SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - June 2018

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

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Page 75 of 134

UTV Racers Go Solo With heavy competition within all the UTV Classes, many veteran racers decide to go solo and come out on top By Dan Sanchez Photos By Get Some Photo Pro UTV racer #2913 BrandEn Sims won the Pro UTV FI Class Champions and veterans in the UTV classes such as Wayne and Kristen Matlock, Branden Sims, Marc Burnett, and Mike Cafro decided it was best to drive the entire 542.12 miles of the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 by themselves. For Sims, it was a plan that worked with a first-place finish in the Pro UTV FI class. Kristen Matlock also took first in the Pro UTV NA class and demonstrated her dominance of the entire Pro UTV division by finishing first overall. The fact that she finished 42nd overall among the 327 race entries, is an indication of how increasingly reliable and fast side-by-side vehicles are becoming, as well as the competitor’s driving skills and knowledge of the terrain. For the extremely competitive Pro UTV FI class, the race included many SCORE UTV champions and race winners driving incredibly quickly over one of the toughest SCORE Baja 500 courses these racers have had to face. “It was a brutal course and unfortunately, we didn’t do any pre-running,” said Sims. “We followed the race line all day which made it tougher because I would see others with more creative lines, and they would get ahead of me.” Sims ran a spectacular race, given the fact that he started in 30th place out of 37 entries in the Pro UTV FI class. “I didn’t have to get out of the car once today and that’s pretty phenomenal,” said Sims. “When that happens, you know you’re going to have a good day.” The decision to drive solo was also good for second place finisher Wayne Matlock, who came off a class win at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and thus, started first off at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500. Matlock had a good race and his second place finish puts him well in the lead for a possible championship season in the Pro UTV FI class. Nonetheless, Matlock seemed more enthused about his wife Kristen’s first-place finish in the Pro UTV NA class. “Feels good to cross the line first but I believe Kristen is first overall. She has been looking for this for a while and I am super pumped for her.” Finishing behind Matlock in third place was Jacob Carver in the number 2936 Polaris that was co-driven by Ben MacDonald. 2017 UTV Champion Marc Burnett, in the number 2900 Can-Am, managed to finish fourth in class, despite a broken turbo and intercooler. “It was a rough start at the beginning as we lost a fin off the turbo and had holes in the intercooler so it was just rough,” said Burnett. ”All my guys stuck together and pulled it through and we got it to the finish line thanks to them and our sponsors. Tijuana is my round as I have won twice there, and maybe we will get a three-peat.” Kristen Matlock Shows How It’s Done Beating the boys isn’t a big deal for Kristen Matlock, as she’s done it more times than UTV racers want to admit. But this was her first overall win in Pro UTV, making her the fastest competitor in the division. Her impressive SCORE Baja 500 race began with her starting first off the line, after winning the Pro UTV NA class at the San Felipe 250. She held on to beat her Pro UTV NA competitors and improved her time to overtake all of the Pro UTV FI competitors and drive a phenomenal race. “This is the first time that I got first place overall and I am so excited,” said Matlock. “I want to thank my sponsors and my co-driver, it was so much fun!” Finishing behind Matlock was the number 1962 Polaris of Dodge Poleman, aided by co-drivers Luis Dominquez and Nick Tenbruin. Kaden Wells in the number 1995 Polaris finished third in the Pro UTV NA class, with the help of co-drivers Travis Wells, Jesus Gutierrez, and Rory L’Hommedieu. It’s clear to SCORE fans that the Matlocks are having a great year so far. With their wins at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, they have positioned themselves for a potential championship in their respective classes. If Kristen continues her dominance over the UTV division, she may take the overall championship if her Polaris RZR XP4 1000 can hold out for the upcoming 22nd Tijuana SCORE Desert Challenge and at the 51st SCORE Baja 1000. Sportsman UTV Teams Have A Story To Tell Too In the Sportsman divisions, several racers made it to Ensenada to compete in this “Golden Race,” and wouldn’t miss it for the world. In the Sportsman, UTV Unlimited class, Jessalyn Farrington and Scott Sells came out on top in the number 1818 Polaris RZR XP4. Within the Stock NA class, it was Torry Rush, Clint Petersen, Ryan Burdick and George Williams in their number 3975 Yamaha YXZ1000 who took the win. In UTV Stock FI it was rock crawling champion and BFGoodrich Tires brand ambassador Brad Lovell who won the class, winning it with his brother Roger and their two 12-year old kids who navigated for them during the race. “The Sportsman Stock UTV class was the clear answer to safely involve our kids and allow them to be part of the build process,” said Brad Lovell. “We chose a Polaris Turbo 4-seater as they are already proven and can be modified for racing with off the shelf parts.” The Lovells were the second to last car to start the race and although they struggled, they managed to finish and win the class. “We weren’t the fastest but our goals were met as each boy got a chance in the car,“ said Lovell. “Even better, our RZR took us to the finish intact and unscathed for a class win. Pride overflowed from our family and team as we took the checkered flag.”SJ

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