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2019 Pro UTV N/A Champion Kaden Wells The rising star wins his second SCORE class championship in a row By Mike Vieria Photos by Get Some Photo The winner of the Naturally Aspirated Pro UTV class this year was Kaden Wells, after a tight season-long battle with his number one competitor, Kristen Matlock. This is Well’s second Pro UTV N/A Class Championship, earning enough points by finishing in the top two positions of each race during the 2019 SCORE World Championship Season. For the season-opening 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250, Kaden’s Polaris RZR XP1000 was piloted by his dad, Travis, and his uncle, while a conflicting schedule forced Kaden to meet other racing obligations. “They didn’t have very many problems, they had a pretty good race”, says Kaden. “I think the front clip was falling off, so they finished with just two little lights on the side, and that was the main issue. Other than that, it went pretty smoothly,” as the team scored a second-place finish behind Matlock. At the 51st SCORE Baja 500, things went a bit differently as Kaden drove the race solo. “We started first because Matlock had requested a rear start, and then we blew a tire right away and moved to the back of the pack,” he says. “Right before Mike’s, we got back into the lead, and then going over the grade, we blew another tire, and a ground cable came loose when that happened. We lost our radiator fan and our starter went out, too. Our car didn’t overheat for the rest of the race, and we passed all the Turbo cars but one. We jumped the starter to get going after a pit stop, and that took us a little extra time. But, we ended up finishing third out of all the UTVs, and first in class. I think that was probably the hardest race for us.” The Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 brought better health for the vehicle, but not for the driver. Kaden says that one blown tire around mile 70 was the only problem for the Polaris. “The rest of the race went smoothly. After the tire change, we got the lead back, but then I got sick going through Mike’s,” he says. “We weren’t planning on making a driver swap, but I was throwing up in the car, so I swapped out with my dad at about the halfway mark. I handed the car off to him, and he finished it without any problems for a first in class.” With Kaden’s wins in the two previous contests, the 52nd BF Goodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts was shaping up to be the deciding race for the Championship as Kaden and Travis shared the driving duties. “The first part of the race was at a really fast pace, then going up through Mike’s we got passed. Coming out of Mike’s, we were able to pass back and take the lead. My dad then got in the car and held the lead until around mile 370.” Then the troubles began. “We got passed again and then we lost an axle boot. I got back into the driver’s seat and we ran the axle as long as we could, but around mile 700, we had to swap the axle. At that stop, we realized that our intake was full of mud and we weren’t getting much air to the motor. It had fouled the plugs. We just took it easy for the last hundred miles or so to finish the race, with power cutting out. All in all though, not too bad of a race, despite the problems.” The team’s second-place finish in the “1000” behind Kristen Matlock, was just enough to secure the season’s point lead in the seesaw battle between the two. “She’s fast and hard to hang with,” he says. “I think the rivalry is intense, but it’s also friendly at the same time.” Among those Kaden thanked for the support of the Risq Racing team’s efforts in his winning season were Polaris, GMZ, Assault Industries, and All-Terrain Concepts, and of course, all the family and friends that helped out all along the way to make the racing and the victory possible. Kaden is looking forward to the 2020 SCORE season where he’ll be back again to battle it out in the Naturally Aspirated UTV class. He says, “We might start the year off with two cars. We haven’t decided yet. We just want to try to keep the momentum going.”

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