UTVUnderground Baja 500 coverage sponsored by RIGID Industries
After 466 grueling miles and a full day of racing, it was Arizona’s Branden Sims who would secure the victory in the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 over the weekend, coming out on top of an incredibly deep Pro UTV Forced Induction field of 30 entries with a finishing time of 12:15:53. After finishing third to Phil Blurton in his most recent event, May’s Best in the Desert Silver State 300, the 2020 Mint 400 winner struck back by defeating Blurton by just a shade under four minutes in the second round of the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship.
San Felipe 250 winner Brandon Schueler was third, becoming the first Pro UTV FI driver to score two podiums this season, while fellow San Felipe podium finishers Austin Weiland and Wes Miller came home sixth and eighth, respectively. Matt Burroughs’ SCORE World Desert Championship defense continued with a 12th place finish, two spots back of his 10th place run in San Felipe. When all was said and done, 18 Pro UTV FI entries would complete the trek, just one behind the Trophy Truck and Trophy Truck Spec classes for the most of any division in the event.
In Pro UTV NA, Kaden Wells improved on a third place finish in San Felipe with a Baja 500 victory, coming home two minutes ahead of Zach Sizelove and just over half an hour ahead of Adrian Orellana. Defending Baja 500 winner Kristen Matlock, who looked to make it two in a row on the season after taking top honors in San Felipe, would finish the race in fourth.
Only the Pro UTV Stock and Unlimited classes, then, would see repeat winners from two months ago. Much like in San Felipe, Mike Cafro’s double duty as driver of record would end with a victory in the Stock division to go with his top five result in Pro UTV FI. On the Unlimited side, meanwhile, it would be Justin Elenburg who would go back-to-back at the front of the field.
Official posted results for the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 were as follows:
PRO UTV FI (two-seat Forced Induction, OEM engine UTVs)— (Starters 30, Finishers 18)—1. 2969 Branden Sims, 35, Prescott Valley, Ariz./Skyler Howell, Polaris RZR, 12:15:53 (38.00 mph); 2. 2944 Phil Blurton, 34, Auburn, Calif./Beau Judge, 44, Rockland, Calif., Can-Am X3, 12:19:49; 3. 2919 Brandon Schueler, 32, Phoenix/Cayden MacCachren, 19, Las Vegas/Pat Stone, 50, Payson, Ariz./Miles Martin, 31, Peoria, Ariz., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo S, 12:26:28; 4. 2975 Mike Cafro, 51, Fallbrook, Calif./Jamie Kirkpatrick, 39, Olympia, Wash., Polaris RZR Turbo S, 12:39:38; 5. 2940 Erick Kozin, 42, Yorba Linda, Calif./Drew Stanton, 22, Can-Am Turbo, 12:54:28; 6. 2954 Austin Weiland, 28, El Cajon, Calif./Justin Wragg, El Cajon, Calif., Can-Am Maverick X3, 12:58:39; 7. 2998 P.J. Jones, 52, Cave Creek, Ariz./Kyle Vestermark, 51, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Can-Am X3, 13:43:15; 8. 2989 Wes Miller, 51, Las Vegas/Donny Powers, 33, Morgan Hill, Calif., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 13:53:59; 9. 2970 Francisco Beltran, 50, La Paz, Mexico/Francisco Beltran Jr, 20, La Paz, Mexico/Diego Beltran, 18, La Paz, Mexico/Henri Palos, 47, La Paz, Mexico, Can-Am X3 XR, 14:50:38; 10. 2976 Jesus Mendez Jr, 23, Mexicali, Mexico/Yoshua Marquesho, 27, Mexicali, Mexico/Jesus Mendez Sr, 54, Mexicali Mexico/Felix Garcia, 22, Mexicali, Mexico, Can-Am Maverick XRS, 15:40:32; 11. 