2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride

All image from screen captures.
2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
All image from screen captures.

Of the UTV teams that competed at this year’s SCORE Baja 1000, the teams driving Polaris RZR UTVs were absolutely dominant.  There were 35 UTVs in this year’s race, the first group of which began to cross the finish line in right about 22 hours.  The overall competition was a dramatic run over 1000 kilometers between Wayne Matlock and Rhys Miller. Not only was the race full of chills and spills, it was also a competition for the history books.

 

History Is Made at 2016 SCORE Baja 1000

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
Kristen Matlock became the first woman to solo in a four wheel vehicle at the Baja 1000.

You’d be technically correct in saying that history is made every year at the Baja 1000. Someone wins in each class, and those names are entered into the history books. However, it is rare for there to be historic firsts in the race. For example, not too long ago we had a historic first when a young lady became the first woman to compete in a tandem vehicle. We had another first this year, another big annotation for the off-road racing history books: This year marks the first Baja 100 race in which a solo female driver competed in the event. Even more inspiring is the fact that by Mile 119, Kristin had passed at least 15 Turbo-UTVs to be in fourth place overall in the UTV category; and she was driving a normally-aspirated Polaris RZR UTV. Kristen ended up in second place and third overall. Congratulations to Kristen Matlock!

 

Mechanical Issues Take First Overall from Wayne Matlock

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
Wayne Matlock’s right front upper arm snaps, ending his chance at a first overall victory.

Wayne Matlock spent approximately the first 825 miles as the first overall UTV. He was about three miles ahead of his closest competitor, the Rhys Millen team. Matlock hit a soft spot in the course with his wheels turned the wrong way and ended up losing the right front wheel on his machine. Amazingly, he was still able to limp his UTV the last 15 miles on three wheels to finish the race.

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
Rhys Millen’s co-driver Stephan Verdier passes Matlock 15 miles from the finish.

Rhys Millen, co-driver of the overall UTV winning vehicle, said during interviews that the driveline on his UTV was “100% stock Polaris RZR: and that’s a testament to the machine.” Co-driver Stephan Verdier got behind the wheel for the second half of the race after Millen was able to come from the back of the UTV field to run in second overall for the vast majority of the race. Even with the missing right front, Matlock was able to take second place in the Turbo UTV Class.

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
The Millen-Verdier team celebrate their first place and first overall in UTVs.

This was an outstanding Baja 1000 race for the Polaris RZR racing family, sweeping the podium in all three UTV classes. Check out the photo above for the finish results in the UTV Classes. Again, shout out to Kristen Matlock for an awesome performance, coming in third overall and being the first woman to solo the Baja 1000!

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
The Schueler/Vanderliew/Guthries team celebrates their third place finish in Pro Turbo UTV Class.

 

2016 Baja 1000 is a Wild Ride
Brandon Sims celebrates his victory in the Pro Normally-Aspirated UTV category.

Enjoy the image gallery below of aerial shots taken at various spots around the course.

About Mike Aguilar 202 Articles
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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