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Page 93 of 117

RACING IN THE MUD Pro UTV Class Racers Get An Unexpected Challenge By Dan Sanchez, Guilherme Torres, Paul Hanson, Isaac Flores, and Cindy Clark Photos by Get Some Photo For SCORE’s Pro UTV racers, the course before Hurricane Kay hit the area was much different than it was on race day. While the rain had stopped about a week before the start of the 3rd SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing Fuels, sections had been washed out or became muddy. Moto and Quad classes simply went around certain muddy areas, and the SCORE Trophy Trucks and Buggies simply had enough power and tire to blast right through them. So by the time the Pro UTV classes got onto the course, there were deep pits of mud, slush, and rocks dug up by the previous classes. PRO UTV OPEN For the most part, some of SCORE’s most experienced racers knew how to handle the changing terrain, especially Mike Cafro in the No.1876 Polaris who started last in class and worked his way to the front. He battled hard against Kristen Matlock in the No. 1854 Polaris, and with Mike Pratt in the No. 1867 Polaris, swapping the lead several times until Pratt had issues that forced a long pit. Matlock had the lead and looked like she would take the Pro UTV Open class win until she also had issues with her car. Although it looked like she would be out of the race, the team worked diligently to get Matlock back on the course. “We were leading the UTVs until 62 miles from the finish line and then something went wrong,” said Matlock. “Unfortunately, we had to rob parts off the pre-runner so it is still out there. Our crew is working on recovering it. The mud holes weren’t as bad as pre-running. We are ready to figure out our kinks and nail the SCORE Baja 1000.” Cafro was in the right position to take the lead and, along with co-driver Jamie Kirkpatrick, had the fastest time to finish first in the SCORE Pro UTV Open class. “It was a super good course. Most of the water was gone,” said Kirkpatrick. “There were a few mud holes, but other than that it was a good, technical course. We had a couple little issues but overall it was a solid race for us.” The win gives Cafro an extensive lead in the class towards a championship, and he merely needs to finish in the top five at the 55th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts in November. Former SCORE Baja 500 winner Craig Scanlon in the No. 1831 Polaris also managed the difficult course and battled with Cafro and some of the Pro UTV FI racers to finish second in class. “It was a good race. It was rough at times, it was fast at times – a typical Baja course,” said Scanlon. “This is a brand-new car and we are getting it dialed in. There was dust, then mud holes, then dust. So thankful to SCORE and all the volunteers who helped put this on.” Scanlon has had a pretty good season so far, finishing every race in the top three, and is charging towards a class championship if he can beat Cafro to the finish at the SCORE Baja 1000. Despite all her efforts, Kristen Matlock put up an amazing fight and she finished third in class. Her husband Wayne Matlock also had difficulties with his No. 1871 Polaris and couldn’t finish the race. Pratt didn’t have enough time or racecourse to get back into the lead and finished fourth in class. PRO UTV FI Austin Weiland in the No. 2954 Can-Am managed to take home his second win of the season. After a disappointing DNF at the SCORE San Felipe 250, he’s won the SCORE Baja 500 and now the SCORE Baja 400. The win is big for Can-Am but doesn’t earn enough points for a possible championship this season. “We never got out of the car all day,” said Weiland. “The course was rough, technical, and fun. We started 13th in our class and pushed hard all day. We took first place at about Mike’s Sky Ranch and just kept pushing hard all the way to the finish. There was a bottleneck in one of the mud pits and we just hit a tree. But