Alpine, CA (6/8/2016) – Married couple, Kristen and Wayne Matlock, both celebrated on the SCORE Baja 500 podium as Wayne #2971 won the Pro Turbo UTV class and took 1st Overall UTV and Kristen #1954 finished third in the Pro UTV class and made history as the first female UTV racer to “Ironwoman” the race held in the desert outside Ensenada, Mexico. Polaris’ Wayne Matlock continues his perfect streak in the SCORE Baja competition, winning his fourth race in four starts, which is another history making accomplishment.
Wayne Matlock backed up his victory in the 2015 edition of the Baja 500 with a win this year. He has also scored victories in the Imperial Valley 250 and the Baja 1000.
“It’s an awesome accomplishment,” said Matlock. “It’s more of a testament to the team we’ve built and our sponsors, than just me as a driver. There is a lot more that goes into this than just driving.”
Matlock’s Terabbit Racing team had a plan going into the event: run with the pace early and run hard for the last 100 miles if a tight race developed. Their best-laid plans came to fruition. Although Matlock’s Polaris RZR was stuck in a bottleneck early, he consistently climbed through the field. He struck at mile 340 when Matlock beat the leader out of the pits and then crossed the finish line by over five minutes in front of him to overcome the time differential.
“We got out of our pit just before the leader,” said Matlock. “They were 20 feet off my bumper. From there on I did my best because I had to put four minutes on him to win. It was either win or break at that point. I just drove as hard as I could.”
Race record high temperatures nearly sidelined his efforts. “This was the hottest race I’ve ever done for that length of distance,” said Matlock. “Going down through San Felipe the heat caused our car to go into limp mode due to the heat. It just wasn’t cooling enough, so we took our water bottles and dumped them on the radiator to get it out of limp mode. One of the things that helped us is micropolishing and cryotreating all of our internal parts. That really helps to keep the temperatures down in our transmission, motor, and differentials.“
Matlock came into the race with a lot of pressure to win. However, without the additional stress of running for a championship, Matlock was free to run as hard as he wanted to try to win.
“Because of our history, we’re expected to win,” said Matlock. “We were really excited to win this race and to back up the 500 from last year. I like that I don’t have the pressure of winning a championship. My focus is on winning the race at all costs…not saving the car in order to just finish.”
“The only flat we got was in the bottleneck when we ran into the bushes and a large stick punctured our tire,” said Matlock. “The DWT Wheels held up flawlessly. Without the tuning on the Fox Shox, we wouldn’t have been able to win. There are a bunch of companies that put us up here.”
“I took it fairly easy off the start trying not to make any mistakes,” said Kristen. “I quickly passed six UTVs before approaching the bottleneck. Patience wore thin as racers sat there waiting their turn to make an attempt at the silty hill climb that was causing the log jam. Alonso Lopez #1949 decided to take a huge risk by going through the bushes. It paid off though and put an hour and a half on the rest of the field. He created his own line, but the rest of us weren’t willing to take that risk. I don’t even know how he got through it without tearing a CV boot or getting a flat. He was pretty lucky.”
Kristen was pleased with her first Baja 500 race in the driver’s seat of a UTV. Kristen’s previous role on the team was team manager, supporting her husband’s efforts. She competed in Terry Hui’s Polaris RZR that he and Wayne won the Baja 500, Imperial Valley 250, and Baja 1000 in last year.
|Terabbit Racing – Baja 500|
“I absolutely loved it,” said Kristen. “I can’t wait to get back down to Baja and race again! I have to thank Terry Hui for allowing me to race his race car, my husband Wayne for all of his time and effort he puts into our race program, my mechanic Erik Ridens from Black Rhino for an outstanding prep job, my mom and dad for staying home to take care of our two little boys, and my co-driver Derek McGaughy for putting his navigation and mechanical skills to the test.
“In the past, when I managed the team, I always felt like I was only served the main course. This year, I got the dessert.” added Kristen
Driving debuts have been good to Kristen Matlock. She finished second in the Pro UTV class in her first Best in the Desert race, the UTV World Championship, earlier this year and one month later she finished second at the Mint 400.
“There were 14 people in the Pro UTV class and only four finished, so just finishing this race was a huge accomplishment,” said Kristen. “To finish on the podium is even better.”
The Matlocks will return to the SCORE series during the 49th Baja 1000 Nov. 16-20.
2016 Race Team Sponsors:
Terabbit Racing, Matlock Racing, Polaris, Maxxis Tires, Fox Racing Shox, DWT, Lonestar Racing, Alba Racing, Black Rhino, Simpson, G-Fors Racing, Coyne Powersports, NecksGen, Baja Designs, Rugged Radios, Factory UTV, Airdam Clutches, S & B Particle Separator, Fly Racing, Maxima Racing Oils, UniFilter, CryoHeat, Motion Pro, IMS, Impact Racing, Monster Seal, Lone Star Racing, KZ RV, Copy Boy Printing