/celebrity racers officially entered in this year’s race are (as of 11/14/16):
–Robby Gordon, former NASCAR Team Owner/Driver, owner of stadium off-road truck series, three-time SCORE Baja 1000 Overall Winner, No. 200 SCORE Trophy Truck (vehicle number in memory of his late father ‘Baja’ Bob Gordon, a five-time class winner in the SCORE Baja 1000)
–Cameron Steele, action sports TV announcer, No. 16 SCORE Trophy Truck
–Armin Schwarz, of Germany who lives in Austria, seven-time World Rally Championship race winner, No. 48, SCORE Trophy Truck
–Francisco Arredondo, a champion motorcycle international rally racer from Guatemala, No. 45x, Pro Moto Unlimited
–Ricky Johnson, legendary supercross/motocross motorcycle star, short-course off-road champion, No. 4, SCORE Trophy Truck
–Jeremy McGrath, legendary seven-time AMA supercross champion, stadium off-road truck racer, No. 20, SCORE Trophy Truck
–John Langley, Producer of the award-winning COPS TV series, also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, No. 250, Trophy Truck Spec
–Toby Price, champion factory motorcycle rally racer, Dakar champion, No. 76 SCORE Trophy Truck
–Rhys Millen, champion Formula Drift racer, 3-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb Champion, precision-stunt-car driver, No. 1967, Pro UTV
–Ryan Millen, accomplished Formula Drift racer, No. 244, Trophy Truck Spec
–Tyler McQuarrie, Formula Drift racing star, veteran of numerous racing disciplines, driving instructor, No. 20, SCORE Trophy Truck
–Kyle LeDuc, four-time Pro-4 short-course off-road champion, No. 3 SCORE Trophy Truck
–Javier Quiros, champion international sports car and rally racer, No. 244, Trophy Truck Spec
–Rich Minga, 1987 SCORE Overall Point Champion who has become a prominent Hollywood stunt driver and Wide Open Excursions Baja tour guide, BC2, Baja Challenge
–Larry Connor, prominent Ohio businessman, two-time national sports car racing champion, No. 6, SCORE Trophy Truck
–Gary Magness, Film Producer and international businessman (No. 45, SCORE Trophy Truck)
–Kyle Tucker, Autocross champion, BC1, Baja Challenge
–Ikuo Hanawa, Pike’s Peak Hill Climb record-setting champion in electric race car, No. 712, Class 7
–Brad Lovell, six-time rock-crawling season championships, and 2012 TORC short course class title, BC1, Baja Challenge
–Jamie Galles, former Trans Am and Toyota Atlantic racer whose family was a long-time IndyCar team owner, No. 172, Class 1
-Shannon Campbell, Hall of Fame rock crawling racer, No. 4405, Hammer Truck Unlimited
-Carlin Dunne, three-time Pike’s Peak Hill Climb motorcycle champion, No. 705x, Pro Moto Ironman
–Bill Weber, legendary long-time motorsports television announcer, professional illusionist, No. BC2, Baja Challenge
Entered in this year’s event are 12 racers who have combined for 29 overall wins in either the 4-wheel or motorycle divisions. The leaders are: Larry Roeseler, 13, (10 on a motorcycles, two years in a car, one in a truck), Andy McMillin, five, (SCORE Trophy Truck), with three each are Robby Gordon (SCORE Trophy Truck), Rob MacCachren (SCORE Trophy Truck) and Colton Udall (Pro Moto Unlimited). With two each are Gus Vildosola Sr (SCORE Trophy Truck), Troy Herbst (Class 1), B.J. Baldwin (SCORE Trophy Truck). With one overall win each are Rod Hall (Class 4), Gus Vildosola Jr (SCORE Trophy Truck), Jason Voss (SCORE Trophy Truck), Mark Post (SCORE Trophy Truck) and Mark Samuels (Open M/C).
Entered in this year’s event are 82 racers who have combined for an amazing 292 class wins in the SCORE Baja 1000. The leaders in multiple class wins entered this year are: Rod Hall with 23 (first overall), Larry Roeseler with 17 (second overall), Jim O’Neal with 12 (tied for seventh) and Donald Moss with 11 (tied for eighth).
Desert racing has always been about family teams and this year’s SCORE Baja1000 is a prime example of that fact. This year’s starting grid currently includes 43 brothers racing together and 19 racing separately. The race also has 21 fathers racing with their 16 sons and three fathers whose four sons are racing in separate vehicles. There are also two fathers and two daughters racing separately, at least three husband/wife combos racing together and one mother and son racing in separate vehicles.
Among the third generation racers are Ryan Arciero (SCORE Trophy Truck), Andy McMillin (SCORE Trophy Truck), Daniel McMillin (SCORE Trophy Truck), Rafael Navarro IV (Class 10) and Luke McMillin (SCORE Trophy Truck).
Among the brothers racing together are: Ronny and Randy Wilson (Class 1), Donald and Kenneth Moss (Class 3), Glen, Bruce and Thom Greer (SCORE Trophy Truck), Aaron, Alan and Rodrigo Ampudia (SCORE Trophy Truck), Derek and Jason Murray (Pro UTV FI) and J. David and Leonel Ruvalcaba (Class 1/2-1600).
Among the father and sons racing together are Gus Vildsosola and his son Gus Vildosola Jr. (SCORE Trophy Truck), Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez and his father Juan Carlos Lopez (SCORE Trophy Truck), Rafael Navarro IV and his father Rafael III (Class 10), Chad Broughton and his father Paul Broughton (Trophy Truck Spec), Todd Winslow and his son Matt Winslow (Class 10), Rod Hall and his son Chad Hall (Stock Full) and Miguel Tornel Sr and his son Miguel Tornel Jr (Class 10).
Among the father-sons who will race in separate vehicles are John Langley (Trophy Truck Spec) and his sons Zak Langley (SCORE Trophy Truck) and Morgan Langley (Class 1), Greg Row (Pro UTV) and his son Josh Row (Pro Quad) along with Lawrence Janesky (Pro Moto Ironman) and his son Tanner Janesky (Pro Moto Ironman).
While there are many co-drivers/co-riders, among the female racers entered as driver of record are…
–Shelby Reid—No. 100, Class 1. Son Cody Reid driving No. 1000, Class 10
–Heidi Steele—No. 216, Trophy Truck Spec. Husband Cameron Steele driving No. 16, SCORE Trophy Truck
–Chelsea Magness—No. 232, Trophy Truck Spec. Father Gary Magness driving No. 45, SCORE Trophy Truck –Kristen Matlock—No. 1954, Pro UTV. Husband Wayne Matlock driving No. 2971, Pro UTV FI
–Abbey Hull—No. 561, Class 5-1600
In addition to season class point championships and SCORE World Desert Championship overall point titles, the racers are also competing for part of $300,000 in cash purse and contingency postings. There are also the numerous annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year Awards. Drivers are also attempting to earn prestigious Red Kap SCORE Milestone Awards given to all racers who complete every required mile of the race season. With 38 racers still in the hunt, these awards are being presented by SCORE for the 31st consecutive year.