other than that, we didn’t have a flat or anything else.” Taking a break from Short Course Racing, Rodrigo Ampudia decided to drive his No. 2910 Can-Am through a full 2022 SCORE Season. After finishing 17th in the SCORE San Felipe 250, a DNF at the SCORE Baja 400, he battled with Weiland on the course and took second place in class. “It was a fun race,” he said. “Definitely finishing second and battling for first was good for making the podium. We were battling for the win.” Ampudia still managed to race and support his brothers Alan and Aaron in the family’s SCORE Trophy Truck efforts, but now also has a good starting position to win the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. Starting fourth in class, Wes Miller in his No. 2989 Polaris battled hard for the lead, taking it several times, and at some points was one of the fastest UTVs on the course. Unfortunately, Miller was plagued with several problems and issues that dropped them back behind Ampudia but was still able to get onto the podium with a third-place finish. “We ran up front for a while but had a few problems that slowed us down and we fell back to second,” said Miller. “But we were dicing back and forth. Then we had another issue and (Rodrigo) Ampudia got by, so I think we ended up third. The course was great. We had a really good time out there. SCORE did an awesome job with the event. I believe we are now first in points in our class so hopefully, we can go into the SCORE Baja 1000 first and try to win the Championship. Our Polaris RZR was working great– our Maxxis tires were great, our King shocks were awesome. Our TPR motor was killing it. Big shout out to everyone that helps us. My co-driver and our whole crew and thank you to SCORE.” Miller now ties with Edgar Garcia Leon in the No. 2987 car for the points lead towards a class championship. Both have 335 points and Justin Lambert in the No. 2918 Polaris is a close second with 333 points. 2020 SCORE Pro UTV FI Champion Matt Bourroughs in his No. 2948 Monster Energy Can-Am finished in fourth place, and has 331 season points and could take the class championship too. With the SCORE Pro UTV FI championship on the line, the SCORE Baja 1000 will determine the championship for any one of these racers. PRO UTV N/A Taking his first victory of the season, Kaden Wells in the No. 1995 Polaris battled with Joe Bolton in the No. 1957 Polaris, and T. Bradley Millner in the No. 1978 car. “The course was super tight and rough, and with the water and the rain ruts, there was still silt– but it was rough,” said Kaden Wells. “We had no issues with the car, but I messed up and put it in a couple holes. I pushed a 10 car up out of a hole to get us both out, but no flats all race.” Millner had problems with his vehicle that ended his day early, but the battle continued with Wells and Bolton. After losing their clutch and losing time to replace it, Wells surged to the lead and extended it to finish first and win the class. Bolton got back on the course to finish in second place. “We broke a clutch as we came in to adjust a light. So we had to spend 10-15 minutes to replace that,” said Bolton. “Then it was smooth. It was a little tough coming in. We couldn’t pre-run that last section. Our BFGoodrich tires were flawless.” PRO UTV STOCK Out of the six entries in the Pro UTV Stock Class, only two teams managed to finish. Randy Emberton in the No. 3933 Polaris would conquer the tough terrain and finish first in class. Behind him was Douglass Cornwell in the No. 3930 Polaris for the second-place win. Although Anibol Lopez Dominic in the No. 3919 Polaris posted a DNF, he still leads this class in season points towards a championship. With a win at the SCORE Baja 1000, Lopez can clinch the class but Cornwell or Emberton also have a chance at taking it away. SJ FINISH LINE QUOTES-Pro UTV FI Class Mark Burnett | No. 2905 | 5th Place: “It was going good until race mile 80. We had an intake boot come off and we