Adelanto GP 2017 Race Report

All Thompson at Adelanto Big 6 GP

Much like Ken Roczen has done in the first two rounds of Supercross, Fasthouse Honda’s Blayne Thompson repeated as King of Adelanto by dominating the So Cal Motorcycle Club’s Adelanto Grand Prix, the opening round of the AMA District 37/Maxxis Big 6 Grand Prix Series and its feature race, the AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series.

Blayne Thompson
Blayne Thompson easily repeated as King of Adelanto for easily winning the WCGP. After running away with that race, he finished off the weekend by also running away with the Heavyweight Expert victory.Photo by Mark Kariya

Though normally run as a single 90-minute race, safety concerns by the local medical teams (who were responding to a two-rider crash that left Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Preston Campbell with a broken femur, scapula and ribs and Beta rider Logan Lee with a suspected broken collarbone) resulted in it being red-flagged after just three laps.

AMA rules require a red-flagged race to be restarted, but with the sun going down, officials knew it would be impossible to run enough laps before dark to get the full 90 minutes in. Thus, they decided to restart at 7:30 on Sunday morning, running one hour plus a lap and starting riders every five seconds in the order they were at the end of lap two.

Thompson sprinted away on the restart in a repeat of the three laps he’d done on Saturday afternoon. Part of that was because he knew he needed to stop for fuel twice instead of once.

“I’m riding a new ’17 Honda [CRF450R] with no desert tank [because one’s not available yet],” he pointed out. “Yesterday, we pushed so hard those first three laps to get the lead we did where we’d have the time to pit twice [without losing the lead] because I knew I’d have to stop one more time than everybody else.

“When it came to the restart, they gave me a five-second lead. The first three laps, I did the same thing: pushed as hard as I could to get that gap back.

“I got the gap back to 38 seconds, pitted, then after that I went three more laps halfway decent, and I pitted one more time and I started cruising. I had over a minute lead.”

Besides repeating as King of Adelanto, Thompson earned $1900 of the $7500 purse, by far the biggest payout in the series at the biggest race in the series. This year’s GP in Adelanto, California, drew 1907 entries for the chance to race not only in the desert and city streets but in the Adelanto Stadium’s Heritage Field baseball field that had been turned into an entertaining and long EnduroCross-style section designed by Ty Davis.

Adelanto GP’s royal court Brandy Richards & Blayne Thompson
The Adelanto GP’s royal court: WCGP Women Pro winner and Queen of Adelanto Brandy Richards, and WCGP Pro winner and King of Adelanto (for the second year in a row) Blayne Thompson.Photo by Mark Kariya

With Thompson commanding things out front, most of the action took place behind him with three riders arguing over the runner-up spot. Ox Motorsports Honda-mounted Zach Bell held it for most of the race while JCR Honda’s Trevor Stewart and Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha-mounted Gary Sutherlin battled for third.

But Stewart seemed to get a second wind as the race wound down, and went from fourth with two laps to go to second as the white flag came out. Goggle-less Sutherlin also managed to get past Bell, who held on for fourth followed by Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Justin Seeds.

With Stewart now in the Pro class, the WCGP Pro II division saw Fasthouse Yamaha’s Willy Simons, Jr., take charge aboard his borrowed YZ250 for his first Big 6 Pro win and first Big 6 win since he was on 85's five years ago. He took home $500 for the win, which comes in his buildup for Arenacross. Last year’s class runner-up, Mitch Anderson, was 15-seconds behind for second in class on his CST KTM 250 XC while Northland Motorsports KX250F-mounted Clay Hengeveld finished third.

Willy Simons, Jr.
After fending off some early challenges, Willy Simons, Jr. (son of former Dirt Rider tester Willy Simons) took charge of the WCGP Pro II class. It was his first Big 6 Pro-level win as he builds for the Arenacross series and what he hopes will lead to Supercross.Photo by Mark Kariya

The Adelanto GP once again paid a sizable purse in WCGP Women Pro which helped draw a number of new faces. Among those, Brandy Richards stood out as she decimated the field on her JM Racing YZ250F to earn $495 and Queen of Adelanto title. Last year’s Queen, Tatum Sik, finished second with Motoffice KTM’s Britney Gallegos taking third.

Adelanto GP 2017 kids
Zip-Ty Racing groomed the kids for possible roles as Adelanto royalty.Photo by Mark Kariya