SCORE International Class Descriptions/Numbers:
The 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship series features 37 Pro and 6 Sportsman Classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. Class winners are determined along with the overall race winner in Pro Cars/Trucks, Pro Motorcycles, Pro UTVs and Pro Quads. General Class descriptions and numbers:
Pro Cars & Trucks
SCORE Trophy Truck (Unlimited Production Trucks) 1-99
Class 1 (Unlimited single or two-seaters) 100-199
Trophy Truck Spec (unlimited trucks/sport utility vehicles, stock, sealed V-8s) 200-299
Hammer Truck Unlimited (unlimited Rock Crawler/Hammer Truck) 4400-4499
Hammer Truck Limited (limited Rock Crawler/Hammer Truck) 4500-4599
Class 10 (Single or two-seaters limited engine) 1000-1099
Class 1/2-1600 (single or two-seaters to 1600cc VW engines) 1600-1699
SCORE Lites (Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc VW engines) 1200-1299
Class 8 (Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks) 800-899
Class 5 (Unlimited Baja Bugs) 500-549
Heavy Metal (Open Production Trucks, V8 Engines) 8000-8099
Class 2 (Unlimited open-wheel, car/truck, 3.6-Liter Turbo or supercharged) 2000-2099
Class 3000 (Class 7-2,Unlimited mini-truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine) 3000-3099
Trophy Lite (Unlimited Mini-Truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine) 6000-6099
Class 7 (Open Production mini trucks) 700-739 Pro UTV (Naturally Aspirated UTV) 1900-1949 Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction UTV) 2900-2999 Pro UTV Unlimited (Unlimited UTV) 1850-1899
Protruck (Limited Production Trucks) 1350-1399
Class 5-1600 (1600cc VW Baja Bugs) 550-599
Class 3 (Short wheelbase 4X4) 300-399
Baja Challenge (Spec open wheel cars) BC1-BC99
Stock Full (Stock full-sized trucks) 8100-8199
Class 7SX (Modified, stock mini-trucks) 740-759
Class 3700 (Jeep Speed Cup) 3700-3799
Class 1700 (Jeep Speed Challenge) 1700-1799
Stock Mini (Stock mini trucks) 760-799
Class 9 (Short wheelbase, single or two-seaters) 900-999
Class 11 (Stock VW Sedans) 1100-1199
Pro Moto Unlimited (401cc or more) 1x-49x
Pro Moto Limited (400cc or less) 100x-149x
Pro Moto 30 (Riders over 30 years old) 300x-349x
Pro Moto 40 (Riders over 40 years old) 400x-449x
Pro Moto Ironman (Solo) 700x-799x
Pro Moto 50 (Riders over 50 years old) 500x-549x
Pro Moto 60 (Riders over 60 years old) 600x-609x
Pro Quads (450cc or more) 1a-49a
LAST YEAR’S TOP FINISHERS:
48th Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000, Final round of five-race 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship
Nov. 18-22, 2015— Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico—821.38 miles
Total Starters: 239; Total Finishers 124 (51.18 percent)
TOP OVERALL FINISHERS
Pro Cars and Trucks
1. 11 Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas/Andy McMillin, San Diego, Ford F-150, 15:58:33 (51.41 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
2. 5 Carlos Lopez, Tecate, Mexico/Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Juan C. Lopez, Tecate, Mexico, Chevy Rally Truck, 16:14:55 (50..55 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
3. 17 Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico/Josh Daniel, Canyon Country, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 16:17:03 (50.44 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
4. 91 Troy Herbst, Las Vegas/Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., Ford F-150, 16:46:58 (48.94 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
5. 19 Tim Herbst, Las Vegas/Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., Ford F-150, 17:01:12 (48.26 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
6. 21 Gus Vildosola Jr/Gus Vildosola, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Raptor, 17:07:45 (47.95 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
7. 1 Steven Eugenio, Vista, Calif./Armin Schwarz, Austria (Germany), Chevy C1500, 17:50:10 (46.05 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck))
8. 23 Dan McMillin, La Mesa, Calif./Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., Ford F-150, 18:05:16 (45.41 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck
9. 9 Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore./Gary Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150, 18:14:22 (45.03 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
10. 16 Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Pat Dean, Las Vegas/Cody Stuart, Capistrano Beach, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 18;23:00 (44.68 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
11. 871 Larry Connor, Miamisburg, Ohio/Jason Ruane, England/Neal Mason, Temecula, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 18:33:24 (44.26 mph) (Trophy Truck Spec)
12. 50 Zak Langley, Santa Monica, Calif./Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif./Adam Householder, Ford F-150 18:37:01 (44.12 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
13. 189 Jon Walker, Tamuning, Guam/Corey Keyser, Colorado Springs, Colo., Kreger-Chevy (18:49:23) (43.64 mph) (Class 1)
14. 168 Shelby Reid, Apple Valley, Calif./Darren Ebberts, Corona, Calif./Dale Ebberts, Wilton, Calif., Custom-Chevy, 18:58:25 (43.29 mph) (Class 1)
15. 75 Mike Cook, Orem, Utah, Chevy Silverado, 19:09:17 (42.88 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
16. 45 Gary Magness/Devin Housh, Desert Hot Springs, Calif., Ford F-150, 19:20:20 (42.47 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
17. 153 Brian Wilson, Long Beach, Calif./Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif./Kyle Quinn, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 19:24:26 (42.32 mph) (Class 1)
18. 70 Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas/Jesse Jones, Phoenix, Ford F-150, 20:29:00 (40.10 mph) (SCORE Trophy Truck)
19. 1636 Aaron Ampudia/Alan Ampudia, Ensenada, Mexico, Alumi Craft, 20:40:40 (39.72 mph) (CLASS 1/2-1600)
20. 4405 Shannon Campbell, Gilbert, Ariz./Wayland Campbell, Gilbert, Ariz., Custom-Chevy, 20:41:26 (39.70 mph) (Class 4400)
The 2016 SCORE Baja 500 will forever go down as one of the most brutal, tragic and hard fought Baja 500’s of all time. Every year we hear racers claim that it was the toughest course, but this year the course itself was only part of what made the 2016 running the most brutal of all-time.
The race weekend kicked off just like every Baja does, with festivities and celebration. Thursday night, Monster Energy hosted the first major party held at the start / finish line area. Hundreds gathered to listen to music and see some of their favorite Monster Energy athletes. Everything lead up to Friday’s full day of tech and contingency. While most would agree that the BITD Mint 400 contingency now rivals Baja in terms of size and attendance, no one can argue that contingency at the Baja 500 and 1000 are still the biggest and most festive events in all of motorsports. Its somewhat of a national holiday with tens of thousands of locals packing downtown Ensenada to see the most exciting display of vehicles in all of off-road racing. The cultural impact alone is what makes this day long parade so much fun. Its just as much about the food, music and location as it is the race and vehicles. Fans and racers alike spend their entire day funneling through this gauntlet of spectators, vendors and race vehicles all giving off a Mardi Gras type vibe as racers work to get their machines to the end of the line where tech officials wait to give each race vehicles its final stamp of approval. The day wraps with a drivers meeting and the now anticipated Monster Energy street party hosted by Papas & Beer. The party rages well into the night as teams and racers head to their safe havens to get rest in preparation for Saturday mornings race.
