Images via Ernesto Araiza
If the results are any indication, the 35th edition of the King Shocks SCORE San Felipe 250, the first round of the 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship, might have been a serious turning point for the future of UTV desert racing.
Wayne Matlock scored his first overall SCORE UTV win in a Polaris RZR Pro R on Saturday, completing the 277-mile, single-loop course with a time of 6:08:50. Matlock’s time was more than 15 minutes clear of Mike Cafro in the Pro UTV Open division, but more significantly, it also beat out Justin Lambert’s Pro UTV Forced Induction winning time by four minutes and 25 seconds. It also marked the eighth time that Matlock took a San Felipe class victory, dating back to his time on quads.
Lambert was second overall among UTVs, with Edgar Garcia Leon and PJ Jones completing the Forced Induction class podium and finishing third and fifth overall among UTVs, respectively. 2020 World Desert Champion Matt Burroughs and Carlos Quezada completed the class top five, and were the only two other UTV racers to complete the event in under seven hours.
With Kristen Matlock, winner of three of the past four San Felipe races in the Pro UTV Normally Aspirated class, moving into the Open class alongside her husband, the NA class would see an opening for whoever could take advantage of it. That turned out to be Joe Bolton, who finished eight minutes ahead of Rickey Arslanian for the class win with a time of 7:52:12. Defending class champion Kaden Wells completed the NA podium.
Craig Scanlon would complete the Open class podium behind Wayne Matlock and Cafro, as Kristen Matlock finished seventh in her first race in the division. The Pro Stock UTV class, which Cafro swept in 2021, saw Brent Stowell take the victory by 35 minutes over Anibal Lopez. In total, 41 of the 55 UTVs spread across five divisions managed to complete the race, including 22 out of 29 in Forced Induction, the largest class of all.
The 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship continues on June 1-5 with the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. Brandon Sims took last year’s FI class win, with Wells on top in the NA division, Cafro winning last year’s Pro Stock race, and Justin Elenburg the defending Open division champion. Television coverage of the 2022 San Felipe 250 will air on ESPN2’s World of X Games on Sunday, May 15.