Wayne Matlock San Felipe 250 Race Report

Wayne Matlock San Felipe 250 Race Report

“Black Rhino Performance Sponsored Athletes Wayne and Kristen Matlock Take Home the Overall UTV Win and 1st in Class and 1st in Class and 2nd Overall at the San Felipe 250”

By Wayne Matlock

4/17/18 El Cajon, CA – It’s been awhile since I have done one of these, to be honest it’s been awhile since I felt like writing one. Thankfully now I have something worth writing about.

I have been looking forward to this year’s San Felipe 250 for a long time now. San Felipe is known for being the roughest race there is hands down and I love it!!! It has always been my favorite race of the season. It is a race where you have to prerun like it’s your job. You have to nail every line and tie them all together like a perfectly choreographed dance that lasts for seven plus hours through the most unforgiving terrain imaginable. When done right, it is amazing, and you feel like you want it to go on forever. But when you step out of rhythm it will slam you down, kick you, and you just want it to end quickly.

On race morning I was up early because I wanted to go over Kristen’s car and my car one more time. I also wanted to put a new belt on both our cars, so we could start the race with a fresh belt. That is where the wheels started to come off the bus a little bit. After we put a fresh belt on my car I took it out to run it down the road just to make sure that everything was good, and I am glad I did because for some reason my clutch tuning was way off. I pulled back into the garage and jumped on the phone with Adam from Airdam clutches. I explained to him that something wasn’t right and that I needed him to help me fix it. He told me that what was happening did not make any since, but he told me what he would do to help fix it. So, with only 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at staging I was pulling my clutch and changing the weights. I made the change and went back out to test it. I pulled back into the garage and my crew could tell by my red face and the pissed off look that it did not go well. Now, with no time to spare and completely stressed out we were pulling the clutch off again. Once I got the clutch off I called Adam back to try and help me figure this mess out. Luckily, he did not pick up the phone because as soon as I hung up one of our crew members walked up to me with a belt in his hand. He asked me if this was the belt I just took off my car? I am now beyond stressed out and I looked at him with agitation on my face and said, “Is it hot?!”. He replied with a, “Yes, it is real hot.” With a smart ass reply I said, “Then I guess that is it then.” Well, my face went from smart ass to dumb ass real fast when he told me that he was holding a belt from an XP1000 and not an XP Turbo.

With this new bit of info, we quickly put everything back to the right settings along with the proper belt on the car. …and what do you know, it worked perfectly. With that out of the way we headed to the starting line.

For this race I opted for a rear start. I would normally not do this, but for San Felipe I was confident in my lines and I knew where I could make some passes. With the green flag in front of us, time starts to slow, it’s as if the seconds turn to minutes. Then the flag drops taking your heart with it and shoving it down into your stomach. After about five miles, everything seems to calm down and fall into place.

We started weaving our way through the cars that started in front of us. My co-driver, Daniel Pentium Felix, kept me on the right lines as we weaved through the desert tying them together like a perfectly timed dance. By mile 70 we had moved up from 23rd to 6th UTV and everything was working great. By around mile 85 we passed the 2966 of Rhys Millen (Official Fan Page) and that put us first UTV on the road. We kept our pace up all the way to our first pit at race mile 144 where we pulled in for fuel. After we left the pit they informed us that we were the first UTV on the road. About five minutes later they radioed us and said that the second car had just cleared the pit.

With a comfortable lead Danny and I just tried to hold a steady pace and not beat on the car too much. We passed our next pit at race mile 192 still holding down the number one spot. Again, after we passed they radioed us to inform us we had over six minutes on the next UTV. Around mile 214 the car was feeling sluggish in a sand wash, I kept pushing forward chalking it up to the deep sand. After a couple of miles of this I pulled over to have Danny check out the tires, sure enough we had been dragging a flat through the tight sand wash. He was lightning quick at the tire change and we were moving forward in no time.

The next section was Matomi wash, definitely one of my favorites. We were hitting all of our lines perfectly picking our way through the tight and technical sand wash. About half way through I felt the belt start to go. I told Danny to get ready and to change the belt. He was on it, he had everything in hand before I pulled over. He had the belt swapped out and back in the car in about three minutes. We kept pushing all the way to our next fuel stop at race mile 284.

This is where things get interesting!!! As we pulled in Danny told the crew that we needed a tire on the rack and only one can of fuel to get us to the finish line 38 miles up the course. Our pit was flawless, and we were in and out of the pit in 21 seconds. As we left we asked for them to give us a time split when second place came by. They radioed us back informing us that we were 5:32 behind the 2977 Can Am of Chapo Racing. I was blown away and pissed off at the same time. At our last pit at race mile 192 the Can Am was over six minutes behind us and it was also behind Kristen as well. Neither one of us ever got passed by him and now he was 5:32 in front of us, to say I was pissed would be an understatement. Then to make matters worse I had not realized that this whole time Kristen was sneaking up on me. I was only two miles out of the pit when we heard on the radio that she was pulling in.

After hearing all this news, I was super excited that Kristen was right there with us, but I was also super pissed off that I was behind to someone that obviously cut the course. I put the hammer down and we went from conserving our lead and the car to I don’t give a crap about anything except beating Chapo Racing to the finish line. We were pinned everywhere, through the whoops through the rocks, I did not give a crap about anything except beating him!!!

After pushing as hard as we could for the last 38 miles of the race we pulled up behind the 2977 Can Am knowing we left it all on the track and we gave it everything we had. Bud from SCORE ran up to us and told us before we pulled up on the podium to inform us that we won by 41 seconds. Then he informed me that Kristen was almost in and she might have kicked my ass. I was really happy that we beat Chapo and super happy for Kristen and her performance.

After it was all said and done, Danny and I walked away with the Overall UTV win and 1st in class, Kristen walked away with 1st in class and 2nd Overall beating out all the Turbo cars but one in her Naturally Aspirated Polaris RZR. I am so proud of her and our entire team’s effort. Everyone put in a lot of hard work to make this happen. And now we start all over again for the Baja 500, can’t wait!!!