Photo Credit: UTVUnderground
Women are participating in off-road motorsports and UTV racing more than ever before — and helping to expand and diversify the industry. The Baja 500 and Baja 1000 is no exception. The demanding, dusty terrains are filled with female, mud-bogging, adrenaline-junkies. Winning is more than an objective — it is an obsession.
The drivers of the Baja 500 enjoyed another thrill this past June when they took part in a unique oval-lapping race in Ensenada, Mexico — about 90 miles south of San Diego.
GFG Competing in the Baja 500
The off-road race held in Baja California, Mexico, and is just one phase in the SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) series. The Baja 500 course is around 500 miles long that is formed of a loop that takes in the rugged Baja California peninsula.
The demanding course runs east to Lazardo Cardenas and south to Mike’s Sky Ranch, Rancho El Coyote, Meling Ranch, Valladares and then on to San Quintin. The course runs northward along the coast from Camalu towards Colonet — then heads inland to San Vicente, Santo Tomas and Urapan. The Baja has always been known as one of the most challenging races in the world. Just finishing the race is an impressive achievement.
In the world of Baja off-road racing, Kristen Matlock is known as the Iron Woman. She is a warrior, a contender, and races solo in both the Baja 500 and 1000.
Her passion for off-road racing and competing for over 20 consecutive hours comes from her willpower and her husband Wayne who introduced her to the UTV world. Born and raised in San Diego, Kristen started racing on quads before switching to UTVs in 2016. After winning the Baja 500 in 2020, Kristen finished 99th overall this year.
Go Fast Girls ambassador Jordan Price also raced this year in the Baja 500 and despite the DNF result, she gained a ton of invaluable knowledge for the race.
In a recent interview with UTVUnderground, Jordan stated, “The Baja 500 is always an extremely brutal race, but this year proved extra challenging for us. Beyond the obvious difficulties of racing south of the border, the silt and dust this year were horrendous causing all sorts of bottle neck issues. There was a lot of carnage right from the start of the race and trying to avoid it was a real challenge.
She added, "Unfortunately, we had engine issues all day resulting in us struggling on hill climbs and an inability to reach top speeds on the straightaways. It was bummer for whole the team to have to call the race due to mechanical issues, but it happens in racing, and we will get them fixed and come back stronger for the next one."
The 2021 schedule currently has four races on the schedule: San Felipe 250, Baja 500, Baja 400, and Baja 1000.
Preparing for the Baja 1000
The Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, is set to take place from November 17-22, 2021.
Both the start line and finish line will be in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. The coastal city of Ensenada is about 80 miles south of San Diego, California, and has been the starting point for most of the Baja 1000 races. The full course distance is reported to just under 900 miles.
The loop runs counterclockwise, traversing south from Ensenada along the west coast of the Baja California peninsula, navigates northeast in the center of the Baja Peninsula before heading southeast along the eastern coast of the peninsula. Traveling north takes racers through San Felipe before eventually heading west toward the finish line in Ensenada. Racers will navigate some of the most challenging quandaries in the desert off-roading world, while also running along the shores of the great Pacific Ocean.
Looking ahead, Go Fast Girls (GFG) ambassador, Jordan Price is setting her sights on the Baja 400 and then on to compete for the win at the Baja 1000 in November. Get dirty. Drive fast. Be the first to the checkered flag.