Jagged X Wins the 50th SCORE BAJA 1000
When you think of iconic sporting events you may think of the World Series or the Super Bowl. When talking about epic motorsports events, races like the Daytona 500 or the Dakar Rally may come to mind but no racing event can cast a shadow on this year’s 50th running of the famed SCORE BAJA 1000!
For the people of Baja California and Baja Sur this is their “Super Bowl” this is the BIG ONE! The Baja 1000 has long been slated as the most difficult race in the world and this year’s event would add credibility to that claim. The event would start on the well-known streets of Ensenada and wind its way back and forth across the unforgiving Baja peninsula and after 1134 miles would end in the beautiful town of La paz Baja Sur. Over 400 vehicles would sign up to challenge Baja! The Baja 1000 is more than a race, more than an event, it is a quest! For some it is a bucket list item, for some it’s a goal, for some it is a challenge but for everyone…….. IT IS “THE BAJA”. Unlike any other race, the 50th anniversary race was truly an epic experience for the factory Polaris RZR race team of Jagged X racing.
2017 marks the 5th year that the Jagged X factory Polaris team has competed in the SCORE series. In 2013 Jagged X assembled a team naming Baja racing Veteran Matt Parks as driver of record in a Jagged X / Polaris factory RZR XP 900. After a very competitive first season in Mexico, Matt would win the SCORE Championship. In 2015 Brandon Schueler would take over for Matt who was retiring and again Jagged X would achieve top honors with another SCORE Championship.
Fast forward to the 2017 SCORE 50th Baja 1000 presented by BFGoodrich Tires. Jagged X would go into the 1000 trailing the series points leader by just 20 points. A win here would improve their championship prospects but in no way insure them. A win was the goal! The Jagged X team had achieved runner up position twice in the past but the B1K win still eluded the team and lead Driver Brandon Schueler. Planning for this event began many months ago when they enlisted the driving talent of young gun Mitch Guthrie Jr.. Guthrie is a fellow factory Polaris team mate who, in any other arena would be competing head to head against Brandon for track position and for the podium. Knowing that this race was going to span the entire Baja peninsula and would be in excess of the 1000 mile mark the team knew that a third driver would be an integral part of creating a winning program. As luck would have it their good friend Matt Parks just happened to give crew chief Bill Schueler a call at the right time. Matt’s offer to come out of UTV racer retirement and join the squad for this event was met with a big hell yea and a high five. Matt’s extensive experience racing in Baja would be an asset in planning their strategy, not to mention having his proven driving skills on the course.
As the race got closer and more info became available the team made a conscious decision to forgo pre running and utilize this time and financial resource to better prep the race car and support equipment. “We have pre ran some races and not pre run others and it seems like by the time the trucks go through on race day it doesn’t seem to matter anymore” Said Co driver and navigator Pat Stone.
The Jagged X #2919 Polaris XP Turbo 4 arrived at the contingency row looking like a brand new machine. The crew addressed every item on the car to insure it was ready for this marathon event. In addition to the race car, the Jagged X team consisted of 3 fully equipped and stocked chase trucks and a very experienced crew of 15 Baja veteran crew members. Bill Schueler was quoted as saying, “ We have a solid team and a solid plan, We are ready for this one”.
Technical inspection and contingency for all UTV classes was scheduled for Tuesday which gave the team one extra day to tighten up their plan and re-check everything. On Wednesday morning The team was dispatched down the Baja peninsula. Matt parks and co-driver Jason Speiss would be carried to the Bay of LA in Chase 3 piloted by Bill Rowe and his crew. They would hold up at around RM 388 and await the first driver change, predicted to happen at around midnight Thursday night.
On the other side of the world, Chase 2 would post up at RM 750 waiting for the second driver change where Brandon Schueler and Miles Martin would wait for the car, ready to take it to the finish. Hoping to see the car around 9:00 am on Friday Morning.
At about 1:50 pm on Thursday afternoon and after watching over 170 trucks and buggies leave the starting line in front of them Mitch Guthrie Jr. and Pat Stone would get the green flag and begin their quest. The 2919 was the third UTV to leave the line so UTV traffic would not likely be a problem. As the race began to take shape it was a game of honk and pass as Mitch worked his way through dozens of slower moving vehicles in classes that very probably should have started behind the UTVs. As the first team carried the baton towards RM 388 they would find themselves first UTV on course and would hand the car off to Matt Parks in the lead position but still battling with vehicles in other classes.
