WORCS: Lake Havasu, Az.
This time it wasn’t just Jonny and I. I took Cooper out of school today (bad dad), so he could come over to the race with us. Charlotte and Kelsey (wife and daughter) will be driving over Sunday morning, so Kelsey doesn’t miss her volleyball tournament on Saturday. Coming into this race, I’ve been working on riding my sand track. For some reason this place has never been really good to me. I feel like I’m better prepared then the previous years so I’m hoping for the best. This is one of the toughest races of the year. They usually have a great turnout for this race, but the downfall is the course gets that much more hammered. It’s one of those places where you never get into last gear or can find any smooth ground to relax on. Havasu has a lot of little hills with car size sand whoops around the course. Sounds like fun! Today we have practice on the upper part of the course and that should be a lot of fun.
Today was pretty easy. I watched a lot of friends race and then it was time for me to get ready for my practice. One great thing about Havasu is that you can basically watch the whole race from the hillside. The course goes up and down all the little hills right in front of the pits. Basically all weekend it’s been full of spectators, and it’s by far the most I’ve ever seen at any WORCS race. The top 10 riders in points had practice at 1:20. Then after our 40 minutes it was the pro qualifier at 2:00 (for money and gate pick). My practice went pretty well and I feel pretty good about tomorrow. I just need to get a good start and ride a smart race. It’s going to be a long two hours and anything can happen. After practice I wanted to go watch the qualifier. Mike Alessi and Bret Metcalf really put on a great show and were never more then 4 seconds apart (for the 25-minute race). Mike won, then it was Bret right behind in second. Third went to Mikey Griffin, Matt Karlsen, and Dennis Stapleton to round out the top five.
This is one of those stories I really don’t like writing, so it’s going to be quickJ . I had a good starting position (5th in points) and knew I needed to get a great jump. Just about all the places we start at have a gate, but Havasu we take off when Sean Redish lifts the flag. If you take off too early they red flag it and whoever jumped the start would be starting backwards. We’ll I wasn’t even close to jumping the start. It seemed like I took off a second late. I didn’t get that great of a start (20th), but went under quite a few people in the first two corners. Now I was around 12th. Much better! I really felt good on the bike and a lot better then the last couple days. I made a few passes on the first lap and was probably around 8th. On the second lap I was a little impatient and was trying to make a pass on another rider. I was trying everything I could, but no luck. There was one section that was really sandy and dusty. I was in his dust and the front end knifed into a sand whoop and I went flying over the bars for my first soil sample of the day. When I got up I could see those little white flakes (stars) in my head. It took me a little bit to get going, but I was back off racing again. I got back into rhythm pretty quick and was passing a lot of the same guys I was before. On the next lap or two, I had a great battle going with Dennis Stapleton and Matt Karlsen. I finally got by them and another rider. Then it seemed about time to take another soil sample! This time I really don’t know what happened. I was coming off this little sand hill and then the bike threw me off after a big sand whoop. All the guys that I passed started to pass me again. I’m sure they were thinking this guy is a total spode! They were probably right. A couple of laps later, I passed most of them back and stopped for my first pit (45-minutes). The next 25-minutes were going pretty good and I was moving back up slowly. I was over the soil samples, which were all really dumb. I wasn’t riding over my head at all, but I was just having some bad luck. At the 1:20 mark I took another stupid fall (I know), but this time it was in the hard-pack stuff. The handlebar went right into my stomach and it took a little out of me. I could see both Dennis and Matt smiling in there helmets as they went by me for the 3rd time. This time I couldn’t believe how my day was going. I told myself to just ride a good pace and get some points. It was only a lap or two later when I had my first DNF and hopefully the last on the 450. I’m not sure what happened, but the motor just stopped. I’m pretty sure it was something really weird, since I’ve had such great luck with my bikes. I ended up having to walk back to the pits; not feeling to great. What a bad day of racing, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I guess the story wasn’t really that quick after all! I’ll be back next week and I feel like my luck is going to change for the better again!
1st Mike Alessi
2nd Bret Metcalf
3rd Ryan Hughes
4th Bobby Garrison
5th Lance Smail
6th Ricky Dietrich
7th Russell Pearson
I was sporting one of the coolest pit bikes at the race. The guys over at Red Baron tricked out my KLX110. I grew up with Alex McElyea (owner) and it’s great to see how far they’ve come. Now they also have their own Supermotard team with Alex, Steve Hatch, and David Pingree. You can check out there site at www.redbaronracing.net. I should be posting some photos of me playing around on the KLX110 on my site here soon. Kenny Jones took some great shots down by the lake.
I heard that there was some great racing up front. With Mike, Ricky Dietrich (who had to stop for a flat tire late in the race) Bret, Ryno, Lance, MK (then DNF’ed), and Bobby. I just wish I could’ve been part of that.
This race reminded me of the outdoor nationals. The pits were packed and now that almost all the major teams have big rigs, it’s pretty cool. It’s really great to see how far this series has come. I’d definitely say it’s one of the premier off road series now.
Semi pro rider Chris Johnson put in a great ride and finished 10th or 11th overall on his KX450. I’m pretty sure he’ll be moved up to the pro class here real soon, along with Justin Soule who finished second in the class. They’re both riding really well!
James Zomerdyke from Thor came out to give another WORCS race a try. I think he did really good and finished top five in his class. Not bad for a Honda rider. Jonny also raced on Saturday, but had a tougher time and finished just outside the top 10 in the 250F B class. You’ll get them next time Jonny!
The two riders that really surprised me the most were Mike and Bret. There’s know doubt they’re great MX/SX racers, but I wasn’t sure how they would be for 2 hours.
My chiropractor Dr. Fletcher raced his third WORCS race and seemed like he had a good time, besides a few soil samples. It’s really great to have him at the races to help all of us out.
This is always a big weekend in Havasu. With it being spring break and a WORCS race it was a busy weekend. I know Jonny enjoyed the sites!
My next race will be this weekend at the third round of the H&H series. It’s in Ocotillo, Ca. with a new club.
2006 Sponsors: Kawasaki Team Green, Thor, Dunlop, Pro Circuit, Scott Goggles, SIDI, HoyFox.com, Motion Pro, Pro Clean 1000, BRP, Works Connection, Shoei, CTI2, Red Baron, Maxima, Acerbis, Wiseco, Steahly, Trick Fuel, DP Pads, RK/Excel, Renthal, Bent, Hinson, American Racing Wheels, IMS, Jonre Multimedia, Twisten Wrenches, Cyto Sport, N-Style, GPR Stabilizers, Zip-Ty, Tire-Balls, Team Hawgracing.com, and ZLT.