Zach Bell Wins Third Big 6 Before Going To ISDE | Dirt Rider

Zach Bell Wins Third Big 6 Before Going To ISDE

Trevor Stewart’s second-place finish keeps him in point lead with one round left

Zach Bell

Once he got out front, Zach Bell proved to be untouchable. It bodes well for the young man who hopped aboard a red-eye a few hours later, destination Chile and his first ISDE where he’ll be the new guy on the US World Trophy team alongside veterans Steward Baylor, Taylor Robert, and Ryan Sipes.

Mark Kariya

The pressure is on as the AMA District 37/FMF Big 6 Grand Prix Series winds down. While a few riders were able to wrap up their respective class championships at round 7—the Prospectors Motorcycle Club’s Gorman Grand Prix near Gorman, California—other classes will go down to next month’s finale.

Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Trevor Stewart entered round 7 with a comfortable but not insurmountable point lead over current champion Zach Bell of the STI/3 Bros. Husqvarna team, 145–116. Since a race win earns 30 points, Stewart’s focus is simply on protecting that lead and basically finishing within sight of Bell, who’s running out of time since only the finale remains after the Prospectors race.

Trevor Stewart

Trevor Stewart’s approach was different for these last two rounds. Push too hard, get hurt, and he could throw away that championship point lead, so he had to back it down slightly and not take the chances he might normally attempt were he going for race wins.

Mark Kariya

But then there’s the issue of Bell’s next race which is potentially the most important of his career and begins next week in Chile when he’ll be on the US World Trophy team for the first time in his International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) debut. While he’d certainly like to repeat as the Big 6 champ, he knew he had to temper that desire somewhat and keep it on two wheels at Gorman because you don’t want to start Six Days with an injury—or worse, have an injury prevent you from even starting!

“It was more just get through this race,” Bell acknowledged. “I wanted to win and get through it [without getting hurt], get to Chile, then we can do what we need to do.”

And he couldn’t have asked for a much better day, following the $200 Blud Lubricants Holeshot winner Justin Seeds for almost two laps then going by to control the rest of the afternoon’s 90-minute, $2,000 AMA Big  6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series feature race.

Justin Seeds

This year hasn’t seen the best out of Justin Seeds, but he looked like a new man on Sunday. He started out by winning the combined WCGP AA/Heavyweight/Lightweight Expert and Intermediate race then got the $200 Blud Lubricants Holeshot Award at the start of the WCGP, eventually finishing third, a year-to-date best.

Mark Kariya

“I put myself in a good position and rode like I knew how,” Bell shared. “I didn’t make any mistakes and kind of walked away with it not trying as hard as I could, just riding smooth, and it put me in a good position.”

Former WCGP Pro II champ Stewart came in with a different mindset, saying, “Coming into today, obviously myself, my pops, and Johnny, we talked and it came down to ‘If it’s your day, go do what you do and if it’s not, settle for a second place, settle for a third.’ ”

In other words, don’t screw up and throw the championship away.

He continued, “I think he’s got just about as much pressure on him as I do when it comes to Six Days especially.”

But it turned out to be Bell’s day, riding comfortably to a one minute, 17-second margin over eventual runner-up Stewart.

Clay Hengeveld

Clay Hengeveld reeled off his fifth straight WCGP Pro II triumph to seal the class championship, though realistically he had it locked up after the previous round. Look for him to be on a KX450 full-time next year.

Mark Kariya

After nailing the holeshot, Seeds put in his best ride of the season and claimed third, his first podium of the season, 12 seconds behind Stewart.

“I have a lot of confidence right now,” Seeds declared. “Some things changed about a month ago and I think I got some weight off my shoulders or I have something to prove, and I want to show these guys I can actually do it.”

FMF/Maxxis/RPM Racing/KTM’s Eric Yorba finished third for the third time this year. Like Bell, he also had a red-eye to catch, though he’ll be on Mexico’s World Trophy team in Chile.

Boise EnduroCross

After winning the Women’s race and championship at the Boise EnduroCross the night before, Kacy Martinez hopped the first flight to Los Angeles, then got a ride to Gorman. With no practice, she rode to a safe second, wrapping up the Big 6 WCGP Women Pro championship as well. She thus has won every major US off-road championship at least once—quite a feat!

