Big Buck GNCC, Utah WORCS, Penton Movie Trailer, the Slim Tesh Memorial Hare & Hound and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge! - The Weekly Dirt: April 16, 2014

By the DR Staff

Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week we check in on the Big Buck GNCC, the WORCS race in Utah, the Slim Tesh Memorial Hare & Hound, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get going.

Russell Takes Over Points Lead With Big Buck GNCC Win

Kailub Russell now has three wins in a row in GNCC competition. Photo Courtesy Ken Hill/GNCC Racing
Charlie Mullins finished second and sits in second overall. Photo Courtesy Ken Hill/GNCC Racing
Josh Strang has been a consistent podium finisher in 2014. Photo Courtesy Ken Hill/GNCC Racing

Kailub Russell got another win in the GNCC series, his third straight, at this weekend’s Big Buck round in Union, South Carolina, and is now the new leader in the XC1 Pro standings, passing FMF/KTM teammate Charlie Mullins in the process.

According to all reports, the track conditions were nothing short of brutal, and in the end, Russell beat our Charlie by a minute at the end of three hours of racing. Mullins kept the pressure on Russell throughout much of the race, but a couple of mistakes cost him a substantial amount of time during the final laps.

“I clipped a lapper and ended up hitting a tree and hitting my hand pretty good," Mullins said. "The last few laps were pretty tough but I just did the best I could and didn't really make up any time."

Russell's Round 4 victory will give the reigning champ the overall points lead and white number plate background for the first time this season, with only a two point advantage over Mullins heading into the fifth round.

Rocky Mountain ATV MC/N-Fab Am Pro Yamaha's Josh Strang ran into issues firing his bike up on the start, where he immediately tucked in behind Russell on the opening lap. Strang made his way into the third place position and set his sights on Mullins for second place. Just as he reeled the KTM duo in, Strang had a crash that set him back a little further. Despite a valiant effort on the final lap, Strang wasn't able to catch the leaders in time for the checkered flag, but still managed a third place finish.

Factory Husqvarna's Andrew Delong put forth the best ride of his XC1 Pro Class rookie season in South Carolina. Delong didn't get the best start but the former XC2 Pro Lites standout put himself inside the top five soon enough, where he locked in the fourth place position. N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Paul Whibley finished in fifth after an impressive come-from-behind charge, while his teammate Jordan Ashburn followed in sixth.

The XC2 Pro Lites championship battled heated up as reigning champ Grant Baylor took over the points lead with a big win in his home state. It wasn't Baylor's from the beginning, though, as Raines Riding University/Yamaha-backed Ricky Russell led five of the six laps out there. Russell experienced a crash on the final lap that allowed Baylor to move by for the win.

Russell ended the day in second, with Honda rider Trevor Bollinger finishing third.

John Penton Story Trailer

Here’s a neat look at the newly released trailer of the film "PENTON: The John Penton Story". This short video features John Penton, his hall of fame family and a few of the motorcycle industry legends that were interviewed for the film. The nearly four-minute trailer teases the entire film and specific stories the audience will get to see in the final film when it opens in theatres on June 20th. The trailer also includes a few of the over 100 interviews for the film that spanned the world. Look for Malcolm Smith, Dick Mann, Carl Cranke, Marty Smith, Danny LaPorte, Bruce McDougal, Paul Danik and current Red Bull/KTM Supercross star, Ryan Dungey along with KTM's Kalman Cseh and John's wife Donna.

View the trailer here:

King of the Hill Video

The King of the Hill Hard Enduro was just that, a Hard Enduro! Photo Courtesy KotH

While we’re on the subject of videos, here’s a cool video of this year’s King of the Hill Hard Enduro held in Canada, where Wade Young topped the Pro podium followed by Paul Bolton and Marcus Kehr from Germany.

Gary Sutherlin Perfect In West Coast Off-Road Series

Gary Sutherlin grabbed his fourth win in the WORCS series this past weekend in Utah. Photo Courtesy Mike Farmer

Dirt Rider Magazine test rider Gary Sutherlin took his fourth win in a row at the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC WORCS Series last weekend. The fourth round was held in Hurricane, Utah at the beautiful Sand Hollow OHV area that included the series’ most demanding course yet. The six-mile loop was mostly made up of sand dunes and moon rock, which made for a fast yet tricky race for the riders.

