2015 BIG 6 grand prix series | Round two: Taft, CA | January 31, 2015

Having had a good performance two weeks prior at the same venue, I was full of confidence coming in to the second round of the 2015 D37 BIG 6 grand prix series at Taft, CA. The terrain would of course be similar and my Precision Concepts race machine was dialed for all of the square edged chop and silt holes that litter the Taft racecourse.Grand prix starts are usually dead engine so I was surprised to hear that the starting procedure would be motocross-style: live engine, in gear. A good start is always crucial, especially as there was a pretty full first row of pros and as the start of the pro race drew near, the engine revs began to build and we all awaited the green light release.


As the lights burned green I got a decent jump off the line, but Blayne Thompson, who had started just to my left, shot off the line like a ball shot from a cannon. The front line of riders clicked gears up the starting straight and Blayne had the first turn all to himself; I felt I had a solid lock on a second place start until Colton Udall came charging up the inside of me. Colton came into the first turn like a freight train, carrying too much momentum for me to pinch him off, and he forced me wide, pinching me off hard against a Yamaha to my left. We all made contact, but fortunately stayed upright and I dove to the inside of the first turn, salvaging a third place start.


My instincts wanted to sprint like a greyhound for the lead, but I quelled my emotions as the first lap at Taft is usually freshly watered and slick. Instead I stalked Colton as he searched for a way around Blayne out front. As we made it about half way around the first lap I was taking this time to learn the course, where it was wet and where I could push, and focused on relaxing my upper body and breathing. My patience paid off as Colton lost traction around a wet and slick left-handed corner, sliding to the ground.

With just Blayne ahead of me, and most of the slick areas of the first lap in the rear view mirror, I began to raise my intensity and close down the slight gap he had opened up. We came around the motocross section at the close of the first lap nose to tail as I applied the pressure required to make a pass. Over the two front-straightaway tabletop jumps I threw the bike sideways, scrubbing speed off the faces to hit them faster than Blayne, and I closed right up to his rear wheel. It was just a matter of time before I found my way around.

I set up wider than Blayne entering the following corner, then dove inside of him, trying to accelerate by, but he held tough. For three more corners I tried the same maneuver until finally I had enough drive to power into the point position. I quickly set my sights on pulling away, but over a high-speed blind rise Blayne surprised me with his fight as he out-drove me over the top and we were side-by-side down the backside of the hill. The course was narrow, and Blayne had the slightest wheel on me so I decided not to press the issue and risk tangling bars and crashing. A few corners later I saw my opportunity to dive inside of Blayne once more and I shot past him, this time pushing myself to sprint away like my life depended on opening up a gap, and within a few corners I had pulled a comfortable margin, staking my claim to the top spot.


The rest of the ninety-minute race went perfectly for me: I didn’t have any close calls with lapped traffic or the challenging terrain and my bike worked unbelievably well over the choppy terrain, allowing me to pick any line I wanted and have little concern if I hit the square-edged hole off-balance or sideways. I continued to pull a lead all the way to the white flag and was able to enjoy a pressure free final lap, crossing the checkered flag and taking the win.


I want to congratulate the Dirt Diggers MC, who put on a great event at Taft, laying out a fun, flowing course, keeping the dust to a minimum, and allowing the track to get good and rough. I’m again very appreciative of all the great companies who support not only me, but the sport we all love as well: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, Spy, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, FMF, BRP, A’ME grips, RAD custom graphics, Northland Motorsports, and ATP Mechanix. Congratulations to Justin Jones for a smooth and solid ride, finishing second, and to Colton Udall for picking himself back up and charging to third.

My next event is the second round of WORCS this weekend at Stateline, NV and I’m definitely expecting a hard fought pro main event as the likes of Gary Sutherlin, Justin Jones, Eric Yorba and my teammate Justin Seeds excel in the sandy terrain. It promises to be a great weekend of racing and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

- Robby Bell

Thank you to each of the team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports

Written by Robby Bell // Photos by Mark Kariya

Create New Tag
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment