SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal-December 2019

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 92 of 130

JUDGEMENT DAY 27 Top UTV Competitors Race To See Who Survives By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo Considering nearly half of the field of Pro UTV FI class racers didn’t finish, Baja definitely won the day with these competitors. Those that know the class and the sport, however, can count on the more experienced racers and past season champions to figure out how to finish at the top of the class. Wayne Matlock, Brandon Schueler, Marc Burnett, Jason and Derek Murray, and Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 winner Craig Scanlon and others, put their skills and vehicles through the worst that Baja could offer and managed to finish the race. But it wasn’t easy. Wes Miller in the number 2989 Polaris RZR started first in the class and battled with Marc Burnett in the number 2905 Can-Am for the lead. Behind them was Brandon Schueler and Wayne Matlock who began running up against the leaders and were ultimately surpassed by Matlock and his co-driver Josh Row. “Josh drove the first 340 miles then I got in,” said Matlock. “The conditions were very wet and we led the first 600 miles or so until we got a mechanical issue.” Miller kept battling with Burnett until he lost the power steering, causing him to slow down a bit. Burnett suffered a broken rear trailing arm, which allowed Brandon Schueler and Jason Murray to move forward. Meanwhile, as UTVs kept breaking and slowing, a couple of racers from the back of the pack to move into position to take the lead on the course. Justin Lambert who started 13th, and Matt Burroughs who started 21st, managed to move up the pack and push for the lead behind Matlock. Mechanical issues struck Matlock and as they made repairs, Lambert in his Cognito Motorsports Polaris XP4 Turbo, and Burroughs in his Polaris XP4 Turbo pushed to the lead. Miller and Schueler dropped back but once Matlock got his car back on the course, he made a charge to the finish line. Crossing first was Justin Lambert with the help of co-drivers Jesus Navarro and Victor Herrera. “Around race mile 340, we were about 13 minutes behind Matlock and our Cognito Polaris held together and allowed us to have our first SCORE Baja 1000 win,” said Lambert. Matlock finished second with co-driver Josh Row, and although he would have liked to have been first, they were well ahead of points towards a class championship and cemented that in with their finish. “We wanted to go out and set a good pace and Josh helped me do that,” said Matlock. “Our day was tough. We had a 20-minute lead around race mile 335, then repaired a suspension part, got passed, then another part failure cost us the lead around race mile 650. By then our goal was to finish and win the championship.” Burroughs kept his lead over Miller and finished third in class with co-driver Jason LaFortune. “This was the hardest race I have ever done,” said Burroughs. “The mud was brutal and the only fun was to get a podium finish.” Behind him was Wes Miller who drove solo to finish in fourth place. “We ran up front for a little while, then diced back and forth with Burnett,” said Miller. “We had power steering issues and this is not the race to run without it. It just wore me out.” Brandon Schueler in his Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo finished fifth with co drivers Miles Martin and Jake Carver ahead of Marc Burnett and co-driver Bobby Smith in their Can-Am X3. Burnett had been battling all season with Matlock and had a slight lead in the points race for a championship. They had hoped to get a good enough position to win it. “We had a rear trailing arm come apart near San Felipe and that just killed us right there,” said Smith. “We were pushing hard in this race to get the Championship for Marc. I don’t think we got it but we made it to the finish.” Pro UTV NA Racers Suffer Through The Baja Mud It wasn’t much different for the Pro UTV NA racers who also had to battle through the mud an extremely difficult conditions. Half of the competitors couldn’t finish but no one could keep Kristen Matlock from finishing her season with her first SCORE Baja 1000 win. Behind Matlock in second place, was Kaden Wells in the number 1995 Polaris RZR XP1000. Wells was aided by co-drivers Ivan Gutierez, Travis Wells, Rory L’Hommedieu, Corbin Wells, and Alonso Castro. Finishing third in class was Trent Backus in the number 1902 Polaris RZR XP1000 with co-drivers Tyler Backus and Shane Hanson. Johnson Wins In Pro UTV Unlimited With two DNFs this season and a first place finish at the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400, Herman Johnson was happy to finish the season with another first place finish. The number 1851 Can-Am XRS Turbo X3 was co-driven by Austin Johnson, Dustin Dugan, Sean Lynch, Shiloh Dugan, and Carlos Arce. Finishing in second place was the number 1857 Polaris RZR Turbo of Al McBeth and Cam Rains. In third place was the number 1850 Can-Am XRS of Jesus Mendez Jr., who was assisted by co-drivers Felix Garcia Jorge Vigil, David Mayoral, Jesus Mendez Sr, and Francisco Pimental. Pro Stock And Sportsman UTV Winners Mike Cafro entered the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts as the only competitor in this new class. While this class is expected to increase next season with many racers wanting to test their skills in Baja with a relatively stock vehicle, Cafro enjoyed a good race that he simply needed to finish. While that in itself wasn’t easy, he managed to complete the course in 23 hours and 22 minutes to win the class in his Polaris XP, co-driven by Jamie Kirkpatrick. Within the Sportsman UTV Stock class, Oscar Ramirez, with co-drivers Marc Sola, Armand Monleon, and Erick Vallejo were also the only competitors in the class, but managed to finish the race to win. In their number 3971 Can-Am X3, the team finished the SCORE Baja 1000 with a time of 24:31:15. SJ

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