Will a New Polaris RZR XP1000 Feed His Insatiable Appetite for Glory?
Words & Photos: Jason Stilgebouer
Max Eddy Jr. has built a reputation which was solidified in the deserts of Mexico on a motorcycle at the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 – a race he won five times. This is a goal many desire, but only a select few have ever had the opportunity to pursue, let alone achieve, it. After eventually hanging up his team jersey, he was left searching for the next competitive chapter of his life.
From navigating for Robby Gordon’s team and later with Polaris RZR at the Dakar Rally to working with some of the top trophy trucks in the North American circuits, Max found himself making waves as Polaris RZR Factory driver. It’s a title he premiered at the 2021 Yokohama Sonora Rally, where he placed Second Overall. His UTV career has just begun, and already, he is putting down some solid results. So we caught up with him and his new Polaris RZR XP1000 to chat a bit as he gears up for the start of the 2022 season.
USM: So how did you end up racing UTVs for Polaris?
Max: I grew up [riding] dirt bikes here in the desert. Racing for me was natural because it’s my backyard. I [competed] locally for years… It was 2012 [when] I [had] an opportunity to ride for Cameron Steele in Mexico on one of his bikes. And so, I basically headed to Baja with a bunch of guys I didn’t know. [We] just had my son, I bought a house and had $20 to my name. And I jumped in a Yukon full of dudes I didn’t know to go to Baja for two weeks and live out my dream.
USM: When did you start taking desert racing seriously?
M: I’ve never looked back since 2012 and raced just about every year unless I was hurt. I missed maybe a race or two here with a broken bone of some kind. I raced down there for Cameron Steele for four years. [I] raced with Michael Winkelman and for a long-time sponsor of mine at O’Neill gear: Jim O’Neill. Then, [was] picked up by Johnny [Campbell] to ride on the…team with Colton Udall and Jeff Kargola and race for [JCR Honda]. Then we went to Monster Energy, Kawasaki. [I] rode Kawasaki for Bob Bell and that’s when we dethroned Honda in 2014…[winning] the championship. That was my first ever Baja 1000 win for a peninsula run.
USM: That’s crazy! How many miles of that race did you ride?
M: I think it was about 350 miles. That [included] me, Ricky Brabec, Robby Bell and Steve Hengeveld. I won the Baja 1000 four more times [following that event]. I’ve won numerous Baja 500 [competitions] and some San Felipe 250 races. Unfortunately, when the factory teams pulled out of racing down in Mexico for the bikes, it was just kind of dead after that, you know. That drive wasn’t there anymore, nor was the desire to race down there.
USM: So, how’d you end up racing a SXS?
M: So, I had been racing a Polaris RZR Turbo S at local DP4 events, and I [thought]: Dude, that’s fun. I wanted to race more. It’s affordable. You don’t have to do a bunch [of work] to these cars [to begin competing]. And so, I started racing [at] a few more locals, and I was still navigating…for numerous people in the trophy trucks then started navigating for some people in more side-by-side teams. And that’s when I met Craig Scanlon, and Craig kind of just took me under his wing and mentored me. I guess he [saw] a little bit of potential or something and wanted me to start racing RZRs. Then, it all snowballed from there.
USM: Yeah, it really took off last year when you made some waves at the Sonora Rally when you took home Second Place. It was an insane rally!
M: That was so much freakin’ fun! Just me, my son and dad went down there to race a Polaris RZR RS1. We had a small team. I was the mechanic, crew chief and the driver of the car, while my dad and son Connor took care of the pits. That was an ultimate high for me going down there with just my dad and my son, for sure. And doing that, you know, it was [tough] as we camped out of my sprinter van for five or six nights in a row – [without any] hotel rooms – and cooking our food, you know. We ate at the bivouac once in a while. But that was grassroots racing at its finest.
USM: What keeps bringing you back to racing after all these years?
M: [The] love for it, I guess. [That] brings me back and keeps me going. The passion and experience [which] go along with it.
USM: What’s the goal for this year racing in the Pro NA class with your Polaris RZR XP1000?
M: The goal this year is to win every race we enter of BITD and win the championship. I’ll be sharing driving duties with Craig Scanlon and the 4Wheel Parts Polaris Pro R the rest of the year down in Mexico, and [we’ll] go after a SCORE championship.
USM: An ambitious but (for Max) very achievable aspiration. We can’t wait to follow along!
Keep an eye on Max Eddy Jr.’s 2022 journey to the podium via Instagram @maxeddy100. And learn more about the RZR XP1000 SXS on Polaris’ website: https://rzr.polaris.com/en-us/rzr-xp-1000-eps/