Chaparral Motorsports Precision Concepts Kawasaki 2019 Mesquite Sprint Hero Report
The third round of the 2019 Sprint Hero Enduro series tested the racer's sand-riding abilities. The hosting venue was Mesquite MX park, which is well-known amongst west-coast off-road riders for the deep sand in the surrounding area. Heavy rainfall on the Thursday prior made the conditions a little rougher, as the sand formed steeper, sharper bumps throughout the weekend. Both the "Moto" and "Enduro" tests were on the shorter side. This meant that pure sprint speed would be rewarded. Additionally, any mistakes would be amplified, with less time on track to make to make up time.
Zach Bell - 2nd place Pro
2019 mesquite sprint hero zach bell kawasaki team green
On the whole, Zach had a stellar weekend, though he admitted to struggling on Saturday with mistakes. Through the first four tests on day one, Bell was keeping the leader, Taylor Robert, within fifteen seconds on overall time. However, one mistake on the third Enduro test sent Zach over the bars and into a thicket of bushes. He remounted as quick as possible, but lost over thirty-seven seconds on the test. Straightaway, Bell was able to recover well to take the victory in the final Moto test, and he ended the first day forty-seven seconds down in second.
On day two, Zach claimed the hat-trick of Moto tests, winning all three. He was also right at the top of the timing charts in the Enduro tests, keeping Taylor close. Over Sunday's six tests, Zach finished just over four seconds behind Robert in second place. Overall, he claimed second place on the weekend and solidified himself as runner-up in the championship points after three rounds.
In His Own Words
"Saturday was a long day in general. There were a few scoring issues that had us restart a couple times. I had a few mistakes and definitely wasn't on pace that day. Then, I had a good crash in the last Enduro test and knew I had to regroup after that. I came into Sunday happy and ready to throw down. Sunday, I felt like I showed some good speed in the Enduro tests and the Moto tests. Taylor only got me by like four seconds, so it was a much better day. All-in-all, second overall is good. I'm getting more comfortable with this type of racing, so I'm excited.
"Coming back here in a couple weeks [for WORCS], I'm looking forward to it being a little cooler, not as rough [laughs]. No, it'll be good, I'm excited. I've been training my butt off. It'll be about hydration and having the body prepared. So, we'll work hard on that and come in ready."
Blayne Thompson - 5th place Pro
2019 mesquite sprint hero Blayne thompson kawasaki team green
Blayne always enjoys the sand, and it showed this weekend as the Team Green rider picked up his first top-five of the Sprint Hero season. It took Thompson a few tests on the first day to figure out the pace. Even so, he was always nipping at the heels of the top group. Over the first six tests, Blayne's steady improvement saw him finish day one in sixth. Thompson's consistency continued into Sunday as he logged quick times. Heading into the final Enduro and Moto tests, Blayne laid down a couple of his best performances and cemented his fifth-place finish on the weekend.
In His Own Words
"Saturday went pretty well, but I just struggled a little bit in the beginning. We messed with the suspension a little bit and the times got better throughout the day, especially in the last tests. Then, I came into Sunday feeling a little bit better and the times were a lot better than Saturday. So, I'm going to take that as a positive. I'm getting better in this kind of racing and this is the best finish I've had in the Sprint Hero series so far this year. I'm feeling really good coming back [to Mesquite] in a couple weeks for WORCS. The off-road sections are actually pretty fun. I'm going to go home and start pounding out sand whoops to get ready for it!"
Clay Hengeveld - 5th place Open A
2019 mesquite sprint hero clay hengeveld kawasaki team green
Clay's still getting his body back towards full-fitness after a wicked crash a couple weeks ago. Though still not one-hundred-percent, the Chaparral Motorsports rider stayed very consistent throughout the weekend, logging test times at or near the top-five in class. Hengeveld's steady performances had him finish day one's initial six tests in fifth. Clay continued the solid effort on day two. He started strong, posting times that kept him in the fight for a podium finish overall. However, Hengeveld couldn't quite keep the same pace through the final tests. In the end, he did more than enough to lock down a top-five finish. He'll look to regroup and come back strong at the WORCS round in two weeks-time back at Mesquite.
In His Own Words
"Saturday went ok, not my best. I think I was just too timid and I felt kind of off on the bike all day. Definitely not my best performances. On Sunday, I felt better. Still not to where I know I can ride. I know I'm a lot better than what I've been doing recently. So, I just need to work on not being so timid, keeping my eyes up. I need to work on finding that flow quicker and keeping it for the whole weekend. So, overall, not my best, but no crashes so I'm glad about that and I'm going to work hard coming into Mesquite WORCS."
Robby Bell, Team Manager
"This Sprint format had the quickest tests we've seen so far. Though I'd like to see longer tests, it wasn't necessarily negative. The shorter tests just rewarded the "send-it" sprint speed a little more if you could flirt with that one-hundred-one, one-hundred-two percent, and pull it off. Having said that, small mistakes were also punished a little more, with less time to make the ground back up. So, overall, it just added a slightly different dynamic to the race.
"Zach had a great weekend. He and Taylor were consistently the top-two guys and Zach was keeping him really close until that fall late on Saturday. To his credit, Zach was able to rebound on Sunday and put in great times. It feels like he's getting closer to having it all click.
"It was great to see Blayne earn his best finish of the Sprint Hero series. I feel he thrives more on a starting line, with that adrenaline pumping, and riders to chase or run from. But he's been steadily wrapping his head around the enduro-style racing and this was a sign that he's improving.
"Similar to Blayne, Clay's been learning the enduro format. Plus, I feel the crash he suffered a couple weeks ago set him back a little more than he'll admit. Still, he'll work through it and once his body's back close to full fitness, I'm confident he'll be back to his best."