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Polaris Factory Racing Wins Baja 1000 With Cayden McCachren

The Polaris RZR Pro R secured the top five overall UTV positions, finishing over two hours ahead of the first Pro UTV forced induction vehicle.

For the second year in a row, Polaris was victorious at the Baja 1000, as Polaris Factory Racing driver Cayden McCachren captured his first win of the season at the historic event. In addition to McCachren’s UTV Overall victory, teammate Brock Heger finished in third place, earning the necessary points to capture the 2023 SCORE UTV Pro Open Class Series Championship. The Baja 1000 victory capped off a dominant first season for the Polaris Factory Racing team, scoring victories at each of the four SCORE events in which the team competed, including three UTV Overall wins.

For the first time in its five-decade history, the 56th running of the SCORE Baja 1000 traversed north, 1,310.94 miles up the picturesque peninsula, starting in La Paz, Mexico, and ending in Ensenada, Baja California. McCachren led a trio of drivers, including six-time Baja 1000 motorcycle champion Justin Morgan and renowned drifting and rally car driver Rhys Millen, who masterfully navigated the RZR Pro R Factory through the rugged Baja terrain to take the UTV Overall and Pro UTV Open Class wins by more than seven minutes over Polaris-supported racer Justin Lambert in his  Polaris RZR Pro R. Heger’s third place finish was supported by co-drivers Ronnie Anderson and former Baja 1000 champion JD Marsh. The 2023 Baja 1000 victory marked Polaris’ second consecutive win at the prestigious event, with Brandon Sims capturing the coveted UTV Overall win in 2022.  

“Today we won a race that most teams dream of even finishing. The Baja 1000 is on every desert racer’s bucket list, and to come away with the win is absolutely surreal,” said McCachren. “While this win may have my name on it, it’s just as much a victory for my incredible co-drivers Justin and Rhys, along with the entire Polaris Factory Racing team, and our pit and chase team that worked tirelessly over almost 30 hours to make this win a reality. And through it all, the RZR Pro R Factory was our X-factor — a superior machine to everything else in the field, performing flawlessly against anything the Baja desert threw at us.”

Based on their finishing order from the Baja 400, Heger held the first starting position and MacCachren seventh at the beginning of the race. Within the first 100 miles, a tight battle ensued between Heger, Lambert, Sims and Kristen Matlock. By mile 176, Lambert was running at a blistering pace and had overtaken the lead, which is where he remained for more than half of the race as positions shifted behind him. Meanwhile, MacCachren held his ground running in sixth up until the 528-mile mark, where he handed driving duties over to Morgan. From there, Morgan began an incredible run that saw him make up the majority of a 30-minute deficit, pushing the purple RZR Pro R Factory through the deep silt beds and technical rock sections of the grueling Baja course. When Millen took the wheel from Morgan, only two minutes separated him from Lambert’s RZR Pro R. The veteran racer maintained a consistently aggressive pace over the remaining portion of the course, successfully overtaking Lambert en route to the UTV Overall and UTV Pro Open class victory. 

“Barely one year ago, we took on the daunting task of developing the first legit UTV factory racing program and an OEM-designed race UTV based on the RZR Pro R platform, which had already proven its superiority with a victory at last year’s 1000 — the ultimate combination of performance, strength and control. Now, here we stand today with four victories in four SCORE events, including the coveted Baja 1000, along with the SCORE series UTV Pro Open Championship,” said Alex Scheuerell, Polaris Factory Racing technical director. “There really aren’t enough words to express the pride we’re feeling right now, having validated the incredible expertise and hard work of our design and engineering teams, and the combined effort with our Polaris Factory Racing partners at SCI. That said, 2024 is right around the corner, and we’re determined to raise the bar even further next season.”  

In its inaugural season, the Polaris Factory Racing team made off-road racing history by securing four race wins by three different drivers. Additionally, all three RZR Pro R Factory cars finished every mile of every race. When it was all said and done, Heger stood above the pack as the SCORE UTV Pro Open class champion. 

“We faced some challenges early in the race, but my co-drivers and I dug deep and battled day and night along with our crew to grind out a podium and secure the points I needed to win the series championship, and I’m incredibly grateful for that,” said Heger. “This championship isn’t mine alone. It also belongs to my mechanics and everyone involved with the Polaris Factory Racing program who worked tirelessly to develop this incredible vehicle that is durable and capable of withstanding the harsh terrain of racing, and put me in the best position to succeed throughout the season. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2024.” 

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