When the green flagged dropped in the combined Pro race NTS INC./Bonanza Plumbing's Gary Sutherlin took the holeshot and never relinquished it for the two-hour-long race. He had a challenge early on from Kawasaki's Justin Seeds but pulled out to over a four minute lead by the checkered flag. Precision Concepts Kawasaki and current defending WORCS champion Robby Bell is riding his self back into shape from a couple injuries and finished third overall on the day. "I never really felt like I was pushing that hard all day and my KTM worked great for the whole two hours" said Sutherlin after the event.

This marks Sutherlin's fourth win in a row and he is perfect so far in the series. When asked if he thought he could win every round this year Gary replied, " It's too early to think about that now but it is in the back of my head. The objective is to win the championship this year.” This latest win gives Sutherlin a 22 point lead heading into round five on May 9-11 in Ridgecrest, California.

For more information go to www.worcsracing.com

Results

2014 WORCS SERIES

Hurricane, Utah

April 13, 2014

PRO

1. Gary Sutherlin (KTM)

2. Justin Seeds (KAW)

3. Robby Bell (KAW)

4. Eric Yorba (KTM)

5. Justin Jones (KTM)

PRO 2

1. Travis Coy (KTM)

2. David Broderick (KTM)

3. Erik King (KAW)

4. Matthew Maple (HON)

5. Lance Lewis (YAM)

PRO 2 LITES

1. Jess Lundin (YAM)

2. Alex Morgan (KTM)

3. Michael Del Fante (YAM))

4. Thor Amador (KTM)

5. Logan Chambers (KTM)

** —Kris Keefer**

2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Paulo Goncalves of HRC Honda leads the race after five days. Photo Courtesy HRC Honda
Marc Coma kicks up sand in stage 4. Photo Courtesy RallyZone Bauer/Barni/KTM Images
Joan Barreda was third in the final stage. Photo Courtesy HRC Honda

The endless miles of straw-colored wind-blown sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula played host to the 2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, a five-day rally race across the United Arab Emirates. Starting April 6rd and wrapping up on April 10th, this was the season-opening race for the FIM World Championships and round three of the FIA World Cup.

After five days of racing Paulo Goncalves of HRC Honda took top honors with a overall time of 16 hours, 57 minutes, and 47 seconds and in a race where hours typically separate riders, Goncalves’ victory was a mere 20 seconds ahead of the second place finisher and multi-time winner KTM Red Bull Rally Team rider Marc Coma. And to put their performances in perspective, the last finisher without penalty time added to their time was more than 10 hours behind.

“I feel really happy to have won and for the team who altogether made an extraordinary job in Abu Dhabi.” Goncalves said. “We’ve had five days of racing and no problems, and it proves we are very strong and competitive. I’m very confident for the future. Today was a really fast stage. I knew I had to catch Marc, and the first 90km were very fast.”

Going into the last stage, Goncalves was 1 minute and 31 seconds behind Coma, the leader at that point. Coma eventually lost time to the Honda rider who finished in second place in last year’s race.

“It was a very nice race,” Coma said. “I love the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. I tried to fight right till the end to catch Paulo, but well done to him. It was a great race till the end, and I think he won by about 30 seconds. It's been great riding with Sam (Sunderland) this week. He brings a lot of energy to the KTM team and we now look to Qatar and aim for a good win for the team.”

