Couples Who Baja 1000 Together, Stay Together: Meet the Matlocks

Illustration by Dilek BaykaraCar and Driver

From the February/March 2022 problem of Car and Driver.

Kristen and Wayne Matlock had been divvying up their stuff. He was loading a set of wheels into his truck when she checked off a record of equipment that go to hers. The assistance group was split as well: half Wayne’s, fifty percent Kristen’s. The Matlocks have been married 17 yrs, but they just can’t share any more. All marriages go by means of rough patches, and the Matlocks experienced 1227 bumpy miles in advance.

They have been preparing for the 2021 Baja 1000, a famously demanding race with a lengthier class than common (it may differ each year depending on ailments and permits). Additionally, the Matlocks’ common solution of running likewise outfitted Polaris aspect-by-aspect UTVs (so they could share spares) was out the window internet. Wayne was screening the latest presenting from Polaris, the just-introduced RZR Pro R, whilst Kristen was in her attempted-and-real RZR XP 1000. For the 2022 season, they’d each be in Pro Rs, but for the 2021 Baja, no crossover.

In the Baja 500 previously in the year, both equally buggies broke. Wayne’s was unfixable, but his co-driver hiked again a few miles with a wheel hub off the wrecked automobile to give to Kristen, who concluded fourth in her course. “This race, all the areas are 100 % diverse,” Wayne mentioned. “Even the wheels,” Kristen added. “Normally, we can at least share wheels, but now he is five lug and I am four lug, so we even have to retain these independent.” You know, the usual marriage troubles.

JASON STILGEBOUERAutomobile and Driver

Wayne grew up in a racing family members Kristen experienced under no circumstances even thought of it until they started courting in 2003. During a split in race prep, they sat down to communicate with me in the again-and-forth cadence of extensive-partnered folks telling a acquainted tale. “I was racing when we fulfilled. I think she rapidly obtained worn out of sitting all over and viewing,” Wayne said, grinning at Kristen. Wayne experienced purchased her a quad just for enjoyment rides, and in pushing herself to hold up, she recognized she appreciated the level of competition and required to race too. So she entered a nearby function, did perfectly, and entered an additional. “I would select a certain man or woman out on the monitor, just to see if I could catch and pass them—each race, a new human being who was a minimal little bit quicker,” she stated. “I finished up with 5 women’s championships on quads in excess of a 10-calendar year span. Experienced to acquire some time off right here and there when I was expecting with our little ones.” Now 10 and 12, the Matlock boys also race.

So does it enable or hurt to be in an all-race-car or truck-driver household? “Well, we battle about distinct things,” Wayne claimed. “You happen to be not arguing about placing dishes in the dishwasher the incorrect way. You might be arguing in excess of who chose what cam mainly because it went flat. And you will find nobody to be the voice of rationale. We the two want far more racing all the time.” And of system, they fret. One particular motive for functioning two cars and trucks fairly than taking turns navigating for every other is to restrict the possibility that they crash collectively. “Confident, I feel we worry a very little extra than we would if we were being sitting on the sofa,” Wayne claimed. Kristen has her very own concern. “I fret he’s likely to move me, mainly because he starts off behind me,” she reported, illustrating a different motive for two cars and trucks: They both want the thrill of wheeling it across the complete line.


Cams and crashes aside, they imagine racing alongside one another is a energy. No need to demonstrate to a nonracing companion why you happen to be up at 4 a.m. examining maps of Mexico. There is certainly a morale increase in signing off radio communications with “Be protected, adore you,” which, guaranteed, you could get from a mechanic, but it truly is just not the identical. More than the next two times, which have been a person extended working day, the Matlocks by no means saw each individual other, but each individual realized just in which the other was, in some cases much more properly than their possess locale. It was a tricky race for both—33 hrs for Wayne, almost 37 for Kristen—but even when miles of dirt and twisting boojum trees divided them, they realized they were not racing on your own.

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