Wayne & Kristen Matlock Dominate 2018 San Felipe 250
Polaris RZR’s power couple, Wayne & Kristen Matlock, dominated the 2018 SCORE San Felipe 250 in a way that only they can. The two won their respective classes in dominating fashion furthering their status as the most succesful husband & wife racers active today in off-road. We are thrilled to share with our readers their personal race reports and want to extend a huge thank you for letting UTVUnderground.com publish these. We also want to extend a massive congrats to the entire Matlock Racing team for their amazing efforts!
2018 San Felipe 250 Race Report | Wayne Matlock #2971
It’s been awhile since I have done one of these, to be honest it’s been awhile since I felt like writing one. Thankfully now I have something worth writing about.
I have been looking forward to this year’s San Felipe 250 for a long time now. San Felipe is known for being the roughest race there is hands down and I love it!!! It has always been my favorite race of the season. It is a race where you have to prerun like it’s your job. You have to nail every line and tie them all together like a perfectly choreographed dance that lasts for seven plus hours through the most unforgiving terrain imaginable. When done right, it is amazing, and you feel like you want it to go on forever. But when you step out of rhythm it will slam you down, kick you, and you just want it to end quickly.
On race morning I was up early because I wanted to go over Kristen’s car and my car one more time. I also wanted to put a new belt on both our cars, so we could start the race with a fresh belt. That is where the wheels started to come off the bus a little bit. After we put a fresh belt on my car I took it out to run it down the road just to make sure that everything was good, and I am glad I did because for some reason my clutch tuning was way off. I pulled back into the garage and jumped on the phone with Adam from Airdam clutches. I explained to him that something wasn’t right and that I needed him to help me fix it. He told me that what was happening did not make any since, but he told me what he would do to help fix it. So, with only 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at staging I was pulling my clutch and changing the weights. I made the change and went back out to test it. I pulled back into the garage and my crew could tell by my red face and the pissed off look that it did not go well. Now, with no time to spare and completely stressed out we were pulling the clutch off again. Once I got the clutch off I called Adam back to try and help me figure this mess out. Luckily, he did not pick up the phone because as soon as I hung up one of our crew members walked up to me with a belt in his hand. He asked me if this was the belt I just took off my car? I am now beyond stressed out and I looked at him with agitation on my face and said, “Is it hot?!”. He replied with a, “Yes, it is real hot.” With a smart ass reply I said, “Then I guess that is it then.” Well, my face went from smart ass to dumb ass real fast when he told me that he was holding a belt from an XP1000 and not an XP Turbo.
With this new bit of info, we quickly put everything back to the right settings along with the proper belt on the car. …and what do you know, it worked perfectly. With that out of the way we headed to the starting line.
For this race I opted for a rear start. I would normally not do this, but for San Felipe I was confident in my lines and I knew where I could make some passes. With the green flag in front of us, time starts to slow, it’s as if the seconds turn to minutes. Then the flag drops taking your heart with it and shoving it down into your stomach. After about five miles, everything seems to calm down and fall into place.
We started weaving our way through the cars that started in front of us. My co-driver, Daniel Felix, kept me on the right lines as we weaved through the desert tying them together like a perfectly timed dance. By mile 70 we had moved up from 23rd to 6th UTV and everything was working great. By around mile 85 we passed the 2966 of Rhys Millen and that put us first UTV on the road. We kept our pace up all the way to our first pit at race mile 144 where we pulled in for fuel. After we left the pit they informed us that we were the first UTV on the road. About five minutes later they radioed us and said that the second car had just cleared the pit.
With a comfortable lead Danny and I just tried to hold a steady pace and not beat on the car too much. We passed our next pit at race mile 192 still holding down the number one spot. Again, after we passed they radioed us to inform us we had over six minutes on the next UTV. Around mile 214 the car was feeling sluggish in a sand wash, I kept pushing forward chalking it up to the deep sand. After a couple of miles of this I pulled over to have Danny check out the tires, sure enough we had been dragging a flat through the tight sand wash. He was lightning quick at the tire change and we were moving forward in no time.
The next section was Matomi wash, definitely one of my favorites. We were hitting all of our lines perfectly picking our way through the tight and technical sand wash. About half way through I felt the belt start to go. I told Danny to get ready and to change the belt. He was on it, he had everything in hand before I pulled over. He had the belt swapped out and back in the car in about three minutes. We kept pushing all the way to our next fuel stop at race mile 284.
