Adelanto GP 2016 Race Report

Adelanto GP Kicks Off AMA D-37/MSR Big 6 GP Series

The numbers don’t lie.

Last year, the Mavericks Adelanto Grand Prix hosted by the So Cal Motorcycle Club resurrected the popular race in this high desert town about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, which served as the opening round of the AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series. The reported 1460 rider entries got the series rolling fast out of the gate, with the momentum carrying over to most of the other seven rounds of the series which bills itself as the largest AMA-sanctioned off-road racing series west of the Mississippi.

This year, Adelanto once again kicked off the Big 6 GPs, with their featured series-within-a-series called the AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series whose races are twice as long at 90 minutes and pay an alluring $7500 Pro purse.

That was enough to attract a combined field of 43 Pros and Pro IIs for the WCGP on Saturday, with plenty of 45-minute-long races for all other classes (including ATVs and sidecars). And that’s not counting the seven girls who showed up for the first Women Pro race in the WCGP. In all, some 1660 riders signed up and twice as many spectators walked into the Mavericks baseball stadium to take it all in.

Blayne Thompson jumping
After switching bikes at the end of last season, Blayne Thompson proved he had it dialed in by leading the WCGP from start to finish at the Mavericks baseball stadium. He joins a list of legends who were previously King of Adelanto.Photo by Mark Kariya

After switching bikes at the end of last season, Flo Motorsports Yamaha-mounted Blayne Thompson insisted he had that YZ450F dialed and it showed as he led the WCGP from start to finish to overall the Pro division for the first time.

“It took me about a month or two to really get used to it coming off the Husky,” he shared. “This Yamaha, I’m loving this thing. Me and [the bike] are like one so we’re pretty excited for this year.”

Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey (previously, Thompson’s teammate) got a much poorer start but quickly passed his way up to second, though he was unable to get close to the blue bike. (The next day in the combined Heavyweight/Lightweight Expert and Intermediate weekend finale, Shirey turned the tables on Thompson, passing him after a lap and winning by 20-seconds for his first-ever overall aboard a 450, having dominated the 250s last year.)

Like Shirey, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Kawasaki’s Robby Bell got a bad start when he wheelied off the line and put himself in the thick of the pack. Unlike last weekend’s WORCS opener, he would not win this one but counted himself fortunate to rebound to claim third.

Adelanto GP 2016 water pit
After finishing second with teammate Troy Vanscourt at the Parker 250 the week before, peer pressure forced Jeremy Newton to line up for Adelanto, but he’s probably glad he did as he won Pro II in the WCGP. Now he’s considering riding more of them.Photo by Mark Kariya

In the WCGP Pro II class, Mitch Anderson, Beau Baron and Jeremy Newton tossed the lead back and forth between them for the entire race, though THR Motorsports Yamaha rider Newton was able to follow his Parker 250 runner-up last weekend with victory at Adelanto.

“I came out not really expecting much, and I guess I can’t complain with a first,” he said.

Woman rider at Adelanto GP
Though she thought something was wrong with her bike while chasing Women Pro leader Britney Gallegos through the first two laps, Tatum Sik put that behind her and when Gallegos DNFed, she moved into first to become Queen of Adelanto 2016.Photo by Mark Kariya

Among the Women Pros, everyone chased Britney Gallegos for two laps until she dropped out. That left former Women Expert champ Tatum Sik out front on her Maxxis-backed CRF450R despite some strange feedback that made her think her tires were flat.

“I actually thought I had two flat tires and I stopped because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with my bike?’ ” she reported.

Apparently, it was mostly in her head and she was able to put it out of her mind and focus on riding hard the rest of the race, leading the last five laps and picking up $264 for the win. EnduroCross star Morgan Tanke was the only other rider to stay on the lead lap and finished second, 11 minutes behind Sik, while Gina Alvarez rounded out the podium in only her second Big 6 race.

mini bikes at Adelanto GP 2016
Adelanto drew a good number of kids who were thrilled at the chance to drop down onto Heritage Field in Mavericks Stadium.Photo by Mark Kariya