After Jagged X/Polaris Driver Matt Parks won the opening round of the 2013 SCORE Baja championship, at the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, he knew he would need to share the driving duties for the second round, the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Parks enlisted teammate Brandon Schueler, who races in the Best In The Desert series, to not only drive, but to start the race. The strategy would pay off with the Jagged X Team winning their second straight SCORE race.
“Schueler has more UTV racing experience that anyone out there and I knew he would do a great job in Baja,” Parks said.
Schueler and his co-driver Keith Redstrom took the green flag in the No. 1932 RZR XP 4 900 and kept a steady pace through the first fuel stop but encountered a huge bottleneck at the 100 mile mark where a long line of cars were stuck in a particularly nasty section. Once through the section, Schueler took after the lead UTV. Once in second place and 230 miles into the race, Schueler handed the RZR over to Parks and co-driver Jason Spiess.
‘We were in second place approximately 35 minutes behind the leaders, and while I knew we needed to make some time on them, we also needed to keep the car in one piece,” Parks said.
The race continued into the night as racers made their way towards the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula. Despite getting a flat in a very rocky section, Parks was making up time on the leaders. He got fuel 335 miles in and headed to the coast, but encountered dense fog in the middle of the night making visibility and navigation tough. A few miles up the road, they encountered the UTV class leaders who had crashed. Parks stopped to make sure their fellow competitors were ok, and told them they would have the BFG pits relay their location to their chase team. With the lead car out and Parks way ahead of the rest of the pack, the team just needed to race the course to finish.
But Baja wasn’t done with the No. 1932 Jagged X RZR XP 4 900. After the final pit stop, 415 miles into the race, they headed into the hills and encountered one of the toughest parts of the course with heavy silt, more fog, stuck vehicles and very steep rocky hills. But as day break approached, they could see the lights of Ensenada and ultimately the checkered flag.
‘Winning the Baja 500 is a big deal,” Schueler said. “And racing in Baja has been a great experience.”
The next race in the SCORE series is the 46th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, November 14-17.
Jagged X is sponsored by Polaris, Walker Evans Racing Shocks, Kroyer Racing Engines, Pure Polaris Extreme Duty Oil, Muzzy’s, OMF, Team Industries, CR Designs, Vision X and Simpson Safety Equipment.
Image courtesy Vincent Knakal/UTVUnderground.com