Can-Am X-Team member and Maverick 1000R X rs driver Cory Sappington (Desert Toyz) finished second in the UTV division at the SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico. A total of three Can-Am Maverick race teams competed in the 40th annual running of the desert endurance race on the Baja Peninsula.
“Our Can-Am Maverick 1000R X rs racing teams had a successful Baja 500, despite only one making it to the finish line. Desert Toyz’s Cory Sappington’s second place podium finish was impressive considering the gnarly race conditions,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. ”Our other two racing teams each held the class race lead at one point during the race before falling victim to Baja’s conditions and meticulous setup requirements. We see Sappington’s podium finish as a big stepping stone for the new Maverick’s success in a very demanding race environment and we look to carry this momentum over to future desert racing events this season.”
Sappington, the sole driver of the Desert Toyz / Can-Am Maverick 1000R X rs, started quickly, passing three of the five side-by-side vehicles that started in front of him. However, a flat tire around the 50-mile mark slowed his pursuit of the leaders. During the downtime, Sappington was passed by several competitors and lost valuable time on the leaders. After resuming the race, the Desert Toyz team suffered another setback about 25 miles later as an aftermarket fuel pump failed. With some ingenuity, Sappington fabricated his own a fuel pump cooler and exhaust heat deflector and was back on the gas. He found his groove in the rocky desert terrain and starting passing competitors and vehicles from other classes.
At mile market 358 Sappington stopped to check on another Can-Am Maverick 1000R X rs race team. The Murray Racing / Del Amo Motorsports / Can-Am team, which had owned the lead and had more than a 30-minute advantage over the UTV field, suffered a high-speed crash in a tricky ravine section. Although the occupants were uninjured, the vehicle’s extensive front-end damage ended their day. Sappington, who took over second place in the class, pushed on through the cool night air with his Maverick running perfectly. Roughly 40 miles later, he had to stop to repair another flat tire. However, once repaired, Sappington drove the remaining 100 miles to the finish line to earn second place in the UTV class and would be one of only two UTVs to actually finish the race. It was the first Baja 500 podium finish for the Can-Am Maverick 1000R X rs side-by-side.
“I am very impressed with the power and handling of the Maverick. I have raced in many other bigger engine class vehicles and the Can-Am Maverick is just as fun. The twin-cylinder Rotax engine feels like it has the power of a four cylinder,” said Sappington. “With no pre-running, no power steering, essentially all stock Can-Am components and a rookie chase team we have beaten Baja! At the finish I was numb from driving all 500 miles in 20 hours.”
Marc Burnett and his show-stopping Monster Energy Maverick 1000 X rs was the first official Can-Am driver to lead the UTV class. The team, having passed several other types of vehicles including trophy trucks, built a sizable lead in the class before dropping out due to a mechanical issue caused by the aftermarket exhaust.
Images courtesy Bombardier Recreational Products