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LESS IS MORE Can-Am’s Murray Racing, Take The UTV FI Class Win By Larry Saavedr Photos by Get Some Photo Murray Racing proved that endurance racing is more about strategy than big horsepower after taking the SCORE Pro UTV FI class win at the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by K&N. After capturing first place in the seat of their No. 2917 Can-Am Maverick X3, Derek Murray said his factory team made the choice to go with the lesser horsepower Maverick X3 for multiple strategic reasons, and at the end of the day, that decision paid off. “We just didn’t have enough seat time in the newer Can-Am Maverick R, and so we ran the platform that we were comfortable with,” he said. “We’ve campaigned the proven Maverick X3 platform throughout the SCORE racing season in 2023 and didn’t want to change anything.” Needless to say, Can-Am was thrilled to take the top three positions in SCORE’s Pro UTV Forced Induction to end their season. “We had four drivers on our team at this year’s SCORE Baja 1000,” said Murray. “Jason set the pace for the first 350 miles even though he was fighting an illness. He wouldn’t have made it any further, that’s for sure.” He then handed the car to newcomer Michael McFayden, who took the Maverick X3 to mile-marker 600. His effort put the team into physical first in class during the critical night leg. PJ Jones then jumped in until mile-marker 924, and he increased their lead dramatically. “I took the Maverick X3 to the finish,” he said. “The car felt like it was brand new. Everything felt like it was fully prepped with absolutely no problems near San Felipe, which was the most technical part of the La Paz to Ensenada course. We actually beat all our chase vehicles to the fueling station, and that was the only glitch in our plan. At that point, I picked up the pace and ran 90 to 95 percent until the finish because it was all or nothing,” he said. “I pounded the car and it just was flying.” Matt Burroughs in the No. 2948 Can-Am Maverick R made a last-ditch effort to close the gap on Murray Racing and came within six minutes of the class leader. But it was too little too late. “It got very suspenseful with Burroughs behind us,” Murray said. “We were pushing the car to its limit and lost a drive belt coming into Ensenada, but the repair was made quickly, and Burroughs never overtook us.” According to Murray, it was an absolutely perfect race. Even the dreaded silt beds had zero effect on the four-wheel drive Maverick X3. “You have to race smart in a UTV, and pre-running the course surely helped,” he added. SJ

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