SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - DECEMBER 2017

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

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Page 101 of 132

Kristen Matlock: Going Solo By Stephen Romero Imagine desert racing for 1,134 miles without a break. It’s the distance from Los Angeles, California to Amarillo, Texas; more miles than two Indy 500 races back to back. In Baja, however, you race without sleep, xqor much to eat. Kristen Matlock took on that challenge in her quest to solo the 2017 SCORE Baja 1000 for her second time. Matlock had raced the SCORE Baja 1000 solo once before. In 2016 she clocked in at a time of 23:11:47.120 awarding her a 2nd place finish in the Pro UTV NA class. For the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 race to La Paz, Matlock was determined to beat the desert again. Her goal to win it might have worked out if not for an electrical gremlin that disabled the Polaris XP4 1000 after 170 miles of racing. By that time, Matlock was only halfway to the first checkpoint. Fortunately, after a stressful eight-hour pit stop waiting for the crew to repair the wiring harness, Matlock climbed back in and continued to challenge the course during the day and into the night. She arrived in La Paz at 4 a.m., officially finishing the race, taking 6th place in the Pro UTV Naturally Aspirated class. Despite the 6th place finish, Matlock had a good season with a 2nd place in the class championship, and she completed the race solo once again. This makes her the only woman in SCORE history who finished the SCORE Baja 1000 “ironman” twice in a row. “It should have taken me 28 hours to complete the race,” Matlock said. “I had never taken on 1,134 continuous miles. I had mechanical issues and it took me 39 hours to finish. I don’t remember the last 100 miles very well. I struggled, but I know what my capabilities are for driving without sleep, or any relief at the wheel.” Matlock is a Polaris factory driver and she’s the wife of Wayne Matlock, another Polaris factory driver. “We talked on the radio throughout the event in Baja, and that was encouraging,” Matlock said. “I knew I could not make it to checkpoint number one on time,” Matlock added. “I decided to try and make it to La Paz within the allotted time to make my effort official.” Matlock did have two different navigators. Matt Strandberg and Scott Traston who were constant companions, helping guide her through the course and keeping her awake when she was physically exhausted. Will she challenge the infamous Baja 1000 peninsula run again after all she knows? “Even though the race went on longer than I had expected I plan to do it again if given the opportunity,” said Matlock. SJ

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