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Page 55 of 102

BUMMED BY BOTTLENECKS Pro UTV Classes Jam-Up On The Course By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Guilherme Torres, and Cindy Clark Photos by Get Some Photo Once all of the UTV classes left the starting line, they never thought they would be caught up in one of the worst bottlenecks so far in this season. The course up and down the Summit was narrow and once one vehicle got stuck, there wasn’t much room to pass for any of the many vehicles behind. Several UTV class competitors simply had to wait for their turn up the narrow road, and SCORE officials would have to sort out times and penalties on this section of the course. One of the first in the Pro UTV FI class to get through it all was Austin Weiland in the No. 2954 Can-Am X3. Weiland got around a lot of competitors, including some of those in the Pro Open class, and drove aggressive enough to take the Class win and Overall UTV win. Co-driver Justin Wragg was able to maintain their pace while also being careful with the vehicle to finish. “Austin started 22nd and brought it to me physically first in our class,” said Wragg. “I just maintained that pace. Overall, it was a great race. It was dusty and rough and technical but what would the SCORE Baja 500 be without all that?” Finishing in second place was the No. 2969 team of Branden Sims. “We had a great day. I am pretty mentally exhausted,” he said. “I don’t know how many of these races I have done, but this is the roughest and most brutal one of all. Glad to be at the finish. We got stuck in the bottleneck but didn’t have any other problems. This is the first time I have ever pre-run an entire course and it helped.” The No. 2919 Polaris RZR team of Brandon Schueler and Cayden MacCrachen also had a difficult time dealing with bottlenecks and a rough, technical course. Starting in eighth place, they had their issues but managed to finish in third place. “We had a really good day with no flats, just a couple of little issues here and there, but we hammered through and got an awesome finish,” said Schueler. “It was a rough course, but a really interesting one. The way it was routed, was awesome. Our team did the homework and it all worked out well.” PRO UTV OPEN While some of the veterans in SCORE UTV racing have moved into the Open class, the course did not favor their ability for speed. SCORE San Felipe 250 class winner Wayne Matlock in the No. 1871 Polaris RZR Pro R, had issues that forced him to stop the race, as did Ryan Laidlaw in the No. 1860 UTV. Mike Pratt and the No. 1867 Polaris RZR, however, managed to get through the tough course, and bottlenecks, and stay ahead of veterans such as Kristen Matlock, Mike Cafro, and Craig Scanlon to win the class. “We were pushing hard and trying to save the car,” said Pratt. “The course was fast and rough and everything. It was fun.” Finishing in second was Mike Cafro in the No. 1876 Polaris RZR. Craig Scanlon in the No. 1831 Polaris RZR finished third. Kristen Matlock who started at the back of the class, held everything together despite some mechanical problems on the course. Her team got her back up and running for her to finish in fourth place in the No. 1854 Polaris RZR Pro R, but just under the 20-hour time limit for an official finish. PRO UTV N/A Zach Sizelove in his No. 1925 Honda Talon got the win in SCORE’s Pro UTV N/A class. He drove one of Jeff Proctor’s Factory Honda vehicles and the team was glad they did. “The day went well. We had no issues at all with the car or anything else, we just lost some time on a bottleneck on the Summit,” said Sizelove. “I have to thank Jeff Proctor and the Honda off-road racing team for letting me race this car and be a part of this fantastic team. I also thank SCORE and everyone involved for making a great event happen. The course was gnarly. The last 50 miles were so brutal and I thought it would never end, it was insane. I was just waiting for that last 37-mile-per-hour speed zone and I was happy to get there.” Finishing second was the No. 1957 Polaris RZR of Joe and Austin Bolton. “It was a good race for the first 100 miles until a bottleneck, but after that, it was good again,” said Austin Bolton. “I got in at race mile 190. The top five in our class were within ten miles of each other, it was close racing all day. I had one small issue that set me back a little. The course was rough, but I enjoyed it.” In third place was Kaden Wells in the No. 1995 Polaris RZR. Wells also finished third at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and added some valuable season points towards their goal for a 2022 Class Championship. PRO STOCK UTV Less than half of the competitors in the SCORE Pro Stock UTV class finished the race. Among them, Anibal Lopez in the No. 3919 Polaris Turbo S got through it all and finished first in class. He shared driving duties with Francisco Lopez and Daniel Gonzalez. “We had some issues at the start and had to stop twice in the first hundred miles,” said Gonzalez. “We started second and went down to third, but ended up taking advantage of issues of other racers to finish first. The course was tough but had it all, and it’s been a long time since I had that much fun in a race. Despite the early issues, the car did great. Our crew got us here, they were 110% the entire day. We are excited about that.” Nick Bruce and the No. 3953 Can-Am X3 team finished second, followed by Bruce Jett and the team in the No. 3957 Can-Am Maverick X3. Gerard Kelly in the No. 1805 Polaris RZR finished the race to win the Sportsman UTV Open class. SJ FINISH LINE TALK Pro UTV FI MARC BURNETT, No. 2905 (Fourth Place) “It was pretty rough today. We had to replace three axles at about race mile 70 and that just killed us to be in the hunt for the win. But our crew and the mechanics did a great job in taking care of the car and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. We’re happy just to finish, but we want some podiums and wins. The course was very different than what I expected. Hats off to SCORE, it was a challenging race, for sure.”

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