Minneapolis, MN (Jan. 6, 2017) – Polaris is excited to launch their 2017 RZR Factory Racing program, with an unprecedented level of support and focus. Polaris RZR is the winningest brand in side-by-side racing, and the RZR Factory Racing team is home of the reigning champions of Best in the Desert (BITD), King of the Hammers (KOH), The Mint 400, and SCORE Baja 500 and Baja 1000. 2016 saw countless victories for the team, including 21 podiums in BITD, six of seven BITD first-place overall UTV wins, 12 podiums in SCORE International, three of four SCORE International first-place overall UTV wins, and many additional victories in WORCS, GNCC and KOH.
The 2017 racing season promises to hold plenty of excitement for fans of UTV racing, with both veterans and rookies battling for victories in series across the country. Justin Lambert and Cognito Motorsports are looking to keep a seven-race first-place winning streak alive in the BITD series. Lambert will defend his 2016 BITD championship against an increasingly competitive field, while honing his winning technique in an all-new 2017 RZR XP Turbo. Husband and wife team, Wayne and Kristen Matlock hope to continue their SCORE and BITD victories with a revamped 2017 program. Wayne will defend his streak of Baja wins, with his eye on a 2017 Baja 1000 victory, following his mechanical issue near the finish of the 2016 race. Kristen will continue to serve as an inspiration to female off-road racers everywhere as she defends her SCORE and BITD podiums, and continues to race solo as an “Ironwoman” in Baja. Branden Sims rolls into 2017 following a banner year where he added a BITD Pro Turbo class season championship and Baja 1000 Pro Turbo first-place finish to his list of accomplishments. Sims and team will look to keep the momentum going as the new race season kicks off.
All eyes will be on newly signed RZR Factory Racing members, including Scanlon Motorsports, Rhys Millen and Jake Carver. Each team is looking to leave its mark in 2017, with Millen setting the tone with a 2016 Baja 1000 overall victory. Polaris veteran Brandon Schueler of Jagged X looks for the team’s seventh BITD championship, and six-time King of the Hammers winner Mitch Guthrie and WORCS Champion Beau Baron will leverage their experience to continue landing on podiums in the coming year. Overall, 2017 will be the biggest and most exciting year ever for RZR Factory Racing, with an extraordinarily talented roster of individuals and teams representing Polaris across the country.
Website and Racer Discount Program
Polaris has also launched an all-new racing website in support of their 2017 RZR Factory Racing program. The site will house racing news and results, team and racer profiles, race calendars, and racing social media content.
The site also will be home to the continued racer vehicle discount program, as well as a new form for sponsorship inquiry. Polaris is committed to supporting UTV racing at a grassroots level and the vehicle discount program, paired with a clear path for sponsorship request submission, demonstrates this committal.
“Polaris is dedicated to off-road racing and continues to increase the company’s support of the sport,” said Daniel Carr, Polaris Race Team Manager. “We had an incredible 2016 and are excited to see what our expanded 2017 race team accomplishes.”
2017 RZR Factory Racing Roster
The 2017 team includes the following returning and new members:
- Justin Lambert, BITD Pro Production season champion with seven consecutive first-place wins, returns to defend his BITD championship and Baja podiums.
Branden Sims, BITD Pro Turbo season champion and Baja 1000 Pro Turbo champion returns to defend his 2017 victories in both BITD and SCORE.
- Wayne Matlock comes into 2017 looking to add to his extensive list of consecutive Baja victories, racing in the highly competitive SCORE Pro Turbo class.
- Ironwoman Kristin Matlock, podium finisher at the Baja 500 and 1000, as well the UTV World Championship, returns to race the Pro Production classes in both SCORE and select BITD races.
- Six-time BITD Pro UTV Champion Brandon Schueler of Jagged X keeps the team’s legacy alive in 2017, looking for victory in BITD and SCORE.
- 2016 Baja 1000 Overall UTV Winner and motorsports veteran Rhys Millen joins the team in 2017, looking for victory as he ventures into side-by-side racing.
- Newly formed Scanlon Motorsports Group (SMG) officially debuts their 2017 racing program, following extensive testing throughout 2016. SMG hopes to capture podiums in both BITD and SCORE.
- Johnny Angal will continue to race his RZR in BITD and SCORE, in addition to his Polaris RZR-sponsored 6100 and Trophy Trucks.
- 2016 KOH winner and Jagged X team member Blake Van de Loo returns to defend his title.
- Six-time WORCS Champion Beau Baron returns for another season racing both the RZR XP Turbo and RZR XP 1000 in the series.
- Ryan Piplic returns to continue racing WORCS, while also building a new RZR XP Turbo to compete in BITD for the first time.
- Following a number of BITD podiums, including a first-place finish at the UTV World Championship, Mitch Guthrie Jr. comes into 2017 ready for BITD victory. He’ll also add KOH and LUCAS races to his schedule.
- Mitch Guthrie, legendary six-time KOH winner, will once again compete in 2017, this time against a field that includes his own son!
- Cody Rahders is back for 2017 running SCORE and adding LUCAS back into his racing mix.
- Inaugural UTV World Championship winner Jacob Shaw returns to pursue victory in BITD and SCORE.
High Lifter will once again field teams in KOH and BITD.
- Ronnie Anderson steps up into a pair of RZRs in 2017 to race in both WORCS and select BITD races.
- New for 2017, KOH legend Shannon Campbell moves into a RZR for this year’s KOH race, as well as the UTV World Championships.
- Reigning Lucas Oil Off-Road Series champion Kyle LeDuc joins the team.
- Mike Cafro and his Black Hills UTV team officially join Team RZR to race BITD and SCORE.
- Bill Zemack joins the team to race in the BITD Pro Turbo class.
- Dave Martinez joins the team to race in the BITD Pro Turbo class.
- Wes Miller joins the team to race both BITD and SCORE Turbo classes.
- Brian Shaleen of Fusion Off-Road joins the team to race in the BITD Pro Turbo class.
- John Melvin joins the team to race both BITD and SCORE Turbo classes.
- Jason and Jeremy Merrell of UTV Wolfpack will race both BITD and select short-course races.
- Cody Bradbury joins the team to race in the BITD Pro Turbo class.
- Seth Quintero upgrades to a RZR XP 1000 and officially joins the team.
- Hubert Rowland joins the team to run a RZR XP Turbo in select WORCS and TORCS races.
- Team UXC’s Michael Swift and Kevin Trantham move into RZRs to compete in the GNCC XC1 Pro-UTV class.
- Jesi Stracham will continue to compete as part of the team in 2017, moving into the new ACE 900 XC.
- William and Sam Yokley return to run both RZRs and an ACE 900 XC in their respective GNCC classes.
- John Barnes returns to run a RZR XP 1000 in the XC1 Pro-UTV class.
Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) is a global powersports leader with annual 2015 sales of $4.7 billion. Polaris fuels the passion of riders, workers and outdoor enthusiasts with our RANGER®, RZR® and POLARIS GENERAL™ side-by-side off-road vehicles; our SPORTSMAN® and POLARIS ACE® all-terrain off-road vehicles; VICTORY® and INDIAN MOTORCYCLE® midsize and heavyweight motorcycles; SLINGSHOT® moto-roadsters; and Polaris RMK®, INDY®, SWITCHBACK® and RUSH® snowmobiles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories sold under multiple recognizable brands, and has a growing presence globally in adjacent markets with products including military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. www.polaris.com.