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2012 Havasu WORCS Kawasaki Report
Taylor Robert Takes Control
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert Takes Command of the WORCS Series at Lake Havasu
After two days of intense racing over a rough track and through powerful winds at Crazy Horse Campground in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert commanded the overall win with a 1-1 moto result and secured the World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) points lead. His teammate Bobby Garrison battled back from slow starts both days to finish fifth overall with a 4-5 moto score. Despite injuring his ankle earlier in the week during a training session, Justin Soulé fought through the pain to finish sixth overall with a 7-6 result. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Brandy Richards walked away the most winning rider of the event, scoring wins in both the Women’s A and Super A classes.
Back on Top
After taking the win at Lake Havasu last season, Robert came to Crazy Horse Campground feeling confident and knew he would be the man to beat. With the points lead in his sights, Robert put on a solid charge aboard his KX™450F both days of the two-day race weekend, leading 22 of 26 laps to command back-to-back moto wins. The impressive performance propelled Robert back to the top of the leaderboard where he currently holds an 8-point lead over second place.
“This weekend went pretty awesome, you really can’t ask for more than a 1-1 weekend,” said Robert. “Thanks to Destry Abbott I got great starts off the dead-engine start on both days. He has really been helping me improve my technique for dead-engine starts and it’s really been paying off. On Saturday I got a good start, pulled into the lead by the third lap and checked out for the win. I got an even better start Sunday and came around the first turn right behind Justin (Soulé). By the second turn I moved into the lead. After three solid laps I was already pulling away from the pack, but went down which let (Justin) Summers by for two laps. By lap six I was able to push back out front and then just rode my own race from there. It felt great to take back in the points lead. I am really looking forward to the next round at Speedworld. I have been riding there since I was four years old so I’m really looking to extend my points lead.”
Last year at Lake Havasu Garrison kept Robert honest, battling hard for the lead both days of the weekend and finishing on the podium in the runner-up spot behind Robert. This year he was looking forward to a rematch and expected to give Robert a run for his money, but the WORCS crew threw him a curveball with the dead-engine start. Both days Garrison got poor starts and was forced to battle from the back of the pack. He worked his way through the field both days to finish 4-5 and take fifth overall over the weekend.
“It was a pretty tough weekend for me,” said Garrison. “I really like this track and typically do well in the sand, but the dead-engine starts really gave me troubles. On Saturday, I was the last one off the line. As I was working through the pack I got hit really hard in the goggles by a rock. I had a tough time seeing until I went through the pit and swapped goggles. I was able to get right on the back wheel of (Mike) Brown by the last lap and think if I would have had just one more lap I could have moved past him into third. On Sunday, Destry (Abbott) helped me work on my dead-engine start technique before the race. I did a little better off the start, but still had to work through the pack. I got a little dehydrated and started getting leg cramps halfway through the race. I really tried to hold onto fourth, where I rode for 10 of 15 laps, but wasn’t feeling good and let one rider slip past. I really feel the starts are what cost me this weekend so I am going to be focusing on improving my dead-engine starts moving forward.”
Soulé is one of the hardest working riders in the sport. While he has been competing on his KX450F in the WORCS series, he has also been putting in a lot of time on his KX™250F training for the upcoming AMA EnduroCross season. Unfortunately, earlier this week he sustained an injury to his left ankle and had to ride in safe mode at Lake Havasu. Despite riding in pain all weekend, he got great starts and finished a respectable sixth overall, with a 7-6 moto result.
“I really did the best I could this weekend,” said Soulé. “I injured my ankle training on Monday and was riding to salvage points this weekend. The track was pretty rough so it was a lot of work just trying to keep my feet on the pegs. I just tried to ride smart and conserve myself for the upcoming endurocross season, which is only six weeks away. I need to make sure I am 100 percent ready to go for the opening round in Vegas. This weekend didn’t start off that great since I swamped my bike in the lagoon during Saturday morning practice. Thanks to my mechanic Jeff Decker for getting all the water out of my KX450F in time for the Saturday Pro race. On Sunday I was happy to get the holeshot, but knew I wouldn’t be able to hold the lead long. I still tried to latch on to the leaders, but couldn’t keep up the pace with my ankle hurting. I just rode conservatively and finished sixth overall.”
In her hometown of Lake Havasu City, Richards knows what it takes to win on the deep, sandy course. In the Women’s A class, Richards nailed the holeshot aboard her KX250F and led every lap of the race to secure her fourth-consecutive win of the season. She currently sits at the top of the Women’s A leaderboard with a 16-point lead over second place. In the co-ed Super A class, she nailed the holeshot aboard her KX™100 and led every lap until the checkers to secure her second win of the season. Richards currently holds the runner-up spot in the Super A class points standings, only nine points off the leader.