Valcourt, Québec – Can-Am Maverick side-by-side racers competed at the 2014 Tecate SCORE International Baja 1000 race on the Baja Peninsula, tallying one Class 19 podium and the overall season championship. Racing solo, Marc Burnett (Burnett Motorsports/Can-Am) finished the endurance race in sixth to secure BRP/Can-Am its the first ever SCORE Baja 1000 season class side-by-side title. The Desert Toyz/Can-Am team of Corry Sappington also had a solid race, earning a third-place podium finish at this year’s grueling 1,275-mile race held in Mexico.
“We were impressed with effort put forth by all our teams, but especially Marc Burnett, who not only won the SCORE Class 19 championship with his Monster Maverick, but also completed the entire 2014 Baja 1000 ironman,” said Jeff Leclerc, Racing Project Leader, Can-Am.” With two wins on the year and then this final outstanding effort, he deserves a lot of credit for finishing strong. We were absolutely thrilled to see Cody Sappington’s Desert Toyz Can-Am Maverick earn a prestigious Baja 1000 podium spot with such a difficult course.”
The 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 featured a challenging course that snaked its way through the rugged desert and hit both coasts on the Baja Peninsula, winding 1,275 miles from Ensenada to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Nineteen side-by-sides entered Class 19, but only eight finished in the allotted time.
Can-Am Maverick 1000R pilot Marc Burnett (Burnett Motorsports/Can-Am/Monster) came into the most prestigious SCORE race with the Class 19 points lead, having won both the Baja 500 and San Felipe 250. By simply finishing the extended Baja 1000 course, Burnett could wrap up his first career side-by-side championship for himself and Can-Am. However, he also decided to compete the Baja solo (ironman), driving more than 1,200 miles alone.
The No. 1917 team of Murray Racing/Can-Am/ITP was also in the running for the overall title, having reached the podium at the series opener and posting a win earlier in the year at the Imperial Valley 250. The final Can-Am team consisted of the No. 1904 Desert Toyz/Can-Am Maverick of Cory Sappington, who came into Baja fourth in the class standings.
Burnett battled the entire race, competing much of it in the top five and at one point (San Ignacio region) held the lead in his No. 1904 Maverick. Baja is as much about luck and mechanical survival as it is skill and horsepower. Burnett, like many teams, was faced with issues he had to overcome, from extreme fatigue to navigational challenges to both scheduled and unscheduled mechanical fixes. Despite the circumstances, he was in third place and pushing for the podium at the 1,100-mile marker before hitting a nasty silt bed. It was here on the course, where Sappington found his way around Burnett and moved into third. Burnett knew he only had to finish to capture the title, so he valiantly drove on, overcoming another delay, to the finish line and the 2014 SCORE Class 19 championship.
“This year’s Baja 1000 was a true Baja challenge,” Burnett said. “The course was 1,275 miles of pure hell. I was definitely feeling the burn coming into the finish. A lot of people said there was no way I could ‘ironman’ this race, but boy did I prove so many people wrong. This season is dedicated to a very special lady, my grandmother, who passed away 11 months ago. I want to thank my team (and) my cousins for all their hard work throughout the year. I couldn’t have done it without them. I also thank all my key sponsors and Can-Am for giving me the opportunity to race one of their machines.”
Sappington’s Desert Toyz Maverick MAX outlasted much of the competition and withstood the gnarly terrain while running another consistent race. The team, which was outside of the top five at certain points, maintained its composure and patiently completed the grueling course in a time of 37:15:07.188. That finishing time was good for third on Class 19 (Pro) SxS class podium.
“This is the first time having my own crew and car and we’re thrilled to finish and make the Baja 1000 podium,” said Sappington. “We pushed it for 1,275 miles, for 35-plus hours of 8,000 rpm and not a hiccup. The Maverick MAX ran awesome—super tough. I can’t believe how much punishment we put this near stock vehicle through and it held strong.”