Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert took his fourth win of the season at Round 7 of the 2012 World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) at On the Edge Raceway in Central, Utah, with a 1-2 moto result. The win extended Robert’s points lead to 41 with only three rounds remaining in the season. Although Bobby Garrison was riding with a shoulder injury, he managed to solider through the pain to finish sixth overall with a 6-6 result. Justin Soulé was unable to compete due to a shoulder injury he sustained a couple weeks ago.
Edging Out the Competition
With a 24-point lead in the championship standings, Robert knew he was the man to beat coming into Utah. On Saturday, Robert got a great start aboard his KX™450F and managed to exit the first turn with the lead. He continued to put distance on the rest of the field with each passing lap and by the halfway-point he had extended his lead by more than one minute. On Sunday, the dead-engine start left Robert in last place coming around the first turn, but he battled throughout the 90-minute moto to finish second. The 1-2 moto result earned Robert his fourth overall win of the season and extended his points lead to 41.
“Saturday went really well,” said Robert. “I got a pretty good start on my Kawasaki. I entered the first turn in third, but squared it up and was able to steal the lead as we exited. Once I got out front, I put a gap on the field and never got pressured by anyone. Sunday didn’t go nearly as smooth as I would have liked. We started off with a dead-engine start and I missed the first kick, so I ended up in last place going around the first turn. I started charging and trying to catch the leaders, but ended up going down and went for a little swim in one of the water crossings. I got back up and didn’t have anywhere to put my feet and I fell right over again. I got up again and started making ground on the leaders, but went down in a different water crossing. When I got up I just started charging and knew I had to get around Sutherlin to take the overall. I was able to work my way back up to second before the finish.”
Still in the Hunt
A couple weeks ago at the AMA EnduroCross in Sacramento, Calif., Garrison injured his shoulder and came to Utah knowing the grueling two-day format of WORCS racing would put him to the test. Instead of fighting for the top of the podium, Garrison fought to salvage as many points as possible. He soldiered his way through both grueling motos to earn sixth overall with a 6-6 result. The effort left Garrison second in the championship standings with a 51 point lead over third.
“I didn’t think my shoulder was going to affect me that much,” said Garrison. “But once we got going, I was really struggling with the strength of my shoulder. I just didn’t have the strength to keep up with the pack on that technical course. I knew no matter what that I needed to finish so I could salvage as many points as possible. That was my first time racing in Utah and I thought the course was really cool. There were lots of trails, rocky sections and water crossings which really set it apart from all the other WORCS courses we’ve visited this season. There wasn’t an official endurocross section, but all the technical elements, especially the water crossings, required a good amount of endurocross skills to get through. I’m hoping I can get my shoulder healed up before the X Games this weekend.”
The first-ever WORCS event at On the Edge Raceway in Utah posed several new obstacles and challenges for the riders. While most WORCS courses have separate endurocross sections, the course in Utah did not need a specialized endurocross section due to the high number of technical obstacles. The technical course wound through miles of tight trails, rocky sections, canyons and six different water crossings. With outside air temperatures hovering in the mid-90’s racers were happy to splash through the cold water that refreshed them each lap.
“This race was definitely had more off-road elements than any other WORCS race we’ve done this year,” said Robert. “The course started off with a small motocross track then we rode down an ATV trail which led to a large canyon. Once you got into that canyon there were six different water crossings. All of the water crossings were pretty technical with ruts, rocks and tree roots. After exiting the canyon we took jeep roads all the way back to the motocross track. Going to and from the canyon was high-speed, rocky, hard-packed stuff. But once you dropped into that canyon it was pretty technical and a lot of fun. Plus, it was pretty hot outside so the shade of the canyon and the cold water in those crossings kept us pretty cooled off.”
Southern California Vacation
Next weekend, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Off Road team heads to Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., with their KX™250F race bikes to compete in the EnduroX event at X Games Los Angeles. With just three rounds remaining in the World Off Road Championship Series, the Monster Energy Kawasaki Off Road team will head back to southern California in three weeks for Round 8 of the WORCS at Pala Raceway in Pala, Calif.