Third straight WORCS win for Taylor Robert at Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu serves up great racing for round three of WORCS, 2019 – Taylor Robert maintains 100% win record.

 

After three races in the Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series two things are becoming clear: the 2019 series is proving to be super-competitive through all classes and we can only wonder what could have been for Taylor Robert if he hadn’t been injured for the last two seasons.

Robert won his third consecutive race in the Pro class at the Crazy Horse Campground, beating Dante Oliveira in second and Andrew Short stepping up to take his first podium of the season. Austin Walton won his first WORCS event in Pro 2 while Tyler Nicholson scored his first Pro 2 Lights victory – Brandy Richards holds the series points lead.

 

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Pro class dominance for Robert

Zach Bell took the early lead from a bobbled start, but Robert was close behind, following his lines. Bell began to fade early in the event (pains in his back) and Robert capitalized, taking the lead and then running away for the victory: “I followed Zach for a couple of laps and learned his lines,” said Robert. 

“It’s been a great start to the season. I’m feeling healthy and strong and I hope to keep the momentum going. I’ve been in the series since 2005, and it seems like we’re really starting to grow again. All the top manufacturers and the top pro racers are all out here. It’s awesome.”

Robert missed this race for the last two years due to injury and hadn’t been to Havasu since 2013. This season, Robert has been healthy from the start and is proving hard to catch. With three consecutive dominant victories, Robert holds an impressive 15-point lead in the championship standings.

“It felt good to finally get back here and get a win,” said Robert, who interestingly also won the race here in 2013. “The lagoon jump got gnarly because there were so many lines going through there. You had to commit and go for it every lap.”

 

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Dante Oliveira rode a perfectly smooth and consistent race sticking with Andrew Short early on before taking over second and clicking off the laps: “I think that’s the smoothest I’ve run at Havasu,” said Oliveira. “I made a couple of moves early and rode with Shorty for a little bit. I got past him and caught up to Zach before setting a pace behind Taylor.”

 

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Andrew Short was making his Havasu debut and took a strong third. Eyeing the lagoon jump before the race, Short didn’t realize just how tough Havasu can be on both rider and motorcycle. He learned quickly that Havasu always lives up to its hype: “I had always heard it was rough here, but it was really rough,” said Short. 

 

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“I laughed at the lagoon jump when I saw it and I said: ‘This thing is not that big.’ Then, on the last lap, I was debating whether to jump it or not because it was so gnarly. I thought I’d be a little more competitive, but we’re working on it and we’re building. Zach and Taylor are really fast. Dante is really impressive. I think I underestimated the competition a little bit and it’s a tough series.”

Gary Sutherlin almost bagged the holeshot but admitted to having an off day and suffering from arm pump finished in fourth ahead of Ricky Dietrich on his Honda. Dietrich is continuing to get back into the swing of Pro racing after taking a six-year hiatus from competition. 

 

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Pro 2 win for Walton

In Pro 2, Austin Walton took advantage of a mistake by Clayton Hengeveld early in the race and took the lead. From there, he stayed consistent and scored the victory, his first ever in WORCS competition, and in his first race at Havasu. 

Walton said he enjoyed the time off between races that is afforded by the revamped schedule: “It was nice having the long breaks between the races because I’ve been able push a little harder in the gym and riding the bike,” said Walton. “You can’t beat this. This is one of the coolest races I’ve ever been to. I was staying consistent when Hengeveld made a mistake and going down. I capitalized on it and rode my own race.”

 

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Clay Hengeveld got a good start on his Kawasaki and took the lead exiting the first turn but misjudged a corner and went over the bars, handing the lead Walton. Clay quickly got back into the race to finish second: “I got a decent jump at the start and at the end of the first corner I was first, but then I made a mistake and stuffed the front wheel into a corner and got passed,” said Hengeveld. “Walton was just on it today and I ended up with a second.”

Austin Serpa finished third on his KTM and remains the points leader in the class. It marked Serpa’s third consecutive podium and he now leads the title chase by six points. “I’m glad I’m on the box,” said Serpa. “I got a little good luck and I salvaged a third, so if this is my bad race I’ll take it.”

Austin Serpa finished third on his KTM and remains the points leader in the class. It marked Serpa’s third consecutive podium and he now leads the title chase by six points. “I’m glad I’m on the box,” said Serpa. “I got a little good luck and I salvaged a third, so if this is my bad race I’ll take it.”

 

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Brandy Richards Pro 2 Lites points leader

In Pro 2 Lights, Tyler Nicholson netted his first class victory after hanging back during the first two thirds of the race before took the lead and making it stick. Thomas Jones was second, ahead of fastest female, Brandy Richards.

“I just tried to stay consistent and stayed behind Brandy waiting for her to make a mistake,” said Nicholson. “I learned at Primm that Brandy is really strong for the whole race so I waited for her to get a little bit tired and then I pulled ahead for the win. I had a DNF in the last race, so I really needed this to get back into the points.”

 

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Brandy Richards continued her role as one of the fastest woman in off road racing with a class win and third overall and championship points lead in Pro 2 Lites. After taking the holeshot, she fell back to third at the finish. Her second podium of the season comes after becoming the first woman ever to get a WORCS Pro 2 Lights podium at the season opener. She now leads the championship by seven points.

“It’s great to battle with these guys,” said Richards. “It gets me faster and hopefully it gets them faster, as well. “We went back and forth for a while before I settled back into third. Toward the end I was just by myself running a good pace.”

 

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The WORCS motorcycles will remain in the Grand Canyon State for the next round, being held at Canyon Motocross in Peoria, AZ. The race is scheduled for March 22-24.

 

More information: worcsracing.com

 

Photo credit: Harlen Foley/WORCS
 
 
 
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com