Matt and Jason made quick work of the driver change and sped off into the darkness and into what the team referred to as the dead zone. It would be over 115 miles before the team would see any type of support. In fact this region has virtually no access, so equipment preservation is the key to survival. The second stage crew made short work of the dead zone and managed to maintain the lead and in fact increase the gap by a few minutes in addition to delivering the car to RM 750 and the waiting Brandon Schueler in perfect condition. Up to this point the team had not encountered any trouble aside from a nail in on tire causing a leak and a slight headlight adjustment. And just maybe one wheel meeting a rock in an unfortunate re-shaping event. Suffice to say everything was going quite perfectly and the Jagged X team was now sporting nearly a 40 minute lead on the next UTV.
Brandon and Miles would have the last 384 miles and the run to La Paz. The car was still working perfectly and Brandon made the decision to find the pace that felt “best” for the car. Apparently this was a good pace, ultimately allowing the final leg drivers to extend the overall lead to over 90 minutes.
While it appears as though the win was not quite enough to secure the season points championship the season would end in a tie. Marc Burnett would end up taking the tie breaker based on overall season results. Congratulations go out to Marc for the championship.
The 50th running of the Baja 1000 adventure is in the history books and Team Jagged X and Brandon Schueler have finally gotten that B1K win! “This one really feels good, Thanks to my team, I couldn’t have done it without you” said a very tired but very happy Brandon Schueler at the finish line.
Jagged X wants to thank all the great people and companies that helped them make this win a reality.
Polaris Industries – Thank you for your un- yielding support over the years and thank for RZR!
BFGoodrich Tires and Jackson Motorsports Group – Thank you for your overall commitment to off road racing, The very best products and amazing pit support.
Walker Evans Racing – Awesome continuing support and the Best Shocks
Vision X – Baja is the darkest place on earth unless you are using Vision X lights
Polaris Engineered Lubricants – Lubricants you can trust for the long run.
Varta Powersports Batteries – Dependable power
Factory UTV – Protection from the harsh Baja terrain and continued support
OMF Performance – Best wheels in the world
UTVUnderground.com – Continuing to support the sport of UTV racing
Hostyle Racing Products – Storage, Safety,Hydration, Great products great support
Special thanks go out to these people who are always there to help the team and help insure our success.
Blake Van de Loo
Chad Riccio Cr Designs
The entire extended Jagged X team and our families
Words contributed by Bill Schueler // Jagged X Racing // UTVUnderground.com
PRO UTV FI (Forced Induction, 4-wheel Utility Vehicle) — (25 Starters, 20 Finishers)
1. 2919 Brandon Schueler, 28, Phoenix/Miles Martin, 29, Peoria, Ariz./Pat Stone 48, Payson, Ariz./Mitch Guthrie, 21, Glendora, Ariz./Matt Park, 54, Newport Beach, Calif./Jason Spiess, 37, Peoria, Ariz., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 27:43:45 (40.91 mph);
2. 2977 Justin Elenburg, 30, Mesa, Ariz./Bryan McBride, 31, Rocky Point, Mexico/Michael Jelusco, 39, Denver, Can-Am Maverick X3, 29:20:20:14;
3. 2975 Mike Cafro, 47, Fallbrook, Calif./Jamie Kirkpatrick, 36, Olympia, Wash., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 29:40:31;
4. 2917 Derek Murray, 37, Yorba Linda, Calif./Jason Murray, 35, Tustin, Calif./Logan Gastel, 33, Redlands, Calif./Dan Fisher, Phoenix, Can-Am Maverick X3, 32:04:52;
5. 2971 Wayne Matlock, 39, Alpine, Calif./Sam Hayes, 57, Alpine, Calif., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 32:17:48;
6. 2982 Hammond Meredith, 37, Englewood, Colo./Nathan Moreno, 26, Huntington Beach, Calif./Greg Tracy/James Hill/Riley McGuiness, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 33:01:48;
7. 2968 Christine Giampaoli Zonca, 23, Las Vegas (Italy, Spain)/Luy Galan, 23, Spain/Paul Kraus, 43, Los Angeles/Jason Farrell, 35, Las Vegas/Anthony Perez, 32, California City, Calif./Andrew Buck, 43, Camarillo, Calif., Can-Am Maverick X3, 33:03:47;
