Joe Colombero
1/18/09: Phoenix, Arizona: While the Arizona Cardinals were winning their way into the Superbowl just a few miles away Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich was winning the opening round of the 2009 WORCS Series. Dietrich, who openly admits to having lost the 2008 WORCS Championship in last year’s opening round by showing up “unprepared” (he took 10th in the 2008 opener), was more than ready this year as he took the ’09 opener by more than a full minute over second place finisher Bobby Bonds and third place rider Nathan Woods.

Ricky Dietrich en route to victory

More than 1100 riders showed up for round one of the WORCS Series and almost 40 Pro1 entries lined the starting gate for the series opener. Among the many champions taking part were defending WORCS Champion Bobby Bonds, Endurocross Champion Ricky Dietrich, Hare & Hound Champion Destry Abbott, Baja Champion Kendall Norman, former Motocross Champion Mike Brown, Former Supercross Lites Champion Damon Huffman, and former 2-time WORCS Champion Nathan Woods. To say that the WORCS gate was packed with talent would be somewhat of an understatement.
When the gate dropped JCR Honda’s Tim Weigand took the Kal-Guard Holeshot check for an extra $500 in his pocket. Wiegand was followed across the line by Team FMF Suzuki Off Road’s Nathan Woods and Valli Motorsport’s Kyle Summers with Dietrich and Bonds close behind. Before the first lap was over Summers established himself in the lead and started to gap the field. Dietrich moved up into second and Wiegand settled into third as Woods dropped back to fifth battling with Bonds and KTM’s Justin Soule.

Kyle Summers led for an hour and a half

Team Valli Motorsports Bobby Bonds fought past Nathan Woods and into a second place finish.

Summers looked unstoppable for the first hour as he continued to pull away. “I’ve been training with Steve Hatch and I felt really strong. I think I got even stronger in the second hour,” said Summers later.  It did indeed look as though it was going to be a “Summers day” for Kyle as he led for the first hour and 30 minutes before his Honda began making unpleasant noises. Dietrich had been waiting and watching and quickly closed then passed Summers. Sadly, Summers machine didn’t last another lap and it began spewing oil and died on the back part of the course after one hour and 45 minutes of the two hour race. After leading for most of the day, Summers would be credited with 32nd place.

Team Green’s Destry Abbott battled in the lead pack for the entire event

JCR’s Timmy Weigand

Nathan Woods started the year with a third place finish

Meanwhile, Dietrich made his move and opened an enormous lead which would go unchallenged for the rest of the race. “I lost the WORCS Championship in last year’s opener,” said Dietrich. “This year, I’m in perfect shape and my Kawasaki is perfect so there’s no excuse not to win. I’m really happy to take the opener.”
Bonds fought his way into second while Woods finally relaxed and charged into third. Weigand put in a great ride to hold onto fourth ahead of Brown and Soule with Abbott taking seventh, Brenden Ritzman eighth, Huffman ninth and Bobby Garrison 10th. 

KTM’s Mike Brown came on strong late in the race

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