If you are riding a bike or ATV then your morning starts early on Saturday with the first bike leaving the line at dawn. SCORE implemented a change in the start order a few years back to provide bikes and ATVs a larger head start to help in preventing the bigger four wheel vehicles in catching them. This was a change to improve safety, something SCORE has dedicated too in all areas of the race. Saturday’s race would see over 220 teams take the green flag in Ensenada before blasting out onto the 477 mile course which led racers from the Pacific Coast to San Felipe and back. A heat wave hit the Baja peninsula the week of the race and racers were warned that triple digit temps would be part of this years event. While most of the competitors would tell you they were expecting the heat, none I think were fully prepared for the soaring temps that Baja would thrust upon them. Nevertheless, heat and brutal conditions are nothing new, however no one was prepared for what would happen before most would even leave the start line.
After a brief delay at the start-line, the first trophy truck would rocket off just after 10am PST. Robby Gordon in the #77 truck would leave the start and send the local crowd into a frenzy. There is something about seeing that first trophy truck slide through the first turn with the engine running at full song that gives you the chills. Locals screamed with approval as Robby sent his truck into the Ensenada wash. He was soon followed by other top qualifiers like Bryce Menzies, Rob MaCachren, and Andy McMillin. As fans jockeyed for their spectating positions all throughout the downtown start area trucks continued to pounce off the start-line. What happened next none of us were prepared for.
Trophy Truck 75 piloted by relative unknown Todd Pederson shot off the line and like everyone before was headed into turn three of the start which takes racers off of the blacktop and onto dirt for the first time which then leads them down the entrance into the infamous Ensenada wash. As TT75 slowed to make this right hand turn, he slowly missed the corner and began to descend down the side of the entrance which is formed of dirt. He tried to correct his mistake by hitting the throttle but the angle of the slope and the size of his truck forced him down the embankment and sent his massive truck directly into a small group of spectators. What happened next is something that will never be erased from the minds of those who witnessed this incident. What should have been a simple mistake resulting in a stuck truck at worst turned into a 28 year old mother and her 8 year old son being ran over, from there chaos ensued. As the truck came to a hard rest stuck in the marsh of the wash, samaritans from all sides of the course rushed to pull the 8 year old boy aside and help calm the visibly shaken mother. The boys father desperately began to perform CPR as others began to slow the next truck coming towards the same corner.
The moments that followed were some of the saddest I have ever witnessed at any motorsports event. The mother who had a severe leg injury began to shout as she watched her husband and others fight to save their sons life. Officials began to set a perimeter and the race came to a halt. The next hour would be filled with cries, shock and confusion as to what the next step for the race would be. But for those there the only thing on our minds was whether or not that young life would be spared. As the ambulance left with the boy, the mother was carried through the crowd to another waiting vehicle to also transport her. Roger Norman, the owner of SCORE was on the scene and personally escorted the officials who carried the injured woman. While local police worked on their investigation the truck was towed out of its location and then slowly driven away by another official or team member. The driver and co-driver were kept on the scene until the area was cleared. By then the race had been delayed for well beyond an hour.
The news of the accident flooded the rest of the teams waiting in line for their chance at taking on this years race. SCORE worked feverishly to get the situation remedied and get the race back underway. The race resumed but many racers and spectators clearly had the wind removed from their sails. We spoke to numerous racers who after the event said that they lost all excitement before even leaving the start line after hearing what had happened. For many of us who were there to spectate and cover the event we too had lost the joy of being at the Baja. As I headed through town and onto HWY3 to make my way out to the race course I couldn’t help but dwell on the incident. Conversation amongst those of us in the truck was centered around how that happened, why it happened and how it should have been and could have been prevented. What makes Baja great is the adventure, the danger, and the unknown. Racing in the United States was greatly impacted by the infamous California 200 MDR event years ago when individuals who were standing in a known sketchy location were killed by a competing vehicle who lost control. The blame game took precedence over all things and fingers were pointed in all directions. Ultimately most will tell you that people have to take responsibility for themselves, spectators assume responsibility when they make a decision to stand next to an active race course and organizers should not be held accountable for every single person spread around an off-road race course. I tend to agree to a degree, that we all know the dangers of this sport. We all know that at any moment a parts failure or lack of judgement from the driver could cause that massive steel vehicle to lose control. But what makes this situation unique from other vehicle vs. spectator incidents is the proximity to which this accident happened to the start/finish line of the course. This accident took place less than a mile from the start in an area that is known for being a suspect spot and in an area that has seen numerous vehicles make the same mistake that TT75 made this year. Yet there was no one there to keep those individuals from walking, standing and spectating in that location.
Now, many will revert back to the argument of “well they should have known that was a bad spot to be” and yes, I do agree however that argument went out the window the minute I found out that the family here were not avid race fans but rather American citizens who were in town for other reasons. The town of Ensenada is frequented by tourists from all over and cruise ships dock minutes away from where the race is taking place. The reality is I do not think these particular spectators who were injured fully understood that where they were standing was a dangerous location. Fortunately for the others in that same location, they were able to run and dive out of the way and were spared. My point is, this situation should have been avoided. There is no reason those people should have been allowed to cross on that side of the wash, they should not have been able to be standing there and there should have been procedures in place to ensure that when this corner was blown, because it was bound to happen as proven time and time again in this spot, that no one would be down there to be in harms way. The blame will be shared by the parents who stood in that spot, the driver who ran out of talent 3 turns into a 477 mile race, and the authorities who should have the foresight to know that this particular spot at the very entrance to the first dirt of the race is a dangerous location and no one should be on the outside of that corner.
It would be later announced that the 8 year old boy was pronounced dead at the local hospital. The mother is stable but suffered traumatic leg injuries as well as head injuries. The father is a youth pastor at a local Southern California Christian church and he and his wife and son were in Baja working at a local orphanage we were later told. Why they came to the race I am unsure of, but nevertheless their lives were forever changed in a blink of an eye. The co-driver of TT75 was released at the scene and the driver was taken by officials. We are unaware of what has taken place since for him. In Mexico the laws are very different and while this was purely a racing incident the local authorities from what we are told still treat it like any other traffic accident. We are unaware of the process, how long the race vehicle is impounded for and how much this will cost the driver both financially and time-wise. Racers know the danger of spectators and locals on the race course and are prepared for large crowds all over the course throughout Baja, that is part of what makes this event so exciting. But should racers really be concerned with hitting and killing spectators less than a mile off the start where there is ample man-power and resources to prevent such tragedy? I can tell you, if I am racing Baja, I will enter that corner and many more near that start area with added caution and concern not just for others safety but for my own. In addition, let this be a lesson to all competitors to understand your rights and the procedures should this happen to you. This was not the first nor last time it will happen, are you prepared?
With the race back underway the lead trophy trucks benefitted from the delay and were able to put a large gap between them and the rest of the field. By the time UTVs left the start line the desert temperatures would sore well beyond 110 degrees in many parts. While UTVs raced out of town they would soon be slowed by yet another turn of events, this however would be directly related to other vehicles and the course itself. Less than 30 miles into the race a Spec TT class racer would stick his truck on a very steep and silty dirt hill climb. This resulted in a massive bottle neck preventing racers from once again getting into their race groove. For many this bottleneck caused racers to be delayed upwards of two hours as they waited for vehicles to make the climb one at a time up this tricky section. Frustration set in for many as they tried to navigate around the line of race vehicles and make other lines up the hill with little luck. This incident has furthered the post race discussion and frustration for many involved. Its easy to say that this is just a part of the race but this pile up 30 miles into the race cost many who were stuck valuable time in catching those who were able to squirt through. In the end everyone got through and were able to finally settle into a long term race groove and that would lead them well into the night.