8. 2948 Matt Burroughs, 48, Norco, Calif./Cain Smead, 45, West Leona Valley, Calif./Dan Lewis, 53, Jurupa Valley, Calif./Bradley Howe, 31, Norco, Calif./Dustin Jones, 32, Bossier City, La./Malcolm Sneed, 57, Bossier City, La., Can-Am Maverick X3, 33:35:27;
9. 2949 Alonzo Lopez, 43, Murrieta, Calif./Rodrigo Elorduy, 35, Mexicali, Mexico/Ricardo Ayuso, 29, Mexicali, Mexico/Mario Amezcua, 46 Tijuana, Mexico/Carlos Aguirre, 30, Mexicali, Mexico, Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 33:39:37;
10. 2905 Marc Burnett, 46, Lakeside, Calif., Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo, 33:57:53;
11. 2912 Tony Riggs, 49, Santa Clarita, Calif./Kyle Melville, 26, Lancaster, Calif./Ryan Edwards, 30, Lancaster, Calif., Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo, 34:05:51;
12. 2904 Cory Sappington, 51, Peoria, Ariz./Scott Sappington, 53, Glendale, Ariz./Jason Flanders, 38, Peoria, Ariz./Darren Sappington, 50, Phoenix, Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo, 35:42:14;
13. 2930 Sean Cook, 51, Citrus Heights, Calif./Brett Comiskey/Jesus Leon, Merida, Mexico/Brendan Cook/Daniel McKenzie/Peter Carr, Can-Am Maverick X3, 36:52:17;
14. 2945 Jose Juarez, 34, Lemon Grove, Calif. (Tijuana, Mexico)/Rene Gutierrez/Alex Zuniga/Carlos Salazar/Elias Andrade, Polaris RZR XP1000, 37:53:52;
15. 2911 Kris Werth, 43, Reddick, Ill./Brandon Meredith, 49, Reddick, Ill./Eric Gordon/Thomas Reiner, Can-Am Maverick X3, 38:29:28;
16. 2918 Justin Lambert, 42, Bakersfield, Calif./Mitchell Alsup, 26/Christian Hall/Cliff Burgoni, Polaris RZR XP1000 Turbo, 39:51:41;
17.2924 Lacrecia Beurrier, 48, Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Eric Beurrier, 56, Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Emily Dobrenski, 26, Dallas/Ryan Heyer, 35, Phoenix, Ariz./Josh Herzing, 30, Cypress, Texas/Travis Herzing, 25, Cypress, Texas, Polaris RZR Turbo1000, 43:18:05; 18. 2903 Jaime Romero Jr, 40, Franklin, Tenn./Juan Romero, 38, Phoenix/Jesus Romero, 36, Yuma, Ariz./Jose Romero, 34, Yuma, Ariz., Textron Wildcat, 43:47:50;
19. 2969 Stu Wild, 33, Canada/Peter Smart, 48, Canada/Edward Reekie, 44, England/David Jacobs, 47, Washington, D.C./Shannon Hearn, 45, Canada, Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo, 45:47:31;
20. 2988 Jorge Vela, 38, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico/Gabriel Romo, 52, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico/Manual Caranza, 40, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico/Emilio Estrada, 52, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico/Henri Palos, 42, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Can-Am Maverick X3, 46:42:49.
PRO UTV (Naturally Aspirated, Stock 4-wheel Utility Vehicle) — (17 Starters, 9 Finishers)
1. 1939 Dan Fresh, 50, Santa Ana, Calif./Mike Kim, 35, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Polaris RZR XP1000, 29:44:04 (38.15 mph);
2. 1962 Dodge Poelman, 17, Orem, Utah/Luis Dominguez, Vista, Calif./Ryan Poelman, Orem, Utah, Polaris RZR XP1000, 31:23:20;
3. 1998 Don Whittington, 71, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Bill Whittington, 69, Scottsdale, Ariz./Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz., Polaris RZR XP1000, 31:31:00;
4. 1923 Ben Bischoff, 25, Canada/Wyatt Dressler, 25, Canada/Mike Bacon, 25, Canada/Ian Baker, 25, Canada, Polaris RZR XP1000, 32:24:17;
5. 1913 Dean Acton, 57, Canada/Mark Acton, 26, Canada/Trevor Davies, 27, Canada/Scott Acton, 29, Canada/Brad Noakes, 30, Canada/John Paulus, 51, Canada, Yamaha YXZ1000R, 37:09:08;
6. 1954 Kristen Matlock, 36, Alpine, Calif./Matthew Stransberg, 37, Lakeside, Calfi./Josh Row, 28, Lakeside, Calif., Polaris RZR XP4 1000, 39:13:49;
7. 1984 Mike Lewis, 32, Lake Elsinore, Calif./Chris Navarro, 35, Whittier, Calif./Mike Deley, 38, Menifee, Calif./Joe Higelin, 31, Norco, Calif./ Aquiles Neri, 28, Covina, Calif./Mike Banauelos, 37, Whittier, Calif., Polaris XP1000, 41:08:43;
8. 1970 Paul Hodge, 44, Sisters, Ore./George Peters, 55, Newbury Park, Calif./Jesu Greder, 38, Sisters, Ore./Jake Busey, 46, Malibu, Calif./Laird Hamilton, 52, Princeville, Hawaii, Yamaha YXZ1000SS, 46:33:27;
9. 1922 Aldo Salazar, 31, Monterrey, Mexico (Chile)/Oscar Salazar, 32 Monterrey, Mexico, Antonio Martinez, 36, Monterrey, Mexico, Polaris RZR XP1000, 47:32:47.
