SCORE Desert Diaries–
BIDING TIME, Parte Seis
SCORE champs Wayne & Kristen Matlock, Creel
staying focused while waiting for end of COVID-19
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE is checking in on several of its racers during this shutdown to see how they are doing and how are they are preparing for when life returns to the new normal in a special series called SCORE Desert Diaries—Biding Time.)
USA’s first couple of SCORE desert racing Wayne and Kristen Matlock of Southern California and Mexico’s Santiago Creel, all three champion racers in the SCORE World Desert Championship, are patiently, but doggedly determined to be able to get the 2020 SCORE Baja racing season started. The Matlocks, veteran racers race in separate UTV classes while Creel, a relative newcomer to SCORE, races in multiple motorcycle classes and a truck class.
With the 2020 season reduced to three races while the battle rages against Coronavirus (COVID-19), desert racers around the world are hoping to start the 2020 SCORE season at the 52nd annual BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4Wheel Parts, in Baja California.
Launching its 47th season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the season-opening event of the three-race internationally-televised 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship has been moved to June 17-21 in Ensenada. Ensenada is a coastal city on the Bahia de Todos Santos area of the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of the U.S. border at San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world. All three 2020 SCORE races will be run on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year.
Clearly the most prolific husband/wife racers in the SCORE World Desert Championship, Wayne Matlock, 42, and his wife Kristen Matlock, 39, from Alpine, Calif., are another pair of veteran SCORE desert racers and both had superlative seasons in the last two years racing in two separate UTV classes. The Matlocks also have two young children, both boys.
With two race wins and two second-place finishes, Wayne Matlock was the 2018 SCORE Overall season point champion while winning the Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class in his No. 2971 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. He repeated his class point title last year as well with one race win.
Wayne Matlock has won seven SCORE class season point championships in his illustrious career, the first five on a quad and he has seven class wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250, four on a quad and the last three straight in the Pro UTV FI class.
Kristen Matlock finished third in the season points in the Pro UTV NA (Naturally Aspirated) in 2018 after starting the season with two impressive class victories. In last year’s SCORE Baja 500 she was also the overall UTV winner, defeating over 50 UTVs in the race.
Kristen Matlock finished second in season points in her class in 2019 earning two race wins along the way. She also etched her name in the SCORE records book at last year’s SCORE Baja 1000, winning the Pro UTV NA class while driving solo the entire race to become a prestigious ‘Ironwoman’ finisher in the iconic race.
In the last two SCORE San Felipe 250 races (2018 and 2019), the Matlocks each won their respective classes and Wayne Matlock has now won his class in San Felipe the last three straight years.
Mexico’s international motorcycle rally racer Santiago Creel, 33, of Mexico City, won two 2019 motorcycle class point titles and became the first racer to earn three Rod Hall SCORE Milestone Awards, presented by VP Racing Fuels, in the same season.
In just three seasons competing in the SCORE World Desert Championship, Creel has won four motorcycle season class point championships, three straight in Pro Moto Unlimited and one in Pro Moto 30. Last year he and his talented teams also finished second in Pro Moto Unlimited and 11th in Trophy Truck Spec.
Overall Creel has now won six SCORE Milestone Awards.
While for two years he entered as many as four classes per race, one truck and three motorcycle, filled with other talented racers including several other motorcycle rally racers, it appears that Creel will start this season concentrating on two classes.
Creel has entered both the Trophy Truck Spec and the Pro Moto Unlimited classes as the driver and rider of record so far for this season. He definitely plans to be the driver of record in the No. 260 Monkey Business Racing Jefferies-Chevy and in the No. 66x Monkey Business racing KTM 450 XC-F.
Creel and his team won the Pro Moto Limited class in last year’s SCORE Baja 500.
In the 50th anniversary race of the SCORE Baja 500 in 2018, Creel was rider of record on four KTM motorcycles, and as an addition driver in the Trophy Truck Spec class, an all-time SCORE record for a single race. In that race he again used a host of talented teammates from Italy, Mexico and the U.S.A.
Kristen Matlock shares responses for herself and her husband Wayne for Matlock Racing while Santiago Creel comments for the the Monkey Business race team responding to some questions from SCORE regarding this down time from life as we have known it.
SCORE: How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation?
KM: Like everyone in the world, our normal routine was drastically changed overnight. We have been following the “Stay-At-Home” order and finding things to do around the house together as a family. So far we have been hiking in the Cleveland National Forest behind our house, built a Traxxas track in our front yard, set up a game camera on the backside of our property (we caught a fox, skunk, and a few bunnies on it so far), we have been running daily since our gyms are closed and the kids follow us on their bikes, we have been target shooting, and have been organizing the house, race shop, and cabinet shop. Fortunately, our cabinet business is still considered “Essential” so we have been able to keep it running. We are definitely missing racing though and cannot wait until we can get back down to Baja!
SC: We are doing good, we are at our home having some great family time, we hope the virus passes fast.
SCORE: Is everybody healthy at home?
KM: Yes, we are all healthy and well.
SC: Yes, thank you very much for asking.
SCORE: How is your business handling this situation?