As we chased the race towards San Felipe we would fall victim to the limited data and cell coverage that still plagues much of the Baja peninsula. We have all grown very spoiled in the realm of communication but in this part of Baja you have to know that your coms are going to fall off. We relied heavily on our PCI Race Radios and the always crucial Weatherman radio channel to keep us informed. It would be during our stint waiting on race vehicles that we would hear more code-red emergencies radioed in and it would be confirmed later that 2 motorcycle racers would also lose their lives in this years wild Baja 500 race. Crashing is always part of Baja, riding a motorcycle or quad increases your chances of potentially fatal injuries due to the lack of protection as you race across the always dangerous Baja terrain. But it was the heat that would claim the life of at least one of these riders and would also take numerous racers out of the race. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion both played a roll in the race for everyone competing. Even the worlds best athletes can fall to dehydration and symptoms of heat stroke. Top trophy truck racer BJ Baldwin was just one of the many who had to be relieved and attended too by medical personnel due to the heat. Hearing the Weatherman coordinate medical situations further added to the erie feeling that this race had surrounding it. After spending hours in the 110 degree temps around RM 325 we decided to pack it in and head back towards Ensenada where we would try to track the race via tracking services and with reliable cellular data. We knew that due to the delays we would never see the UTVs in day light at this location and we were right.
What took place between the UTV teams will be left up to their own race reports and stories. It seemed as if this race put us back in time as it pertained to coverage and updates. Social media and text traffic was unusually quiet but it wasn’t surprising considering the race course design which kept racers and their chase teams who provide most of the intel in the cellular black zone known as HWY3. We would collect patchy intel throughout the night but were left with no images and no real story lines to cling too. But after 12 hours and 48 minutes of brutal race competition Baja veteran and factory Polaris RZR driver Wayne Matlock in his #2971 Terrabit Racing / Jimco Polaris RZR XP Turbo would take home the big win. Finishing ten minutes behind him was Polaris RZR teammate Justin Lambert in the #2918 Cognito Motorsports Polaris RZR XP 1000. Rounding out the Pro UTV FI podium was Can-Am X Team driver Cory Sappington in the #2904 Dezert Toyz Can-Am Maverick Turbo who would cross the line just over an hour after Lambert. It should be noted that Justin Lambert raced up a class and took on the FI (forced induction) class with his naturally aspirated RZR 1000 proving again that its not all about horsepower when taking on the extreme Baja desert terrain.
Finishing first in the Pro UTV class was Alonso Lopez in his#1949 GlazzKraft built Polaris RZR. Lopez, a Baja native, has worked hard to compete for a Baja 500 win in the UTV class so to see him do well was very exciting for those of us who call Alonso a friend. They would complete the 477 mile course in 15 hours and 11 minutes in their brand new machine. Behind them was the#1983 of John Estrada and Justin Quinn in the #1983 Polaris RZR. Rounding out the Pro UTV podium was the #1954 Terrabit Racing / Jimco Polaris RZR of Kristen Matlock. Kristen who is wife to Wayne Matlock, has been on a terror in her first season as a UTV racer. The husband and wife racers have taken the class by storm in 2016 and she has raised the bar for women competitors in the class.
While the 2016 Baja 500 will be shadowed by the lives lost it should not diminish the accomplishments of those who competed, finished, and won. Racing Baja is not for the feint of heart. Competing south of the border is not just a competition between teams and vehicles but in more ways its a race against the terrain and ones self. For many, just taking the green flag at a Baja event is an accomplishment. For others, finishing the Baja is as good as a win. For most, just being part of the event is something you cherish for your entire life. The memories made, the bonds that are forged between teams, the challenges that are overcome and the miles and miles of stories are what make competing in Mexico the most talked about in off-road racing. Baja is not about the glitz and glamour, its not about the money or fame, its about the love of the sport. Its about the love of competition and bonding with your families and friends in a way that only those who do it understand. For me, coming to Baja is a part of what I do and what I want to do for the rest of my life. Whether I am racing or spectating, providing coverage or supporting friends, just being there gives me more joy then one will ever understand. I will never forget this years race. It will forever go down as probably the worst Baja 500 I have ever tried to cover, but thats not a knock on the racers or the event. Lives were lost, unfortunately I as well as many were there to witness one of them and that alone put a damper on the trip. However, for that one bad memory there were 100 good ones made and so while the race itself was rough, hot and harsh the trip itself will act as a reminder as to why we go to Baja.
As always, thank you to all of the racers and teams who support UTVUnderground.com both on and off the track. Seeing our colors on your cars makes us extremely happy and we can’t thank you enough. To the people of Baja, THANK YOU for allowing us to have so much fun in your country. We can’t wait to come back in November for the Baja 1000! Lets pray for cooler weather, safer conditions and a few more cell towers along Hwy3.
To the teams and families who lost love ones this year, our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know words will never relieve or replace the pain you all are feeling but rest knowing that the community as a whole is here to support you and to remember you. May God bless you all and comfort you through this hard and terrible time.
Until next time….
After publishing, Pacific Coast Church put out this statement: “Today Pacific Coast Church grieves the loss of Xander Hendriks, 8 year old son of PCC youth pastor Brandon & Melissa Hendriks. Xander was fatally injured while watching the Baja 500 in Mexico yesterday. Please commit to praying for Brandon & Melissa during this unspeakably difficult time.”
2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction..
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 2971 (First in class. Matlock drove the entire race.) — “That was one tough and dusty course. We had a pretty good run and we had little clutch issues here and there but other than that the car was flawless. We got stuck in the bottleneck and went from first to eighth really quickly. It happens.”
JUSTIN LAMBERT, No. 2918 (Second in class. Lambert shared driving duties with Victor Herrera.) — “It was a heck of a day. We entered the forced induction class but this is actually a naturally aspirated car so we are down on power but to lead most of the pack all day long we are pretty proud.”
CORY SAPPINGTON, No. 2904 (Third in class. Sappington shared driving duties with Scott Sappington.) — “It was gnarly out there. Baja tried to beat us up but we beat Baja today. There was a huge bottleneck in the first 20 miles and it was chaos out there. We made a bunch of ground up by plowing bushes over and getting through that mess. Thank you to all of the fans. It makes it so special that you are out there cheering us on in the middle of the night.”
When SCORE gave UTVs their own Pro class in 2013 it was like an open invitation to everyone racing UTVs at the time to come take on Baja. Fast forward to 2015 and the Pro UTV class fielded 24 entries making it the second largest class in the historic race, second to only Trophy Truck, the events premier race class. The best of the best took on this years 800+ mile race. While the course itself was substantially shorter than most other Baja 1000 races, many will tell you this was certainly one of the harshest courses in years. Of course we do hear that comment every year.
Its always impossible to cover every storyline that occurs during the race. Whats cool about Baja is that whether you complete the race, win it, go 5 miles, chase it, or just simply follow it online, you will always have a list of stories to tell. So much happens during the course of an event like the Baja 1000 that its impossible to give every racer their due love and respect as it pertains to the race. With that said, we will do our best to give you the cliff notes.
