Robby Bell WORCS Round 9 Race Report

The penultimate round of WORCS rolled into Cahuilla Creek MX Park with all eyes on the weather as thunderstorms were threatening the surrounding area all weekend long. The WORCS crew did a great job laying out a fun and flowing racecourse through the hills behind the mx track with a couple rocky pro sections thrown in to mix up the tempo. Coming off an epic battle with Taylor at the previous round, I was filled with confidence and ready to pick up right where we left off…

I’d been working on my starts during the short break, knowing they’ve been one of my weaker points lately, but as the gate fell I was still a bit slow to get off the mark and came out of the first turn around sixth. As we headed into the off road section, I hit a wicked kicker and my back end rocketed into the air. I was riding the front wheel into the following left handed corner with no chance of staying on course and blew straight over the berm, lucky not to crash, but losing a spot to Gary Sutherlin in the process. We came into the first pro section and at the landing of a rocky drop off Bobby Garrison and Josh Strang had collided, leaving them in a heap. I skirted the edge of their bikes, but wasn’t able to miss them completely and when I clipped Bobby’s bike my engine stalled, allowing Josh to remount and get going ahead of me. I was able to beat Bobby out of the section and took off after the top five. I got by Josh pretty quickly and soon found myself on the rear wheel of Sutherlin. I was applying the pressure and after a few corners Gary made it easy on me as he went wide and I took over the fourth spot. Taylor was out front, with Timmy Weigand and Ryan Abbatoye between us, but nearly thirty seconds ahead of me and I’d have to put on quite a charge to catch them. I buried myself to close the gap and as the laps were winding down, I had made it to the back of Abbatoye’s wheel. The dust was thick and making it difficult to push for a pass so the team decided to pit a lap early in hopes of passing him the following lap when he’d have to pit. The plan worked out, even with stalling the bike in the pits, and I took over third with just over ten seconds to make up on Timmy, but running out of time. I pushed hard to close on him, but the clock worked against me and I had to settle for third in moto one.

Sunday, Mother Nature showed a bit of irony as she decided to finally give us the rain we had been craving all weekend, literally seconds after the gate fell. I once again didn’t have the best of starts as I was at the edge of the top ten heading into the off road. I made quick work of getting into the top five, but by now the full fury of the thunderstorm was being unleashed and the rain was cascading down on us with power. With no signs of the storm until we were underway, I didn’t have any roll-offs available and my goggle of choice would soon turn against me. The swift rise in humidity, coupled with the still elevated temperatures, would start to wreak havoc on my vision as my goggles started to fog. I always run the sand/dust goggle with denser foam, which does a tremendous job of keeping anything from getting inside the frame, but in this case the foam was keeping too much air out and I’d have to ditch the goggles after about a quarter of a lap. My pit crew didn’t know any better, I hadn’t prepped any standard foam goggles since there weren’t any signs of rain, and they kept handing me the thicker goggles. Finally I realized I’d have to stop in the pit and explain where my standard foam goggles were, which unfortunately lost about a minute in the pit and pushed me back to fifth. From there I had a large gap ahead of me and no one pressuring from behind so I brought the bike home in fifth in moto two, netting me third overall on the weekend.

Going three-five definitely wasn’t what I had in mind coming into the weekend as I felt I had the speed to compete for wins, but my starts surely held me back from realizing my goal; and after such a disappointing moto two for me, I was happy to once again be on the podium for all of my sponsors. I’d like to thank Monster Energy, THR Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki for another fantastic effort and all of the team sponsors that make it happen and to Fox Racing, Asterisk, John Burr Cycles and HookIt.com as well for being behind me. I learned a bit of a lesson in preparation at this event, as even though we were all certain it wouldn’t rain on Sunday, I should have had a variety of goggles prepped as a “just in case”. I definitely won’t be making that mistake again.

RB

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Thank you to all the Monster Energy, THR Motorsports, Precision Concepts Kawasaki team sponsors: FMF Racing, IMS Products, Hoosier Precision Machining, BRP, Renthal, Dunlop, VP Racing Fuels, Kalgard, DT1 Filters, Hinson, Matrix Concepts, ZLT, RK/Excel, Acerbis, Works Connection, Zip-Ty Racing, SealSavers.

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