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Matlock Racing

Matlock Racing 2012 Baja 500 Race Report
Matlock Racing's Wayne Matlock, Wes Miller, Josh Caster, and Dofo Arellano finished 3rd
in the Open Pro Quad class in the 2012 Baja 500 after a grueling day of racing.

Matlock Racing's Wayne Matlock, Wes Miller, Josh Caster, and Dofo Arellano finished 3rd
The #1A Matlock Racing/Team Honda headed down to Baja one week before the race to begin pre-running each section of the course. Day one of pre-running started out good for Wayne and Wes but it did not take long for Baja to show its teeth. As Wayne was heading down Highway 3 to start his section he passed Josh Caster's chase truck on its way back to camp. They pulled over to let us know that Josh had gotten bad fuel and had blown his motor on his prerunner quad. After a brief discussion, Wayne told Josh to head back to camp and prep his wife Kristen’s race quad to use as a spare. The rest of pre-running went well without too much trouble, with each rider pre-running their sections numerous times throughout the week.

Friday was the last day of the two day period that you were allowed to prerun the start section of the race course.  Wayne woke up early to prerun the start once again and to take another look at the massive silt bed that was forming towards the end of this section. Once Wayne felt comfortable with his section the team put the finishing touches on the race quad to prepare it for the SCORE inspection at tech. This year tech seemed to be more crowded than in the past years. The flood of fans may be due to the new team member Dofo Arellano, who is a local from Baja with a huge fan base. Once the team made their way through the crowd and tech inspection they headed back to camp to do one more look over on the quad before the riders meeting.  After attending the SCORE riders meeting and with the race ready quad and chase trucks loaded, the team turned in to try and get some sleep before the race.

Race morning started off really well with confident riders feeling good about their sections.  The #1A Matlock Racing/Team Honda quad was the third quad to leave the start line. Wayne was off to a good start on the first 21 miles that is infamous for being full of booby traps and extreme dust and this year would be no exception.  At one point, Wayne commented how  surprised he was at how close he was to the quad in front of him without knowing it because the dust was too thick to see until he was right on the other quads rear bumper. At race mile 21, all the quads were coming through in the same order as they started.

Wayne handed the #1A Honda off to Dofo. The rider change was very quick and it was a good thing because with the thick dust the quads were stacked up pretty tight. With Dofo off and running, Wayne  jumped in the chase truck and head down to the Ojos Negros road crossing at race mile 39 to see Dofo come through. It did not take long for the lead quad team, #3A, to come through. Hot on their heels was the #2A Can-Am team, followed by the #5A Yamaha team. At that point, Dofo was missing and the team suspected that something must be wrong. After waiting for awhile, a few more quads passed by and finally Dofo.  He had come into an off camber turn a little too fast, went off the road, and flipped the quad pinning himself under it. He first yelled for help from the nearby spectators then he realized that they could not hear him nor see him. He managed to get out from under the quad. Once it was right side up he was able to get it fired up after about 20 kicks. The quad was flooded from being upside down. Now with the quad running and back on course he had some time to make up. He had fallen back to 6th place. Dofo rode smooth and fast for the rest of his ride to race mile 100 and managed to push through the dust to 4th overall quad. He handed the quad off to Josh Caster at Honda pit 2 a little over 8 minutes down from the #2A Can-Am team.

Caster would push hard up and over the rocky summit and down into the desert floor where the course would become very rough and the heat was over 100 degrees. Caster pushed hard to catch the leaders through Honda pits 4 and 5 and had managed to make up time on them and had passed the Can-Am due to a broken radiator. Somewhere after Honda pit 4 the extremes of Baja slowly started to eat away at Caster and he ended up with heat stroke. He started to get dizzy, stalled the quad in some rocks and while trying to restart it he started vomiting in his helmet.  Unable to start the quad while vomiting, he decided to take his helmet off and tried to cool down and get some strength back. After sitting there for a little while, the #102A quad pulled up to see if he was ok.  Josh asked him to please help start the quad for him so he could continue on to make the switch with Matlock. Once the gracious racer had restarted the quad for him, Josh was off with a steady pace and came into race mile 200, 24 minutes and 22 seconds off the #3A lead quad and 6th overall Quad.

