Story and photos by Tina Lugan
Round 7 of the WORCS series returns to Cahuilla Creek MX Park near Anza, Ca. for another great weekend of racing action . Cahuilla Creek is based approx. 27 miles East of Temecula, Ca.
The HEAT IS ON-and we mean LITERALLY! With a slightly higher elevation change of around 3800 feet and warmer temperatures, the big talk of the weekend was heat exhaustion. Mornings had some humidity as well but gave a slight relief with a light breeze throughout the day’s event.
Cahuilla is known for its larger MX section with a great view of the track for spectators who pit get to park way up above the MX track and get a full area view of the track during the race. Off the MX and into the Off-road sections consists of deep sand conditions and silty Desert terrain as well as a gnarly rock section. This round would prove to be one to contend with….
After the Sat. races , WORCS promoter Sean Reddish called a meeting to go over some new changes for the 2013 season . There are still a lot of plans in motion but in 2013, specifically April, ATVS will be condensing and will share with the Bikes all in one weekend and there was also discussion on WORCS getting TV airtime in 2013 also. Once we get more definitive information we’ll pass it on to you.
WORCS #138 Kyle Gross came up with a great idea for the Pros this round. Just after the Pro meeting, most of the Pros went to greet the youth mini class and give each youth rider a “High five” and wish each one of them a good race on the line. The Pros are a very inspirational asset to our youth and I bet this made each and every one of them have faster lap times!
The points chase is down to the wire with the final round and awards Banquet in Taft being held in Sept. so riders battled hard this past weekend to secure their place for the Championships of the season.
With the season just about wrapped up. The Pro Class had only 8 riders on the gate and the battle was on as soon as the gate dropped. Into the first corner, it was Motoworks / Can-Am Pro rider Dillon Zimmerman who would grab the holeshot. Zimmerman and Maxxis/H&M Motorsports’ Beau Baron would battle hard throughout the 12 lap race. Baron started to gain some ground in the MX track and made a pass in lap 5. Baron then turned up the heat and put a gap between himself and Zimmerman to take the win and also run the fastest lap time of the day.
Baron explains a bit about his race today..
“Yeah the sun was brutal for sure. I was in bad shape by time I got off the track. I used all my energy trying to get by Dillon and when I did it was not even half way through the race. The dust was so miserable that I had to let Dillon have some distance to allow me to breath but I had to stay close enough to make a pass on the motocross section. I was sure I had it in me to keep charging but I did the best I could to just hold on. The white flag gave me motivation to keep up the lead and I made it to the checkers. At the end of the race I could not believe that our tires were still working as well as they had on the first lap. I have a lot of people to thank, my sponsors: Maxxis, H&M Motorsports, Curtis Sparks Racing, K&N, Elka Suspension, Roll Design, Bolt Motorcycle Hardware, Streamline Brakes, Ricky Stator, Precision Nutrition Plus, Tire Blocks, TCS Motorsports, FLY Racing, DWT, Sunstar Sprockets, Maxima Oils, ODI Grips, JR publications, ATVriders.com, Baldwin Motorsports, Moto Pro Training, IMS, Works Connection, CV Products, Gaerne Boots, FASST Co., Quad Tech-ATV, Finish Line Designs, Precision Steering Stabilizers, Hinson, X Brand Goggles, Seven-Twenty Designs.”
Zimmerman has been steadily getting faster this year and has been racing in an Italian MX series as well as WORCS. Not only was this Zimmerman’s best finish currently of the 2012 WORCS season, but it was also his birthday. Zimmerman stated:
“I got the holeshot thanks to my DWT tires and Motoworks exhaust and led for about 3 laps or something and I was pushing really hard off the start. I knew you were going to have to get a good start for this race and I might of pushed a little to hard in the beginning. Beau got by me about the 3 or 4th lap and put a gap between us, then I saw that Josh Fredrick was coming up quick so I had to stay focused and I couldn't be lazy at all! Luckily after I pitted I got my second wind and kept pushing to the finish line. It was a really hot day and I'm glad I have fly gear because their vented gear is really nice .”
Motoworks’ Josh Frederick was 6th off the gate and moved up to mid-pack at the half way point of the race. Josh would hold a steady 3rd place after lap 7 to the checkered flag. Maxxis/H&M Motorsports’ David Haagsma and Josh Frederick also had a battle of their own on the motocross track. On the double /triple downhill Haagsma didn’t triple over it and Frederick did, allowing Frederick to make the pass to secure the final spot on the podium in the Pro ranks.
Pro Racer and crowd favorite Timmy “TPQ” Shelman pushed wide into the second corner off the start and dropped to last place. He had to pit for water 30 minutes into the race to re-coop from the heat.
“SURVIVAL. I could tell the track was going to be a struggle, my advantage point was out in the off-road portion of the track where the rock section was because of my Endurocross experience back home in Washington State” stated Shelman. He was able to move from 9th position up to 7th place for the day by passing Mike Cafro on lap 4 in the main event.
LMR/Z-broz Racing Pro Rider Robbie Mitchell had this to say about his race, “I wasn't real happy with how I rode this weekend. I had a horrible start (last) and made a lot of mistakes early in the race. I wanted to be first to the off-road section because it was crazy dusty. That didn't work out. It just wasn't my day. Taft will be much better! “
Yamaha rider Dustin Nelson would have a touch of bad luck this round as he had a get off in lap 4 . Nelson was in 4th place before his crash.
