SCORE Journal


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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 101

DETERMINED TO WIN Setbacks Made Kaden Wells Determined To Chase Down The Leaders To Win In Pro UTV NA By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo For Factory Polaris Pro UTV NA racer Kaden Wells, his season-ending SCORE win came down to quick thinking and perseverance during the 55th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. To get to that point, however, he and the Risq Racing Team also had to do everything right all season long. With third-place finishes at every race this season, Wells remained unfazed and focused, knowing he could win the race if he just held it together mentally and physically. After starting the SCORE Baja 1000 out in front and quickly putting a three-minute lead on the others in the class, Wells and his navigator Emma Cornwell envisioned crossing the finish line and perhaps getting on the podium. But the good times would not last. He noticed the first signs of trouble before the first stage. “The race car was running weird,” he said. “It was like a stuck injector or something.” They were losing power. “Emma and I could see it on the instrument gauges and it just got worse by Ojos Negros. I had a great lead. I knew I had to fix whatever was going on so I pulled off the course.” With the lead now gone and his opponent Joe Bolton in the No. 1957 Polaris miles ahead, the Risq Racing team scrambled to re-tune the ECU in a last-ditch effort to get back on course, hoping that it would solve the issue. They had lost the lead they had gained, essentially dropping to last place in class. Luckily for Wells, the re-tune worked. They were back on course and chasing down the leaders. Fuel delivery returned to normal, and the Polaris was running flawlessly, according to Wells. By race mile 70, Wells had passed Bolton and regained the physical lead after a short battle with Zach Sizelove racing in the No.1925 Honda Talon 1000R. “We were able to put a 55-mile lead on our closest competitor from that point until the first driver change,” said Wells. That’s not to say Wells and Cornwell were cruising. They may have ditched most of the UTVs in class, but they still had to contend with the occasional SCORE Trophy Truck and Spec TT that they encountered on course. “I think we were averaging 36.5 miles per hour,” said Wells. “We hit all their marks on the course, and that helped tremendously.” “The pre-running helped a lot,” said navigator Cornwell. “It is a team effort and I just have to keep Kaden as informed as possible on each section. There were times when we were simply listening to music and not talking. Music helps Kaden and me on the course. Depending on the song, it can really pump us up.” Although many of the UTV racers complained of the bottlenecks on the course, Wells said they weren’t too bad and that he was able to get around the two-wheel-drives pretty easily. The SCORE TT classes had carved up the course ahead of them, but still, they managed to keep on pace. “The sand sections weren’t too deep and so I didn’t really have a problem navigating them,” he said. At mile-marker 395, Wells and Cornwell hopped out at a predetermined driver swap for some much-needed rest. They got a few hours of sleep in the back of the chase truck until they were awakened just as the sun came up. “Thanks to some tremendous driving from JD and Arnie, we still had the lead at mile marker 680,” said Wells. Up to that point, the team suffered just one flat, but the Polaris continued to run excellently, according to Wells. “JD said the race car was performing great and so I just had to maintain the lead to the finish.” Wells said he was racing through some tight stuff but tried to keep the speeds at a moderate pace. One of the Tensor DS32 tires suddenly developed a slow leak, but other than that issue, the tires held out in the rocky sections as they expected they would. “The sidewalls hold up well against the rocks,” said Wells. At the last speed zone, they figured they had the win, but that didn’t mean it was easygoing. “It might be a short distance to the finish, but it can be nerve-wracking until you take the checkered flag,” said Cornwell. His official time was 23:01:56.914. The win at the SCORE Baja 1000 was Wells’ 18th consecutive SCORE podium finish. Although it was a great achievement, Wells said it is his last year in SCORE Pro UTV NA because he’s already working on a new Polaris to compete in the Pro UTV Open class. “It’ll be more competitive, and I’m going for the podium again in 2023. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - SCORE-Journal-DEC-2022