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A HIGH ENERGY RIDE Matt Burroughs Takes His Monster Energy Can-Am X3 To A Pro UTV FI Win By Dan Sanchez Photos Provided By Matt Burroughs With the level of competition so high in SCORE’s Pro UTV FI class, one mistake or a broken part can cost you the win. At this year’s 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Matthew Burroughs in the Monster Energy Can-Am X3 had everything go well for him to pull off a well-deserved class win. Burroughs is not only a racer but also a Senior VP at Monster Energy and has his share of racing experience. At this race, he started seventh in class, but with former class winners and champions behind him, he knew it wouldn’t be an easy task to win. Burroughs overcame lots of obstacles, even before the race, just to get there. “ I had COVID-19 in late June and July and was very sick for a whole month,” said Burroughs. “We weren’t even sure if we were even going to race at the SCORE Baja 500, especially with the heat and with a smaller crew.” Despite the difficulties, Burroughs decided to race and came down with Bradley Howe and Mitchell Alsup as co-drivers. Once they got into San Felipe and began pre-running, it was evident the heat would be a factor. “We didn’t pre-run like we would normally do because it was too hot,” said Burroughs. “So we wanted to preserve the car. When we started the race, we had made a mistake in prepping the clutch. We could only do 20-30 mph, so we jumped out at the end of the pavement and quickly changed it over to our secondary clutch. That took us about 15-20 minutes.” After getting back on the course, the team pushed hard, moving up to the pack leaders and keeping the competition behind them. “By mile 350, we were fifth physically and starting to catch other racers,” said Burroughs. “Two had mechanical problems, and we got around two others around the last 120 miles. At that point, we didn’t want to give up and kept our pace until the finish.” Dealing with the heat and the very rough terrain, Burroughs says the most difficult parts were on the fastest areas of the course. “The clutch temperatures get high on the lakebed, but we managed the car and kept our speed without overheating,” he said. “We planned to get to the last 150 miles and push hard to the finish, but on the dry lake, we weren’t sure how hard to push because of the heat. Fortunately, we weren’t so far back and did well.” In the past, Burroughs has come up short in winning his share of SCORE races, and this win was vindication. “We started racing Pro UTV FI in 2017 where we came in fourth at the SCORE Baja 500 that year,” said Burroughs. “Last year at the SCORE Baja 500, we were first on corrected time with 50-miles to the finish, and we tore the right side of the car off. Our bad luck continued at the SCORE Baja 1000 last year when we tore the right side of the car off in the first 80 miles of that race. We needed better luck, and in this race, it all came together.” The win also comes as a great victory for Can-Am. “There hasn’t been a Can-Am win in this class for a long time,” said Burroughs. “The X3 has a very solid motor and drivetrain coupled with a 3-cylinder motor that’s very fast, and I love the ergonomics of the vehicle.” Although Burroughs will start first at the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, he knows well enough that starting position means nothing in a long and grueling race such as that. “Starting first with so many miles, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says. “It’s not as important at longer races, especially ones that are also rough. For the SCORE Baja 1000, we’re expecting a lot of desert side racing or more. Our strategy is to cruise the first two-thirds of the race at a fast pace and get a fresh car to push to the finish.” If their luck holds out, Burroughs and his team have the driving skills and a fast vehicle to make it once again first across the finish line and take home a Class Championship for their well-deserved efforts. SJ

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