WORCS round 6

Robby-Bell-2840

Pala, CA

July 14th, 2013

After a short summer break, the WORCS series picked back up as we headed to Pala, CA for the sixth round of the year. I instantly felt comfortable with the terrain, which was comprised of a fast and rocky off-road section, and plenty of jumps on the combined motocross tracks. During Saturday’s practice I was happy to see that Bobby Garrison was feeling good as well. Bob had been struggling with some back issues throughout most of the year so seeing him flying again was a great sight, though it would make my job tougher come Sunday.

As always, a good starts would be crucial; it was destined to be dusty in the back sections so getting up front, into clean air, would be incredibly important for energy conservation and being able to run an unimpaired pace.

Unfortunately I experienced the polar opposite of a good start.

The green flag flew and I kicked my bike with force, but to no avail. A second kick was also fruitless. Three kicks and still my motor lay dormant. Now I was kicking feverishly: four, five, six kicks. I tried to find neutral, but only succeeded in shifting to second gear; maybe it’ll fire in second…

Or maybe not…

Four kicks later, I finally calmed down enough to find neutral and after a couple more throws of my leg, the bike finally fired. I had a little bit of work to do.

I quickly caught the pack and made a few passes, only to drop the bike for a moment as I lost my balance in some slow-speed rocks. I lost a couple positions in my error, but I quickly sorted myself out and set to the task of getting to the front as quickly as possible. The dust was definitely making for challenging conditions, and after suffering a few near crashes (the result of hitting a rock I couldn’t see), I had tightened up a little bit; I was fighting the terrain rather than flowing with it. Some clean air was what I needed, and after making my way into third position past Ty Tremaine, I finally found a bit. Bobby was a ways out front, almost a minute actually, and Justin Jones wasn’t too far behind him in second, so I needed to find my pace quickly if I had any aspirations of winning on this day.

Justin was flying, but I had a little more speed in the rock sections and after a couple laps I had made contact with him. He knew I was there as well; suddenly his body position became more aggressive as we hit the motocross section and his corner-speed was impressive. I was pushing myself to get up the inside of him, but I really didn’t have a chance at making a pass in the moto as he was riding flawlessly. I had semi-resigned myself to forcing a sketchy pass in the off-road portion when I was handed a gift. There was a slow-speed section of dirt mounds with multiple lines that we had to navigate and Justin hadn’t seen the quicker entry line that had developed. He went wide and I was able to take my normal line to the inside and pass him in the mounds.

Robby-Bell-3003

I finally had clear track between Bobby and myself, but he was still quite a ways out in front. With a clear track I worked to elevate my pace and slowly began to reel him in. By the hour mark I had his lead down close to twenty seconds and was beginning to feel confident I could shrink the rest of his gap, but the next lap he suddenly answered and pulled back away slightly. I hung it out the next lap and reeled him in again, but the following lap he answered yet again. It seemed we were in a battle of lap times, both of us pushing ourselves harder and harder.

With about thirty minutes to go I knew I had a good lap going, the kind of lap that was going to make up a handful of seconds, but in the dirt-pile section I lost my balance and fell over. I had probably lost four or five seconds in the tip-over, but I hadn’t lost any time to Bobby; I knew I had the speed, if only I could pull a little more out. I threw a bit of caution to the wind the following lap as time was winding down and I needed to make something happen. I felt I had yet another good lap going and I was pushing it through the rocky corners without reserve when finally, I found my limit.

I was leaned over just a bit too far and my front tire clipped a rock at too much of an angle, forcing my front end out from underneath me and I hit the ground. I rushed to get back up, but my bike had stalled and after the time it took to get going, Bobby had pulled out over forty seconds me.

Robby-Bell-3032

I tried to find my previous pace, if for no other reason than to keep him honest with only a couple laps to go, but truth be told I had hit my limit and backed my pace down to the finish as I crossed the checkered flag in second place.

I was little disappointed not to get the win, sure, but to be honest I was really happy to see Bobby pushing the pace and showing the speed we all know he’s capable of. It was a lot of fun racing him as we challenged each other, lap after lap, to push the pace higher and higher. I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for their continued support: Precision Concepts, Alamo Alarms, Fox Racing, USWE Hydration Systems, PODmx knee braces, THR Motorsports, Northland Motorsports and Ryan Abbatoye Designs for making some RAD graphics. I want to congratulate the WORCS crew on a well-run event and Timmy Shellman for a successful first go as director of operations (next time I want to see you on a dirt bike breaking in those pro sections; I’ll be there camera in hand). From here I’m looking forward to the Glen Helen round of WORCS and I hope to see everyone there!

Robby Bell

www.robbybellracing.com

Thank you to all the Precision Concepts, Alamo Alarm Kawasaki team sponsors: FMF Exhaust, GPR Stabilizers, IMS Racing, BRP Triple Clamps, AME Grips, Kalgard Oils/Lubricants, Ryan Abbatoye Designs, AP Brakes, LAPC Pistons, Renthal Handlebars/Sprockets, Dunlop Tires, VP Racing Fuels, DT1 Air Filters, K&N Oil Filters, Hinson, Matrix Concepts, RK/Excel, Acerbis, Works Connection, Zip-Ty Racing, SealSavers, Baja Designs.