“I had a really rough day... 3rd going into the first turn and came out 7th because Beau slowed down more than I thought he would and I didn't want to take out the points leader in the first turn. I had to turn outside to miss him and got railed by the pack. It was definitely a bad day for a bad start with the crazy amount of dust... I worked my way up to 4th and was trying to catch Davi but then I had a rear shock issue and ended up getting bucked and endowing over a berm. My wrist and back were pretty sore and the bike was kind of bent up so I called it a day.”
The pro’s weren’t the only ones duking it out on the track by any means. The Pro-Am class was laying down some great racing action as well.
In the Pro-Am class, Collins Webster rode a solid race leading all but one lap for his 1st place finish. Webster has had a successful year in WORCS as well as taking a podiums recently back East at Red Bud in the ATVA MX National series.
“Coming in to the last two rounds I have no choice but two win the last two rounds and hope for the best in hopes of defending my Pro-Am title. No better way to start that off with a holeshot in that long uphill start. I started to hammer down and put in some good laps when I had a minor chain issue and lost the lead when I stopped to fix the problem. After a hard charge I took the lead back and rode cautiously to the finish for the win doing just enough to stay up front. The last minute shock changes worked great along with a new edition of Fasst flex bars. Sponsors: Motoworks Can-Am DWT, Rath, SSI, Fox Shox, Holz racing Maxima, C & R farms, Ryan Cox and my mechanic Jerred Teixeira.”
Team Duncan Racing’s #81 Levi Shirley placed 2nd in Pro-Am for his best finish of the season.
“In the first turn I ended up in 5th. I just tried to pace myself and not make any mistakes. I passed a few people and made my way up to 3rd towards the middle if the race. When I came into the pits and got gas and water my dad told me, “You’re in 3rd keep charging!” I was so determined to make the podium so I just put my head down and ran! Next thing I knew I was seeing dust ahead of me and I knew I was making time on 2nd so I kept charging. I caught up to Ryan Waldo and as soon as I caught him I out braked him into a turn and started to pull away immediately. My dad was telling me on the pit board that I was catching Collins Webster and by the last lap I was almost right behind him. He heard me coming and he started to pick up the pace. I gave it all I had the last lap but I was so tired I just couldn't make a pass and ended up about 4 seconds behind him. My Duncan Racing prepped bike worked phenomenal!!! And my Elka/Roll design suspension worked flawlessly through all of the whooped out sand rollers! And my STI tires hooked up great in the loamy sand.”
#76 Ryan Waldo would also have his best Pro Am race taking home his first podium position in 3rd. Ryan was very pleased with his race on Sunday.
“This proved to be one of the most memorable moments in my Pro-Am racing career! It was going to be a tough race with the heat and rough track, but I was ready for it. As the gate dropped, my DWT tires hooked up and put me into 5th place in the first turn. After a quick pass in the motocross track, I was in 4th when we were headed out into the off road. The track was very whooped out and full of square edges but it was nothing my Lonestar/Elka suspension couldn’t handle. After the first couple laps, I got some good luck when Cody Mitchell and Garrin Fuller had issues which put me into second place. I tried to keep a steady place and gap out on the rest of the field. I got some more good luck when Collins pitted with a chain problem, which put me into the lead. I tried to ride as consistent as I could and held the lead for about two laps when Collins caught me in the pits. The high temperatures and lack of water were starting to get to me as I tried to stay at Collins' pace and I was forced to pit for water two times which gave Levi the opportunity to catch me. We battled for a while in the dusty off-road but my EKS Brand Goggles kept my vision clear. Levi eventually got me with about 2 laps to go, but I still had over a two-minute gap on fourth place. I just rode smart and tried to keep my speed up and land on the podium. I remained unchallenged until the checkered flag and took third for my first ever Pro-Am podium! I was super happy with my ride and glad that my hard work has paid off. After a rocky start to my first Pro-Am season, I am now sitting in 7th place in points and within striking distance of 5th and 6th “
Pro-Am rider Garrin Fuller also had a rough weekend as he succumb to heat exhaustion as well...
“I actually got heat exhaustion Sunday and was severely dehydrated.. I ended up 9th in the Pro-Am barely able to walk or see. I went to the hospital later that day to get an iv and try to recover a little better. The points chase between me and Collins is down to 5 points going into the last round so it’s going to be a battle. I wrapped up the championship in the Open A class this weekend though and won the prod A class. The points chase in the prod A class is very close coming into the last round with me only being 6 points behind Collins now when it used to be like 20! So this last round should be exciting!”
Honorable mention for the weekend and back in action was Pro-Am rider Keith Johnson. Johnson has been out on a major foot/ankle injury. Johnson went out to try and salvage a few points for the year until he’s 100% recovered. Unfortunately, Johnson encountered some mechanical issues and had to call it a day early on into the race, finishing the day in 15th place.
Sept. 14-16th is the last round of the 2012 WORCS series. A lot of battles are still down to the points chase. The final race will be held in Taft, Ca. following the awards ceremony. Be sure to check back for more on the future of WORCS racing and where it’s headed for 2013 as well as our wrap up of the 2012 season and it’s final round.