Photos are courtesy of Harlen Foley
The promise of a race course measuring over thirteen miles in length led to an air of anticipation as racers arrived at the Sand Hollow State Park in southern Utah. The area was uncharted territory for a WORCS race and I don’t believe any of us, the WORCS staff included, knew what we were in for. It didn’t take long for the first seven miles to turn into some of the deepest sand whoops this series has seen; terrain that made Southwick look like a child’s backyard sandbox and would leave more than a few muscles in your lower back screaming for mercy. Then, after seven miles spent relentlessly pounding sand whoops had taken it’s physical toll, the course opened up into flowing third and fourth gear sand dunes, full of razor backs that you could float over and catch your breathe. With the added variety of about a mile of slick rock, the Sand Hollow circuit was incredibly varied and seriously demanding, but extremely enjoyable and with lap times averaging around twenty-two minutes, the two-hour pro race was going to be quite unique.
With such a long lap time, the WORCS crew decided to combine the pro bike main with the pro atv main, making the first time to my knowledge that bikes and quads would race on the same track at the same time at a WORCS event. Other than the slight inconvenience that lapping any of the slower atv riders posed, I was genuinely excited by the prospect of a show down with the four-wheeled pros; I feel they’re some of the gnarliest racers on the planet. The start procedure would be dead engine with pro and pro2 bikes on the first row, followed three minutes later by the atv pros, then the pro2 lights and finally the pro-am quads. Did I mention how unique this event promised to be?
I knew the formula for a race like this: deep sand plus first lap intensity equals chaos and so a good start would be crucial. I did a couple practice starts and my bike fired right up, so I was feeling confident and just waited for the flag drop. As the thirty second board went sideways and we all stood statuesque awaiting the slightest movement of the green flag, my foot pushed through the kick starter and off my ideal starting position of top dead center. I had no time to rectify the situation and as the flag waved high into the air my initial kick left the motor unfired as the rest of the line began to ignite their machines and jet away. With a second swift kick my bike roared to life and I accelerated down the start straight around mid pack. The chaos formula was proving true and after just a few corners I’d passed two riders who had either stalled or crashed. Another rider suffered a pretty impressive swap and I managed to dodge the carnage and slip by, inching my way into the top five. Justin Jones was the first rider I comprehended as the pack started to file out and a quick burst of speed through some deep whoops shot me through to fourth. The next rider in my sights was Justin Seeds and, in a similar pass to the one I had made moments ago on Jones, I powered through yet another set of deep whoops and took over third. Just up ahead was the KTM of Ty Tremaine and as we turned onto a fourth gear fence-line straightaway, I used a little Baja experience as I held the throttle on, riding just inches away from the barbed wire, and made my way by. Just one rider remained ahead of me, David Broderick, and I was content to follow him through a narrower and slightly rocky section of the course. Once the terrain opened up into an uphill set of rolling whoops I made the commitment, pushed my way by him an into the lead. It was time to set sail.
It’s tough to express how much I enjoyed the race as from the moment I passed into the lead I was feeling very strong through terrain I don’t normally excel, riding my own pace, using the edges where I could to save energy, then clicking up to fourth and pounding the whoops when I needed to. With such long lap times the race seemingly flew by in a flash. Before I knew it the white flag was out and I had built a comfortable lead. I spent the last lap jumping the sand dunes, cruising through the rougher sections, showcasing some of my goon riding talents and I was elated to cross the finish line to grab my second win of the season (though I wouldn’t have minded another lap or two).
It was a sensational weekend for me as my race was absolutely flawless. My bike handled the demanding terrain so well that it seemed, at times, all I had to do was point the front end and hold the throttle on. Any concerns I had pre-race about lapping slower bikes and quads were quelled as everyone I approached was incredibly considerate and would leave room for a pass. I must say that the WORCS team did a great job all weekend long with the course conditions becoming much tougher than anyone expected, as they spent tireless hours bringing in broken bikes, quads and sxs’s. I want to thank all of my sponsors for providing yet another great effort: Precision Concepts, Alamo Alarms, Fox Racing, USWE drink systems, PodMX knee braces, Northland Motorsports and THR Motorsports, as well as all of the tremendous team sponsors listed below. Big thanks to my mechanics: Phil, Ty and John at Precision for everything they do to help me out and congratulations to Jacob Argubright and my teammate Justin Seeds for earning their first WORCS pro podium finishes . I’m really enjoying myself on the bike right now and I’m excited to continue improving and representing my team and sponsors to the best of my ability. Up next is the Silver State 300 and I’m looking forward to teaming with David Pearson, holding the throttle to the stop and having some more fun!