2019 Chaparral Motorsports PC Kawasaki Racing Taft WORCS Report
The conditions were always going to be brutal as the tenth round of the 2019 WORCS series rolled into Taft, CA. A dry, hot Summer meant little moisture underneath the powdery oil fields. As a result, sections of the course turned to silt, which meant vision would be at a premium. Additionally, it meant the start would be crucial as every rider would be pushing to make it to the silt sections first. Following strong performances at recent WORCS and National Grand Prix rounds, Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki's Zach Bell and Blayne Thompson looked to continue their momentum in the fast, rolling terrain at Taft.
Zach Bell - 1st place pro
As the gate dropped for the two-hour pro race, Zach headed into the first turn just on the outside of series leader Taylor Robert. Over the following handful of corners, the two would fight each other hard for the point position, each with the goal of staying in front of the dust. This ultimately culminated in the riders coming together. The result saw Robert fall to the ground, while Zach was left with a broken water-pack line, bent shift lever and bruised shoulder. Even with all the action, Bell was able to hold onto the lead as the pack of pro riders headed to the off-road sections of the course. Zach quickly adapted to the bent shift lever and began rapidly pulling out a gap. By the midway point of the race, he had opened up around two minutes over the field. From there, Bell rode smooth, not take any risks passing lapped traffic in the challenging conditions. He continued to stretch away to the finish and was able to put it in cruise control over the final few laps, dominantly taking his first WORCS win of the 2019 season.
In His Own Words
"That was an exciting one! It started off a little hectic, but we got through that and just put in a great charge. It was a good race. I led from start to finish and just put in some good laps; solid laps. I feel like I've been getting stronger and stronger and this was the best I've felt in the two-hour [race-length]. I've been feeling really good lately. I have the attitude that I just want to win and I've been working really hard at it. The whole team has really helped me put this whole program together and made it so strong. I'm feeling really confident with the team and my KX450 and I couldn't do it without the support of everyone. Definitely looking forward to the next one."
Blayne Thompson - 6th place pro
Blayne thundered into the first turn just inside the top-ten as the pro race began. Overtaking was difficult in the conditions, but Thompson was able to slot into eighth-place early-on. From there, the Kawasaki rider held a strong consistent pace and began closing on the riders at the edge of the top-five. After passing Andrew Short, Thompson found himself in the middle of a five-rider freight train from fifth-place back to ninth. Each rider was seemingly holding position at the edge of the dust from the bike ahead. Fortunately, Blayne was able to make a pass into sixth place when Travis Damon pitted. From there, he made a few runs at the fifth-place Honda of Ricky Dietrich, but a couple falls in the silt set him back. In the end, Thompson would settle for a hard-earned sixth-place finish on the day.
Robby Bell, Team Manager
"Taft in October was always going to be brutal. There just isn't much you can do to make this soil decent when it's so dry and powdery. The conditions were the same for everyone, though, and not every course needs to be prime; this is off-road racing.
"I'm very happy for Zach to get the win. He's put in the work getting over a few early-season set-backs. He's definitely been building towards his first WORCS win of the season with his recent form and it was impressive to see him be so dominant. Zach's riding a big wave of momentum and hopefully he can maintain it well.
"Blayne rode solid yet again, continuing his late-season resurgence. He was so close to creeping inside that top-five, but had a couple falls in the silt. Still, it's good to see him charging hard and up in the mix. Primm [the finale] is a good course for Blayne. Hopefully he can end the WORCS season the way he started it: with a podium result."
Source: PC Kawasaki