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PRO UTV FI AND OVERALL POINTS CHAMPION Racing for Can-Am, Blurton takes home all the honors in the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship series By Larry Saavedra Photos By Get Some Photo Phil Blurton ticked off each race in the 2021 SCORE World Desert Championship series like a game of chess, making strategic moves up the leaderboard to finally declare checkmate at the season-ending 54th BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. In his rookie season in the Pro UTV FI Class, Blurton took the Overall Points Championship, and Pro UTV FI Class Championship. It all started at the SCORE San Felipe 250, where Blurton climbed into his factory-sponsored No. 2944 Can-Am X3. 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 “I always heard that San Felipe was brutal on cars,” Blurton said. “I wondered if the stories were true. This was my first season of running SCORE in Mexico. I originally wasn’t even going to run the SCORE San Felipe race, but decided that it would give the team the experience we lacked with SCORE against 30-plus other starters. It was actually our King of the Hammers race car that I drove in San Felipe because the other desert car wasn’t ready yet.” Blurton said he intentionally ran a conservative race– a strategy that put him in fourth at the finish. “I think I fell short on the pace I needed,” he added. “I really thought that more cars would break there because of all the stories I had heard. It was a great learning experience for us.” 53rd SCORE Baja 500 Now in the new “desert car,” Blurton said he was ready to get back in the seat against another large field of competitors. “After San Felipe, I sat down with Can-Am and talked about racing the SCORE Baja 1000,” Blurton said. “I wasn’t going to race the SCORE Baja 400 or 500 at that point. I think the first 100 miles of the SCORE Baja 500 leaving Ensenada was really rough– much worse than the courses I’d run in the states. We only had a minor issue with suspension though.” Eventually, he crossed the finish in first, but Blurton’s team drew a VCP speeding penalty which dropped his official standing down to second place. “I learned not to miss the VCP the hard way,” he said. “My co-driver Beau Judge missed it in his section. But he didn’t gain anything by missing it. In fact, he went the long way around it. So that really sucked– we didn’t gain any time. But those are lessons learned.” Coming into the SCORE Baja 400, Blurton was now off the mark. He needed to seriously challenge the veterans like Brandon Schueler and Austin Weiland. “We were really close in points,” he said. 2nd SCORE Baja 400 “It was a brand new car again,” he said. “Normally, it takes us months to build a new car, but the team got it ready in weeks. Everyone showed up at the SCORE Baja 400 very tired. I pre-ran it in Reno first and then caught a flight to Mexico, and the car was transported there just before the start.” Since the race car was built for the SCORE Baja 1000, Blurton didn’t want to destroy it in the Baja 400. But he needed to shake it down enough to see if it had any weaknesses. Blurton ended up capturing second place and Weiland took first. Meanwhile, Schueler took a disappointing sixth place. At this stage, Weiland had a single-point lead on Blurton going into the SCORE Baja 1000. 54th SCORE Baja 1000 “We made a few tweaks on the car before the race,” he said. “This was my first time running the SCORE Baja 1000. I had a good crew of guys that knew it well, like veteran Glenn Harris. The day pre-running opened, the team ran the entire course from end to end. After that experience, I wondered what I had signed myself up for.” Blurton started the race until mile-marker 430, where he handed it off to Judge. He got back in the car at mile-marker 1000 and drove to the finish. “It was fun to race in southern Baja,” he said. “The times to our pits were exactly what we had estimated. There were a lot of fast sections for Judge, and I seemed to get all the tight sections. I took the lead and held it to the finish. There was only one issue at mile-marker 800 where we lost rear brakes. I didn’t want to lose any time and didn’t want to have someone pass us, especially at night. So, we drove on without them.” For the next season, Blurton said the pressure is on because he raised the bar so high. “It puts a lot of stress on us,” he said. “I’m racing for a living, and while this is fun, it can be challenging too. Can-Am had won everything except the SCORE Baja 1000 in the X3, and so these wins were big for everyone.” SJ

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