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Page 64 of 101

SHAKEN AND STIRRED UTV Competition Gets Heated By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Isaac Flores, Cindy Clark, and Ariana Medrano Photos by Get Some Photo As the competition gets tougher in the SCORE Pro UTV Classes, it became more difficult for any one team to make it to the podium at each of the four SCORE races this season. While a few racers remained somewhat consistent by getting on the podium in every race, it all got shaken up at the 55th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, when more competition entered for this one race, and the tough course dealt a blow to some teams. There were also several class championships on the line, which made winning the SCORE Baja 1000 that much more crucial to gain enough season points, especially as the points for winning increase with the number of entrants. In the SCORE Pro UTV Open class, a total of eight competitors tried for the win. Although it sounds simple enough to stay ahead of seven other teams, it’s the level of experience in the field that makes it extremely difficult. On race day, it was Branden Sims in the No. 1869 Polaris RZR Pro R that upset the class with the class win. It was Sim’s only SCORE race he competed in this season, and he had a blast on the course. “We didn’t get out of the car one time,” said Sims. “All we did was fuel and driver changes. Usually, you are battling adversity at these SCORE events. There was dust and traffic but other than that it was pretty uneventful. Great event and ready for the SCORE race.” But the course seemed more difficult for other UTV racers who got stuck in bottlenecks, dealt with rock crawling sections and had mechanical issues. It was enough to weed out nearly half of the Open class. Fortunately for Craig Scanlon in the No. 1831 Polaris RZR, he also managed to drive a conservative race and finished second in class. “It was a good race. Glad to be done,” said Scanlon. “I want to thank my co-driver Keith Redstrom, Max Eddy, and the whole team. We will be back for the 2023 SCORE season.” Wayne Matlock had a win and a podium finish in two races this season but combined with a couple of disappointing DNFs due to some mechanical failures. After shaking out the issues, he was able to finish this race in third place, in the No. 1871 Polaris RZR Pro R. He was followed by his wife Kristen Matlock, who started out this season with a new Polaris RZR Pro R of her own. She also had difficulties this season, but also seemed to work out any bugs in the vehicle in this race to finish fourth. “It was a pretty rough course,” said Kristen Matlock. “Brutal, just like all the SCORE Baja 1000’s I have been in. This is my seventh one in a row. They get rougher and more challenging but I am up for it, and I’ll be back next year for sure. We had a few issues here and there but I’m sure everyone had a few. It wasn’t working as perfectly as I wanted it to. That’s racing though.” For Mike Cafro in the No. 1876 Polaris RZR Pro R, it was a disappointing finish to the season. Finishing fifth in class was not what he had hoped for despite having three podium finishes this season. “The course was brutal,” said Cafro. “This was the most challenging SCORE Baja race mentally and physically that I have ever done. We missed the setup so it beat us up pretty badly. We just built this car and only tested it a little bit. The overall platform was flawless, we just missed the setup and had self-induced breakage. We lost