Wayne Matlock entered the race with team partner Terry Hui riding high off of their Baja 500 win back in June. Anyone who follows the class closely knew Matlock was going to be a handful for the rest of the class and was going to be a favorite especially if he could avoid mechanicals. In the end Matlock and Hui would do just that and in 22 hours time would complete the Baja 1000 making them the Pro UTV class winners for the 2015 event.
Johnny Angal was last years 2014 champion in his first time competing in the Baja 1000. He drafted speedster Branden Sims and a couple other young drivers in hopes of keeping fresh eyes behind the wheel. Like last year, Angal decided a month prior to the race to build another brand new machine to compete with. Throwing caution to the wind, Angal’s staff at UTV Inc. put together a brand new 2016 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo in a few weeks time. The new #1921 shot off the start line like a bat out of hell and raced to an early lead and kept the new RZR up front for most of the first quarter of the race. Angal battled back and forth with Wes Miller in the #1988 Polaris RZR. Both were making some serious time on the competition but as is the case with many early leaders the pace ended up taking its toll on both teams equipment. Both teams would fall out of the race.
Brandon Schueler and the #1932 Jagged X racing team were coming to Baja for 2 reasons. First, they wanted to win, they always race to win. Second, they wanted to take home their second SCORE Championship in 3 years. The #1932 raced up front for the entire length of the race. They kept pace with the leaders and enjoyed their share of the lead at numerous points of the race. Their rivals in the #1917 Murray Motorsports Can-Am Maverick had stacked their team brining in the hot shoe of S3 Powersports and fellow Can-Am teammate Dustin Jones to try and help them bring home their first ever Pro UTV racing championship. The Murray’s have been close many times to bringing a Championship home, but never have they been able to close the deal. Schueler on the other hand is a 6-time Pro UTV Champion at BITD and his Jagged X team also won the 2013 SCORE Championship with former teammate Matt Parks behind the wheel. More than a battle between them as competitors is always the looming OEM battle between Can-Am and Polaris. Its no secret that both brands are doing all they can to win races and championships. Polaris has enjoyed the bulk of success winning all of the Pro UTV championships thus far.
Unfortunately for Can-Am and the Murray’s they will have to wait one more year for their shot at winning a Pro UTV championship. They suffered a couple mechanicals early on in the race setting them back to 21st place before RM100. They would spend the rest of the race trying to claw their way out of the hole and into some sort of podium contention. Many of us watching the race thought that there was no way they would even finish the race but they fought and fought, inspired by the Baja mystique of never giving up. While Jagged X would race on to a second place finish and their second Pro UTV Championship, the Murray’s would continue to fight and make their way to the finish line after being on course for over 30 hours! Schueler would finish in second only 25 minutes behind Matlock. The finish would earn Jagged X and their #1932 Polaris RZR program the 2015 SCORE Pro UTV Championship. Jagged X continues to prove themselves as the team to beat and shows exactly why they are considered the elite team in UTV off-road racing.
Justin Lambert and his #1908 Cognito Motorsports Polaris RZR are always contenders. They always show up prepared and with a machine capable of winning at any moment. The #1918 would run in the top 3-5 positions for the entire race, at one point would take the lead on corrected time. However with their tracker not working for 90% of the race it was hard to see if they were still in it, or had they fallen out. We would get updates sporadically stating they were still in the top 3-5 with BFG pit times showing them flying through the course. At the end of the day, it took the team just over 23 hours to complete the brutal Baja 1000 course for a 3rd place finish!
4th place would go to Pro UTV new comer Dan Fresh in the #1939 Polaris RZR. We wanted to mention Dan and his team because they showed up unannounced with a brand new car that had less than 50 miles of test time on it. Magnum Offroad built them one of the nicest UTVs we have ever seen and it performed almost flawlessly. While the team missed the podium they still got a finish and for anyone who has raced Baja before, you know in many cases a finish is as good as a win! Other finishers were Ben Bischoff in the #1923 Polaris RZR, Cory Sappington in the #1904 Can-Am Maverick, our boy Alonso Lopez in the #1949 Polaris RZR, Benjamin Wilson in the #1927 Polaris RZR, and Tyler Backus in the #1922 Polaris RZR. Congrats to all of these guys for finishing this gnarly race.
There are always more heart break stories then there are successful stories as it pertains directly to the race itself. Only one team can win. But taking on the Baja is more than just a race, its an experience and win or lose you always go home with some level of experience and in most cases its good. Baja can and always will be dangerous and so far we haven’t heard of anyone in our class suffering a major injury which is huge and always most important. To those who came to compete and didn’t finish, don’t give up! Its all part of the journey and makes those finishes, podiums and wins that much more sweet.
Thank you all for your support of UTVUnderground.com. To those of you who tracked the race with us on the forum and in social media, thank you for your participation. To the UTVUG staff that spent over 30 hours chasing and covering the race for us and for the class, you are the best!! Majority of UTV media will sit home and wait for a PR and some photos to float there way, but not us. UTVUnderground.com lives this sport, we love UTV racing and we are committed to continually giving you guys some level of coverage strait from the side of the course!
Until next time….
Photos by: Vincent Knakal / Ernesto Araiza / Sebastian Krywult
The 2015 SCORE Baja 500 was as good of a race as any we have ever seen! 23 Pro UTVs would line up to take on this years epic race with only 11 of those actually finishing. It was long, rough and hard as is always the case south of the border.
After 13 hours of non stop racing it would be Wayne Matlock in his Jimco built Polaris RZR XP1000 who would cross the line first. Not far behind him was the 1932 Jagged X RZR of Brandon Schueler. Derek & Jason Murray in their Murray Motorsports Can-Am Maverick Turbo would cross the line in 3rd. After review, SCORE would hand out penalties causing the 1932 Jagged X RZR to be bumped to 4th, moving the 1917 Murray Motorsports Maverick into second thus placing Michael Cafro in his Polaris RZR into the 3rd position. Jagged X is still awaiting notification from SCORE on where the infractions occurred.
It was an amazing display of speed, prep and navigation by Wayne Matlock and his team. They earned a well deserved win!
Congratulations to everyone who took on the race. Thank you to each and every team who represented UTVUnderground.com, we can’t thank you enough!
CLASS 19 Start List (23)
1937 Marc Behnke
1917 Derek Murray
1915 Thomas Graves
1942 Scott McFarland
1927 Ben Wilson
1921 Johnny Angal
1904 Cory Sappington
1905 Marc Burnett
1952 Jonathan McVay
1946 Jose Juarez
1916 Cody Nygren
1908 Justin Lambert
1949 Alonso Lopez
1971 Wayne Matlock
1988 Wes Miller
1930 Sean Cook
1932 Brandon Schueler
1909 Roberto Balderrama
1938 George Felix
1911 Rodolfo Navarro
1918 Mike Cafro
1903 Jaime Romero-2nd RS
1924 Raul Gonzalez-1st RS
Another SCORE Baja 500 is in the books and it will be one that is talked about for some time to come. 17 UTVs would sign up to take on this 446 mile course but only 9 would finish. For some that may be a testament to just how hard this course is, for me, it means UTVs are progressing in a huge way! To see over 50% of the field finish and less than that fall out due to attrition is huge. This is a much beter attrition rate then majority of the other 4 wheel classes in the race. The little golf carts that still are fighting for respect are making moves, turning heads and opening eyes!
