The 55th running of the SCORE Baja 1000 wrapped up earlier this week, in all its gritty glory. This year’s event used an 828-mile Ensenada – Ensenada route instead of using La Paz as its terminus as has been the case a handful of times in the last decade. This time around, the UTV and Sportsman Quad classes saw plenty of action – and Polaris and Honda saw plenty of winning.
In the UTV class, Polaris RZR Factory Racing driver Branden Sims and co-driver Eric Borgen put together a great performance in their race-modified RZR Pro R to win the UTV Overall and Pro UTV Open class. Sims started the race in 8th, moving up to 4th in the first 100 miles at which a severe bottleneck at a tight part of the trail cost him plenty of time. After navigating the choked-up area, the team cranked their effort sky-high, taking the lead at mile 300 before passing off to co-driver Borgen at mile 475. It was that racer who piloted the #1869 machine the final 350 miles to the finish line for a total time of 20:37:09, well ahead of second place and good enough for 24th overall which was ahead of numerous Trophy Trucks.
Over in the Sportsmans Quads division, Honda found success with a driver out of Ensenada who wheeled his rig to the finish line in just over 22 hours, no small feat for a quad in these conditions and in spite of penalties for speed and virtual checkpoint violations. In fact, that team was the only lot to finish this year’s brutal course in less than a full day, with one other Honda barely squeaking in at 12 minutes less than twenty-four hours. Still, finishing the Baja at all is a victory for many, no matter how long it takes. The long-as-yer-arm list of DNF drivers will agree.
This event marks the end of this year’s SCORE race schedule. The league’s next event will be the San Felipe 250, a 300-miler planned for the end of March in 2023.