{Couples} Who Baja 1000 Collectively, Keep Collectively: Meet the Matlocks

marriage counseling

Illustration by Dilek BaykaraAutomobile and Driver

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

Kristen and Wayne Matlock have been divvying up their stuff. He was loading a set of wheels into his truck whereas she checked off an inventory of instruments that go to hers. The assist staff was cut up too: half Wayne’s, half Kristen’s. The Matlocks have been married 17 years, however they simply cannot share anymore. All marriages undergo tough patches, and the Matlocks had 1227 bumpy miles forward.

They have been getting ready for the 2021 Baja 1000, a famously difficult race with an extended course than common (it varies every year relying on situations and permits). Plus, the Matlocks’ common method of working equally outfitted Polaris side-by-side UTVs (so they might share spares) was out the window internet. Wayne was testing the most recent providing from Polaris, the just-released RZR Professional R, whereas Kristen was in her tried-and-true RZR XP 1000. For the 2022 season, they’d each be in Professional Rs, however for the 2021 Baja, no crossover.

Within the Baja 500 earlier within the 12 months, each buggies broke. Wayne’s was unfixable, however his co-driver hiked again three miles with a wheel hub off the wrecked automobile to present to Kristen, who completed fourth in her class. “This race, all of the elements are 100% completely different,” Wayne mentioned. “Even the wheels,” Kristen added. “Usually, we are able to no less than share wheels, however now he is 5 lug and I am 4 lug, so we even must hold these separate.” , the standard relationship issues.

Wayne grew up in a racing household; Kristen had by no means even thought-about it till they began courting in 2003. Throughout a break in race prep, they sat down to speak with me within the back-and-forth cadence of long-partnered people telling a well-recognized story. “I used to be racing once we met. I believe she rapidly received uninterested in sitting round and watching,” Wayne mentioned, grinning at Kristen. Wayne had purchased her a quad only for enjoyable rides, and in pushing herself to maintain up, she realized she loved the competitors and needed to race too. So she entered a neighborhood occasion, did effectively, and entered one other. “I might decide a sure individual out on the observe, simply to see if I may catch and cross them—every race, a brand new one that was a little bit bit sooner,” she mentioned. “I ended up with 5 girls’s championships on quads over a 10-year span. Needed to take a while off right here and there after I was pregnant with our youngsters.” Now 10 and 12, the Matlock boys additionally race.

So does it assist or damage to be in an all-race-car-driver household? “Nicely, we combat about various things,” Wayne mentioned. “You are not arguing about placing dishes within the dishwasher the mistaken approach. You are arguing over who selected what cam as a result of it went flat. And there is no person to be the voice of cause. We each need extra racing on a regular basis.” And naturally, they fear. One cause for working two automobiles somewhat than taking turns navigating for one another is to restrict the chance that they crash collectively. “Positive, I believe we fear a little bit greater than we’d if we have been sitting on the sofa,” Wayne mentioned. Kristen has her personal concern. “I fear he will cross me, as a result of he begins behind me,” she mentioned, illustrating another excuse for 2 automobiles: They each need the joys of wheeling it throughout the end line.

JASON STILGEBOUERAutomobile and Driver

Cams and crashes apart, they suppose racing collectively is a energy. No want to elucidate to a nonracing companion why you are up at 4 a.m. reviewing maps of Mexico. There is a morale increase in signing off radio communications with “Be protected, love you,” which, positive, you can get from a mechanic, nevertheless it’s simply not the identical. Over the subsequent two days, which have been one lengthy day, the Matlocks by no means noticed one another, however every knew precisely the place the opposite was, generally extra precisely than their very own location. It was a tricky race for each—33 hours for Wayne, almost 37 for Kristen—however even when miles of dust and twisting boojum timber separated them, they knew they weren’t racing alone.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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