The National Grand Prix Series headed to the dusty deserts of Ridgecrest, California, for round eight of the ten-round series. Hosted by the Viewfinders MC, racers were provided an 8+ mile Grand Prix course that utilized city streets, parks, the local motocross track, a wide range of the natural desert, and even bypassing the local junkyard. If that wasn’t enough, spectators enjoyed the action of a secondary motocross track that saw riders in and out of the scoring area, providing entertainment all around.
The pro class provided one of the best races this year, Dante Oliveria put himself at the top of the box once again, but it wasn’t what we’d seen all year from the reigning champion. When the green flag flew, Purvines Yamaha Trevor Stewart grabbed the hole-shot and led the pack out on the high-speed rugged course. The first lap saw Stewart open up a 10-second cushion over Husqvarna’s Austin Walton, 3bros/Kilmartin Husqvarnas Justin Hoeft, and SLR Hondas Cole Martinez. As the pace increased at the top, Stewart would find himself crashing out of the race and handing the lead over to Walton; Walton looked to be putting in his laps and increasing his lead on the pack behind, opening up a 30-second lead at one point. SLR Hondas Cole Martinez was putting himself in podium contention; Martinez battled around Hoeft, solidifying himself in second. Hoeft began to shuffle back as the mid-race pace seemed to increase; he would fall back two positions as Factory Betas Dare Demartile and KTM’s Dante Oliveria would press forward. The drama would ensue again at the front of the back, seeing Walton running back to the pits for fuel; Walton had punctured his fuel tank and lost the fuel needed to get back to the pits and handed the lead over to Oliveria, as Martinez opted to pit for fuel.
The KTM rider put in a perfect lap that only increased his lead and gave him the time to pit and stay in the front. As the white flag flew, more drama for the final podium spots started to unfold. When the checkered flag flew, the Factory KTM rider, Dante Olivera, grabbed another win and added to his series points lead. As the SLR Honda team waited for Martinez, they noticed he wasn’t behind the KTM racer.
Unfortunately, the SLR Honda rider encountered his chain de-railing and had to remount his chain, where he’d lose countless positions and eventually crossed the line in 12th. Factory Betas Dare Demartile would eventually cross the line in second and 3bros/Kilmartin Husqvarnas Justin Hoeft in third.
Just as the podium seemed to be set in stone, the NGPC officials awarded Demartile a 2-minute penalty as he entered the pit lane improperly, costing him a podium position and placing him sixth on the day. Hoeft would move to the second-place position, and JCR Hondas recruit Ryan Surratt would complete the podium on the day.
The Pro 250 class also enjoyed exciting racing on the weekend’s fulfillment. Following his brother’s suit, Mateo Oliveria began his bid to add another win to his season. At the last round, the RPM/KTM rider saw his motorcycle forgo finishing and handing the victory to Kia Aiello. The first lap provided intense action, seeing Oliveria cut through the pack to get to the front. Gaingslinger Cole Zellar impressively lead the first lap of the hour and thirty-minute race. Zellar would forgo his lead to the hard-charging Oliveria but settled into second for more than half of the race.
As the race started to unfold, the battle for the final podium spots began to heat up. SLR Hondas Jack Simpson and Privateer Kawasaki rider JP Alveraz were in an intense fight pushing towards Zellar. The three would swap positions multiple times, with Alveraz pulling away from the duo of Simpson and early leader Zellar. Mateo would eventually finish first 250 and an impressive 8th overall, the privateer Alveraz in second and SLRs Simpson in third.
Brandy Richards was not shy to take top honors in the women’s pro division. Leading from start to finish, the KTM rider not only won her class but made her way into an impressive 33rd overall position besting some of the Pros. JCR rider Tarah Gieger rode consistently to a second-place finish and finished ahead of the Kilmartin/GasGas racer Ava Silvestri.
The next NGPC series will be hosted by the Prospectors M/C and will trek across the California/Arizona border to the city of Blythe at Shorty Sports MX.
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