Wayne Matlock, Mark Spaeth and Wes Miller rode the new Honda TRX700XX to a very exciting victory in the Baja 500 on June 1, a 500-mile race that begins and ends in Ensenada, Mexico.
Matlock and his team completed the race in 10 hours, 10 minutes and 40 seconds, edging out the team of Javier Robles, Adolfo Arellano and Cesar Lopez on their Honda TRX450R by just 21 seconds. Danny Prather, Mike Cafro, Chad Prull and Levi Marana, also on a TRX700XX, finished eight minutes and 35 seconds behind the leaders in third place.
Though they did pick up the victory, the race was not without its challenges for Matlock, Spaeth and Miller.
“At one point I handed the bike over to Mark Spaeth and the (Robles/Arellano/Lopez) team was just mere seconds behind us,” Matlock tells ATV.com. “Mark was pushing really hard and came into a turn. There were some rain ruts that were about two to three feet deep and one of the tires got stuck into the rain rut and it hooked a hard right and hit a bush and flipped the quad over.
“He landed in a ditch upside down and he was pinned underneath the quad. It took him a while to get out from underneath the quad. He had to break a fencepost off an old barbwire fence and pry the quad out of the ditch. “
Despite the crash, the TRX700XX was still able to race. Only a hand guard and the radio communication were damaged.
Once Spaeth handed the quad back over to Matlock the team was over six minutes behind.
“I pinned it and I caught him in 100 miles flat,” says Matlock. “When I gave the bike to Wes Miller, he made up about two minutes on him in 68 miles.”
This was just Matlock’s second race on the TRX700XX and the first with all the necessary modifications for a long-distance competition.
“It was a pain in the butt to get everything done in time, because we had the bike a month and a half before the race and everybody had to basically manufacture one-off parts for us,” says Matlock.
Matlock says he was tuning the shocks and installing the gas tank the day before the race. He and his team were up until midnight working on the bike and had to get up again at 4 a.m.
To get the TRX700XX ready for the Baja 500, Matlock and his team added a 4.8-gallon IMS fuel tank, as well as Elka Elite long travel front and rear shocks, wheel spacers in the rear and Maxxis tires with Tire Balls.
Matlock says he is very happy with his new quad and loves the extra power. He got the TRX700XX up to 90 mph at one point during the race.
“It’s a good quad. Durability is outstanding,” says Matlock. “I think we’ve got about 3,000 miles on the bike so far. During the Baja 500 we didn’t have to put a wrench on the bike.”
Next up for Matlock is the TSCO Vegas to Reno race in the Best in the Desert Series. He says he’ll be running the TRX700XX exclusively for the rest of the year.