This race for me was slightly different as it pertains to others where I am chasing the race solely wearing the hat of UTVUnderground.com to tell the story of the event from the sidelines. This year I was finally able to be a part of a team, not just any team, the reigning 2013 SCORE Champions, Factory Polaris’ #1932 Jagged X! I will save my story for another day, but it is only fair that I give these guys their due thanks for letting me fulfill a dream. No one has EVER asked me to be a part of their race program as a racer for a SCORE event. I have been traveling to Baja for many moons to follow the races and help teams across the desert but never once have I ever been asked to join a team in helping them bring their car through the Baja peninsula as a racer. It was an amazing experience so with that I want to thank everyone at Polaris, Matt Parks, Bill Schueler and Craig Scanlon for making that happen. I also want to thank Jason Spiess to whom I co-dogged for as he had the ultimate say in whether I was able to get in or not. So thank you to all of you guys, you gave me the chance of a lifetime and I will never forget that!
As is usually the case in Baja, communications were limited. Because I was slated to get in at RM260 I was unable to run the vehicles down the coast and remain in locations where I could receive regular intel. Because of this my information on the race is sporadic and not enough for me to tell an accurate story of what went down. Here is what I do know about the race:
Marc Burnett is and was fast. Despite having a pre race engine failure forcing an engine swap only days before the event, he overcame adversity and traveled through the Baja 500 like he was on a different level. Some have said he broke some gentlemen like rules as he barged through bottle neck lines while everyone waited their turn. Well, all I can say to that is “quit yer snivlin”‘.. This is a race and if you want to win you can’t worry about hurting feelings. AS long as you aren’t leaving someone potentially injured behind on course I say everyman for themselves. I don’t know Marc’s whole story and to me it really doesn’t matter what the story is or isn’t. Fact is he came by me at RM260 with almost an hour lead over the next machine in his class. The guy spent weeks preparing for this race by pre-running in Baja, even helping SCORE mark the course, AGAIN. He did more homework and more legwork to prepare for this race then anyone else I know in this class and it paid off. AND, I would like to add that not only did Marc do his homework, he offered to help many other competitors do theirs by inviting them, myself included, to go pre-run with him. Burnett earned this victory and for that our hat is off to you my friend!
Branden Sims is an animal. The guy can not only drive, his team knows how to have a good time and they are always positive. Branden brought the 1913 RZR to Ensenada with no pre-running in whatsoever that I know of and put a run on Marc Burnett like no one else this race. He lost by minutes after starting in the back alongside Cognito and Jagged X. Sims continues to turn heads and show everyone how legit of a driver he is. His 2nd place finish is a victory in our eyes and a testament to just how talented of a driver Branden is and how good of a machine he has.
Justin Lambert didn’t ironman the race like Burnett did and like Sims did but he did save the day for his Cognito Motorsports team. After a rough start with Justin Sheakley behind the wheel, multiple bottlenecks and even a tip over, Lambert took over drivers duties at RM 170 and powered it to a 3rd place finish. Another team with no pre-running in the books prior to the green flag that came out and competed all 456 miles. Cognito is another solid group of guys, the trash talk is always funny and light hearted and all arrogance is hidden within. They show nothing but respect to their other competitors and are always representing themselves and their sponsors at the highest level. We congratulate the entire Cognito team on a job well done. Its always a pleasure spending time with you guys and I am proud to call you guys friends.
Johnny Angal has never raced in Baja, and as far as I know he has never even attended a Baja race. As owner of UTVInc Johnny knows his way around a UTV and by looking at his car you can clearly see he has done his homework on what it takes to build a legit race SXS. Angal partnered with veteran UTV racer Brian Bush and came to Baja not just to compete but to win. Johnny has never half stepped anything in his life. When he commits to something he goes all out and this has proven to make most of what he does successful. Johnny and Brian made a hard run all day long at Burnett, running most of the day as the 3rd vehicle on course. They lost position to Cognito after the midway point but held on strong to finish in 4th place. You can’t knock the effort this new UTV race team is putting in. In 2 races they have ran with the best and proven that they can run pace with the fastest. The 1920 RZR shows a ton of support to UTVUnderground.com (like many of the other teams) and we appreciate that! I also appreciate that Johnny took Jason and I on a short pre-run from Ensenada to Ojos so we could at least gauge the course back into town. Thank you for that Johnny and congrats on your performance!
Matt Parks is a stud. He’s fast and smart and he understands this whole racing thing as good as anyone. Parks and his Jagged X teammates are the team everyone loves to hate. Of course I say that with a grain of salt lightly sprinkled on my cheeseburger, but seriously, everyone treats them as the team to beat, and rightfully so. They have dominated UTV desert racing since like 2006 and in their first SCORE season in 2013 they put on a clinic and took home the first ever Pro UTV championship in the series. They are the face of Factory Polaris’ desert racing efforts and their team is as dialed as it comes. Their is no corner cutting and no lack of resources as it pertains to the tangible items such as chase trucks and man power. The guys on the team have an attitude of “act as if” and thats mainly because “they have”! Winning is all they want to do, finishing however does bring some satisfaction and thats because they are veterans of the sport. They know what it takes to win races and championships and they know what it takes to have a good time. I have become great friends with this rag tag bunch of characters and I was overwhelmingly honored to be asked to be a part of this team this race. Our race didn’t go as we had hoped, I still don’t have Matt’s full breakdown on how or why he got so far behind the fore runners of the class but I know the bottlenecks played a huge role. Once Jason and I got into the 1932 RZR at RM 260 we never once saw anyone. We were limited to no more than 70mph really on the lake bed due to belt temps and because of that I think we lost any chance of running down the 1920 and 1908. We were close by looking at the times and for the last 20 miles or so we ran 1/2 speed at best due to only having front wheel drive. Nevertheless we never gave up, and we pushed through to a solid and respectable top 5 finish keeping Parks points in tact in hopes for a late championship run.
The Baja is an unforgiving place. You will spend thousands of dollars to get to the race to possibly only do a few miles, and thats what happened to Sean Cook in the 1930 Polaris RZR. Cook claims to have been a victim of a booby trap, somehow being misled by locals and missing a turn early on as he navigated out of Ensenada only minutes after starting the race. Cook traveled at upwards of 50mph according to his earlier Facebook posts and veered strait into a K-Rail, missing a turn and ruining his chance at competing in the race. Cook and his co-driver were able to walk away and live to fight another day and for us thats all that matters. No one got hurt! Cook had to involve SCORE ops in the situation as local Police wanted to potentially impound the race vehicle. Baja can be strange at times, it is not always fair. We are glad things were not worse for him and his team.
I am sure there are many more stories, as a matter of fact, I know there are many more stories. But I am only one man and I can only tell those that I know and remember. Everyone in this class deserves a nice paragraph on them and their team, I know. I could go on about the individuals and the respect shown towards me and the staff at UTVUnderground.com. I am fulfilled by the props given to us for our hard work week in and week out, covering these events for you guys. Just because I don’t mention you doesn’t mean I don’t respect you or like you. I have the upmost respect for each and every person who supports what we do and attends these events as competitors, teammates, sponsors and fans. There aren’t enough words in my head to describe how grateful I am for all of you and your efforts.