This is where things get interesting!!! As we pulled in Danny told the crew that we needed a tire on the rack and only one can of fuel to get us to the finish line 38 miles up the course. Our pit was flawless, and we were in and out of the pit in 21 seconds. As we left we asked for them to give us a time split when second place came by. They radioed us back informing us that we were 5:32 behind the 2977 Can Am of Chapo Racing. I was blown away and pissed off at the same time. At our last pit at race mile 192 the Can Am was over six minutes behind us and it was also behind Kristen as well. Neither one of us ever got passed by him and now he was 5:32 in front of us, to say I was pissed would be an understatement. Then to make matters worse I had not realized that this whole time Kristen was sneaking up on me. I was only two miles out of the pit when we heard on the radio that she was pulling in.
After hearing all this news, I was super excited that Kristen was right there with us, but I was also super pissed off that I was behind to someone that obviously cut the course. I put the hammer down and we went from conserving our lead and the car to I don’t give a crap about anything except beating Chapo Racing to the finish line. We were pinned everywhere, through the whoops through the rocks, I did not give a crap about anything except beating him!!!
After pushing as hard as we could for the last 38 miles of the race we pulled up behind the 2977 Can Am knowing we left it all on the track and we gave it everything we had. Bud from SCORE ran up to us and told us before we pulled up on the podium to inform us that we won by 41 seconds. Then he informed me that Kristen was almost in and she might have kicked my ass. I was really happy that we beat Chapo and super happy for Kristen and her performance.
After it was all said and done, Danny and I walked away with the Overall UTV win and 1st in class, Kristen walked away with 1st in class and 2nd Overall beating out all the Turbo cars but one in her Naturally Aspirated Polaris RZR. I am so proud of her and our entire team’s effort. Everyone put in a lot of hard work to make this happen. And now we start all over again for the Baja 500, can’t wait!!!
Big thanks to all of our sponsors: Polaris, Maxxis, Fox Shox, Steel-it, Safecraft, Cognito, Baja Designs, Simpson, Cryoheat, Rugged Radios, Factory UTV, Monster Seal, Airdam Clutches, IMS, DWT, Alba, Maxima, Summers Brothers, Black Rhino, Motion Pro, NecksGen, S&B Particle Separator, satellitephonestore.com, MTVTD, UTVUnderground.com, Sand Craft, CopyBoy Printing
32nd Annual SCORE San Felipe 250 Race Report | Kristen Matlock #1954
I have been dreaming of this day for so long!
Wayne, myself, our boys, my parents, and my navigator Matt all went down to San Felipe the day before Easter. The boys were worried that the bunny wouldn’t find them in Baja, but I assured them he would, but I warned them that they may end up with a basket full of Mexican candy! Well, that night the bunny delivered two sand buckets full of American candy and toys and in the morning the boys were all smiles! Sunday morning, we all jumped in our Polaris RZR prerunners and went to check out a small section of the course before Easter dinner. Wyatt navigated for Wayne since his navigator hadn’t arrived yet and said he did a great job calling out turns off the GPS! Clayton rode in my backseat while Matt sat in his usual navigator’s seat. Of course, this was the moment when our fearless kid would develop fear and start screaming at me to slow down when I started throwing the car into the turns. Thankfully he calmed down after a quick pep talk. We ended up having a great day of prerunning and it was time to head back to the condo for dinner.
Over the next four days we would prerun the entire race course once and in some sections, we would go over two or three times to make sure we had all our waypoints marked on the GPS. Prerunning didn’t go perfectly smooth as I had some issues with a clutch bolt snapping off, a few blown belts, my primary clutch went rolling passed me at one point, and we had to replace my transmission after I came down hard on a rock and poked a hole in it. Funny thing is…this actually put me at ease for race day because almost every time prerunning is a struggle, the race goes really well.
Before we knew it, it was Friday and time to head to contingency and tech inspection. Some racers dread this, but I on the other hand love it as it’s one of my favorite parts of being a pro racer. This is where you get the opportunity to take pictures with fans, sign autographs, pass out stickers, and inspire future racers to get out there and try it too! I love seeing the girls’ faces light up when I show up driving my pink race car and I see their parents telling them that she races against all the guys…and wins too!
That night our amazing crew loaded up all the chase trucks and got everything ready for the next day…race day!
I woke up the next morning feeling completely ready. I knew we had done our homework all week, the cars had been prepped by our amazing mechanic – Daniel Felix and Oscar Oropeza, our crew was by far the best we have had, and I had all the faith in my navigator, Matt Strandberg, to do his job 100%.
We drove the race cars to the start line approximately 10 miles from the condo we were staying in. We got there with plenty of time to take off our helmets and get out of our race cars for a bit and chit chat with the other racers before it was time to line up. It was in the 90s and we were all cooking in our black fire suits.