It is amazing to watch these talented racers blast across seemingly inexhaustible stretches of sand and desert and since it's a fair guess that most of you weren't there to see it in person, check out the stage videos at abudhabidesertchallenge.com. They are very well done, just be ready to only understand the guys that speak English. —Sean Klinger

Here’s a little secret: Ricky Brabec’s race-winning machine is a carefully prepped 2011 KX450F. He got new graphics and won his first National with it after a pair of seconds at the previous two rounds. Not bad for his first year full-time in the series. Photo By Mark Kariya
After two DNFs to start the season, Jacob Argubright has his new Husky squared away and claimed his second runner-up finish in a row, unofficially. He’s still looking for the 30 points that go with a win, however, in order to hurry his ascent in the points. Photo By Mark Kariya
Round-one winner Ivan Ramirez led early and spent the day going back and forth with the three other front-runners, eventually finishing second. However, he was soon DQed for taking the wrong route at one section. KTM is expected to appeal, making results unofficial. Photo By Mark Kariya
Despite losing fourth and fifth gears in his Beta’s six-speed trans over the 36-mile second loop, rounds two and three winner Nick Burson kept his streak of podium finishes intact with his unofficial third. Photo By Mark Kariya
The Youth races continue to grow in popularity, with some great performances put in on Saturday. A few are now racing both days, which is the long-term goal of the series: act as a feeder to the big bike National and keep the sport going. Photo By Mark Kariya

A First For Brabec, A Fourth For Sutherlin

“I’m kind of tired of getting third,” THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Ricky Brabec hinted.

Funny how your first National podium finish gets old quickly.

A career-best third at round two of the AMA/SRT Hare & Hound National Championship Series was exciting and he matched that at round three, so third? Been there, done that.

The next logical step, of course, would be second, but Brabec saw an opportunity to do one better than that in the waning miles of round four, the Slim Tesh Memorial Hare & Hound hosted by the So Cal Motorcycle Club near Lucerne Valley, California.

“I was third most of the day,” the young privateer reported. “The last 10 miles, I finally passed Ivan in the rocks, then I came upon Jake tipped over so that’s where I passed .

“Luckily after that there were valleys and I just pinned it in the valleys and tried to make my lead bigger. The valleys are definitely my thing. I’m a little bit bigger; I can hold the bike down a little bit more and I like going fast!”

Ramirez held on for a close second, but that didn’t end up lasting for the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team’s desert ace. He reportedly took one of the three ATV-only alternate routes on the 42-mile first loop, and according to the rider instructions, doing so would result in disqualification.

So, officials confirmed it with the riders behind him at the time as well as a check crew that was a little farther down the trail and handed down the penalty: DQ.

KTM was expected to appeal the ruling, possibly basing that on an AMA District 37 rule (Article IV, Section 6, subsection h) stipulating that the organizing club must have observers to direct competitors to the correct trail whenever there are alternate routes marked.

So, the results will remain unofficial pending the outcome of the appeal, though that won’t affect Brabec’s win.

Bel-Ray/FMF/Moose Racing Husqvarna factory rider Argubright ended up the runner-up, some 55 seconds behind Brabec; it was Argubright’s second finish and second straight runner-up after his two DNFs to start the season.

Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson lost fourth and fifth in his 498 RR, so he had to nurse it to the finish and claimed third, keeping his podium streak to date perfect. He remains the series points leader while Brabec moves to second, again pending the outcome of any appeal.

Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) visited Hurricane, Utah, for round four. Bonanza Plumbing KTM’s Gary Sutherlin has dominated that series this year and the Sand Hollow race was no different as he took the lead right away and walked away from the field.

Kawasaki riders Justin Seeds and Robby Bell--the defending series champ not quite 100 percent after getting landed on last month while practicing at Glen Helen--held second and third, respectively, from the outset. Sutherlin’s 100 points puts him almost a full race ahead of Bell’s 78 with five rounds remaining.

On the rally scene, the FIM Cross-country Rallies World Championship kicked off with the five-day-long Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in the United Arab Emirates. Red Bull KTM Factory Rally Team’s Marc Coma and Sam Sunderland led the early going.

But Team HRC--now comprised of just Joan Barreda, reigning world champion Paulo Goncalves and Helder Rodrigues--came on strong at the end. Goncalves saved his best for last, winning the last stage to overtake Coma and win overall by just 20 seconds. Barreda finished the final stage third, which is where he finished in the final overall standings, eight minutes and 44 seconds behind Coma. —Mark Kariya

That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.