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

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CLASS IN SESSION The Latest UTV Trends In Off-Road Racing Lead To New Rules And Class Designations By Dan Sanchez Competition among UTVs in SCORE has made them the fastest growing class in the SCORE World Desert Championship Series. With manufacturers such as Polaris, the official UTV of SCORE, as well as Can-Am, Honda, Yamaha, and others who are either working with individual racers or organizing official factory teams, it has required the review of various classes to keep things fair and safe. In 2013 when SCORE officially created Class 19 for UTV racers, the design and capabilities of these vehicles skyrocketed, and race organizers had to create individual new classes for Normally Aspirated, Forced Induction, Stock, and Unlimited vehicle designs. In 2020, however, custom-builds were introduced which caused a stir, but also led to some of the most recent class designation changes. The most significant, according to SCORE Tech Director Dan Cornwell, was changing the Pro Unlimited Class designation to Open. “As the industry changes its building habits, SCORE is trying to change the rules to keep classes fair and safe,” says Cornwell. “We began to see UTVs that were pretty much just like a Class 10 car, so we had to make some rule changes. The SCORE Pro UTV Unlimited Class is now called Pro UTV Open, where the limiting factor is that the vehicle must use a recognized OE manufacturer’s transmission. SCORE wants the vehicle to remain recognizable as a UTV, and that the vehicle overall looks like a Polaris or any other recognized UTV manufacturer. The class designation and rule changes keep this dominant Pro UTV class within those guidelines.” Although the Pro UTV Open class has new rules, it still allows for a wide range of performance possibilities for both OE manufacturers and custom chassis builders. “We’re seeing custom chassis builds, but they must have the factory pivot points, (OE suspension attachment positions, etc.), says Cornwell. “It has to be the same as a factory Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, etc. For example, if a company like Jimco builds a Polaris chassis for a Pro UTV Open class racer, it will require a Polaris transmission and utilize either factory or aftermarket suspension components designed to fit an OE Polaris chassis. More new vehicle manufactures are coming into the UTV motorsports scene with one-off vehicle builds. “In instances like we’ve seen with Robby Gordon’s Speed UTV and other new players in UTV motorsports, they are on their way to becoming manufacturers, but are not there yet. In order for those vehicles to compete in SCORE’s Pro UTV Open Class, they must produce 1000 units annually to become a recognized manufacturer.” As UTV performance increases at both the factory and aftermarket level, it makes for exciting racing action, as well as opening greater possibilities for anyone to participate in SCORE racing events. The goal is to offer competition in Baja racing for everyone, and within various levels of experience. As vehicles and components continue to evolve, SCORE will continue to make sure Baja is open to all types of competitive vehicles and racing enthusiasts. SJ

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