KM: So far, our custom cabinet company is still going strong and our race cars, prerunners, and chase vehicles will be on-point at the next race with the extra time that has been spent on them through this.
SC: We are facing a very difficult situation for the economy and we all hope it passes soon.
SCORE: What are you doing with your race team during this time?
KM: Our weekly face-to-face meetings have been canceled, but our team’s WhatsApp group chat sessions have been non-stop with everyone posting positive-spirited messages along with a few hilarious memes and JibJab videos that keep us all laughing.
SC: They are working at home. For example one of our mechanics doing the engine harness at home.
SCORE: Is your race shop still working?
SC: Not until May 15 by order of the government. Well the race bike and the Trophy Truck Spec are ready to race, so the mechanics are doing other stuff like the harness, and the rest of the crew is just waiting for the virus to pass.
SCORE: How are you keeping in touch with your race team?
SC: For now via conference calls and whatsapp groups.
SCORE: Have you done or are planning to do any form of vehicle testing in the near future?
KM: Yes, we will be going out to our local desert soon to shake the cars down and do some clutch testing/shock tuning so the cars will be just sitting there ready to race when its “Go Time!”
SC: Yes, as soon as the government lifts the stay at home ban.
SCORE: Will you be submitting the application with the SBA for the payroll stimulus payroll?
KM: We will submit an application for our custom cabinet company because the construction business will slow down as more people decide to postpone their projects.
SC: For our workshop in Corona, we are evaluating that.
SCORE: Have you had a chance to play the new SCORE Baja Big Air Game yet on Apple Apps or Google Play? If so, how did you do?
KM: No, but our kids have and love it! They wanted to know why they couldn’t be us in the game though, LOL!
SC: Not yet, but I am definitely going to make the time to play it.
SCORE: How hard has the adjustment been for you to just sit and wait while the virus is eradicated?
KM: We have found many things to keep us busy while staying safe, but we are definitely missing racing, especially in Baja.
SC: Very hard, because we are not used to just sitting!
SCORE: What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time?
KM: While the gyms have been closed, we have taken up running outdoors when the weather permits and we purchased a treadmill for the rainy days. We also started doing a daily weight training routine in our living room that even our kids enjoy doing with us! To keep our mental focus sharp, we just stay active, eat healthy, take our vitamins/immunity boosters, and play brain-stimulating games with the kids. Occasionally we hide behind a door and jump out at each other to keep our reaction times strong, hahaha!
SC: Yes, every morning I try to do exercise and then I have to work at home, so we got that covered.
SCORE: What is your best race memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship?
WM: Being at the finish line to watch my wife take her first class win at the SCORE Baja 1000 (2019).
KM: My greatest memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship was getting my first class win at the SCORE Baja 1000, “Ironwoman” style! I had tried three times prior and nailed it on my fourth attempt. I’ve got my eye on that Overall UTV trophy for the SCORE Baja 1000 now!
SC: The SCORE Baja 400, because in the Pro Moto Unlimited class we had a great battle with the 1x (Justin Morgan). We ended up losing by less than a minute. It was an amazing race for us even though we didn’t win.
SCORE: Which SCORE Baja race is your most favorite and why?
WM: For me it is the SCORE San Felipe 250. Kristen and I have managed to take back to back wins at this event, I have won it three straight years now and I love the atmosphere in the town of San Felipe.
KM: I honestly love them all equally! The SCORE San Felipe 250 has a challenging, but short course compared to the other races in the series and the town has a great vibe. The SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 400 both have an awesome mix of terrain and even though they both start/finish in Ensenada they each have a uniqueness to their courses that leaves you longing for more. Which leads me to the SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of them all, it touches on the best of all three courses making it long and grueling, but for someone like myself that likes to put everything (body, mind, car, & crew) to the ultimate test, this is the one!
SC: The SCORE Baja 1000 because it is the most prestigious desert race in the world, and since it is also the one with the most miles you get to know better all the terrain and explore the beauty of Mexico’s magnificent Baja peninsula.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization. Mickey Thompson and his SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE in December of 2012.
The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja 500 as the popular summertime race will start for the 47th time there and finish for the 43rd time there.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
As part of their massive SCORE Contingency program for 2020, long-time SCORE sponsor partner BFGoodrich Tires is offering a large contingency bonus for each overall winner in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. For the 52nd annual SCORE Baja 500, the contingency bonus is US$25,000. BFGoodrich Tires is entering its 44th year as the Official Tire of SCORE and in 2020 the company will also be the title sponsor of both the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 and the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000.
Presenting sponsor of both of those iconic races will be 4 Wheel Parts.
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has now produced the tire of choice for 30 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 30 of the last 34 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 92 SCORE Baja races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500.
Here is the REVISED three-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship (as of April 3, 2020) schedule of events, for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
- BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, June 17-21, Ensenada, Mexico
- 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, Sept. 16-20, San Felipe, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.17-22, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Ensenada, Baja California
ABC TV AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will air on the ABC family of networks. The three-races air as one-hour specials on ABC TV’s World of X Games program with replays on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.