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

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A WINNING PLATFORM The Success Of Can-Am In SCORE BaJa Racing Began With A Purpose-Built Platform By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo At the end of the SCORE 2020 World Desert Championship season, Can-Am rose to the top of the Pro UTV field by winning the Overall Pro UTV Championship with Matt Burroughs aboard his Maverick X3. The victory wasn’t the company’s first. Jason Murray won the 2016 SCORE UTV championship after the 49th annual Baja 1000 and Marc Burnett also won the SCORE Championship for Can-Am in 2014 and again in 2017. Can-Am and its parent company BRP are no strangers to off-road racing. They have been doing it since the 1970’s “Can-Am is a brand that has been around for a long time and had two-wheel vehicles competing in off-road and motocross,” says Jean-Francois Leclerc, Manager Racing Dept. at Can-Am. “Bombardier Racing Products (BRP) owns the Can-Am brand, but they have also been manufacturing Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Can-Am ATVs, Sea-Doo watercrafts, and many other brands. The company, has more than 50-years of racing experience, starting in the1960s with snowmobiles, and in the 1970s with the Can-AM motocross. The ATVs were originally brought to the SCORE Baja 2000 where BRP won the race in the ATV class with its DS650 model. In 2012, they won the SCORE Baja 1000 in the ATV division with the DS450 campaigned by team Motoworks. Five-time SCORE Baja 1000 and two-time SCORE Baja 500 winner Mike Penland, also had his fair share of success with his 4x4 ATV Outlander.” In 2012, the company teamed up with Jason and Derek Murray, who were campaigning the Can-Am Commander UTV. “It was a good vehicle, but not a purpose-built machine for racing,” said Leclerc. After several years of further UTV development, Can-Am launched the Maverick X3 in 2017. “It was a big improvement over the previous platforms and was designed to drive in the terrain of the Southwest,” said Leclerc. “Before the X3, we were trying to adapt the old Maverick to the Baja environment. We created the whole platform designed specifically for that environment that included updating the chassis, suspension travel, a powerful engine nearing 200 hp, and the ability to go fast in rough terrain.” Once the company was fully invested in what SCORE Baja racing could provide to improve the vehicles, they began working closely with its racers. This included the Murray brothers Jason and Derek, as well as racers such as Marc Burnett, Matt Burroughs, and others. “We get a lot of feedback from our factory racers and we debrief with them after every race,” says Leclerc. “Every SCORE Baja race is considered by our engineers as a full year of regular usage by the average consumer. We take into account the vehicle stresses, engine, suspension components, and more. We look for areas of improvement within different types of terrain as well as low and high-speed travel. Every component is put to the test during a Baja race.” Can-Am’s efforts have yielded great results as Matt Burroughs won the SCORE 2020 Pro UTV FI Championship and SCORE Overall Championship in the Maverick X3. But Leclerc points out that these vehicles, although outfitted with some aftermarket upgrades and safety features, the company wants the vehicles to use as many original equipment (OE) components as possible. “We always try to improve reliability and we want our top racing teams to keep as many OE parts as possible, even in the premier racing classes like the SCORE Pro UTV FI class,” says Leclerc. “It’s not always easy as there are safety regulations and class compliance rules, but every year we race, we find that the OE parts are holding up. In our opinion, it makes it better for these race teams to not always have to renew their parts, and if they do, they are available at every Can-Am dealer in North America. What’s great is that now, these vehicles in the premiere racing classes are closer to stock than ever.” With the emerging Pro Stock UTV class as an easy entry point into off-road racing, Leclerc believes reliability is most important for these racers, but they also want to keep winning in the premiere classes as well. “The Pro Stock UTV classes make it easier for racers to have less of an investment into aftermarket parts to go racing,” he says. “But we also want to win in the major-leagues of professional UTV racing as well. The SCORE Pro UTV FI class is where the best racers are and to win this class and finish first overall, is a huge benefit in promoting the reliability and performance of our vehicles. Some of these racers are well known in motorsports, and our investment is with those racers who want to win overall and in those premiere classes.” “With the Maverick X3 platform, we have seen the results of our improvement efforts once the racers have had time to adapt to it. We believe it’s why we are having success, but we also know that racing talent, and those teams on the ground, are a huge part of that success. It’s a team effort, and those people are passionate and knowledgeable. We want to continue to focus on the teamwork more than the individual benefits of winning.”

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