We jumped back in our cars about 20 mins later and lined up. All 25 Pro UTV Turbo and 5 Pro UTV Naturally Aspirated would start in front of us in 30 second intervals and 2 more Pro UTV Naturally Aspirated and 2 Pro UTV Unlimited would start behind us. I knew it was going to be a giant dust ball at first out there, but San Felipe has so many lines along side the course that you really don’t have to sit in anyone’s dust for long. As I drove up and over the stage towards the start line, everything seemed like it was in slow motion around me. I was getting into my zone and now all the external noises had disappeared as well. All I can see now is a hand in front of me now counting down the last 5 seconds with a red stop light behind it that will soon turn to green. 5…4…3…2…1…GO!! We were off and running!! The first ½ mile was a 20-mph speed zone but after that it was game on! We quickly started picking off cars and by our first pit at race mile 23 our crew notified us that we were the first UTV in our class through there! We were pumped, and this news just fueled my fire to see how far up in the Turbo class I could get.
We continued passing more UTVs, class 12 cars, class 1600 cars, and class 5 cars and by our next pit we were physically the 8th UTV. About 40 miles later, in a rocky wash, the car made this horrific sound. We were both pretty sure it was a belt, so we turned the car off and rolled to a stop on the side of the course. Matt jumped out, I through the belt bag out the window to him, and he yanked the belt cover off to find that the belt looked great. He put the cover back on, looked around the entire car trying to find something wrong and it all checked out fine. I put it in neutral, revved the motor up, and it sounded great, so he jumped back in and we took off. We had lost 5 minutes but at least we were back in the race and had only been passed by one class 12 car in the process.
We had just got back around him when all of the sudden a class 1600 car was coming at us head on. We passed him and continued on and figured we would find out soon why he was going the wrong way. Sure enough a truck had flipped upside down in a canyon and there was no room to inch by him. My choice was to either turn around and go a ways backwards on the course or put it in low gear and climb out of the canyon up a 15 foot embankment. I chose the quicker option. The 1600 car was just passing by when we got to the top and I was able to get passed him right away. We were back at it again…catching dust…reeling them in….and coming up for clean air. We were having the time of our lives out there!
When we came into Borrego, my chase crew were waiting excitedly to pit us. Wayne’s chase crew had just finished up with him and stuck around to help my crew. I came in with a big smile on my face knowing that I was keeping up with Wayne and at this point was beating him on adjusted time. I knew there was still 130 miles left to go though and anything could happen so I kept my cool, thanked my crew, and continued on. Just a few miles later I found myself passing the Jagged X team, followed by Chapo Racing, then Rhys Millen. I couldn’t believe it!! The only person left in front of me was Wayne. It felt like a dream that I was hoping I wouldn’t wake up from.
I just kept charging through the woops, railing the turns, and hammering through the rocky washes as hard as I could while taking caution not to hurt the car. At one point though, I hit a section of woops that had cactus hanging over the top and knocked a chunk of it into the car that landed onto my pants. Matt picked it off and threw it out the window and then 3 more huge chunks came flying off the roof and stabbed me deep in the left leg. I tried to fight through it but every time I went to hit the brake, the one in my knee dug in deeper. I unfortunately had to pull over and pull it out with our dust towels one at a time. Even though I couldn’t get it all out, a couple minutes later we were back on course. The pain took a few miles to subside. Now I know to avoid that at all expense in the future!
Coming into our last pit, we could hear Daniel – Wayne’s navigator on the radio calling out the mile markers. They were 4 miles ahead of us when we first heard them, and this of course encouraged me to pick up the pace. By the time they were pulling into the pit, they were only 2 miles ahead of us and requesting a tire be put on their rack. Matt wanted to call out our mile markers and I told not to until they were out of the pit because I knew if Wayne heard that we were that close he would skip the tire on the rack to try and get out of the pit quicker. I love my husband dearly and want nothing more than to see him win, but we are both ultimately competing against one another for the overall UTV title.
Wayne and I both pushed ourselves, our navigators, and our cars to the limits all the way to the finish line. In the end we both won our classes and he was able to beat me out of the overall by 2 minutes and 58 seconds…this time!
I’d like to thank Wayne, Matt, Daniel, Oscar, and our whole crew for all of their hard work, time, and dedication to our team!! This race was extra special having our family there to share this moment with us too…thank you for being there! Without our great sponsors none of this would be possible, so thank you: Polaris, Maxxis, Fox Shox, Steel-it, Safecraft, Cognito, Baja Designs, Simpson, Cryoheat, Rugged Radios, Alba, Factory UTV, Monster Seal, Airdam Clutches, IMS, DWT, Maxima, Summers Brothers, Black Rhino, Motion Pro, NecksGen, S&B Particle Separator, satellitephonestore.com, MTVTD, UTVUnderground.com, Sand Craft, and CopyBoy Printing