Mark Kariya

Slam Life Racing/Monster Energy/Honda’s Derek Kelley rounded out the top five overall while Seeds’ teammates Blayne Thompson and Clay Hengeveld, who wrapped up the WCGP Pro II title after topping the class for the fifth straight round. Fellow WCGP Pro II riders Mitch Anderson (CST KTM), Austin Serpa (FMF/Maxxis/RPM Racing/KTM), and Preston Campbell (JCR Honda) rounded out the top 10 overall.

Lauren Woods

Although she comes from a motocross background, Lauren Woods looked up to Martinez’s off-road accomplishments with deep respect, so besting her at Gorman was a career highlight.

Mark Kariya

In addition, Kacy Martinez wrapped up the WCGP Women Pro championship, having flown in from clinching the EnduroCross crown in Boise, Idaho, the night before. Since Martinez had no time on the course and knowing she could make it a double-header championship weekend, the FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team star was content to finish second behind first-time winner Lauren Woods, the Motor Medic Racing KTM rider ecstatic afterward.

costumes

Is it Halloween yet?

Mark Kariya

Although there was much to celebrate over the weekend, the mood was tempered by the passing of Steve Kirk Jr., who apparently suffered a heart attack during the Magnum race on Saturday. Many times a class champion over the years, the Checkers Motorcycle Club member had just passed D-37 President Brian Nasif during the latter stages of their race, and Nasif reported that Kirk let out a happy “yahoo!” when he went by. Kirk is survived by his wife Tamara, daughter Kaitlyn, and father Steve Kirk Sr. In a podcast later, Nasif shared that Checkers and members of several other clubs lined both sides of the entrance road as Kirk left the races one last time.

Brad Goolsby

Brad Goolsby saved this, kept going, and wound up winning WCGP Vet Expert. His 11th overall also made him the first non-Pro in the field by more than two minutes.

Mark Kariya

Connor Eddy

The best racing of the weekend probably took place in the minis and involved Connor Eddy (K144). In the combined Women/Mini/Masters/Legends/Vintage race, he and Mikayla Nielsen (K25) traded the lead a few times before Eddy managed to break away, winning both Mini Intermediate and the overall, Nielsen settling for second on both counts. Eddy then came back in Sunday’s Super Mini/Senior Girls/85cc race and dueled with Clayton Roberts before pulling away to his second win of the weekend.

Mark Kariya

Vet race

The first lap of the Vet race found some having issues with the entry to this turn.

Mark Kariya

Terry Cook

Gorman can get rather silty as Terry Cook demonstrates en route to fifth Vet Heavyweight Expert.

Mark Kariya

Zach Bell

Like Zach Bell, Eric Yorba had to catch a red-eye to Chile after racing to fourth in the WCGP on Sunday. However, he’ll be racing on Mexico’s World Trophy team.

Mark Kariya

WCGP

What do you think these guys are chatting about before the WCGP starts?

Mark Kariya

Checkers Motorcycle Club

Not long after this, the Kirk family, Checkers Motorcycle Club, and the motorcycle community suffered a tremendous loss when Steve Kirk Jr., succumbed to an apparent heart attack while racing. The rest of Saturday’s events were subsequently moved to Sunday, and it weighed on many for the rest of the weekend.

Mark Kariya

Mike Rozier

On Sunday, fellow Checkers Mike Rozier donned one of Kirk’s jerseys and took his bike for a few exhibition laps in every race, ensuring that Kirk symbolically finished his final race weekend.

Mark Kariya

2018 Prospectors GP Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Zach Bell Husqvarna
2 Trevor Stewart Honda
3 Justin Seeds Kawasaski
4 Eric Yorba KTM
5 Derek Kelley Honda
6 Blayne Thompson Kawasaski
7 Clay Hengeveld Kawasaski
8 Mitch Anderson KTM
9 Austin Serpa KTM
10 Preston Campbell Honda

2018 Big 6 Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Trevor Stewart Honda 145
2 Zach Bell Husqvarna 116
3 Dalton Shirey Husqvarna 107
4 Blayne Thompson Kawasaski 101
5 Justin Seeds Kawasaski 89
6 Eric Yorba KTM 73
7 Kailub Russell KTM 67
8 Justin Jones Honda 65
9 Nick Burson Yamaha 56
10 Derek Kelley Honda 51
2019 450 MX Shootout

Latest


More Stories


Videos