The 2019 west-coast off-road race season kicked-off with the Sprint Hero Enduro opener at Glen Helen Raceway, January 5-6, Taylor robert took the win ahead of Gary Sutherlin and Zach Bell in third.
The two-day Sprint enduro format is still a relatively new experience for many US riders but growing in stature thanks to the Sprint Hero Series. Expanding on the format for 2019 the six tests ran on two separate loops sat Glen Helen: a motocross-heavy test loop and an “enduro” test loop, which both used much of the trails in the hills of the Glen Helen park.
For those not familiar with the Sprint Enduro format, riders start one-at-a-time every 15-25 seconds, depending on the test, and race against the clock with each test counting towards the rider’s overall (cumulative) time. Results are the addition of each rider’s test times with the lowest total elapsed time being the winning ride.
Glen Helen Pro class Sprint races
Glen Helen Sprint Hero rounds one and two were Zach Bell’s first outing on the new KX450 for Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki team. In the moto tests, Bell’s motocross upbringing shone with three moto tests on Saturday. In the enduro tests, Zach has less experience and came away with third on the day behind Taylor Robert and Gary Sutherlin.
Overnight rain made for a slightly sloppy moto test on day two but the result were the same with Bell posting the quickest time in all three MX tests. Bell was right on pace in the enduro test as well and battled to overtake second spot but a small mistake in a rock section cost too much time and the final podium position was Robert, Sutherlin and Bell respectively.
Speaking after his first Sprint race on the Kawasaki KX450, Bell said: “I feel really good on the bike. Saturday was good, I won all three moto tests, went to the enduro and just struggled a little bit in the rocks and lost some time. But I made up a lot of time today [Sunday].
“Getting comfortable with the [new] bike is definitely going to be key for me. [Today] I started taking some better lines and charging a little bit harder and found myself pretty close to Taylor[‘s times] on the enduro loop. So’ I’ll keep working on that. But, first race of the year, third isn’t bad.”
“The Sprint Enduro format is a new one for us and many of the riders.” Says Robby Bell, Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki Team Manager. “It’s a really cool format, more of a race against the clock. There’s definitely a different dynamic to the race weekend and a slightly different skill-set involved as compared to a traditional grand prix-style race.
“It was our first race on the all-new KX450 and it showed to be a great base. We’re still learning the bike and the potential is going to be unreal.
“Zach showed great speed all weekend and if not for a couple late mistakes, could have been one step higher up the podium. Unfortunately, we had a couple issues with Blayne and Clay that cost them so big.
“We learned that even a minor issue or mistake over twelve tests is amplified when the riders are separated by mere seconds. I feel the series as a whole is going to be a success and we’ll have fun chasing it this year.”
2019 Glen Helen Sprint Hero Results:
- Taylor Robert 1:19:15.305 (total time over two days)
- Gary Sutherlin 1:20:50.710
- Zach Bell 1:20:57.852
- Ty Tremaine 1:23:38.206
- Dante Oliviera 1:24:08.468
Open A Class
- Jacob JT Baker 1:25:58.291
- Cooper Abbott 1:26:36.301
- Austin Serpa 1:27:15.093
Photo Credit: Harlen Foley
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org