THR/Monster Energy/ Kawasaki News Release
CORONA, CA, FEBRUARY 7th, 2012
Robby Bell got the AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix Series off to a great start with one win and a pair of runner-up finishes on his THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F supported by John Burr Cycles as the series kicked off in Taft, California, on February 4-5. The largest off-road series west of the Mississippi, the Big 6 this year is an eight-race series based in the AMA’s District 37 (Southern California), though one round is held in Primm, Nevada.
After an uneventful “cruise” in the unclassified race on Saturday morning–which most competitors treat as a practice session anyway–Bell enjoyed a great race in Heavyweight Expert, chasing Timmy Weigand for most of the race. A few laps into it, Bell reported getting “…into lapped riders and the conditions made it slightly dangerous for us to carry the speeds we wanted through the beginner and novice lines.
“Timmy was riding well, maintaining his gap and was just around five seconds ahead of me heading into the final of five laps. I needed to make one last push to close the distance.
“Heading up a long silty uphill I could see a couple riders down at the top and just as I’m passing [them], I see Timmy coming back on to the course right beside me. He’d clipped [a] downed rider’s bike and fallen but got up quickly and was right on my rear wheel.”
Despite intense pressure from the former race leader, Bell kept a tight grip on the lead and won.
In Four-stroke Expert, Bell found himself on the wrong end of a Colton Udall brake-check and the THR Motorsports rider had to settle for second.
On Sunday, Bell entered only the Pro race, but at an hour and 45 minutes plus a lap, it promised to be even tougher than Saturday’s Expert events. “The start was motocross style, but with a green light release instead of a flag,” Bell explained. “When the green lights lit, I got off the line really well and put my butt on the rear fender to get as much traction and speed as I could into the first corner. I was side by side with Kurt Caselli, but he had the inside of me and took the first turn for his own as I settled into second ahead of Timmy, Colton, Ryan Abbatoye, Gary Sutherlin and the rest of the pack.”
After losing the front end and going down momentarily, Bell ended up in a no-man’s land, a solitary second behind Caselli and clear of Weigand. “The next hour felt like an eternity,” he confessed. “I hadn’t raced this long of a grand prix in a while and I lost a bit of aggression as the laps [wound] down. Physically, I felt good, but mentally, I was just kind of in a pace.”
With just over two laps to go, Bell’s front end blew through a powdery berm, sending him to the ground with a thump to his noggin. “As I was gathering myself Timmy cruised by and into second place and I got going in third as Colton was a ways back in fourth,” Bell said, adding, “As it was Timmy had entered the Vet Pro class so, by technicality, I finished second place Pro on the day.”
He concluded, “The Taft race track was a tough one and it was definitely a battle all weekend long, but I had a blast racing there and thanks to the whole Dirt Diggers crew for putting the event on.
“I had high hopes of sweeping the weekend coming in, but Kurt was just a bit too quick and I made a few too many mistakes, so I’m going to go back and work hard to close that gap, iron out the bugs and come back at the next round stronger. Next on my racing agenda is WORCS round two [on February 11-12] at Primm, Nevada.”
AMA Big 6 West Coast GP Series, Round One results:
1. Robby Bell (THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/ Kawasaki KX450F)
2. Timmy Weigand (Honda CRF450X)
3. Colton Udall (Honda CRF450X)