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BETTING ON THE LONGSHOT Cayden MacCachren Wins The Pro UTV Open Class By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo Third generation SCORE desert racer, Cayden MacCachren, put any doubt about his abilities to rest after closing out the 2023 season by capturing the Pro UTV Open class win at the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000 presented by K&N. As part of the Polaris Factory Racing Team at SCI Motorsports, MacCachren’s first win this season came at a time when he needed to firmly plant his name on the leaderboard. In one of the longest races in the Baja 1000’s history, he did so in dramatic style taking out the top contenders, who could only look-on and wonder what could have been. Even points leader, and teammate Brock Heger in the No. 1896 Polaris, had to follow in his lead after MacCachren’s team put on a near flawless show from start to finish. “I was thinking about this event back in January and made the decision to put together a team with varied skill sets,” MacCachren said. “I talked to SCORE Pro Moto Unlimited champion Justin Morgan about the La Paz to Ensenada event. Veteran racer Rhys Millen was also a name that came about shortly after my conversation with Morgan. I met with him at the Off-Road Expo and started to put the plan together from there.” MacCachren made the conscious decision to start the race because of his familiarity with the platform, and decided to put Morgan’s keen terrain skills to good use at night in the desert. “I drove to mile-marker 528 and Morgan picked it from there until mile-marker 1,000,” he said. “Rhys was the wise one, and knew what it would take to close it out in Ensenada for the team. He has lots of racing experience and knew how to manage the race until the checkered flag.” Meanwhile, Polaris racers Justin Lambert and Heger were gaining on Millen, and all MacCachren could do was to track his progress and hope that he made a good decision. “They were 10 to 15 minutes behind Millen, and these guys are respected drivers that were hammering it to make a pass on us,” he said. “It got a little tense. The factory team wanted any one of our Polaris cars to win, but Millen held steady and didn’t give the other cars an opportunity to get by. Exactly what I expected out of him” Interestingly, only Morgan had previously raced the No. 1821 Polaris RZR. Millen had no time in the car and saw it for the first time at mile-marker 1,000. “To Rhys it didn’t make much difference because of his racing background,” MacCachren said. “I wasn’t worried. His reputation in motorsports speaks for itself.” While the deep silt on the course had deterred other UTV racers, it was not an issue for the Polaris team. “People overreact to silt and it’s easy to get stuck if you don’t enter the silt properly,” said MacCachren. “Straddling the ruts is a great plan.” As the son of six-time SCORE Baja 1000 champion Rob MacCachren, you’d think he’d be well-prepped to take on the race. But the truth is young MacCachren says he relied solely on his own personal experience and by even watching video of other racers. “You’d be surprised how much you can learn by watching video of race cars at speed,” he said. Whatever explains his rise to the top of the podium, MacCachren has a class win at the biggest desert race in the world under his belt. Now all he has to do is concentrate on the SCORE 2024 season, keeping his common sense strategy unchanged. SJ

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