Score International held the 4th annual K&N Baja 400 last week, with the 384.66-mile course looped from Ensenada through Ojos Negros, Valley Trinidad to the world famous Mike’s Sky Ranch before turning west to the Pacific coast at Ej. Erendira and back to Ojos via Santo Thomas and Ej. Uruapan, and then the course backtracked to Ensenada. Hurricane Hilary had left gigantic rain ruts on all of hilly sections of the course, and then it dried out. Uruapan was especially nasty with its steep, sandy, and silty terrain and subjected the two-wheel-drive trucks and buggies to brutal climbs and many bottlenecks. September 15th-16th is also a celebration of Mexico’s Independence, so turn-out along the course was also epic.

Score’s 50th anniversary brought an estimated 150,000 fans to “The Off-Road Racing Capital of the World” for Contingency, Tech, and the third round of the Score four round 2023 racing season. Around 250 teams from 27 US states, Puerto Rico, and 10 other countries included 48 UTVs and 37 premiere Trophy Trucks. Bikes and ATVs started at 6:00am, and the trucks rolled off starting at 9:00am followed by TT Legends, Spec Trophy Trucks, buggies, Pro Open UTVs, Pro Turbo UTVs, Pro N/A UTVs, Pro Stock UTVs, more buggy classes, and finally Class 11 VW bugs, the machines that started it all in 1969.

Pro Quad winner Nicolas Velez passing Sportsman Quad winner Sergio Jimenez at RM364.

For the third-straight year, Bryce Menzies won the overall and Trophy Truck class, while Bolivian Juan Carlos Salvatierra scored his second Pro Moto victory at the 400, as the first two unofficial bike finishers faced severe time penalties for rules infractions. Multi-time short-course UTV champion Brock Heger won the UTV overall, beating 15 other Polaris RZR Pro R racers, and Heger’s Factory Polaris teammate Branden Sims finished 6.5 minutes behind Brock and 7.5 minutes ahead of Justin Lambert. Of the 16 Pro R entries, 14 were credited with official finishes, while Bernie Gomez crossed the line but not within the allotted time. UTVs have come a long way, and Heger’s time was only 40 minutes off of Salvatierra’s on a very tight and brutal course. It won’t be long before Pro Open UTV is battling for overall wins with trucks and bikes.

Heger was also a winner at the Baja 500 after scoring 10th at the San Felipe 250, so this win should give him the Pro Open UTV points lead heading into the Baja 1000 double-points finale. Craig Scanlon won the 250, so the factory Polaris Pro R team is undefeated heading into the 1000.



Pro Turbo 2014 and 2017 champion Marc Burnett had Glazz Kraft Fabrication build his Can-Am Maverick X3 for the 2023 season with a GK chassis and carbon-fiber bodywork, but multiple problems saw the trick X3 finish 20th at the San Felipe 250 and DNF the 500. That put him back to 13th in Pro Turbo points heading into the 400, and he was on a mission to battle back into the points race. He dedicated Thursday to the Uruapan section and finding lines around every bottleneck area while still hitting every Virtual Check Point (VCP). Friday is for pre-running the Start-Ojos section, and the pre-runner snapped an A-arm bolt at RM20. They fixed it and limped back to base then pre-ran the start in the race X3. After a check of the X3’s left-front outer CV, he was set for the race. MB Motorsports had worked out the gremlins and upgraded the front diff to Class-10 standards, and Burnett would be starting near the front but behind Pro Turbo points leader and Monster Mav teammate Matt Burroughs. Hitting the dirt on the outskirts of Ensenada, Burnett saw Burroughs sidelined with electrical problems, so he knew it was his race to win.


Dirt Wheels spent the race day at Rancho Nelson (RM20, spectator entry at Hwy-3 Km19), which had built three big-air jumps for the spectators and campers. Austin Weiland was physically first Pro Open UTV and ahead of Mike Cafro and Wayne Matlock, and Burnett had already passed a second Pro Open. Burnett set a blistering pace but also had to stay smooth and mistake-free; he was also driving the whole race solo with Simon navigating and calling out countless danger zones in heavy dust. One turn bit him, as he slid into a stick and punctured the sidewall. They quickly changed the tire and got back on course, keeping the lead.

Erik Koxin, 2nd Pro Turbo

Lumpy stayed at Rancho Nelson to shoot the bikes and ATVs racing to the finish, and the Trophy Truck leaders were about two hours behind the DB/ATV stragglers. As the marine layer obscured the setting sun, there was a gap after the 4WD Trophy Trucks, and Lumpy feared that the 2WD trucks and buggies had caused bottlenecks that slowed the UTVs. It was dark before Heger made it to Rancho Nelson, now RM364. Lumpy loaded up and headed to the finish. Burnett’s team was at Km19, and Fern said Marc was still in the lead! Marc finished in 10 hours flat and won ahead of Erik Kozen by almost 34 minutes, with Ricky Arslanian third. Pro Turbo UTVs had 10 finishers, all Can-Am X3s.



Pro Open UTVs

  1. Brock Heger/Pol…09:01:57.309
  2. Branden Sims/Pol…09:08:28.512
  3. Justin Lambert/Pol…09:16:06.321
  4. Kristin Matlock/Pol…09:17:39.706
  5. Kaden Wells/Pol…09:24:58.641
  6. Craig Scanlon/Pol…09:41:05.706
  7. Cayden McCachren/Pol…09:41:34.807
  8. Sierra Romo/Pol…10:33:12.806
  9. Ricardo Malo/Pol…11:29:02.129
  10. Wayne Matlock/Pol…11:47:03.812
  11. Mike Cafro/Pol…12:11:59.841
  12. Brandon Walsh/Pol…12:25:19.649
  13. Roger Norman/Pol…12:42:21.605
  14. Austin Weiland/Pol…14:51:25.131

Pro Turbo UTVs

  1. Marc Burnett/C-A…10:00:27.727
  2. Erik Kozin/C-A…10:34:07.860
  3. Ricky Arslanian/C-A…10:39:08.976
  4. Jason Murray/C-A…10:40:59.334
  5. Edgar Garcia Leon/C-A…11:35:04.348
  6. Fernando Kabande/C-A…12:03:59.176
  7. Carlos Quezada/C-A…12:41:38.431
  8. Jesus Mendez/C-A…12:42:42.256
  9. Oscar Ruiz/C-A…12:49:57.791
  10. Jessica Lopez/C-A…14:48:38.825

Pro N/A UTVs

  1. Gabe Matthews/Pol…10:19:31.580
  2. Joe Bolton/Pol…11:04:36.318
  3. David Pedder/Hon…12:58:08.099
  4. Lawrence Janesky/Hon…14:11:30.923

Pro Stock UTVs

  1. Antonio Mendez//Pol…11:33:10.845
  2. Ricardo Zaragoza/C-A…11:35:15/104
  3. Jorge Cano//C-A…11:36:04.915
  4. Endy Chavez//C-A…12:53:00.359
  5. Randy Emberton/Pol…13:55:00.440
  6. Anibal Lopez/Pol…14:45:10.004

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