2016 BIG 6 round 1

January 17, 2016 | Adelanto, CA
Photos courtesy of Trystan Guard

I was coming off a good performance at the WORCS season opener the week before and definitely wanted to continue that momentum into the Adelanto Grand Prix, which doubled as the 2016 BIG 6 GP Championship series opener. I also had memories of how I struggled at this event the year before and wanted a bit of personal retribution.

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The start procedure was motocross-style (in gear, ready to go) to a green-light release, a start procedure of which I’ve never personally been a huge fan for whatever reason, and when the green light burst to life I was a little slow to react. I also popped a bit of a wheelie on the asphalt, which hindered my power delivery as I accelerated off the line, and I quickly found myself pinched off and toward the rear of the field.

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Through the first few turns I was just around the edge of the top fifteen with a lot of work to do to get to the front. It was chaotic early on, with riders, sand and roost flying all over the place, and I kept myself calm, making sure I didn’t make any mistakes or come together with anyone through the opening corners. I remember making an early pass on Justin Jones (who also had a bad start), but he was quick to retaliate, and I could see from his body language that he had plans of charging hard to the front so I decided to ride his coattails as he began to slice his way through the field.

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I stayed right on JJ’s wheel throughout the first lap as he drug me along with him into the top ten. We were gifted a couple spots—in unfortunate fashion—when my teammate Justin Seeds, and Ox Motorsports’ Colton Udall both suffered falls on the first lap, and we continued to kick on toward the edge of the top five. Coming into the endurocross section at the close of the first lap Jones was still right ahead of me; we had made our way up to fifth and sixth place, respectively, and I felt it was time to see if I could push by JJ and continue toward the podium.

I often-times joke with Justin that he always goes the extra mile to make sure I catch some cool footage on my GoPro by doing something exciting in front of me, and he didn’t disappoint as he nearly looped out/ghost-rode his bike out of the chopped wood section. Fortunately for him, he was able to stay on the bike, but he opened the door for me to make the pass and I was quick to oblige, moving into fifth place at the end of lap one.

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Eric Yorba was in fourth, and riding really well as it took me most of the second lap to get close enough to make a move. We were both in fifth gear, nearly wide-open down a winding, choppy straightaway, and I was finally able to close the distance toward the end of the straight. I held the throttle on just a little longer than Eric and carried more momentum around his outside into the following corner, taking fourth place.

Jeff Loop was running third and I needed to make up the distance quickly as Blayne Thompson and Dalton Shirey had opened up a decent gap out front, but toward the end of the second lap I noticed my rear brake was beginning to fade quite a bit, which was odd because I rarely, if ever, have issues with brakes. It took me a bit of the time to adjust my riding; it’s not like you need the power of the rear brake, but dragging it slightly entering choppy corners really helps to settle the back end of the bike, so my entry-speed into the corners wasn’t as good, or as smooth, as I wanted.

Halfway through the third lap I was able to narrow the gap to Jeff Loop and coming into a ninety-degree left-hander I dove inside, taking Jeff’s line away and taking third spot along with it. I kept charging forward, catching up to within a few seconds of Dalton over the next couple laps, but I was using a lot of energy to push that pace with the rear brake issue and I honestly didn’t want to continue taking the risk of pushing that pace as I began to tire, so I settled into a good, but safe pace and crossed the line in third place.

Third definitely wasn’t what I had my sights on at the beginning of the weekend, but I was happy with my performance, and to recover from such a poor start to make it to the podium. I want to thank all of my personal supporters: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, 100%, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, BRP, RAD custom graphics, GoPro, A’ME grips, IWC motorsports, ATP mechanix, Rekluse, CryoHeat, and the MotoXerciser, the whole team, my mechanic Phil, and all of our team supporters for their work to continue to improve our program.

I’m looking forward to rebounding at Primm WORCS in a couple weeks’ time; I’ve had some good performances there in recent times and typically enjoy the flow that the Nevada desert offers. I do want to congratulate Blayne Thompson on taking the win and Dalton Shirey for the well-earned second. I had a feeling after the WORCS series opener that there were going to be quite a few riders pushing for wins and podiums this year and I’m sure these will be just the first of many for Blayne and Dalton.

Robby Bell

robbybellracing.com

Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, Precision Concepts, Maxxis tires, FMF exhaust, Maxima USA, Renthal, Dubya USA, Acerbis, Matrix Concepts, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel America, ARC levers, DT1 filters, RAD custom graphics, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Next Components, Rigid Industries.