The 24 Hours of Glen Helen is the perfect battleground for testing the limits of both rider and equipment. In the Po class, teams are only allowed four riders. And while Sportsman teams can have a secondary bike in impound, Pro teams have to make one machine last the entire distance. This means little rest for each of the riders, and nearly no margin for error when it comes to the motorcycle. It all culminates in one of the toughest tests for man and machine.
For the 2019 24 Hours of Glen Helen, the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki roster was comprised of team regulars Zach Bell, Blayne Thompson and Clay Hengeveld. Added to the team for the event was fellow Kawasaki rider Ryan Surratt, who’s been garnering solid results in the off-road circuit this season.
Bell started the race for the team and got them off to the best possible start. After grabbing the holeshot, he set sail and instantly pulled out a comfortable margin. Blayne, Clay and Ryan continued to run an impressive pace. As a result, the team had pulled out a fifteen-minute lead through the first six hours of the event.
As darkness fell, the quartet kept logging quick lap times and were flirting with putting the entire field down a lap. Sure enough, by ten o’clock, Thompson was able give the team the coveted cushion of a full lap lead. From there, each rider continued to brave the silty conditions as the dry terrain deteriorated, extending their lead over the field.
As the sun began to rise, marking the final few hours of the event, the PC Kawasaki team had built their lead even further. Clay had been able to put another full lap on the field, which gave the team the luxury of taking their time with maintenance pits. Additionally, it gave the riders the opportunity to back down their pace in order to further save their bodies and the bike.
Surratt took the last leg for the team, and after twenty-four hours and three minutes of racing, Ryan took the checkered flag. This year’s win made it three-in-a-row for the team dating back to 2017.
Robby Bell, Team Manager
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“For a ‘one-day’ race, the twenty-four hour requires so much effort. There are additional measures that go into preparation of the bike. Plus, spare parts, especially wheels and air filters, need to be accounted for and prepped. For the riders, it’s so physically and mentally draining. But it’s such a unique event, and one where so many people and supporters come together. Usually, even though the riders may be teammates, they’ll still be competing to beat each other on the weekend. This is the one race for us where each rider is one-hundred percent committed to the team aspect of the race. So, it’s a different dynamic.
“This year, the race couldn’t have gone much smoother. We were able to get into the lead right away, which is always great for the clean air. From there, the riders did an amazing job putting in fast, consistent laps. The rider rotation stayed consistent throughout, which can be rare, and there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of damage to the bike. In fact, I’m pretty confident saying we’ve never had a motorcycle come through the twenty-four hour as well as this year’s bike did. The 2019 KX450 held up incredibly well; the motor still feels strong, it doesn’t feel tired. Shoot, even the graphics still look really good!
“We’d definitely like to thank all of the friends and family that came out and helped with the effort. Whether it was cooking, caring for the riders, or helping with the maintenance pits, every bit of help and support is what made this event so successful for us. Now, I’m sure everyone that was involved is going to go pass out for a solid day or two.”