Sims, Weiland and Wells win 2022 SCORE Baja 1000 Victories

Pro UTV Open rider Branden Sims, Pro UTV Forced Induction rider Austin Weiland and Pro UTV NA rider Kaden Wells found themselves on the top of the podium in their respective classes in the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000 on Saturday morning. The final round of the 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship saw plenty of championship battles unfold, including a five-way battle in Forced Induction between drivers separated by just six points.

The reconfigured Open class’ first season had been a little uneven, with Wayne Matlock winning the San Felipe 250 to kick off the season earning them priority in the starting order over their FI counterparts, but the adversity gave Weiland’s victories in the Baja 500 and 400 the best times overall. The Sims’ move into the Open class changed all that, however; his fast time of 20:37:09 was the best of the pack by almost 40 minutes. Craig Scanlon and Matlock would round out the class podium, but Mike Cafro’s fifth-place finish allowed him to maintain his lead over Scanlon for the title.

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For Weiland, a DNF at San Felipe put him on the back of points throughout the season, but the good combination of a third straight win and a bit of bad luck for the drivers ahead of him gave him a boost. outside chance to win the title. He took care of what he could control, taking victory over reigning race winner and SCORE World Desert Champion Phil Blurton in second and Ronnie Anderson in third. He also got DNF help from Wes Miller, Justin Lambert and Marc Burnett, three of the top five scoring drivers.

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But 2020 desert world champion Matt Burroughs would not be denied, entering the race just four points off the lead with 331 and finishing fourth overall. With a total of 130 points available for those who finished the race and 24 more for his fourth-place finish in a 27-car class, Burroughs’ unofficial total appears to be 485, which would put him ahead of incoming co-leader Edgar Garcia Leon. (whose 15th place would give him 477) and still well ahead of Weiland (459). Official SCORE point totals have yet to be released.

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For Wells, his second straight win of the season made up for an eight-point incoming deficit for Bolton, who finished fourth. Both riders entered the Baja 1000 with one win and three podiums, but Bolton’s pair of second-place finishes were the difference over Wells’ pair of third-place finishes. In Pro Stock UTV, Antonio Mendez posted the narrowest margin of victory at just under 10 minutes over Anibal Lopez, earning his first finish of the season while Lopez won the championship.

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BFGoodrich Tires’ 55th SCORE Baja 1000 will air as part of ESPN’s World of X Games in the coming months. With 2022 in the books, SCORE riders are anticipating the start of the 2023 Desert World Championship at the King Shocks San Felipe 250 from March 29-April 2.

Check out Ernesto Araiza’s gallery from the event below!

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