2015 BIG 6 round 6


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October 3rd | Ridgecrest, CA

I had just flown in late the night before from Orlando after my wife, myself and two of our friends spent a week at Disneyworld, but I really enjoy the Ridgecrest round of the BIG 6 grand prix series and made it a point to attend. There were a lot of fast grand prix regulars who came out, and with a pretty full first row—as the 450 and 250 pros were both on the first line—plus a ton of water on the track to keep the dust down for the ninety minute pro race, a great start was a top priority.

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I was positioned on the far inside (left) of the starting line and was happy to get a great jump to avoid getting pinched off. A quick look to my right showed me that I was inside the top five heading into the first turn and after a few hectic first corners I was able to cement myself into fourth place. Jake Argubright was just ahead of me and I worked quickly to set him up for a pass. Through a double-apex, sweeping left-handed corner, which was slick after being freshly watered, I swept wide and then squared up underneath him, making a clean overtake and slotting into third.

Ryan Reina and my teammate Justin Seeds were ahead of me, but before I could make a charge on them I found myself being relegated to fourth place. The course turned down a sandy, fifth-gear, wide-open straightaway, and though I was tucked in, I heard a bike pulling up alongside me. Blayne Thompson had a great drive down the straight and was able to pass by me just before we entered the following right-handed sweeping corner.

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I didn’t even have a chance to make a retaliatory effort on Blayne, as just a few corners later Sean Collier had a great drive out of a right-hand turn and accelerated up my inside. I was forced to concede the position, dropping to fifth, as Blayne and Sean quickly moved their way into first and second and began to check out; apparently I didn’t get the memo that we were here to race.

A little over halfway through the first lap I had closed the gap on my teammate and began to push for a way by. As we both launched into the air over a tabletop on the motocross portion of the track I carried a little more speed and pulled just alongside of him as we landed. I stayed hard on the throttle as we entered a sweeping left-handed corner and was able to carry my momentum around the outside of Justin, making the pass for fourth place. I nearly gave the position back, as my clumsy left foot clicked my bike into neutral in the next turn, but I was able to recover and out-accelerate Justin down the next straightaway, cementing my hold on the fourth spot.

I had closed the gap on Ryan Reina early on into the second lap, and entering a right-hander, Ryan pushed a little wide. I saw the opportunity to make my move and dove to the inside of the corner. Ryan recovered from his wide line and tried to throttle back by me, but I had just enough of a run to push wide into his line and pinch him off into the next turn. I had finally made it back to third, but the two leaders were way out ahead of me at this point.

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It took me well over a lap, but I finally started to close the distance on Sean Collier, who had lost touch with Blayne, and on the fourth lap, I had caught up to his rear wheel. I was a little surprised, but also pretty stoked, to see Sean give me the wave-through as he laid up through a sweeping corner. I gave him a thumbs-up in return as I made my way by; now I could focus solely on putting a dent into the sizeable gap Blayne had opened up out front.

Blayne was flying, and for a time I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to catch him, but just before our pit stops—which would prove to be critical later in the race—I was finally starting to reel him in. After our pits I was within a few seconds, but Blayne is a fighter and actually pulled back away over the next half of the penultimate lap. I remained confident that his effort was going to wane and didn’t panic or take any risks to try to elevate my own pace. As the white flag came out, I had closed the gap once more, down to just a couple seconds, and was ready for a knockdown, drag-out brawl to the finish.

Blayne was pushing incredibly hard to try to pull back away, but he was beginning to make a few mistakes, blowing wide through a couple corners ahead of me, and I soon found myself right on his rear wheel. I was starting to line up an outside-in pass, but as we entered a left-handed corner at the end of a high-speed straight, Blayne blew way too wide and actually off the course. I held a tight line and made the pass, but was ready for retaliation to come quickly. I pushed really hard to open up a gap and was surprised not to hear Blayne behind me. I finally took a look back and didn’t see second place in sight; unfortunately Blayne had run out of gas and had to push his bike back to the pits to refuel and finish the race. From there I was able to put it on cruise mode for the remainder of the final lap and take the victory.

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The Viewfinders MC put on a great event at Ridgecrest, and I was very happy to be able to not only attend, but also take the win. I can’t say whether I would have been able to get the win had Blayne not run out of fuel, as he was going to fight like crazy to the finish, but it was definitely going to be one heck of a battle on the last lap and it was a bummer that we couldn’t see it through. I want to thank my supporters for continuing to give me the platform to race: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, Spy, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, FMF, BRP, RAD custom graphics, GoPro, A’ME grips, IWC motorsports, ATP mechanix, Northland motorsports, Rekluse, CryoHeat, and the MotoXerciser, and I also want to thank my mechanic, Phil, for building a fantastic bike.

Now it’s off to bed as I’m planning on sleeping my way through the next week in preparation for the 24 Hours of Glen Helen. I’ve heard there should be quite a few pro teams at this year’s event, which is amazing to think that there are so many other crazy people out there who want to torture themselves by racing at three in the morning on little to no sleep. It should be a great time!

Robby Bell

robbybellracing.com

Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports