Taft always has been, and probably always will be, a challenging place to hold a race. The terrain is a combination of hard-pack dirt, which just for giggles offers about as much traction as ice when the slightest bit of water touches it, and powdery white silt, which sneakily conceals one- and two-foot square edges from the riders who are unlucky enough to slam into them. Personally, I rather enjoy racing there. I feel it’s a test of a rider’s limits, which can be fun, but if things aren’t clicking smoothly, it can definitely be quite frustrating and sometimes slightly scary.
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.”
Factory FMF/KTM teammates Mike Brown and Kurt Caselli landed on the podium at the eighth round of the WORCS finishing 2nd and 3rd overall respectively allowing Caselli to hold his grasp on the points lead while Brown moved up one position in the overall rankings to third.
This round was held at Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, CA. Day one saw Taylor Robert grab the holeshot followed closely by Bobby Garrison, Kurt Caselli and Mike Brown. Caselli and Brown remained close to Garrison but struggled to make the pass early in the moto and allowed Robert to pull a gap out front. Eventually the KTM duo made their way around Garrison and began to press toward Robert. Brown was able to make the pass on Caselli approximately halfway into the race and was able to close the gap on Robert from 10 seconds to five seconds with a few laps to go. Each time Brown got Robert in his sights lappers would come into play and would cost Brown a few seconds as he had to navigate his way around them. Robert eventually took the win while Brown finished 2nd and Caselli rounded out the podium.
Day two was a complete carbon copy of day one off the start, only this time Brown was ahead of Caselli and both again trailed Robert and Garrison. Brown was able to move around Garrison quicker than he did the day before to move into 2nd. Caselli took a little longer to find his drive and didn’t make the pass into 3rd until heavy pressure from Justin Soule in the 5th place position helped him find his charge. Caselli went on to put in the most impressive lap of the day, passing into 3rd and also gaining valuable seconds on the 2nd place ride of Brown.
“I’m not sure why it took me so long to find my groove, but once I got going I felt great on the course today. It was so fast paced you had to be on your game all day. I tip my hat to Robert and Brown who were able to stick it out longer than I did,” remarked Caselli.
While Caselli charged on in 3rd place, Brown had also closed the gap to 4 seconds behind Robert. Unfortunately, on the final lap as they headed down the single track section at the back of Yamaha hill, Brown got stuck behind two lappers who cost him about 15 seconds and allowed Caselli to close up on him for the runner up position. Robert went on to take the win on day two and the overall while Brown was able to hold off his teammate to finish 2nd and Caselli finished 3rd.
With two rounds to go, Caselli holds the lead in the point standings by 28 points over Robert. Brown moved up from 4th in the series point standings to 3rd with his podium finish. Also leading her class is RPM/KTM rider Kacy Martinez who won the Glen Helen WORCS event and strengthened her lead in the Women’s WORCS standings. Glen Helen marked her fourth win of the series and gave her a 16 point cushion in the point rankings.
Next Event: Race Town 395 – October 14-16, 2011 – Adelanto, CA
Overall Results Pro Class –
1) Taylor Robert
2) Mike Brown
3) Kurt Caselli
4) Justin Soule
5) Bobby Bonds
6) Bobby Garrison
7) Robby Bell
8) Cole Martinez
9) Ryan Abbatoye
10) Gordon Ward
Overall Point Standings –
1) Kurt Caselli – 354
2) Taylor Robert – 326
3) Mike Brown – 296
4) Bobby Garrison – 290
5) Justin Soule – 260
Round #4 of the 2011 WORCS ATV series was held at Cahuilla Creek MX in Anza California. Once again Mother Nature threw a curve ball at the racers with wind and cold temperatures for a spring event. Cahuilla Creek MX sits at about 4100ft above sea level in the Cahuilla mountain range.
The MX gate was back so it wasn’t a dead engine start for this round. Dustin Nelson a multi-time Quad X champion would be the first to the corner on his Roll Design/Elka/Yamaha YFZ450R. Can-Am’s Jeremie Warnia and Josh Frederick would pass Nelson in the first few laps, who was holding a strong 3nd Place, before having electrical issues ended his run back to the front. Beau Baron would assume the 3rd Spot, where for most of the race the top two would be switching places. With a last lap charge Baron closed the gap to 2nd where Warnia would make a big mistake in the off-road section, allowing Baron to make his move and grab the second place podium spot. With no time left to hunt down Frederick, Baron would settle in and cruise in to ensure a spot on the podium that had eluded him so far this season.
In the Pro Am class, Garrin Fuller #45 of Duncan Racing, and his Roll Design / Elka suspended TRX450 would be back after an elbow injury. Fuller came out strong and put the hammer down with the fastest lap time of 10:46.243 to take home the 1st Place spot, followed by Collins Webster and Roll Design / Elka equipped Keith Johnson in 3rd. Johnson was awarded the “Hard Charger” award after a crash on about the 3rd lap put him way back in the pack, yet still managing to fight back and claim the podium spot.
Keith Johnson also took the Open A class win on Saturday, racing his younger brother Casey’s KFX450R quad in tribute fashion. Casey passed away last year, and the victory was for him, and a win that will surely be remembered.
In the women’s A class, Julie Russell aboard her TRX450R MCR/Roll Design/ Elka Honda would get off the gate in the second spot and getting the lead early. Checking out from the class during the second lap and being the fastest lap of the race 10:50.630 would take home the 1st Place trophy as well. Be sure to watch “A Lap With” starring Julie Russell as she made her run to victory.
Watch Russell here:
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Both Brown and his teammate, the reigning WORCS Champion Kurt Caselli, got off to a good start both days of racing. On Saturday, Caselli took the holeshot followed closely by Brown. The two riders led the beginning of the race before both suffered from arm pump near the halfway point. At the end of their hour long battle, Caselli would come in 4th and Brown earned 5th in the first moto.
Determined to improve upon their results, the FMF/KTM riders again put themselves in a good starting position within the top three off the start of Sunday’s moto. This time, Brown and Caselli stayed closer to the two lead bikes of Taylor Robert and Bobby Garrison. Brown and Caselli remained even closer to each other. The two teammates battled the entire hour long race with Brown eventually earning the final podium spot taking a 3rd overall for the day while Caselli matched his first moto performance with a 4th overall.
Team Motoworks / Can-Am had an excellent opening to its 2011 World Off-Road Championship Series race season as factory driver Mark Holz piloted his Can-Am Commander 1000 side-by-side vehicle to the Class 1 victory in front of some of the best side-by-drivers in North America. His teammate, Jeremie Warnia also took the Pro-class victory on his Can-Am DS 450 ATV completing the weekend sweep of the premier classes by Motoworks / Can-Am.
“I’m extremely proud of Mark Holz as he drove excellently this past weekend to earn the Motoworks / Can-Am Commander 1000 a victory at the opener of this highly competitive race series,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “As demonstrated with Warnia and his DS 450 victory as well, the team’s preparation and testing has definitely paid off and I’m looking forward to many more victories in what will surely be a very exciting season.”