SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal-December 2019

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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A JEWEL FOR THE CROWN Kristen Matlock Wins Her First SCORE BaJa 1000 By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo With all the accomplishments Pro UTV N/A racer Kristen Matlock has added to her racing career, it seems surprising that she has never won a SCORE Baja 1000 race until now. She finished first to take the Pro UTV N/A win at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts to finish off a year chasing mechanical issues that kept her from winning every race this season. “We had a variety of mechanical issues all year but we managed to work them out this season,” said Matlock. “Winning the SCORE Baja 1000 was a fantastic finish, especially with a course that was extremely more difficult than what I had expected.” The win was an emotional one for Matlock, who said she had tears ran down her face as she approached the finish line. “It was my fourth attempt and I’ve Ironwoman-ed it every time, but this is probably the toughest one yet.” The win didn’t come without its difficulties and a massive amount of obstacles to overcome. The rain on the course had her concerned at first but Matlock was relieved once she found out the race was delayed 24-hours. “It was a muddy mess,” she said. “We were on our way back into town after pre-running and we came across a completely impassable section near race mile 20. One guy got stuck there thinking he could cross it. Once we heard the race was delayed 24-hours, we used our time wisely and could start the race with confidence.” Matlock was already at a disadvantage at the start. With a DNF at the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400, she had to start in the back of the Pro UTV N/A pack of a field of 12 competitors but she persevered through the toughest sections. “My least favorite part was the San Felipe whoops,” said Matlock. “The rough section around Mike’s was also brutal and it heated up my shocks and beat my body up. With the rain, it brought up more rocks.” With a 4WD Polaris RZR XP4, Matlock felt confident over the slick and tough terrain. “The four-wheel-drive was an advantage on this course,” she said. “I wasn’t used to the mud and what it did to our vehicle. It weighed us down so much that our Fox shocks began bottoming out after race mile 200. I had to put the shocks into the firm mode and ran them like that to the finish line. I also noticed that our RPM was down and that we normally average 42 mph on a course like this, but we averaged 38 mph due to the mud on the vehicle.” Although Matlock has achieved many of her goals throughout her racing career, she’s enjoying racing in the UTV class and wants to have a perfect season. Considering her determination combined with a husband and team that is supporting her along the way, it will be great to see her accomplish more during the 2020 SCORE season. SJ “I thought that I knew Baja really well until the rain hit and changed everything.” Kristen Matlock

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