Irvine, Calif. – In the heat of the high desert, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Bobby Garrison was able to overcome the elements on his KX™450F to take his second World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) win in Round 6 at Racetown 395 in Adelanto, Calif. Garrison set himself up for the overall after finishing third on Saturday and sealed the deal with a win on Sunday. Justin Soulé battled upfront all weekend, finishing 4-3 for third overall. Current points leader Taylor Robert finished fourth overall with a 1-8 moto score. Completing a Kawasaki podium sweep was Kawasaki privateer Robby Bell who went 2-2 for second overall.
With his wedding only one week away, most would think Garrison would be pre-occupied, but he was concentrating on one thing, winning. On Saturday, Garrison was shuffled back on the start and had to make his way to the front. He battled up to fourth place and was able to overtake third with only a few laps remaining. On Sunday, Garrison knew he needed a strong start if he wanted to get the win. He got a good jump and made a pass for the lead three corners in. Garrison held the lead for most of the first lap before dropping to second. With two-thirds of the 90-minute moto complete, the leader was forced to pit, allowing Garrison to inherit the lead which he held until the checkers.
“I’ve been trying to win here for a long time,” said Garrison. “The track was really dusty on Saturday and was really hard to make passes. I made a few mistakes and just had to play catch-up the whole race. Sunday, the plan was to push hard at the beginning and lead going into the off-road section, but Taylor (Robert) was pushing real hard. I just kept charging and looking ahead when Taylor pit. When the white flag came out I saw +40 on my pit board so I was able to dial it back and cruise to the win.”
After a podium finish two weeks ago at the opening round of the AMA Endurocross series, Soulé was looking to prove he could podium again at WORCS as well. Hailing from Victorville, Calif., Racetown 395 is a short drive from where Soulé lives and trains. On Saturday, he came around the first corner in seventh and quickly sprinted to catch the leaders. He made his way into third, but was passed by his hard-charging teammate Garrison late in the race, and finished fourth. Sunday, Soulé didn’t get the best jump off the gate, but was able to quickly make his way into fifth. He used his skills in the endurocross section to pass into fourth and after the leader dropped out of the race, Soulé jumped into third, giving him third on the day, third overall, and third in the points standings.
“I’m really happy with how the weekend went,” said Soulé. “I was able to get up front pretty quick and ran third for most of the 60-minutes until Bobby (Garrison) got by. Sunday, I made some really quick moves and all of us in the lead pack were really close. With two laps to go, I put on a charge to catch second, but couldn’t quite close the gap. Endurocross is my main focus right now so I’m pumped that I’m here on the podium at WORCS as well.”
Robert has been extremely consistent this WORCS season and was coming off back-to-back wins leading up to Racetown 395. Robert ripped a huge holeshot on Saturday and ran the entire 60-minute plus a lap moto without a single threat. Being out front, he didn’t have to deal with the dusty conditions and cruised to take the win by more than 30-seconds. On Sunday, Robert was hoping to do much of the same. He grabbed another holeshot, but was passed a few corners later by his teammate. By the time they exited the off-road section, Robert had made his way back into the lead and started opening a small gap. The gap stayed consistent until he came into the pits. Robert went back out and secured eighth place to hold the points lead in the championship.
“I felt really good this weekend,” said Robert. “Saturday, I got the holeshot and was able to ride my own race and stay out front. I really like this track, it’s high-speed and sandy, and you have to stand up a lot. I felt awesome coming into Sunday, grabbed another holeshot and battled with Bobby (Garrison) the first lap. I tried to push hard and build a gap. I was able to get about 10-seconds between us. Then I came into the pit and realized something was wrong. I’m doing my homework and winning races, so I’ll just keep doing my thing. We’ve got endurocross next, so I’ll jump back onto my KX™250F and look to get a podium there.”
For the second straight WORCS round, the Kawasaki KX450F has been uncontested, sweeping the podium. At Racetown 395, Kawasaki privateer Bell rode two great races, pressuring for the lead on Saturday and fighting for the full 90-minutes on Sunday for a 2-2 result. Bell’s second overall marks the best finish of his career and his first ever podium at WORCS.
After Saturday’s moto, many of the riders complained about how severe the dust was in the off-road section. Visibility was so bad that riders had to guess where the course went because they could hardly see past their front fender. On Sunday, the WORCS track crew made an extra effort to get water to the far parts of the off-road section, which made all the difference and the racing much closer.
On Saturday evening, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team along with fellow Kawasaki riders Bell, Ryan Abbatoye, and Gary Sutherlin all gathered to host a Kawasaki Pro Clinic open to anyone at the track. The Kawasaki riders took close to 50 kids and parents on a track walk, discussing starts, jumps, corners, and endurocross technique. The riders gave their tips on each section of the track and answered tons of questions along the way. Afterwards everyone was invited back for an autograph session with all the Kawasaki riders.
Garrison, Soulé, and Robert will put the KX450F away and jump back on the KX250F to begin practicing endurocross for the next two weeks leading up to Round 2 of the AMA Endurocross series at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif., on June 9, 2012. Soulé will look to climb his way up the podium while Robert and Garrison will be looking to join him on the box.