Looking at the season in general, this is the 3rd race in the SCORE season this year won by a Can-Am. It has sparked heated debate on UTVUnderground.com in the forum as to which platform is the most dominant in desert racing today? Of course you can make a valid argument as you compare BITD results for Polaris but its hard to argue just what exactly these Maverick racers are doing at SCORE. Baja is the premier form of desert racing and so far this year Maverick racers have held RZR racers up against the wall. We know this doesn’t sit well with Polaris, we also know that Can-Am is enjoying their success. I don’t know where all this goes but I can tell you one thing, its shaping up to be one seriously interesting battle as we head to the 2 final races of the season which culminate all a the series finale in Ensenada for the famed Baja 1000 which this year runs the length of the peninsula.
As I wrap this up, I want to say thank you to SCORE for putting on a fantastic race and event. I want to thank each and every racer and team who represents UTVUnderground.com on your race vehicles, apparel and chase trucks. I also want to thank our hard working team at UTVUnderground.com / Mad Media. We brought over 15 people to this race plus a helicopter so that we could tell the story of UTVs through our photos here and through what will be another EPIC Polaris Racing video. And with that, I do want to say thank you to Polaris and their staff for believing in us to produce these awesome video highlights not just for our own content pool but for the racers and sponsors and fans of this fast growing class.
See you all at the Baja Mil…..
Photos by: Vincent Knakal & Ernesto Araiza // UTVUnderground.com
BFGoodrich Debuts Baja T/A KR2 UTV Tire At Bud-Light SCORE Baja 500 Tire/Wheel Combo Available in UTVUnderground Store Soon!
Oceanside, CA, June 5th 2015 – We at UTVUnderground are thrilled to bring you news of BFGoodrich Tires’ first foray into the UTV Market, the Baja T/A KR2 UTV. We have been lucky enough to check out this tire and do some testing with BFGoodrich and Jackson Motorsports Group and there is definitely reason to be excited!
Jackson Motorsports Group worked hand in hand with B.F. Goodrich to bring the hugely successful KR2 tire to the UTV market and it debuts this weekend at the 47th annual Bud-Light SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada Mexico. Teams have been testing these tires hard over the past few months and the results have been outstanding.
The BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 UTV tires are engineered with race-proven CoreGard™ technology and designed to meet the specific performance demands of today’s high-performance UTVs. Mud-phobic side bars to release compacted mud and stone ejectors to clear out rock paired with a proven race winning tread design offer superior performance in soft dirt, enhanced traction in the mud, and improved braking in loose, rocky dirt. The KR2 is currently available in the 30×9.5×15 size, the size favored by serious desert racers.
“We have developed a winner in the KR2 desert race tire,” said Chris Baker, BFGoodrich Racing Director. “It’s become sought after in several classes from Trophy Trucks to Class 1 and Class 10. Our BFGoodrich race tire engineers have been able to design the tire so it meets various specifications while maintaining the toughness and performance needed in the desert. With the KR2 now available in the growing UTV race class, we continue charging forward with our goal of providing the best desert race tires to the broadest collection of racers. The KR2 is on its way to becoming the go-to race tire in the desert.”
A couple of UTV race teams including Glazzkraft and Jagged X recently got a chance to put the tires to the dest out in their natural habitat, the desert. “They grip better, they stop better, they turn better ….. everything about them is far superior than the KM2,” said Brandon Schueler, driver of the #1919. Glazzkraft’s Alonso Lopez was also heartily impressed, saying: “Just finished first half of the PRERUN. We gave hell to these tires and look like new. No flat, no issues, everything good. And the course is something else….”
After soaking up all the punishment that the pro race teams could dish out and providing them with the handling and stability they need to safely navigat the desert these tires were finally deemed ready for public launch. Keep an eye on the Baja 500 coverage on UTVUnderground throughout the weekend to see how they fare in their first competition appearance!
We at UTVUnderground are also excited to announce that you will be able to get these revolutionary new tires directly through our store at http://shop.utvunderground.com/ very soon. We teamed up with Walker Evans Racing to bring the consumer a wheel and tire combo with race winning capability and all the guesswork taken out of the equation. Keep an eye on UTVUnderground.com and follow us on social media to be notified the minute they become available! For more info on tire specs and construction, checkout https://www.jacksonmotorsportsgroup.com/beat1301/.
Official results have not yet been posted by SCORE as they continue to review the race data. As for now we only have what we were told as the unofficial top finishers to whom SCORE gave podium awards to on Sunday.
The 2014 SCORE Imperial Valley 250 was the first race held for SCORE in California in many years. Despite some heavy winds and one very challenging course (navigation wise) the race went off without a hitch. Many have complained of the courses 136 Virtual Check Points (VCP) and the difficulty in locating them on course especially as the race wore on. Because of this SCORE is taking a while in announcing the official results as they pour through what will certainly be a lot of missed VCPs resulting in penalties.
Huge congrats to the #1917 Can-Am Maverick Max of Murray Motorsports for taking the big win (unofficially) in this past weekends 2014 SCORE Imperial Valley 250 race. What makes this win spectacular is they did it blind with absolutely no pre-running and they started the race in the very back of the field. This race wasn’t on their to do list Derek Murray explained. The team was busy getting ready for this coming weekends BITD Silver State 300 when they decided to go ahead and take on the IV250 at the last minute. Their last minute decision paid off!! Jason & Derek Murray have had a challenging season thus far so to see them get the top spot was a huge boost for the team, Can-Am and the Murray brothers themselves! Murray Motorsports are not only a team made up of solid competitors they are some of the coolest, most humble racers you will meet and we at UTVUnderground.com are always happy to see them do well.
Finishing in second (unofficially) would be the 1905 Can-Am Maverick of Marc Burnett. Burnett is no slouch when it comes to doing his homework on these SCORE race courses. Marc was very well prepared for the 136 VCPs placed around 82 mile loop course that SCORE laid out and this preparation led him to finishing the race in 2nd all while knocking on the Murray’s door. Burnett is dead set on a championship this year and after winning the San Felipe 250 a month ago, he is in prime condition as SCORE travels back to Baja for the Baja 500 in June.
Finishing in the 3rd position was Mr. UTV himself Cory Sappington in the 1904 Can-Am Maverick. Cory would round out the podium (unofficially) giving Can-Am their first sweep of a professional UTV desert race ever. Sappington, one of the most experienced UTV racers in the history of our sport always is a threat and this weekend proved to be no different. Not always showing up with the prettiest car, Sappington always finds a way to be prepared and willing to do battle. We commend him for all of his efforts on and off the course, always promoting and assisting and helping our sport grow. Well done to the entire 1904 Dezert Toyz team!
While they didn’t make the podium we felt excited to mention that the 1949 GlazzKraft Polaris RZR XP900 of Alonso Lopez finished the race in a solid 4th place position. Lopez and his team have built one of the coolest looking and one of the nicest race UTVs ever and finally they have had some luck go their way allowing them to put in a solid performance and finish. Nice work guys and thank you for all you do in representing UTVUnderground.com both here stateside and in Baja!
As results started rolling in we received a ton of messages asking us what had happend to the 1932 Jagged-X Polaris RZR XP1K of Matt Parks. Parks, the 2013 SCORE champion and always a favorite to do well suffered some bad luck this round due to what Jagged-X has described as a “prepping oversight”. Whatever it was it caused Parks to have over an hour of downtime to repair and in a short 160 mile race like this one an hour of downtime will surely take you out of any chance of winning. Fortunately for the team, Parks and co-driver Jason Speis were able to get their machine back up and running and put in what looks to be a 5th place overall finish keeping them still in the hunt for repeating their 2013 championship performance. Jagged-X has more UTV desert racing championships then any other program in UTV racing history, prep is rarely a concern for this well oiled machine. I have a feeling this could really motivate the team as they prepare for upcoming races. Never count them out.