the battle but won the war – we won the Championship, so we are pretty happy about that.” WEILAND TAKES PRO UTV FI Not deterred by either the competition or the course, Austin Weiland continued winning his third race in a row this season with another class win in the SCORE Pro UTV FI class. Driving the course with co-driver Dylan Schmoke, the two took the No. 2954 Can-Am to another victory but were just shy of enough points for the class championship. “We pushed hard all day,” said Weiland. “We had some issues but pushed hard and pretty much led the Pro Turbo class from wire to wire. I want to thank everyone that comes to help us, including Can-Am, Raceline, DS Customs, STG, Fortin Racing, Maxima, TSCO, Savage, everyone that helps us out.” Although Phil Blurton in the No. 2944 Can-Am got stuck in some bottlenecks, he and co-driver Beau Judge drove fast on the course to finish in second place. It was his best finish this season despite having mechanical issues in other races. “It was a good race with really no issues,” said Blurton. “We got stuck in one bottleneck that separated us from the leader - he got through there before we did. Other than that, everything was smooth. We have only done one other SCORE Baja 1000 and it was a peninsula run so this was a totally different game. This loop race was tight and technical, with more of a save-the-car strategy. I want to thank Monster Energy, Can-Am, BFGoodrich Tires, Vision race wheels, Chris for riding with me, Beau for driving the other section, and Jeff for riding with him, my whole pit crew down here helping us.” Taking third place in class was Ronnie and Randy Anderson in the No. 2937 Polaris RZR. In fourth place was Matt Burroughs and co-driver Bradley Howe in the No. 2948 Can-Am. Four is their lucky number as they finished fourth in three of the four races this season, being the most consistent team in this class. “Brad drove all night and did a great job. I jumped back in at the end. In the beginning, the Summit was rough. A bottleneck. We only had one flat tire. Amazing. Especially with all the rocks. Thank you to SCORE for this amazing race. Thank you to my crew and my family.” Their finish gave the team enough points to take the class championship, the second for Burroughs, after winning his first in 2020. WELLS SECURES A WIN In another tough battle for a class win, Kaden Wells went all out for the win in the SCORE Pro UTV N/A class, securing his second win of the season in his No. 1995 Polaris RZR XP1000. It was not easy going for Kaden and his co-driver JD Marsh, but they managed to come back from behind for the win. “Right after Ojos Negros, my car wasn’t running very well so we ended up returning it and ended up dead last,” said Wells. “But then we took back the physical lead. Over the Summit we lost a tire and a spot or two on the course, but we got that back. This is our first SCORE Baja 1000 win. And if we get the Championship it will be our fourth.” Zach Sizelove in his No. 1925 Honda Talon entered the SCORE Baja 500 and won the class, and was expecting to win the SCORE Baja 1000 as well. Unfortunately, the team didn’t have the tie to beat Wells and had to settle for second place. Finishing third was 2020 SCORE Baja 1000 winner Elias Hanna, who again drove for the Factory Honda Race team in the No. 1920 Talon to take third place. “It was a long day, and we had an early issue that cost us time,” said Hanna. “Other than that, the Honda Talon is a great platform. It worked so well. Our co-driver Bobby Smith did an amazing job. I want to thank all the Honda racers and Jeff Proctor for giving me the opportunity. It has been an amazing couple of years. We put all the Hondas on the podium. It’s a really demanding course. The SCORE Baja 1000 always has tricks up its sleeve, but we were able to finish.”  