Robby Bell: BITD Laughlin World Championship

With UTVs taking the desert scene by storm (not to mention pouring tons of money into the market), Best in the Desert made the decision to depart from the traditional Laughlin Hare Scramble, and merge the bike-only event with atv and UTV entries to create the first annual Laughlin UTV World Championship. It would be held closer to town and consist of eight, 16-mile loops around a fast, sandy course. Also new for Best in the Desert (at least in my experience), the bike and atv race would be a mass start, straddling the front fender, according to skill level (meaning the atv and bike pro/experts would all leave on the first line together) to a green flag release.

Another departure from tradition was Best in the Desert deciding to start the bike/atv race at 7AM, when the sun had been up for nearly forty-five minutes! This was a bit of a surprise, since we always joke that the BITD races traditionally start well before the sun even begins to peak over the horizon, when running a headlight is still useful.

Ricky Brabec and I would once again team up and since we’d be pitting every two laps, our plan was to go ahead and switch at each pit stop. We decided that I would start the race for us and my main goal, as always, was to get out front early. The first few straightaways were watered, but once the course headed out into the desert the dust would be thick, and I wanted to be the one making the dust, not eating it.

As the front row all stood straddling the front of our bikes (and quads), I noticed I could hear an official over the radio counting down to the green flag wave. As he hit three, two, one I tried to time the start, but jumped around to the side of my bike a little early and paused to wait for the flag. Once I saw green flying high into the sky I swung my leg over the bike and pushed my leg through the kick-starter, but I feel karma was getting even with me for trying to jump the start and my bike didn’t fire right away. Two kicks- and what seemed like an agonizing eternity- later, I finally got going and I was shocked to see just two racers ahead of me: the Beta of Nick Burson in second, and (somehow) a utility quad with a huge hole shot! I don’t know how that quad got off the line so fast; I joked afterward that his utility quad was so quiet he just had it running on the line and no one noticed…

As we all sped through the first couple of corners Nick tried to go around the outside of the quad, but he got pushed really wide and I saw my opportunity to accelerate up the inside. I pushed hard into the following corner, passing the quad, and was just able to edge by Nick to take over the lead of the race. After taking the lead, I rode a little over my comfort zone through the next few corners to keep Nick from retaliating, and once we hit the dust, I started to stretch away.

The rest of my first stint went incredibly well as I was able to put some time between myself and Nick, giving the bike to Ricky with a lead of just over a minute. Ricky had a great ride as well and was able to continue pulling away from the fireld, giving me the bike for my second, and final, stint with around two minutes advantage. My last two laps went by in a flash. I was having a lot of fun getting through the lappers, aside from sucking in some serious dust at times, and I was a little bummed when it came time for me to give the bike back to Ricky; I wanted to ride some more!

Ricky had a good time with his final two laps and came in to the finish line to take the win, meaning we’re two for two this year in the Best in the Desert series. I’m definitely happy we were able to get the win, but I’m even happier with how much fun I’m having racing my dirt bike right now; I feel like this is the way it’s always supposed to have felt. I want to thank all of my personal sponsors: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, SIDI, Spy, Focus Apparel, EVS, USWE, RAD custom graphics, ATP Mechanix, MotoXerciser, FMF, BRP, A’ME grips and Northland Motorsports; thanks to Ricky, Kyle, Ty, big Rick, the Bobcat, and everyone for helping us in the pits. I also want to thank our mechanic Phil for building yet another great bike and to my family, friends and fans for the continued support.

From here it’s off to Arizona for the third round of the WORCS series on March 1st. I figure I’ve developed a bit of a target on my back after the first two rounds and I’m certain Gary, JJ, Eric and the rest of the boys are going to be stepping their game up to get that win. I’m looking forward to another hard fought battle, a few rocks in the Arizona desert, and continuing this trend of having too much fun on my motorcycle!

Robby Bell
www.robbybellracing.com

Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports