2015 WORCS round 8


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2015 WORCS round eight | September 27th | Glen Helen, CA

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Coming in to the penultimate round of the championship, I knew I had a pretty good chance of clinching the 2015 WORCS title, but that wasn’t my main priority. After the crash I suffered a couple months prior, where I fractured my jaw and grenaded nine teeth out the front of my face, I wanted to prove to myself that I was beginning to find my form once again; plus, I try not to live life scared of the what-ifs and fearful from past traumas (easier said than done at times, trust me). So with that in mind, my main focus as I lined up at Glen Helen was to find the confidence I’d built earlier in the season and compete for the race win. I’ve also been a bit bummed that I haven’t been able to tally a win at what I consider my home track of the WORCS circuit, so I very much wanted to change that as well.

The starting gate was loaded for the pro motorcycle main event and the revs began to build as we awaited the slightest flicker of movement to release us onto the racecourse. The gate fell to the floor and I dropped the clutch, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to pop off the line very well; I was instantly pinched by riders on my left and right.

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As we rounded the infamous Talladega first turn I was back around tenth position, but through an inside line in the second corner (and an ill-timed loss of traction from my teammate Justin Seeds a few positions ahead of me) I was able to make a few passes and found myself slotting in to seventh place.

Much of the early part of the course was tight and single-file, so making any progress through the field was stifled, but I was gifted a position as the course began to open up when Jeff Loop fell at the top of an uphill. Not far beyond that, I was right behind Jake Argubright as we neared a tight downhill drop-off. Jake went a little wide through an “S” section just before the course narrowed and I was able to straighten the section out, throttling by and into fourth place.

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Near the end of the first lap the racecourse navigated through a “fire pit” section of Glen Helen’s Endurocross track; this section proved to be a thorn in many a racer’s side on the day, including mine. I was pretty close to Eric Yorba as we entered the section—a forty-foot stretch filled with loose logs of differing sizes—but I quickly lost my balance and fell over. I tried to get up quickly, but finding a solid platform for my feet proved difficult and in my haste to get through the section without losing too much time, I tried to accelerate before I had regained my balance and fell once more. By the time I made it out of the log pit I had lost two positions and what seemed like a minute to the leaders. I got back going in sixth place with quite a bit of work to do.

I caught back up to Jake just before the finish of the first lap and was able to sweep around the outside of him through a right-handed corner, though truth-be-told, he was a little nice to me as he could have accelerated and pushed me wide, or off the course. After getting by Jake I quickly found the rear wheel of Travis Coy and started to apply some pressure. We made a sweeping left-hand turn before heading up the multi-tiered “Yamaha” uphill and I pulled to Travis’s right side, hoping to accelerate up alongside and control the inside of the next corner. I did my best to soak up each step of the uphill, pushing to keep my bike on the ground and accelerating, and as we reached the top I had made up just enough ground to force my way to Travis’s inside, taking fourth place for my own.

It took a couple more laps for me to get up somewhat close to Eric Yorba, who was running third, but once I did he gave me the ultimate gift when he fell in a corner, allowing me an easy pass into third place.

For much of the remainder of the race I felt I was going to have to settle for third place; Gary Sutherlin got out front early and he was absolutely checked out in the lead, and Justin Jones was maintaining a very fast pace in second. I didn’t let myself get discouraged by the gap ahead of me; I kept clicking off consistent lap times, and with just a couple laps to go I had finally succeeded in closing the distance to Jones. Catching Justin was barely half the battle though, as he always shows a ton of heart and drive to fight for his position.

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I first tried to push past Justin up Mount St. Helens, but wasn’t able to get close enough. I then tried to pull the same maneuver I used against Travis Coy, but to no avail as Justin maintained a great drive up “Yamaha” hill. The white flag was coming out the next lap and Justin’s determination was growing as we neared the conclusion of the race, but as we pushed down the “Mount Whitney” downhill I was able to set up a little wider than Justin as we entered the following left-handed turn. Justin went a little wide in the corner and I saw my opening to accelerate up the inside of him, taking control of the main line and moving into second place.

I rode pretty ballistic over the next half of a lap or so to keep Jones from retaliating, and once I was able to open up a gap, about halfway through the final lap of the race, I finally let it cross my mind that I was going to win the WORCS championship. Gary was way out in front, and he rode a fantastic race to take the win, but I was very happy with how I rode through the pack and elated as I crossed the finish line in second place on the day, which was good enough for me to clinch the 2015 WORCS title.

There are so many people to thank for making my second WORCS championship possible: definitely my wife for continuing to help me through one of my most emotionally challenging injuries I’ve faced, my family for their unconditional support, and all of my friends and fans for helping to provide the drive for me to continue to do what I love. I want to thank 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 for supporting me this year and helping make this accomplishment possible and I also want to thank my mechanic Phil Valdez for the amount of pride he takes in building a flawless machine week after week.

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It’s definitely a bummer that Gary and Justin got hurt this year, and a few other competitors suffered some bad luck—either experiencing a DNF, or missing a round or two—as it would have made the title chase more exciting coming down to the wire, but with the championship decided, I’m looking forward to heading to Primm and really expressing myself on the track. I want to end this year on a high and get back to the form I had earlier in the season (minus the crashes of course) and get back to winning ways.

On a side note, you know how most Superbowl, or championship, winners are asked what they’re going to do next, and they say, “I’m going to Disneyworld”? Well I’m actually on a plane to Disneyworld as I write this, so I guess it really does happen! See you at Primm!

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