Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dustin Jones wins in Can-Am Maverick R’s racing debut

The 2024 Can-Am Maverick R was branded as the most powerful UTV upon reveal in August. Indeed, it only needed just one race to prove its meddle as Dustin Jones won the Silver State 300 overall in its competitive début.

Jones, a Can-Am Off-Road ambassador, set a total time of 5:11:39, leading a contingent of Can-Ams with Vito Ranuio and Phil Blurton trailing. It was the first time in Best In The Desert‘s sanction or any major American desert series that a UTV won a race outright. He had started fourth while World Rally-Raid Championship T3 leader Mitch Guthrie was on pole, though Jones quickly worked his way past the trio ahead of him. Ranuio finished three minutes behind Jones.

Blurton was also in a Maverick R; when the R was revealed, the 2021 SCORE International overall champion called the stock model faster than his usual race-ready Maverick. Jones’ Maverick, prepared by S3 Power Sports, featured stock suspension parts and gussets along the front lower arms.

While an overall victory with a UTV podium sweep is obviously impressive, there is the caveat of the field only having a single Trick Truck and three Class 6100 cars, both categories that typically dominate races. Said truck, driven by Jonathan Brenthel, finished eleventh overall while his brother Jordan Brenthel was fourth behind the UTVs in a Class 6100. Only forty-five entries also took part, partly owing to the race taking place just a week after SCORE’s Baja 400 while the California 300 is in two weeks; the Silver State 300 is normally held in April, but was moved to September due to heavy flooding.

Guthrie, who finished runner-up in the BITD’s Vegas to Reno in August, settled for fourth in the UTV Trophy Unlimited class and ninth overall.

The Maverick R was the product of a five-year development project by Bombardier Recreational Products, though its seven-speed dual clutch transmission—unprecedented for UTVs—began production eight years before reveal. One of the car’s key features is a very unusual tall-knuckle front suspension to improve handling and increase suspension travel, which also makes it wider than its predecessors at seventy-seven inches (eighty inches is the maximum under BITD regulations).

BRP has stressed that the Maverick R was not explicitly designed as a racing vehicle but rather a “high performance […] mass production car”. To this end, it received over 500 thousand kilometres of testing before it was finally introduced to the public.

Class winners

Class Overall Finish Number Competitors of Record Time
3 Wheeler Expert 36 491 Wrangell Gubler 7:34:25.830
Car/Truck: 6100 Spec 4 6173 Jordan Brenthel, Connor McMullen, Jeneka Jenkins, Michael Cohen 5:17:29.159
Car/Truck: Stock Full 30 1230 Chris Woo, Austin Hall, Nick Holmer, Kelly Willis 6:43:16.103
Car/Truck: Stock Mid-Size 28 7330 Chad Hall, Oliver Fisher, Kyle Mitlyng, Chris Woo 6:31:46.725
Car/Truck: Trick Truck 11 127 Jonathan Brenthel, Jordan Brenthel, Dave Heath 5:34:15.739
Class 4400 Ultra4 21 4445 Garry Easley, Keith Pardue 6:11:05.100
Motorcycle 399 Expert 32 252 Angie Figg, Danny Young, Henry Young 7:12:38.201
Motorcycle Adventure Expert 25 47 Jordan Graham 6:24:24.526
Motorcycle Family Expert 23 F4 Larrick Curley, Jarrett Curley 6:15:23.200
Motorcycle Ironman Amateur 34 O720 Patrick Culligan 7:22:34.505
Motorcycle Open Expert 15 344 Austin Farley, Jack Miller 5:40:01.889
Motorcycle Open Pro 9 N1 Trevor Hunter, Hayden Hintz 5:31:00.971
Motorcycle Over 30 Expert 31 510 Wesle Grimshaw, Morgan Schulz 6:54:00.170
Motorcycle Over 30 Pro 24 P3 Stephen Berger, Braxton Southwick, Willis Adams 6:18:07.860
Motorcycle Over 40 Pro 20 C36 Brett Stevens, Carl Maassberg, Chris Frye 6:04:59.851
Motorcycle Over 50 Expert 39 850 Marty Highland, Steve Mizrahi 8:08:25.847
UTV Sportsman 29 M950 William Eisenberg 6:38:18.085
UTV Super Stock Turbo 10 S906 Mitchell Allsup, Cody Miller 5:32:46.805
UTV Trophy Unlimited 5 2815 Ryan Piplic, Nathan Smith 5:18:04.527
UTV Turbo Pro 1 T978 Dustin Jones, Dustin Henderson 5:11:39.222