Primm Big 6 GP Race Report 2016

Yorba Gets Second Straight Win At Muddy Big 6 Race in Primm, Nevada

Eric Yorba, AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series 2016
Eric Yorba cruises to the checkered flag with a nearly two-minute cushion over second at the very muddy Shamrocks GP in Primm, Nevada. His second consecutive WCGP victory came in polar opposite conditions to round four’s win and puts him second in points, unofficially.Photos By Mark Kariya

Forget the stereotype about SoCal dirt riders hating mud. There are a few who relish the chance to slip and slide in a quagmire instead of baked, dusty hard-pack that’s so common in this area of the country.

One of them is Maxxis/FMF/RPM Racing KTM’s Eric Yorba. After winning dry and dusty round four of the AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series, he and the rest of the field faced a very different scenario at round five, the 29th Annual Shamrocks/Doug Heil Memorial Grand Prix hosted by the Shamrocks Motorcycle Club in Primm, Nevada.

Normally, of course, Primm is typical desert, sitting just north of a dry lakebed and boasting miles of typical southern Nevada desert all around.
But the weather forecasters missed their prediction by a long ways come race morning. Instead of a chance of light showers, it came down hard enough to cause a flash flood that forced a delay in the entire race program while the club created a new section to bypass what was now a cavernous channel.

It was time for stacks of tear-offs and spare goggles for everyone. Though it only sprinkled lightly for the rest of the day, the damage was done.
At the start of the 90-minute AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series feature race, Fasthouse Yamaha rider and series points Blayne Thompson got the holeshot and led for s short time before discovering the suspension setup he'd come up with at Glen Helen wasn't right for the high-speed, sandy rollers and unexpected mud of Primm.

“It was the best start I’ve got since the Adelanto Grand Prix when I holeshotted there so we were trying to see if I could do the same thing as Adelanto—holeshot and lead the whole thing the whole way—but I made a few mistakes,” he shared. “The suspension wasn’t where I wanted it so Dalton [Shirey] and Eric passed me and got away from me a little bit. There was nothing I could do about it so I just stayed on two wheels, rode smooth and came out with third.” And that was enough to keep in atop the points chase with 117, unofficially.

Dalton Shirey, AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series 2016
After winning the WORCS race the week before, Dalton Shirey hoped to make it two winning weekends in a row, but arm pump forced him to back off, yielding to Yorba (visible in the background) yet managing to hold on for second.Photos By Mark Kariya

The battle for the lead quickly became a two-man affair with Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna's Shirey leading for most of the first hour, Yorba content to sit a few seconds behind.
Having won the WORCS race in the sand of Utah the week before, Shirey naturally floated the idea of backing it up, saying, "Yeah, I was thinking two [wins] in a row. I was like, 'Dude, this would be awesome! Two in a row would be a hell of a week. It would show it wasn't a fluke, me winning Sand Hollow.' "

Yorba agreed that trying to pass Shirey at that pace wasn’t in the cards: “He was riding really, really fast. I thought to myself, I said, ‘I kind of want to pace myself,’ but I knew if I backed it down a little bit, Dalton would just get away from me.

“So I knew, just push and stay with him as much as I could. Try to force a mistake, try to tire him out.”

And that strategy paid off for Yorba as Shirey developed arm pump.

“I started tightening up and getting arm pump and I realized [Yorba] was starting to come up so I made little mistakes because I was trying to keep riding through my arm pump,” Shirey admitted. “Then I decided to back it down because I knew he was still moving and I couldn’t hang on any more.”

Mitch Anderson, AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series 2016
The WCGP Pro 2 podium consisted of (from left) runner-up Mitch Anderson, first-time class winner Beau Baron and third-place Clay Hengeveld. (Yes, he’s Steve Hengeveld’s son. The bike was a raffle prize that was given away by AMA D-37 at Primm with Eric Yorba drawing the winner’s name—David Cruz—out of the bag.)Photos By Mark Kariya

With just over 30 minutes to go, Yorba made the race-winning pass to make it two in a row—and in vastly different conditions. He exclaimed, “I love the mud! I got my first Big 6 win in the mud at Glen Helen three years ago.” Shirey hung on to finish second, matching his career best to date, with Thompson third. With the way things worked out, Yorba moved from fourth in points to second at 108, unofficially.

Going into Primm, Robby Bell and defending Big 6 champ Colton Udall were tied for second, but both had off days. Bell discovered a slight oil lead in his Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts KX450F and nursed it to the finish in fifth behind teammate Justin Seeds. Unofficially, Bell drops to third with 96 points.

That’s still better luck than Udall who DNFed with an apparent clutch issue in his Ox Motorsports CRF450R.

Ryan Reina, Michael DelFante, Benny Breck, Justin Wallis and Travis Damon rounded out the top 10 overall followed by the top three WCGP Pro 2 riders: CST Honda’s Beau Baron, CST KTM’s Mitch Anderson and 3 Bros. Husqvarna’s Nick Stover. It marked the first WCGP Pro 2 triumph for veteran Baron, though he’s no stranger to the top of the podium. He’s won all five rounds in the Quad Expert class to date. Now comes the Big 6 summer break and people will likely be talking about the Shamrocks GP until the series resumes at the beginning of October in Ridgecrest, California.

Tatum Sik, AMA District 37/MSR Big 6 Grand Prix Series 2016
Tatum Sik won WCGP Women Pro for the third time this season, breaking out of the tie for first in points with Gina Alvarez who was second on the day. Sik also topped Women Expert for the fourth time.Photos By Mark Kariya