PRO UTV UNLIMITED (Unlimited, 4-wheel Utility Vehicle) — (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)
1. 1888 Earl Berg, 63, Mexico City (Canada)/Eduardo Tello, Mexico City/Sergio Aroyo, Los Cabos, Mexico/Jorge Macias, Los Cabos, Mexico/Cody Berg, Canada, Can-Am Maverick X3, 44:30:43 (25.49 mph).
PRO UTV FI
BRANDON SCHUELER, No. 2919 (First in class.) — Mitch Guthrie Jr. started and drove to race mile 388. Matt Park drove to race mile 750. Schueler drove to the finish.) — The race was phenomenal. Everyone was super polite and got out of the way and we got out of the way of everybody trying to pass us. Everything went really smooth.
JUSTIN ELENBURG, No. 2977 (Second in class.) — We had a fueling mishap. We tell our crew that they need to be safe so they missed one stop by 10 minutes because they were driving the speed limit. We hit the fog which covered everything in water, caused our radio to be intermittent and our battery gauges to go out. We hit the silt and the lights didn’t come back on. Luckily the factory lights didn’t get covered so we drove with the factory lights until we found some spectators and asked them to clean the lights for us.
MIKE CAFRO, No. 2975 (Third in class. Cafro split driving duties with Jamie Kirkpatrick.) — It was the most brutal Baja I’ve ever done. We had a good race going and at about mile 800 we had a few issues that set us back. This is the most whups I’ve dealt with in my 25 years of racing down here.
DEREK MURRAY, No. 2917 (Fourth in class.) — At race mile 70 the car caught on fire while we were fueling. Four of our teammates got burned and one had to go back to the states for treatment. The whole car caught fire in the back so we had to replace the intercooler and a bunch of electrical components. We were running in the top four or five at that point and we dropped back to 23rd or 24th. It was a tough day right off the bat. We decided to keep pushing and the car did well all day. It was flawless until about 180 miles out when the steering rack blew out where it attaches to the frame. We had to jerry-rig it to hold the steering rack onto the frame. It blew out again and we used a tie-down to hold it in for the last 100 miles. The car was perfect but Baja got the best of us so it is awesome to get here. Overcoming those obstacles is what makes desert racing so amazing.
WAYNE MATLOCK, No. 2971 (Fifth in class.) — Things were going good in the beginning and then around mile 75 it started going south. We started losing front axles on the car. We lost three front axles before San Felipe. Before Gonzaga Bay we decided to change a lower A arm which was causing the problem. When we got to Gonzaga Bay my chase truck wasn’t there so I took the A arm off myself and waited for them to arrive. Unbeknownst to me my chase truck was stuck in the sand at the last pit. We waited for two and a half hours. We got back on the road and didn’t have any other problems.
DAN FRESH, No. 1939 (First in class.) — We started off like we always do with a really fast pace trying to put some time on everybody. We got caught down in San Felipe by a couple of cars but stayed tried and true. We kept a good fast pace through the first 400 miles and then backed it off until we could get some intel and find out where we were actually at. After that we raced for the win and went as fast as could to bring it home in first. The car was flawless.
DODGE POELMAN, No. 1962. (Second in class.) CO-DRIVER RYAN POELMAN said: It was an unbelievable experience and I’m super grateful to have done it with my son. Hopefully he will start racing some bigger trucks but he will have to figure out a job to start paying for some of that stuff.
DON WHITTINGTON, No. 1998 (Third in class.) — CO-DRIVER LARRY RAGLAND said: Everything went well. It was fun but we are a little limited by speed. The silt was pretty bad and I don’t think we would have made it without four-wheel drive. That’s a big advantage.
PAUL HODGE, No. 1970 (Eighth in class.) CO-DRIVER LAIRD HAMILTON (Famous world surfer) said: It was monumental. I’ve done a lot of different things but that was definitely a unique one. I’m honored to have done it. Our hub came off at race mile 17 and our tire rolled all the way down a giant gulch and we couldn’t find it for an hour and a half.
PRO UTV UNLIMITED
EARL BERG, No. 1888 (First in class.) — The run started off with a blown gear box two nights before race day. It improved from there to wrecked parts and wrecked tires. I had an awesome pit crew putting everything back together. Our goal wasn’t to get to the finish line but to the start line. I just couldn’t be happier than sitting here today. It is a lifelong dream.
Photos by Jason Zindroski // HighRev Photo // UTVUnderground.com