Round nine was the second trip to Glen Helen for the 2019 WORCS series. The conditions couldn’t have been much more different than the first time around. Rather than a wet and rainy mudder, dry, hot conditions greeted the racers. The racecourse was fast and flowing, utilizing both motocross tracks and much of the surrounding flat-lands. For the two-hour pro race, a few technical single-track sections were added. Though they did raise the technicality of the course, the sections added an element to the race when the top riders came into lapped traffic. When caught at the inopportune moment, a slow or stopped lapped rider could cost valuable time.
Zach’s KX450 roared into the Talladega first turn in the lead at the beginning the pro main event. Zach then ran a little wide through the infamous sweeping corner. This allowed Taylor Robert to sneak inside of him and grab the pole position. From there, the stage was set for the two to lay down an incredibly quick pace. For the first hour of the race, Bell shadowed Robert, never more than four seconds behind. Their pace had gapped the rest of the field and it was to be a two-rider duel to the finish.
Near the hour mark, Zach came in for gas a lap earlier than Taylor. On his pit lap, Zach was additionally held up in the single track by a couple lapped riders, losing over twenty seconds. From there, he and Robert seemingly traded issues in the single-track. With just a couple laps to go, Zach closed back to within eleven seconds of the lead. But not long after that, Bell once again had issues with lappers in the tight areas and lost time. Zach crossed the checkers to take a strong second, his fourth runner-up finish of the series.
In His Own Words
“My race was good. I got off to a usual good start. Ran it a little wide in the first turn, but was able to come out in second and was able to follow Taylor for the first hour of the race. I felt pretty good. Then, I got tangled up with lappers in the back in the pro section and lost a lot of time. Then, I made back up a lot of time. But I struggled the last few laps with lappers in the back. You really couldn’t make any passes back there, it was all bottled up. Taylor got by a few lappers right before the single track and I wasn’t able to get around them. So, he gapped me again. I put on another hard charge toward the end and felt like my pace was right there with his. I’m feeling better and better each time. Just a few mistakes cost the race and put me second. But, I’m healthy, feeling really good and my KX450 felt really good today. So, I’m going to keep charging.”
Blayne Thompson — 6th place pro
As the pro field rounded the first corner, Blayne was jostling around seventh or eighth. In the chaos of the first few turns, he lost drive up the Mt. St. Helen’s uphill. This dropped Thompson back to tenth. Blayne was quick to rebound and passed back up to eighth on the first lap. From there, Thompson picked off a couple riders and found himself locked in a battle with Trevor Stewart for sixth place. The two weren’t too far from the top-five until a downed lapper blocked the single-track section ahead of them. Blayne was at a standstill waiting for the rider to move and lost considerable time in the incident. After then breaking free of Stewart, Blayne found himself in a lonely position. The top-five had broken away, but he’d pulled a comfortable gap behind. Thompson continued to run a strong, consistent pace to the checkers, earning a sixth-place finish.
In His Own Words
“I came out with a semi-decent start. The first couple laps I was just trying to find the grove and the good lines out there. Then, coming into the third lap I started picking off a couple people. The course was awesome. It was fast and more my style. But, on the fourth lap, coming out of the back, Bud’s Creek [single track] I got stuck behind one of the lappers. We were stopped for, it felt like, two minutes. That kind of wrecked my race. So, I was just playing catch-up from there. Ended up sixth. I’ll take it. I wanted to do a little better, but a few things didn’t go my way. I’ll keep training the next couple weeks and come back to the next one. I want to get back on the podium again.”
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“Glen Helen in September is always brutal. Fortunately for the riders, it wasn’t quite as hot for the pro race on Sunday. Zach had a stellar ride. It was entertaining, just as a fan of the sport, to watch he and Taylor lay down heater after heater about three seconds apart. It seemed both riders had some issues in the single-track sections with lapped riders and the gap accordioned the second hour. Still, Zach was close and seems to be building back to his absolute best.
“Blayne had a solid ride as well. He pushed forward early in the race, but unfortunately came to a standstill behind a downed rider in the single track. From there, he’d lost too much time to the top-five and was in a race of his own. All-in-all, it was his best WORCS finish since the season opener, so it was good to see him back on form.”