Murray Motorsports drove its Can-Am Commander 1000 to a fifth-place finish in the Pro UTV class at the Best In The Desert finale held in Henderson, Nev. Co-pilots and brothers Jason and Derek Murray narrowly missed a class championship, finishing just two points behind and second overall in the standings despite earning the most season points (disregarding a throw out) and being the only race team to finish every BITD race and mile in 2012. In the Quad Sportsman class, reigning GNCC 4×4 Open ATV class champion Bryan Buckhannon and teammate Richard Goforth rode their Can-am Outlander 800R to a second-place finish.
“While a championship eluded us, we were thrilled by the success and the consistency shown by the Murray brothers in the Best In The Desert series. Overall, Derek and Jason did a great job representing Can-Am with their Commander 1000 and a very close second place is nothing to hang your head about,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “We consider this BITD season as an excellent building block for what is to come in 2013. We are excited to have the Murray brothers debut the new 101-HP Can-Am Maverick 1000 X rs at the first round of racing in January.”
Coming into the Henderson 250 finale, Murray Motorsports owned a slim two-point lead (when factoring in the mandatory low point drop race) in the UTV Pro class standings. The BITD finale was a double points race and featured a three-lap, 138-mile course that consisted of sand, wash roads, rally-style turns and several rough sections. With Derek Murray at the wheel, the No. 1917 Can-Am Commander 1000 grabbed the holeshot and led most of the first lap, averaging nearly 50 mph. After two laps and roughly 94 miles in the desert, the Murray brothers had fallen off the pace, but were sitting comfortably in fifth place.
By the fourth-and-final lap, while still in the fifth place, the Murrays were flagged down by an injured dirt bike rider who needed assistance due to a hurt arm and a damaged bike. The Murray Motorsports team knew it couldn’t catch the fourth-place vehicle, so it decided to assist the rider. After roughly a five-minute delay ensuring the rider was safely able to get further assistance, the Murrays got moving again. They crossed the finish line if fifth place and thought they still had earned the class championship based upon the other competitors’ finishes. However, despite finishing fourth physically, the eventual class champion’s finishing time was adjusted and it was award four additional points and the UTV Pro title. Team Murray Motorsports / Can-Am ended up in second place, just two points behind, in the BITD season Pro UTV championship after 1,500 miles of desert racing in 2012.
“The Can-Am Commander never ceased to impress us. We raced it hard all season and really pushed it to its limits. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it performed,” said Derek Murray. “We were the only UTV team to finish all the miles in the desert. We would like to thank all our amazing sponsors for all the help for 2012. We are eager to start the 2013 season in the new Can-Am Maverick 1000R and will have more passion to seek the BITD UTV Pro Championship than ever before.”
In the Quad Sportsman class, the tandem of Buckhannon and Goforth produced its best finish of the season in Henderson, earning second place. A crash on lap two slowed the team’s push to the front during the two-lap contest. The second-place finish was still not enough to elevate the Outlander 800R team from third-place points position for the year-end standings.
“The second-lap crash cost us some time, but the Can-Am Outlander 800R worked perfectly,” said Buckhannon. “It ran good, was really strong and the four-wheel drive was a great advantage in the loose sand and rock. We just needed one more lap to run them down.”
For complete details of the program and more racing information, visit www.can-amxteam.com.
Image courtesy Bombardier Recreational Products