MENDEZ TAKES THE PRO STOCK CLASS After two DNF’s this season, the 55th SCORE Baja 1000 proved to be a blessing for Antonio Mendez in the No. 3959 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. Out of the eleven competitors in this class, Mendez and his co-drivers Miguel Rosales, and Alonso Gonzales won the class for the hometown Ensenada, Mexico team. “The course was hard and very intense,” said Mendez. “It was a lot, but we made it and finished first.”’ Second place went to Anibal Lopez who had been running a close points race this season with Douglas Cornwell for the class championship. With the podium finish in this race, Lopez will have enough points to take the championship this season for the Mexicali, Mexico team. Finishing third in this race was Broc Kelly from El Cajon, California, his best finish this season. FINISH LINE QUOTES  JASON MURRAY | No. 2917 | FIFTH PLACE: “We had some minor issues and got stuck in a bottleneck. We lost brakes but we kept our position. We fixed some of the brake issues in our pits and got three of them back. These side by sides are amazing what they can do. Can-Am builds an awesome platform and we thoroughly enjoy coming to Mexico and kicking up some dirt PJ JONES | No. 2998 | SIXTH PLAC: “We had a great race, running in the top three until the middle of the night. And then we had things that happened that caused us to lose time. We bent some radius rods and had a few flats. Had about a 20-minute delay at the Summit. Method wheels, Tensor tires, Gates belts, Maximum oil, and Tap clutches really helped out.” PAT STONE | No. 2919 | SEVENTH PLACE: (Co-driver with Brandon Schueler DOR) “The course was brutal. Probably one of the roughest courses we have had here. We had a couple of flat tires. We lost a shock and it was not in the best place to lose one. So we had to go about 40 miles without a shock to the next pit and lost a lot of time there. Other than that, everything else was flawless.” OFFICIAL FINISHERS PRO UTV OPEN (two-seat open UTV open-displacement) (8 Starters, 5 Finishers) 1. 1869 Branden Sims, 36, Prescott Valley, AZ/Eric Borgen, Polaris RZR Pro R, 20:37:10, (40.17 MPH) 2. 1831 Craig Scanlon, 48, Orange, CA (Helena, Mont.)/Max Eddy Jr, 39, Barstow, CA, Polaris RZR Turbo, 21:36:29 3. 1871 Wayne Matlock, 44, Alpine, CA/Josh Row, 33, Lakeside, CA, Polaris RZR Pro R, 21:54:37 4. 1854 Kristen Matlock, 42, Alpine, CA, Polaris RZR Pro R, 24:50:47 5. 1876 Mike Cafro, 52, Temecula, CA/Jamie Kirkpatrick, 42, Olympia, Wash., Polaris RZR Turbo R, 27;29:18 PRO UTV FI (two-seat Forced Induction, OEM engine UTVs) (27 Starters, 18 Finishers) 1. 2954 Austin Weiland, 30, El Cajon, CA/Dylan Schmoke, 29, El Cajon, CA, Can-Am X3, 21:15:57, (38.95 MPH) 2. 2944 Phil Blurton, 36, Auburn, CA/Beau Judge, 44, Rockland, CA, Can-Am X3, 21:28:45 3. 2937 Ronnie Anderson, 22, Riverside, CA/RJ Anderson, 29, Riverside, CA/Randy Anderson, 60, Riverside, CA, Polaris RZR, 22:19:46 4. 2948 Matt Burroughs, 53, Norco, CA/Bradley Howe, 34, Leona Valley, CA, Can-Am X3, 23:03:24 5. 2917 Jason Murray, 39, North Tustin, CA/Derek Murray, 39, Yorba Linda, CA/Mitchell Alsup, Bakersfield, CA, Can-Am X3, 23:18:27 6. 2998 PJ Jones, 53, Cave Creek, AZ/Kyle Vestermark, 53, Aliso Viejo, CA, Can-Am X3, 23:37:08 7. 