Now it was Matlock’s turn to take over for his second ride of the day. He knew that he had a lot of time to make up, so he put his head down and took off with that in mind. He rode through the large sand whoops of the desert floor and up San Matias pass. At the top of San Matias he made the pass for 3rd place, and headed up the mountain to the pine forest of the Mike’s Sky Ranch loop. Over the Mike’s loop he knew that he could make up some time as he has been riding this section annually since he was 12 years old on family trips to Baja. His ride was going flawless all the way until the last few miles. About four miles from the end of Matlock’s ride he came around a corner to find an SUV going backwards on the course. He dodged that one and got hard on the throttle just in time to see another truck coming at him head on. With nowhere to go, he hit the front of the truck and crashed taking a tumble off the side of the quad. He was quick to hop back up, more frustrated than hurt. He jumped back on the quad and tried to get it fired back up. Amazingly, Matlock only slightly injured his wrist and the quad was not hurt at all. Back on the road he tried to push hard but was a little timid to push too hard around blind turns. He came into race mile 258 now only 15 minutes and 40 seconds off of the lead quad of the #5A Yamaha team. At this pit the team serviced the quad by changing two rear tires and an air filter. The team also had to check out the whole quad after Matlock’s head on with the truck.

After a 2 minute and 10 second pit, Wes Miller took off with a gap of 17 minutes and 50 seconds with one thing in mind and that was to make up time. Fortunately, we don’t have much to tell about him other than he did his job perfectly and had a flawless ride and was able to make time on the leaders. Miller did have to deal with a malfunctioning GPS.  The GPS is used as a speedometer for the highway sections.  On Highway 1, just south of San Vicente, Miller had to pace the TRX450 by the seat of his pants and hope not to exceed 60 MPH.  At a visual pit in Erendira, Miller notified his support crew that he would need to be paced or given a new GPS in Santo Tomas.  Once he cleared the beach section and pulled into Santo Tomas, they quickly changed the GPS and Miller was on his way down the highway to Urapan.  At race mile 370, Wes handed the quad off to Dofo for his last ride of the day.

Dofo took off on the rough and twisty section ready to redeem himself from his earlier wrestling match with the quad. He did not disappoint, when he came in at race mile 428 he was 15 minutes and 54 seconds off of the lead quad of the #5A Yamaha team. Now it was Matlock’s final ride into the finish, doing this section for the last 8 years he was pretty confident that he could make time on the leaders but he knew the gap he had was too great unless the leaders got lost or had a mechanical problem. Anything can happen in Baja, so he tried to lay it down. At the finish Matlock came in 14 minutes and 17 seconds behind the lead quad of the #5A Yamaha team and 10 minutes and 23 seconds behind the #3A team of Brandon Brown.

All in all it worked out pretty good considering the setbacks the team suffered throughout the day. The entire team did their best and pushed hard to make up time. We have regained the points lead going into the Baja 1000 and we have already started preparing and training so we will be ready to win.

We would like to thank all of the sponsors and people that stand behind us and support our racing efforts. As well as all of our chase people (wives, moms, dads, and good friends) who volunteer their time to come down and let us live out our dreams and race in this beautiful unforgiving place we call Baja.

American Honda, JCR, Maxxis, Elka, Vey's Powersports, Scott Goggles, Rich Morel Race Motors, Precision Concepts, Roll Design, Honda Oil and Chemicals, KZ Trailers, Fly Racing, Renthal, UNI, DWT, FMF, OMF, Tire Balls, Quad Tech, DID, Hinson, Precision Racing Products, Baja Designs, Motion Pro, UPP, Pro Armor, Go Pro, Alpinestars, Galfer, Lonestar, Web Cam, Works Connection, IMS, Rocky Mountain ATV, Kicker, Hammer Nutrition, H-Bomb Media

For more information on Matlock Racing please visit www.matlockracing‐honda.com


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