Congrats once again to Can-Am as a team. They are working hard to give Polaris a run this year in both SCORE and BITD. For us on the outside its a fun battle to watch. Despite what some may say at the OEM level, we know this battle means a ton to both companies and I would expect nothing less as they compete for sales off the track and wins on it! We will keep a close eye on this one throughout the year and you know UTVUnderground.com will be there to report after every SCORE and BITD race!
The 2014 SCORE San Felipe 250 kicked off the 2014 SCORE season this past weekend. With a 270+ mile course, which was mostly new for the San Felipe race, SCORE had racers excited to run a new course. But with this new change in course came an unexpected change in the weather and Friday’s storms forced SCORE officials to act quick and change the race course in the 11th hour, shortening it to 219 miles. A bulldozer stuck on the “summit” portion of the course would be the primary cause to the change, a change that most were ok with but certainly had not planned for. In the end, SCORE did what they had to do to keep the race in tact.
The UTV class would see 14 machines line up to take on the first of 3 SCORE Baja races. The field had machines from 5 different manufacturers including Kawasaki, Yamaha, Can-Am, Polaris, and Arctic Cat. The reining 2013 Pro UTV SCORE champion, Matt Parks of Jagged X / Polaris would be arriving in San Felipe with a brand new RZR XP1000 while Marc Burnett and Derek Murray would be showing up to San Felipe in their now dialed Can-Am Maverick’s. The stage was set for yet another spectacular race south of the border.
It would take just under 6 hours for the winning UTV to complete the 219 mile course which took drivers through fast dust free desert to cold and wet higher elevation mountains. First to cross the line would be Marc Burnett in his MB Motorsports factory Can-Am Maverick. It would be more than just a first place finish for Burnett. It was the first race finish he has had since joining the UTV ranks, it would be the first time a Can-Am UTV has won a Baja race in San Felipe and it would be the first time a Can-Am UTV has won in a SCORE race since they first started racing UTVs back in 2005/6. This win was a huge accomplishment for Marc, his team and his factory Can-Am sponsors. Burnett experienced a lot of bad luck in his rookie season last year, but he never gave up on his machine or his team. Instead they kept their cool, kept on testing and now have proven that they are a team to be respected.
Finishing in 2nd, 30 minutes behind Burnett would be his Factory Can-Am teammate of Murray Motorsports. Derek Murray would be in Baja competing without his brother Jason who is still recovering from a severe hand injury he suffered during last months King Og The Hammers race. The team raced with Jason there in spirit and also proved that their new Can-Am Maverick Max is ready for the 2014 season. Murray Motorsports is a team that no matter what is thrown at them they continue to overcome. Just when you think they are out, they are back in and they never can be counted out as it pertains to putting together a championship run. In the end, Murray Motorsports will be right there battling!
Finishing only 2 minutes behing the Murray’s on time was the reining SCORE Pro UTV Champion, Matt Parks in his new Jagged X Polaris RZR XP1000. Just finishing a Baja race is an accomplishment, whether its 200 miles or 1000. But finishing on the podium is a huge accomplishment and one that Parks knows will keep him in the Championship conversation as they head into the Baja 500 in June. Baja is a marathon, not a sprint and Parks knows how to pace himself and his machines to always ensure he is within striking distance of a win and a championship.
Seeing Can-Am go 1-2 in the opening round of SCORE is a clear sign that Polaris isn’t the only OEM capable of producing wins and a championship. Grant it, its only 1 race and Polaris has been extremely dominant over the past few years. But its exciting to know that the competition level is rising amongst all competitors in multiple brand UTVs. We are looking forward to the biggest year of UTV racing ever in Baja and we can’t wait to see how things shake out in November during the big point to point run to La Paz at the SCORE Baja 1000!
The minute we saw Alonso Lopez’s GlazzKraft Mach-1 Polaris RZR XP4 we immediately fell in love. This UTV was unlike any other RZR we had ever seen before. The only thing this close was a previous GlazzKraft built XP4 that we featured early last year after seeing it at the inaugural Camp RZR event, but even that car was no where near this new Mach-1 desert racer.
Hector Jimenez and his team at GlazzKraft, based out of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, have quickly made a name for themselves amongst the southwest desert race community. While its been their tricked out fiberglass body work that has attracted the most attention, their fabrication and development of off-road race machines is quickly making those of us in the racing community take notice. Don’t be fooled, there are some extremely talented mechanics, fabricators and drivers in Mexico and lucky for us, we in the UTV industry get the pleasure of having of the most talented working amongst our niche market of off-road machines. The Mach-1 machine that Hector and Alonso put together is nothing short of a UTV masterpiece and we here at UTVUnderground.com are excited to finally give our readers a good look at this machine.
We have featured Alonso and his team in both of our 2013 Baja 500 & 1000 videos, and we even had the car on display in our mega Dirt Theater booth at the Off Road Expo this past year. Every time this car is in public it draws a crowd and whether your a novice enthusiast or an experienced desert racer, you can appreciate the craftsmanship and quality components that have gone into this machine.
While Alonso hasn’t had the best of luck so far racing his new beast of a RZR, he feels confident that the bugs are worked out and he plans to come out swinging in 2014 at the SCORE series. He also has built a little brother to the Mach-1 that he has plans of racing at the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Regional series so make sure to keep an eye out there! Should you want one of these insane custom body kits or dash’s for your RZR then you are in luck! GlazzKraft has put them into production and has them available for purchase through SDR Motorsports in Riverside, CA and by contacting Hector directly at [email protected] We can’t wait to see what these guys dream up next, but for now we will just continue to drool over this one of a kind Polaris RZR!
SPECS Owner: Alonso lopez Chassis: 2013 Polaris RZR XP900-4 Builder: Glazzkraft’s Fab Division Suspension: Glazzkraft +6″ Chromoly Long Travel Shocks: KING Shocks Internal By-Pass (IBP) 2.5 front & KING shocks IBP 2.5 rear w/ Finned Cooling Reservoirs Engine: Factory Pro-Star 900cc w/ Stage 2 Alba Racing Kit (tuned by Alba) Exhaust: Alba Racing slip-on Intake: Alba Racing Wheels: 15″ OMF Performance beadlocks Tires: 30″ Bfgoodrich KM2 Mudd-Terrain Wrap/ Graphics: Glazzkraft custom paint designed by: Tony Lozza Seats: NRG Innovations Racing Seats Safety: Impact 5-point harnesses & Glazzkraft safety nets Brakes: Streamline Brakes Communication: PCI 2-way Race Intercom & Motorola 100w Race Radio Lighting: 40″ Rigid Industries E-Series, 10″ SR & 3 Dually on bumper Accessories: Lowrance GPS, Alba Racing belt temp gauge, MOMO steering wheel, Glazzkraft custom Mach-1 body kit. Follow GlazzKraft online at:https://www.facebook.com/GlazzkraftIndustries
Photos by Tony Lozza
GlazzKraft and Tony Lozza would like to thank Cordero Motosport Ranch and Rancho las Ilusiones for all of their hospitality during this photo shoot