2978 Jose Juarez, 37, Chula Vista, Calif./Jose Juarez Jr, 20, Ensenada, Mexico/Marco Velenzuela, 33, Ensenada/Alex Zuniga, 37, Tijuana, Mexico/Fernando del Campo, 35, Ensenada, Mexico/Refugio Flores, 33, Ensenada, Mexico, Can-Am X3, 16:00:14; 12. 2948 Matt Burroughs, 52, Norco, Calif./Zachary Burroughs, 22, Norco, Calif./Bradley Howe, 34, Leona Valley, Calif./Tim Orchard, 65, Riverside, Calif., Can-Am X3, 17:00:41; 13. 2946 Jose Juarez, 37, Chula Vista, Calif/Jose Juarez Jr, 20, Ensenada, Mexico/Jose Zuniga, 37, Tijuana, Mexico/Marco Valenzuela, 33, Ensenada, Mexico/Fernando del Campo, 35, Ensenada, Mexico/Refugio Flores, 33, Ensenada, Mexico, Cam-Am X3, 18:10:02; 14. 2987 Edgar Garcia Leon, 34, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Nancy Garcia, Can-Am Maverick X3, 18:32:20; 15. 2967 Mike Pratt, 53, Draper, Utah/Jordan Wall, St. George, Utah/Gavin Pratt, 17, Draper, Utah/Chance Lee, 34, Draper, Utah, Polaris RZR Turbo S, 18:46:54; 16. 2974 Jorge Cano, 46, Culiacan, Mexico/Miguel Castelan, Ensenada, Mexico, Can-Am X3 XRS Turbo RR, 19:00:31; 17. 2904 Cory Sappington, 55, Wickenburg, Ariz./Ashley Antill, 25, Las Vegas/Jason Flanders, 38, Phoenix/Todd Turner, 54, Peoria, Ariz., Can-Am Maverick X3 Max, 19:21:37; 18. 2929 Jose May, Guadalajara, Mexico/Jose Mendez/Ricardo Escaazofo/Luis Garcia/Fernando Martinez, Can-Am X3, 19:43:39
PRO UTV NA (two-seat Normally Aspirated, OEM engine UTVs)— (Starters 11, Finishers 5)—1. 1995 Kaden Wells, 22, Apple Valley, Utah/Mitch Johnson, 23, St. George, Utah/Travis Wells, 49, Apple Valley, Utah, Polaris RZR XP1000, 13:24:54 (34.74 mph); 2.1925 Zach Sizelove, 27, Hesperia, Calif./Geoffrey Dunivin, 25, Simi Valley, Calif./Wayne Lambert, 46, Canyon Lake, Calif., Honda Talon 1000R, 13:26:55; 3. 1985 Adrian Orellana, 36, Escondido, Calif./Carl Sosa, 65/Russell Porter, 37, Polaris XP1000, 13:55:07; 4. 1954 Kristen Matlock, 40, Alpine, Calif./Adrian Felix, 34, Tecate, Mexico, Polaris RZR XP4 1000, 16:38:44; 5. 1920 Elias Hanna, 38, Ensenada, Mexico/Francisco Verdugo, 29, Ensenada, Mexico/Wayne Lambert, 46, Canyon Lake, Calif., Honda Talon 1000R, 18:22:43
PRO UTV STOCK (Stock UTVs, FI or NA)— (Starters 10, Finishers 4)—1. 3955 Mike Cafro, 51, Fallbrook, Calif./Adan Ibarra, 40, Ensenada, Mexico, Polaris Turbo S, 13:40:01 (34.10 mph); 2. 3953 Nick Bruce, 55, Queen Creek, Ariz./Cam Muldner, 50, Surprise, Ariz., Can-Am X3 Max XRS RR, 13:51:25; 3. 3950 Scott Trafton, 40, Alpine, Calif./Gabe Seebold, 40, Crest, Calif., Polaris RZR, 13:59:00; 4. 3909 James Hill, 36, Lake Elsinore, Calif./Ryan Edwards, 33, Huntington Beach, Calif./Aaron Edwards, 31, Newport Beach, Calif./David Caren, 36, Key West, Fla., Polaris RZR Turbo S, 18:45:21
PRO UTV OPEN (two-seat open UTV open-displacement)– (Starters 7, Finishers 2)—1. 1870 Justin Elenburg, 44, Mesa, Ariz./Ernesto Taylor, 32, Mesa, Ariz./Michael York, 50, Gilbert, Ariz./Mike Jelusco, 39, Can-Am X3, 13:20:54 (34.91 mph); 2. 1877 Josh Herzing, 34, Cypress, Texas/Travis Herzing, 28, Cypress, Texas/Ryan Blagrave, 19, Cypress, Texas/Hector Alcala, 30, Cypress, Texas/Lacrecia Beurrier, 52, Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Cody York, 27, Cypress, Texas, Polaris RZR XP1000, 18:44:03
The 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship resumes with the 2nd SCORE Baja 400, another Ensenada-based loop race, from September 14-19, before returning to point-to-point action for the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 in November. All races will be shown as part of ABC’s World of X Games.
Check out Ernesto Araiza’s full gallery from the 2021 SCORE Baja 500 below!