2919 Brandon Schueler, 33, Phoenix/Miles Martin, 33, Peoria, AZ/Pat Stone, 50, Payson, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo S, 24:13:56 8. 2927 Justin Smith, 51, Wittman, AZ/Jeff Day, 50, Peoria, AZ, Can-Am X3, 24:51:15 9. 2928 Carlos Quezada, 48, Mexicali, MX/Carlos Quezada Jr, 21, Mexicali, MX/Cesar Castillo, 38, Mexicali, MX, Can-Am Maverick X3 XRS Max, 25:31:42 10. 2985 Austin ‘A.J.’ Jones, 26, Litchfield Park, AZ/Gustavo Gugelmin, 39, Brazil/Rodrigo Ampudia, Can-Am X3, 25:56:42 11. 2909 Alex Baker, 41, Reno, Nev./Heath Bernard, 42, Reno, Nev./Sam Cothrun, 43, Reno, Nev./Elvis Becirevic, 23, Sparks, Nev., Can-Am X3, 27:15:10 12. 2943 Steve Allen, 54, Leander, TX/Ken Criswell, 54, Houston/Keith Boline, 23, Austin, TX, Can-Am X3, 28:55:42 13. 2946 Jose Juarez, 38, Chula Vista, Calif/Jose Juarez Jr, 21, San Diego/Quirino Gutierrez, 39, Chula Vista, CA/Carlos Salazar, 36, Chula Vista, CA, Cam-Am Maverick X3, 29;14:60 14. 2911 Aaron Aguilar, 50, Hermosillo, MX/Martin Bringas, 53, Tijuana, MX/Fermin Flores, 46, Hermosillo, MX, Can-Am Maverick X3, 29:50:06 15. 2987 Edgar Garcia Leon, 35, Trabuco Canyon, CA/Nancy Garcia, Can-Am Maverick X3, 31:30:07 16. 2901 Leobardo Gomez, 43, Tijuana, MX/Leobardo Gomez Jr, 19, Tijuana, MX/Bruno Gallegos, 29, Tijuana, MX/Mario Amezcuo, 47, Tijuana, MX, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo, 32:25:01 17. 2983 Nicholas Gurries, 38, San Jose, CA/Marcos Galdamez, Can-Am X3, 32:53:49 18. 2976 Jesus Mendez Jr, 25, Mexicali, MX/Jesus Mendez Sr, 55, Mexicali MX/Felix Juan Garcia, 23, Mexicali, MX, Can-Am Maverick XRS, 34:57:14 PRO UTV NA  (two-seat Normally Aspirated, OEM engine UTVs) (8 Starters, 4 Finishers) 1. 1995 Kaden Wells, 24, Hurricane, Utah/J.D. Marsh, 38, Star, Idaho, Polaris RZR XP1000, 23:01:57, (35.96 MPH) 2. 1925 Zach Sizelove, 28, Hesperia, CA/Ethan Ebert, 16, Marana, AZ/Wayne Lambert, 47, Canyon Lake, CA, Honda Talon 1000R, 24:38:35 3. 1920 Elias Hanna, 44, Ensenada, MX/Bobby Smith, 35, Alpine, CA, Honda Talon 1000R, 26:13:53 4. 1957 Joe Bolton, 65, Corona, CA/Austin Bolton, 27, Corona, CA/Mike Lesle, 61, Wildomar, CA, Polaris RZR XP1000, 27:30:17 PRO UTV STOCK (Stock UTVs, FI or NA) (11 Starters, 7 Finishers) 1. 3959 Antonio Mendez, 57, Puebla, MX/Miguel Rosales, 40, Ensenada, MX/Alono Gonzalez, 40, Ensenada, MX, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo S, 26:30:36, (31.24 MPH) 2.3919 Anibal Lopez, 39, Mexicali, MX/ Hector Beltran, 45,La Paz, MX/Danni Gonzalez, 38, San Luis Rio Colorado, MX/Francisco Lopez, 45, Mexicali, MX/Yoshua Morquecho, 30, Mexicali, MX, Polaris Turbo S, 26:40:16 3. 3908 Broc Kelly, 38, El Cajon, CA/Scott Bergen, 40, Ramona, CA/Zack Hydeman, 34, Kansas City, Kansas/Mike Fore, 40, Oklahoma City, Can-Am, 32:15:39 4. X33933 Randy Emberton, 63, Prescott, AZ/John Zuleski, 42, Prescott, AZ, Polaris Turbo S, 32:22:56 5. 3957 Bruce Jett, 57, Myersville, Md./Steve Beard, Frederick, Md., Can-Am Maverick X3, 32:38:32 6. 3943 Dennis Romero, 42, Charlotte, North Carolina/Mauricio Abrador, Argentina/Walter Agostini, Argentina/Mariano Pissaco, Argentina, Can-Am X3, 32:49:33 7. 3930 Doug Cornwell, 57, Haslet, TX/Emma Cornwell, Chula Vista, CA/Trent Kirby, Fallbrook, CA, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo S, 33:56:31 SPT UTV OPEN (1 Starter, 1 Finishers) 1. 1818 Nate Franklin, 44, San Juan Capistrano, CA/Brandt Anderson, 43, San Juan Capistrano, CA, Polaris RZR XP1000, 27:23:29, (25.40 MPH)

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