The second stop of the World Off-Road Championship Series was held in Primm, Nevada with the pits just outside the Buffalo Bills casino.  The race course is laid out in the adjacent desert, which makes for a flat, fast and flowing course littered with sand whoops and sections of small rocks.  I’ve never done particularly well at the Primm venue and never considered myself and out and out sand rider, but my confidence was high and I was looking forward to a rough and hard fought battle in the desert.

            With out a motocross starting gate the procedure would be dead engine, which I usually don’t mind, but on the line my bike was being finicky and refused to start in gear.  My contingency plan was to start in neutral and then swiftly shift into second with my heel.  I love the few moments of dead silence preceding the start as everyone’s attention is intensely focused on the green flag, waiting for the slightest flicker of movement to release us onto the track in a thunderous roar.  The flag lifted and my bike lit first kick, but the time it took to hit the shift allowed most of the riders to get at least a wheel length on me up the start straight.  Heading into the first corner I was mid pack at best and I tried to cut the corner a little sharp in an effort to get underneath the pack and make a few passes.  As I leaned into the turn my rear end started to slide and I was heading to the ground.  In my mind I felt I could save it until a rider behind me, who had nowhere to go, smacked into my rear wheel and finished my crash off, sending both of us to the ground.  I picked myself up, got the bike going, and took off in last place.  On the first lap I was able to make quite a few quick passes, getting by the likes of Colton Haaker, Mark Samuels and Josh Strang, coming through scoring in eleventh.  I was behind Ross Neely as we turned onto the asphalt pit row and he was a bit too hasty getting on the throttle, sliding the back end sideways and going down; another position.  Bobby Garrison was just ten seconds up the track and I was pacing nearly identical to him coming through the pack.  A couple laps later we came up on Kailub Russell and as Garrison made it by I noticed Russell was struggling with his bike, slowing his pace; he was having trouble with his rear brakes, affording me the easy pass into ninth.  On the next lap, just after the pits, Brenden Ritzman went down hard after running as high as fifth, moving me up into eighth place.  It was a fast track and most of the top ten were running very close lap times, making it difficult to really make up any time on the riders ahead.  In the closing laps Bobby was still just around twelve seconds ahead of me and we were slowly reeling in Ryan Abbatoye, who was running sixth.  Bobby made it by and as the white flag flew I had a ten second gap to make up to try to get seventh place from Abbatoye.  I rode hard and was closing the gap, but ran out of time and crossed the checkered flag just a second behind him in eighth.

            Day two started with the blessing that my bike decided it would start in gear; I got the feeling it was going to be a good day.  As the green flag waved, my bike fired right away and I got off the line pretty decent, coming out of the first turn around eighth.  The weather was a bit windy, drying out the track a bit and making for some dust and in the chaos of a dusty first lap I had a pretty good back and forth battle with Kyle Summers.  I took some chances with the limited vision and made it by him, only for Kyle to do the same right back by me, carrying that momentum by Colton Haaker and Gary Sutherlin and into fifth.  As we started to settle in, Colton and Gary had made it back by Summers and I caught right up onto his rear wheel.  I had a good line entering a fast, whooped sand straight and accelerated right up next to him.  The moment my front end cleared his I leaned into him and pinched him off, claiming seventh for myself.  That next lap Colton went down just ahead of me and I pulled up on the back of Sutherlin.  I hounded him for a few corners and then accelerated by in a similar pass to the one I put on Kyle.  Around the halfway point Taylor Robert, who was out front, suffer some bike trouble and had to come into the pits, moving me up to fourth.  I had made it up to the back of Kailub Russell and started pressuring him for third.  He was riding well, but I was quicker and needed to quickly make the pass to claim position and distance myself from the pack.  I pulled the exact same move as I did on Kyle at the beginning of the race, accelerating up along his left side, and just as I cleared his wheel I pinched him off pretty hard.  It was a little sketchy as my right arm tagged his handlebar while we were both flat out in fourth gear over whoops and chop, but I made the pass and claimed third place for my own.  From there I was feeling good and had eyes for the leaders.  I was flying down another fourth gear straightaway when suddenly my bike just quit running.  For a moment I thought I had blown the motor up, but then I looked down and saw that the chain had been derailed.  It was such a random problem, as I must have clipped a rock just wrong for it to happen, but it happened all the same and I pulled off to the side of the track to try to get the chain back on and sorted.  Rolling the bike backwards didn’t work so I had to lay the bike on the ground in an attempt to realign the chain, all the while I’m watching bike after bike pass me.  Finally I got the chain on and got going in ninth; feeling pretty deflated about the situation, but quickly turning my attention to salvaging the race and pushing forward.  With the laps winding down I made by a fading Colton Haaker and caught right onto the back wheel of Abbatoye.  As we passed the white flag, Ryan was going nuts in a last lap attempt to keep me behind.  I had the pass lined up in my mind as I was going to do the same move I pulled on Kyle and Kailub, but before we got to that section I suffered a bit of a mishap.  Entering a silty right hand berm, Ryan’s acceleration blew the berm out and the dust cloud kept it hidden from me.  I came into the corner and lost the front end, in the process losing my chance of getting seventh.  I had to settle for another eighth on the weekend.

            To say I was bummed out would be putting it mildly; I’m finding the pace to podium, my fitness is there and this was my race to prove it, only to have it slip away to some bad luck.  It hurts, no doubt, but I proved a lot to myself and felt really good about my race.  Thanks to my sponsors, THR motorsports, Monster Energy, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki, Fox racing and Asterisk.  The bike was awesome on a fast and sketchy course and had the potential to podium and the pit crew did a great job all weekend.  A special thanks to my girlfriend, Katie, for letting me be mad when I needed it and calming me down when it was time.  Up next is the Adelanto Grand Prix at Racetown on the 18th and it should be a cracking event.   Looking forward to seeing everyone there and having a pimpin’ good time!



1. Mike Brown (3-1)
2. Justin Soulé (2-3)
3. Gary Sutherlin (4-2)
4. Bobby Garrison(6-4)
5. Kyle Summers (5-5)
6. Taylor Robert (1-14)
7. Ryan Abbatoye (7-7)
8. Robby Bell (8-8)
9. Colton Haaker (9-9)
10. Kailub Russell (14-6)

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