(Photo courtesy Vincent Knakal // UTVUnderground.com)
This year’s point-to-point Baja 1000 was 1,275 miles of brutal terrain testing both machine and driver. Polaris RZR went into the race as the defending champion, and the Scrambler XP 1000 made a maiden voyage with Team UXC racing at the helm.
Nineteen side-by-sides, including 13 RZRs, started the race and eight side-by-sides, six being RZRs, managed to finish. First-time Baja 1000 driver of record, Johnny Angal of UTV Inc., and his drivers Brian Bush, Branden Sims and Justin Quinn, in their No. 1919 RZR XP 4 1000 won the grueling race. Jagged X in the No. 1932 with drivers Matt Parks, Brandon Schueler and Craig Scanlon took second.
Can-Am ATV and side-by-side racers competed in the 46th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert endurance race over the past weekend in Mexico, and came away with one class victory and an impressive third-place finish in the UTV class. Team UXC Racing / Can-Am racer Michael Swift rode the entire 833-mile course alone to win Class 26 aboard his Outlander 4×4 ATV. Cory Sappington also finished the race, earning third overall in Class 19 (UTV) with his Desert Toyz / Can-Am Maverick 1000R side-by-side vehicle.
“I’m very pleased with Michael Swift’s Class 26 win, considering the fact that he raced the entire Baja 1000 solo and it was said to be one of the most grueling courses in the history of the race,” says Jeff Leclerc, Racing Project Leader, Can-Am. “Despite a few challenges in the UTV race, I was thrilled to learn Desert Toyz driver / owner Cory Sappington earned the first Baja 1000 podium for the Can-Am Maverick 1000R side-by-side.”
The Coastal Racing team of Scott Kiger, Mark Holz, RJ Anderson, Rob Utendorfer, Tyler King and Brian McLean raced to victory in the UTV Pro class at the 2013 Baja 1000.
In its first ever Baja 1000 appearance, the Coastal Racing team piloted its No. 1934 Polaris RZR XP 900 to the finish line in 27 hours, 16 minutes and 57 seconds – nearly 24 minutes quicker than the second place Jagged X team.
BRP has stepped up its off-road racing efforts for 2013 with a massive team racers set to pilot Can-Am ATVs and UTVs this year. BRP has added more racing circuits and expanded its UTV racing support to include the new Can-Am Maverick 1000R.
“We have a dedicated and talented group of racers and teams competing under the Can-Am banner for the 2013 racing season. I’m thrilled to have the all-new Can-Am Maverick 1000R in the mix and to have some of our experienced racers pilot the industry’s most invigorating side-by-side vehicle,” says Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “We will compete on Can-Am ATV and side-by-side vehicles across the U.S. and Canada and we’re fully determined to compete for championships in every racing series we enter.”
Josh Frederick, Jeremie Warnia, Collins Webster, and Jarrod McClure rode their Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 to victory in the grueling Baja 1000.
After a 27-hour battle with the most brutal racing terrain the Baja Peninsula of Mexico has to offer, the DS 450 team crossed the finish line ahead of 297 other starters and 1121 miles away from the start line of the Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Mexico.
“This team was prepared to deliver BRP its first Pro ATV-class victory in over a decade and the first for the DS 450 ATV,” says Jimmie O’Dell, Can-Am off-road race manager. “The dedication by the entire Motoworks team was evident from pre-running to the finish; I am proud that they are an important partner with BRP.”
Can-Am off-road racing teams posted class victories in two different desert racing events. Derek Murray piloted the Murray Motorsports’ Can-Am Commander 1000 to victory at the Henderson 250 in the Best in the Desert series in Nevada. The four-man team of Carl Vella, Mike Penland, Rick Matteson and Ryan Robey teamed to ride a Can-Am Outlander 800R ATV to a class win at the 44th Annual 2011 SCORE Baja 1000 desert race in Ensenada, Mexico.
At the BITD event in Henderson, Nev., Derek Murray drove and Bill Kugel co-piloted the Can-Am due to Jason Murray, the driver of record, being ill. Even without his brother by his side, Derek Murray was determined to win. The Commander 1000, prepped by Desert Toyz, started in seventh place, but slowly worked its way to the front of the side-by-side vehicle pack. Three miles into the third lap, the team took over the lead and drove a clean, fast race from there to the finish line to record its first overall win of 2011. The Murray Commander team ended the BITD season ranked third in the final Pro UTV class standings.
“We are extremely happy to have won the Henderson 250 as it is the final race of the season and determines the outcome for the season due to it being a double points race,” says Derek Murray. “We knew all season the Commander had what it takes to be a top competitor in the most competitive desert racing series in the USA. We’re excited that what we knew finally came to fruition in Henderson. It shows that the Commander is a great, reliable and fast machine that’s able to be modified to any rider’s needs.”
Kane Fraser, a paraplegic, decided to take on the 2011 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in a Polaris RZR XP 900.
“This was our first Baja 1000, our first time racing, and for me my first time racing in any sport ever,” says Fraser.
A first timer’s experience at Baja is hardly ever smooth and Fraser did run into a few issues. His team would add over 100 miles to their total mileage after a wrong turn, and in turn would add hundreds of followers as they headed towards their ceremonial finish at 2am Sunday morning, 36 hours after the start Friday afternoon.
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“We wanted to finish, we didn’t care, nothing would stop us. We kept going and did finish! We were a little bug eyed, but we finished,” says Heino Seibert from Spectra Power Sports, Fraser’s co-driver.
On Nov. 18, more than 275 entries would start the 2011 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico with the expectations to finish the race and be the first to cross the finish line. The #1A Matlock Racing Team of Wayne Matlock, Wes Miller and Josh Caster was the first ATV team to cross the finish line after an extremely rough 705 miles through the Baja landscape.
With a rough start earlier in the year at the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 and Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the Matlock Racing team was looking forward to a trouble free race. The team spent months preparing for the upcoming race and their goal was to take the overall win once again and seal the points lead for the championship and the #1A plate.
The whole team headed south across the border a week before the race to begin pre-running each of their sections. Matlock and Miller would head to Ensenada as a base for pre-running their sections and Caster would head to San Felipe. Weather was harsh early in the week of pre-running with heavy rains leaving huge mud puddles and washouts along most of the course. All of the team would have to pre-run in the extreme weather to get the course completely covered.