SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 46 of 89

PRO STOCK UTV CHAMPION With a first-place finish in all four races, Mike Cafro dominates Pro Stock UTV By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo With the win at the 54th BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Polaris factory racer Mike Cafro wrapped up the Pro Stock UTV Class Championship with first-place finishes in all four events. The Baja veteran had a total of 480 total points at the end of the season– not enough for the Overall win, but enough to bring a Class Championship home to Polaris. SCORE Journal caught up with Cafro to get his post-season overview. Here’s how it played out at each of the races, in Cafro’s words. 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 “We came into San Felipe with a brand new race car,” says Cafro. “We were happy with it and the new suspension setup. It wasn’t as rough of a race as normal. It was really rocky though, and a high-pace fast race that I didn’t expect. That consumed much more fuel than I had planned.” While the suspension setup helped to get his factory Polaris team through the rougher sections, an overheating problem reared its ugly head and nearly spelled disaster for the factory Polaris team. “I am always going for the overall win, and that’s all I was thinking about,” Cafro said. “I did have some overheating and fuel starvation issues though. Fortunately, I was able to make it into my main pits and went on to take the win.” 53rd SCORE Baja 500 “At the SCORE Baja 500, we had a fairly easy race,” he said. “We ran the same car after freshening it up. But again, we did have some overheating issues and couldn’t figure it out, which cost us some time. I’m always going for the overall win because it takes so much money to race, and I’m never satisfied with simply a class win. When something bad happens early on in a race like the 500, it puts us in a precarious situation.” Like in the SCORE San Felipe 250, every little issue increased the pressure on Cafro. “We pre-ran a lot for the SCORE Baja 500,” he said. “I did plan for the bottleneck, but not for the overheating. I also ended up upside down in a ravine after Mike’s Sky Ranch because of a course miscalculation. It was an intense situation and I should have backed off my speed.” With help from spectators, Cafro was able to right side the Polaris, only costing 10 minutes of downtime. “We didn’t hurt the car,” he said. “But we got caught up in more bottlenecks and that pretty much eliminated the Overall win.” Cafro said he also experienced some voltage drops which are to be expected in a car without an alternator, so that didn’t help his effort, he added. “We were at the outer limits of the stock electrical voltage system because of running the aftermarket driving lights, and pumper and so on,” he said. The voltage drop issues forced Cafro to constantly monitor the car’s performance for the remainder of the race. “About 100 miles before the finish, I had throttle body trouble,” he said. “It just stopped working and then mysteriously started working again. But that put us behind the leader. So we just put our heads down and raced to catch up with a Can-Am in front of us near Ojos Negros. That was a little stressful for me, and we ended up ninth or tenth Overall.” Cafro said he knew there are things he couldn’t control and things he could, and he made the best of everything to clinch the Class win. Interestingly enough, Cafro says he rarely monitors any of his electronics in a race and mostly runs on feel when a particular issue arises. 2nd SCORE Baja 400 With two class wins under his belt Cafro once again had pole position for the Baja 400. “We came into this race with a different attitude and a new car,” he said. “We had a temporary fix on the voltage issue. We wired the engine fan to run continuously and that helped. We got off to a decent start on par for the Overall and caught up to the guys we needed to, but unfortunately once that bottleneck opened up the dust made driving near impossible. You couldn’t see anything in front of you. The few guys that got out clean pulled away for the Overall. Add to that we had an issue with shocks.” Still, Cafro went on to finish first in class, but couldn’t close the gap racing for the Overall win. 54th SCORE Baja 1000 Cafro’s pre-running efforts were limited to only 40 miles in preparation for the peninsula run to La Paz. But starting in pole position at the SCORE Baja 1000 in No. 3955 would at least give him clean air. “It’s not a race where you’re running full out,” he said. “You have to back your pace down and not hurt the vehicle. We wanted to run a perfect series and take the Overall. It was a brand new Polaris.” To try to eliminate any voltage drop issues, Cafro installed an alternator hoping it would power the aftermarket lights and fans necessary for the two-day endurance to La Paz. “I didn’t have any issues with the race, but my co-driver did,” he said. “He had a collision with a Trophy Truck, and that bent up things a bit. We had a substantial lead on the closest cars in our class and kept a decent pace.” Cafro started the race and made a driver change, but got in again about mile-marker 930. “There were a few minor driving issues and I almost rolled it again, but I was able to get the ass-end back down underneath us,” he said. “I didn’t slow it down, but I did have my eyes open, especially with the rocky steps coming into La Paz.” Cafro said the last few miles were the most stressful because he wanted to bring it across clean. “I owe everything to my team and Polaris. This is the same type of UTV that anyone can buy off the showroom floor and it really shows how well these vehicles are made,” he added. As for his return with SCORE in 2022, Cafro’s effort remains open, awaiting sponsor commitments. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-January-2022