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BROCK HEGER’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET Dust, Illness, And An Unlucky Start Draw Couldn’t Shake The Pro UTV Class And Overall Winner By Larry Saavedra Photos by Get Some Photo By capturing the Pro UTV Open class and UTV Overall win at the K&N 4th SCORE Baja 400 presented by VP Racing Fuels, Polaris Factory Racing driver Brock Heger extended his points lead going into the season’s final race. It was welcome news to the newly minted Polaris Factory Racing team. Polaris Factory Racing Technical Director Alex Scheuerell added, “It was an incredibly noteworthy day for Brock and the entire team, as it marked our third win in as many races. In our first year, we have proved that our drivers and vehicles are more than capable of winning.” Heger’s championship points standing jumped to the lead, totaling 333 points, followed by Wayne Matlock with 312 and Justin Lambert with 309, in the prestigious SCORE Pro UTV Open class. It was also the third consecutive victory in as many races for Polaris Factory Racing in 2023 in this SCORE class. Although the 384.6-mile course was incredibly dusty, Heger relied on his course management to secure the win. “I pre-ran about 500 miles, and that made the difference,” Heger said after the race. “Unfortunately, I was feeling sick the week before the race. Then, I saw we drew the 13th position off the starting grid. Obviously, I was disappointed. I was surprised to start that far back. Had I not won the race, I might have had a different perspective on the outcome.” He later admitted that not even the leaders in UTV had clean air with all the dust. “Finding super clean air was difficult because of the bikes and SCORE Trophy Trucks,” he said. “My co-driver, Ethan Groom, and I didn’t have a strategy exactly to combat how the course had changed. We knew it was a long race, and we’d wait and see what happened.” Heger drove the No. 1896 RZR Pro R solo with no mechanical failures other than a blown shock and a flat tire. “I drove for 150 miles with the bad shock, but we just played it mile by mile,” he said. “The guys at SCI and Polaris killed it during the pit stop and repaired everything in under nine minutes, and that included adding fuel.” As for the high number of VCPs at this year’s SCORE Baja 400, Heger said it was a lot, but he took it all in stride. “Ethan and I were prepared for it,” he said. “That’s why we pre-ran it, and Groom took great notes. There weren’t really too many shortcuts anyway, and so that helped to keep us on course. The SCORE Baja 400 this year was a very straightforward race.” Heger said everything went perfectly, and all he had to do was to push forward. “It was a much faster pace than the SCORE Baja 500,” he said. “I knew early on what was going to happen starting in the back. I was in a good position after mile marker 190, even though I got passed by three UTVs during my pit stop. At that point, I was in fourth.” He then started to pick off the leaders one by one. “From 190 to 380, it was all about passing.” Because the UTVs are very competitive, Heger believes that passing is very challenging, but he has a way to do it successfully. “My little secret on how I make a pass I can’t say, but it does include a lot of luck, and the driver and co-driver have to be on the same page,” he said. “Dust is like the devil in Baja, and when we got along the coast, I also used the wind as an advantage and made my moves.”The team knew they were close on corrected time around mile-marker 250, and that’s when they began to close the gap on Branden Sims in the No. 1886 Polaris RZR Pro R. All that his fellow Polaris-backed drivers could do was watch as Heger kept his head down and exploded to the finish. Nevertheless, Sims and Lambert rounded out the Pro UTV Open podium in second and third place. Heger said his last win at the SCORE Baja 500 gave him the added confidence to close it out in this race. “I wanted to win, and I know all the other guys at Polaris wanted to win too,” he said. “I pushed and drove it hard enough to make the difference. These UTVs are getting faster, and so the upcoming SCORE Baja 1000 will definitely be interesting.” While Heger doesn’t have a crystal ball on the future of UTVs, he said the performance gains they’ve made as of late have been nothing less than incredible, and he’s more than willing to take advantage of them. SJ

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