HONDA SMOKES NGPC | GLEN HELEN
If there is a round that every pro racer looks forward to, it is round four of the National Grand Prix Series hosted by the Prairie Dog MC at Glen Helen Raceway. The Glen Helen round is significant to the racers as it is the mecca for a training ground for all the race teams. Glen Helen Raceway offers rough conditions on most practice days, and with it being a high-speed track, the bumps form similar to what the racers endure on a Grand Prix-style race course. Heading into the open Pro race, KTMs Dante Oliveira is on a 2-round winning streak and has grabbed the points lead from early points leader Ryan Surratt. Oliveira tends to hunt down his competitors and walk away from everyone in class as he has done in years past. With the course getting an enormous amount of moisture through the days leading up to it, the Prairie Dogs could utilize almost every square inch the back ridges offer, making for one of the best Grand-Prix races to date.
PRO 450 CLASS
The open pro class did not disappoint when the gates dropped on round four. The class had a new height of seventeen pro-open motorcycles, with many new faces entering the series. When rounding the infamous first corner of the “Talladega,” JCR/Honda racer Ryan Surratt took the early lead, with Cole Martinez and Trevor Stewart on his heels. But it almost foreshadowed the rest of the day for the rest of the races; with Surratt opening up a ten-second cushion on the first lap, the podium positions were an open ball game.
Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki racer Zach Bell made early moves in the race, finding himself in the second spot in the early laps. Bell is coming off a significant injury and has been racing himself back into race form. Bell was racing in championship form the first two laps, trying to close the Surratt gap.
He was ultimately passed by a hard-charging Oliveira, who didn’t get off to the best of starts and was trying to track down the leaders in front. Oliveira quickly found himself around the Kawasaki of Bell and set his sights forward on the leader. More than halfway through the race, Surratt started to pull more time on the series points leader and champion. Every time Oliveira could get some free air, Surratt responded. When the checkered flag flew, JCR/Hondas Ryan Surratt took home the victory convincingly, winning by forty-eight seconds to second places Dante Oliveira.
With the Red Bull/ KTM racer coming in second, that opened the door for Zach Bell to grab his first podium in quite some time and put the Kawasaki on the podium. Rockstar Husqvarna racer had a silent day coming in fourth, with another Kawasaki racer, Tyler Lynn, in fifth. Unfortunately, championship contender and lead SLR/Honda racer Cole Martinez left the race early on with a significant knee injury, raising questions about whether he will return to the series.
TOP TEN PRO RESULTS:
- Ryan Surratt | JCR HONDA
- Dante Oliveira | FMF KTM
- Zach Bell | CHAPARRAL KAWASAKI
- Austin Walton | ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA
- Tyler Lynn | CHAPARRAL KAWASAKI
- Dalton Shirey | ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA
- Mateo Oliveira | FMF KTM
- Tallon LaFountaine | SLR HONDA
- Trevor Stewart | PURVINES YAMAHA
- Justin Hoeft | PURVINES YAMAHA
PRO 250 CLASS
If excitement could be described, the pro 250 class at round four should be the description. Though the first rounds have been nothing short of exciting, Glen Helen proved to be one of the best races we’ve seen. When the gate dropped, Purvines’ Yamaha racer Jack Simpson grabbed the hole shot and sprinted to the top of the field with twenty Pro 250s hounding after him. The opening laps were stacked with battles at the top of the class.
Simpson, Walker, and Alvarez were setting the pace and dropping the rest of the field. Only separated by a five-second bubble, Simpson withheld the pressures from the SLR/Honda of Walker and RPM/KTM of Alveraz, as the three were seen fighting for the lead over an hour into the race. Finally, as the three both took their pits, Walker could barely edge out Simpson and made the pass for the lead with three laps to go.
Once Walker got to the lead, he could stretch it to over fifteen seconds, giving him enough breathing room to pull away. When the checkered flag waved, SLR Hondas Kade Walker grabbed his third race win and closed the points gap to under eleven. Purvines Yamaha Jack Simpson was able to close the gap to fourteen seconds at the finish, grabbing second, and stayed consistent heading into round five of the series. J.P Alvarez and his RPM/KTM came in third and have established himself as a podium contender. In fourth was 3 Bros Hatch racer Kai Aiello with Gaingslinger Kawasaki Cole Zeller in fifth.
TOP TEN PRO 250 RESULTS:
- Kade Walker | SLR HONDA
- Jack Simpson | PURVINES YAMAHA
- JP Alvarez | RPM KTM
- Kai Aiello | 3BROTHERS HATCH HUSQVARNA
- Cole Zeller | GAINGSLINGER KAWASAKI
- Thomas Dunn | PURVINES YAMAHA
- Colton Aeck | 3BROTHERS HATCH KTM
- Clay Hengeveld | PURVINES YAMAHA
- Preston Campbell | JCR HONDA
- Ryder Patridge | YAMAHA
With the recent injury of series champion Brandy Richards out due to injury, it has opened the doors for the women to get their hands on the top step of the podium. Although, it won’t be easy, as Mikayla Nielson has found herself at the top step in the last two rounds. Nielson and her KTM 250 seem to have picked up where Richards left off and are doing a remarkable job doing so. Nielson was able to grab the hole shot and pull away from her competition, giving herself her second win in a row, and extending the points lead in the championship.
Though she never put enough pressure on Mikayla Nielson, GAS-GAS Three Brothers Racing racer Ava Silvestri salvaged a second place in class after dislocating her shoulder on Saturday; she was able to mustard together enough strength over the hour and a half and keep her name in the championship hunt. Returning to the series for the first time this year was the third place finisher Lauren Woods. Woods made a last-lap pass on RPM/KTMs Kaitlyn Jacobs and grabbed her first podium of the year after returning to the series.
PRO WOMEN RESULTS
- Mikayla Nielson | 3-BROTHERS KTM
- Ava Silvestri | 3-BROTHERS GAS GAS
- Lauren Woods | REZEN GAS GAS
- Kaitlyn Jacobs | RPM KTM
- Jessica Daniel | HUSQVARNA
If you missed round four or couldn’t attend, watch for the first time in NGPC racing the LIVE STREAM of the pro race. It is a two-hour show with a pre-race show included. Also, listen to what the riders had to say after the pro race, with the pro race interviews.
The next round will take place in three weeks at 29 Palms raceway, where the series will see a high-speed track filtered with rocks, sand, and a nice mix of hard-packed racing.