lost all the turbo. So we had to go fix that. So we were really far back. From there on, we had an axle go bad and a wheel go bad. But overall, we made it here and we are still in the points. Lots of mudholes and ditches. The course was rough. We will be ready for the SCORE Baja 1000 with a new car.” Jesus Mendez Jr. | No. 2976 | 8th Place: “It was a very fast and demanding race. My co-driver had to have surgery this week, so I drove all the way, but it all went well. We had a flat tire right at the start, but other than that, we had no problems at all.” Justin Lambert | No. 2918 | 9th Place: “It went rough. We had some catastrophic failures that put us down over an hour. But we did get it fixed. Luckily my team was where they were supposed to be. Got it fixed and back on the road. The course was rougher than pre-running. We persevered and made it to the finish line. We had a flat and some broken axles. It was treacherous out there.” PRO UTV OPEN (two-seat open UTV open-displacement) (6 Starters, 4 Finishers) 1. 1876 Mike Cafro, 52, Temecula, CA/Jamie Kirkpatrick, 42, Olympia, Wash., Polaris RZR Turbo S, 10:30:48, (37.46 MPH) 2. 1831 Craig Scanlon, 48, Orange, CA (Helena, Mont.)/Keith Redstrom, 54, Glendale, AZ, Polaris RZR Turbo, 10:57:48 3. 1854 Kristen Matlock, 41, Alpine, CA, Polaris RZR Pro R, 11:50:47 4. 1867 Mike Pratt, 55, Draper, UT/Dodge Poelman, 22, Orem, UT/Gavin Pratt, 19, Draper, UT, Polaris RZR Turbo S, 12:30:44 PRO UTV FI (two-seat Forced Induction, OEM engine UTVs) (23 Starters, 15 Finishers) 1. 2954 Austin Weilland, 30 El Cajon, CA/Justin Wragg, 30, El Cajon, CA, Can-Am X3, 09:30:18, (41.43 MPH) 2. 2910 Rodrigo Ampudia, 37, Ensenada, MX, Can-Am X3 XRC Turbo RR, 09:46:34 3. 2989 Wes Miller, 52, Las Vegas/Donny Powers, 33, Morgan Hill, CA, Polaris RZR XP Turbo, 10:01:04 4. 2948 Matt Burroughs, 53, Norco, CA/Brad Howe, 36, Los Angeles, CA, Can-Am X3, 10:24:19 5. 2905 Marc Burnett, 51, Chula Vista, CA, Can-Am X3, 10:32:27 6. 2966 Santiago Creel, 36, MX City/Elias Hanna, 47, Ensenada, MX, Can-Am Turbo XRC RR, 10:53:09 7. 2987 Edgar Garcia Leon, 35, Trabuco Canyon, CA/Nancy Garcia, Can-Am Maverick X3, 10:53:34 8. 2976 Jesus Mendez Jr, 25, Mexicali, MX, Can-Am Maverick XRS, 10:54:40 9. 2918 Justin Lambert, 47, Bakersfield, CA/Jesus Navarro, 37, Bakersfield, CA/Victor Herrera, 50, Menifee, CA/Casey Campbell, 38, Temecula, CA, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo S, 11:09:16 10. 2943 Steve Allen, 54, Leander, TX/Ken Criswell, 54, Houston/Keith Boline, 23, Austin, TX, Can-Am X3, 12:07:00 11. 2928 Carlos Quezada, 48, Mexicali, MX/Carlos Quezada Jr, 21, Mexicali, MX/Cesar Castillo, 38, Mexicali, MX, Can-Am Maverick X3 XRS Max, 12:38:45 12. 2901 Leobardo Gomez, 43, Tijuana, MX/Leobardo Gomez Jr, 18, Tijuana, MX/Bruno Gallegos, 29, Tijuana, MX/, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo, 13:19:26, 13. 2991 Rodrigo Arriagada, 34, Chile/Luis Moreno, 32, Chile, Can-Am X3, 14:35:12 14. 2990 Alex Bourge, 22, Mexicali, MX/Rodrigo Eloram, 40, Mexicali, MX/Cesar Lara, 35, Mexicali, MX/Carlos Vela, Mexicali, MX/Armando Bunleas, 44, Mexicali, MX/David Bourge, 30, Mexicali, MX, Can-Am X3, 16:47:53 15. 2923 Charles Manchester, 59, Lake Tahoe, Nev./Lawrence Barbella, 61, San Jose, CA/Clinton Shue, 45, Gardnerville, Nev., Can-Am Maverick X-3, 17:14:19 PRO UTV NA (two-seat Normally Aspirated, OEM engine UTVs) (3 Starters, 2 Finishers) 1. 1995 Kaden Wells, 23, Hurricane, UT, Polaris RZR XP1000, 10:04:40, (39.08 MPH) 2. 1957 Joe Bolton, 65, Corona, CA/Austin Bolton, 27, Corona, CA, Polaris RZR XP1000, 11:22:32 PRO UTV STOCK (Stock UTVs, FI or NA) (6 Starters, 2 Finishers) 1. 3933 Randy Emberton, 63, Prescott, AZ/John Zuleski, 42, Prescott, AZ, Polaris Turbo S, 13:40:18, (28.81 MPH) 2. 3930 Doug Cornwell, 57, Haslet, TX/Emma Cornwell, Chula Vista, CA/Trent Kirby, Fallbrook, CA, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo S, 17:54:43

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