It was a weekend full of highs and lows at the WORCS finale in Primm, NV. All three riders showed great speed, but the results didn’t end up reflecting.
Justin had a great race, grabbing the holeshot and running up inside the top-3 all race long. Gary Sutherlin was right behind Justin on the final lap, with Seeds holding 3rd place. Justin entered the scoring chute, just 30 feet from the checkered flag. The single-file chute makes a couple snake-like turns before crossing the line. In the first hard-right, Gary literally jumped the inside mound of dirt and center-punched Justin, knocking them both to the ground. Justin was stuck under both bikes and dropped to 5th, while Gary crossed in 3rd. It was flat-out dirty. As an example, the damage on Justin’s bike is up at the radiator shroud, where Gary T-boned him. I talked with the promoters about it and while they agreed it was beyond excessive, they said there hasn’t been precedence for something like this and since they had said that the pro riders can pass in the chute in the rider’s meeting, they didn’t take any punitive measures towards Gary. The best WORCS said is that they’ll either mandate no passing in the chute for pros (to my knowledge, it’s meant more for pros to be able to overtake a slower pro 2 or lights rider) or blade a racing lane around the single-file chute to bypass it for the pro race. In the end, we were gutted for Justin to put in that effort and not be able to show for it.
Blayne showed the speed as well, as he looked to pass Taylor Robert on the first lap for 2nd. With the low morning sun, a bowl corner was shaded. Blayne was focussed on trying to make the pass and didn’t read the quad ruts well in the shade, cross-rutting and crashing. His bars rolled forward pretty far in the crash and he tried his best to adapt. In the pit, we could tell he was struggling with something and brought him in early to try to diagnose. Unfortunately, he had just found his rhythm when I pulled him in and the pit set him back quite a bit from 5th to 9th. In the heat of it, we didn’t get a chance to adjust his bars, as we were more prepared for a different issue from trying to interpret his hand signals, and he wanted to rejoin the race quickly. But the awkward bar position ended up tearing his hands up and he wasn’t able to get any farther forward.
Clay was crushing it this weekend. He took his first career WORCS 450 A win on Saturday and came from nearly last to 1st in the pro 2 main. Unfortunately, a huge rock was hiding in a rut just after the finish section and Clay clipped it about halfway through the race, which sent him to the ground hard. He did his best to recover and came back to 5th.