The second round of the revitalized AMA Big 6 Gran Prix series came together this weekend at Honolulu Hills, near Taft California. This round was organized by the Dirt Diggers MC. Each race of the Big 6 series, which actually has eight rounds, is promoted and run by a different District 37 club, with a loose organization tying them together for consistent rules and structure. The series has become the most popular off-road motorcycle venue in California, with over 1600 entries at each round.
With renewed interest in the Pro class, spectators are also coming out, just to watch. The results of this round threw the early Pro points chase into chaos. Gary Sutherlin, who won the first round, was a no-show at Taft. That established Precision Concepts’ Robby Bell as a clear favorite. Bell won the WORCS race at the same location two weeks ago, where he topped Sutherlin decisively.
Blayne Thompson got the holeshot on a Zipty Racing Husky FC450 that he was racing for the very first time. For the first lap of the 8-mile course, Thompson was riding perfectly, but Bell eventually found an opening and took the lead, which he never surrendered. Throughout the next two hours, Bell stretched his advantage farther and farther, until he was almost a minute ahead of second place. For most of the race, that position was held by a very sick Justin Jones, who was riding his Hinson Honda CR450R despite a stomach bug. Justin’s former RPM Racing teammate Eric Yorba hounded Jones until passing for second late in the race. Then Yorba’s KTM 450XC promptly broke. That’s the second DNF for Yorba who is the current number one plate holder, making a repeat very unlikely. After that, it was Colton Udall’s turn to hunt down Jones–Colton is Jones’s current teammate in SCORE, and the two of them won the San Felipe 250 last week. Udall simply ran out of time and had to settle for third behind the visibly struggling Jones. Justin Seeds ran a solid race to finish fourth, while Thompson ran out of fuel and had to push his bike across the line in sixth, behind Ryan Reina.
The Big 6 Series points have Colton Udall and Justin Seeds out front with two races in the books. There are several conflicts between the Big 6 and WORCS, which might take Sutherlin, Bell and Jones out of the hunt at the end of the season, while Seeds is undecided which series he will run.