SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 77 of 117

BLURTON SETS THE PACE Phil Blurton Blasts Through BaJa With A Pro UTV FI Win For Can-Am By Mike Vieria Photos by Get Some Photo Phil Blurton’s Pro UTV Forced Induction class win in the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts capped off a very successful first season of Baja racing for him. While he has a long history of off-road racing in other series and venues and his father ran a number of SCORE races in the 1980s, 2021 marked the first year he made the leap to tackle SCORE Baja races. Although Blurton and his team had talked about running in Baja numerous times in the past, they just never made it happen. This year, the decision was actually almost a spur-of-the-moment choice for him. “Another race we were preparing for got postponed and we just said, ‘let’s go race down in San Felipe’, and so we went,” said Blurton. “We had a bunch of fun there with the pre-running and everything, and just kind of got hooked on it.” He and the team notched a fourth-place finish in the SCORE San Felipe 250, and Can-Am became interested in having him compete in the SCORE Baja 1000 with the Maverick X3. “We first wanted to try a longer race than the 250,” said Blurton. “So we decided to run the SCORE Baja 500 to get our feet wet, and allow my co-driver to get some additional time in running in Mexico.” That effort netted them a second-place finish, and they felt they were prepared for the SCORE Baja 1000. The team wasn’t planning to enter the SCORE Baja 400, but when they realized it would set their qualifying position for the longer race, they decided to go full bore for the SCORE series. The decision allowed Can-Am to build a new X3 for the team to take on the SCORE Baja 1000. According to Blurton, it was an exact copy of what the team had been running in other races for the past few years, but minor upgrades added for the race included two GPS systems and additional lighting for all the nighttime running. The SCORE Baja 400 was the shakedown for the new vehicle, and it gave them another second-place finish, putting the team in the second starting position for the SCORE Baja 1000. With the race being the second longest in SCORE history, Blurton’s team had to be prepared for the challenge. They knew they needed a smart strategy to win, rather than simply trying to go fast. Advice stemming from the Baja experiences of his dad, those of long-time racer Glenn Harris, and other experienced Baja veterans on the team, helped them prepare a plan for success. “We get so much time in these cars every year that we pretty much know how to make them survive through anything,” said Blurton. “But we’ve never had to do something for so many miles. We went down pretty much right when pre-running opened and ran the entire peninsula. I’d never seen any of that stuff. Twenty years ago, when I was fifteen, I ran the peninsula with Malcom Smith on a dirt bike, but that was the last time I had been down there.” After making their notes in the early pre-run, the team then ran everything at the time of day they expected to in the race, with Blurton and co-driver Beau Judge, each driving their planned sections. As expected, by that time, the course was much rougher as the surfaces had deteriorated quite a bit from all the other competitors doing their own pre-running. They felt they were well prepared, but Blurton said, “On race day, you add a whole new element because now you have dust, spectators, the intensity, and it’s again very different.” With his second-position start, Blurton did not immediately try to jump out to the lead. “A couple of guys decided to run a little bit quicker pace in the beginning, but it’s a crazy long race, so we let them get going ahead,” he said. Along the course, the team encountered an overturned truck blocking it around Mile 300, which caused everyone to bunch up again. The team then took the physical lead around Mile 500, and was able to hold that position with about a five-minute gap through the rest of the race. “We pretty much just put gas in the car and kept going,” said Blurton. “It was uneventful for what we were expecting.” The only real issue the team had to deal with was being hit in the rear without warning by another vehicle. A quick repair to the jack and spare tire hold-downs got them back on the move in short order. Blurton drove from the start to Mile 430, then Judge took the wheel to Mile 1000. At that point, rather than getting out as planned to allow a fresh co-driver to guide Blurton to the finish, Judge unbuckled, slid across to the co-driver seat, and Blurton drove them to the first-place finish. “Can Am has never won the SCORE Baja 1000 before,” said Blurton. “We’re grateful that they gave us the resources and ability to go do it, and make the dream of winning this race a reality.” He also had kind words about BFGoodrich’s support, saying, “I’ve been with BFG since day one, and they’ve always told me about their pit support in Mexico, but I never experienced it until this year. It’s crazy, the efforts they put into the Mexico races for us. I don’t know why you’d race on anything else if you’re racing in Baja.” As of this writing, Phil Blurton’s racing plans for the 2022 season are not fully set, but based on his comments, it sounds like he’d definitely like to run the SCORE series again. “Racing in Mexico is the most fun I’ve had off-road racing. You don’t just show up, race, then go home. It’s like a whole week-long event where you get to go pre-run and that’s the most fun part. Racing is like the job portion of it, and the pre-run is the fun part.” SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-December-2021