Round 3 of the AMA Big 6 Grand Prix series was held at Glen Helen and put on by the Prairie Dogs Motorcycle Club. The GP’s at Glen Helen are always a good time with a really good course and layout. Mother Nature provided us with some even more excitement with a lot of rain in the forecast. I knew it was going to be muddy and nasty which I was looking forward too. I always use the Vet race in the morning to get a warmup race in and learn the course. It had been a long time since I have raced at Glen Helen so the first few laps of the vet race for me were slow going. It took me a little bit to get up to speed but once I got going I started to feel really good. The course was a little muddy but not bad at all. I was having a good time and ended up finishing that race 3rd overall and learned a lot about the course. The pro race was about an hour behind schedule so we had a lot of time to prep and get ready. Collin got my bike prepped and we all got our pits set up. When the gate dropped for the pro race I had a really good jump and was heading into the first turn around 3rd. I had a rider cut straight across and almost clean out my front wheel but I managed to stay up which halted all of my momentum and I got shuffled back pretty quickly. I tried to sprint with the pack which has been my weakness this year. I stayed with the 2nd group and felt really comfortable with the pace of the guys around me. I made some passes and was having good battles with everyone from about 6th through 10th place. I made a pass on the asphalt section which put me in 8th overall and then I made a mistake pushing too hard into a corner that put me on the ground. It was just a tip over but it took me a minute to get going and I lost sight of the group I was with. I stopped for gas that lap as well and got a fresh pair of Viral roll offs for the last few laps! I felt really good and strong all the way until the end I just didn’t have enough speed to make up for the mistake that I made. I wasn’t able to close the gap and get back up to the pack of riders I had been battling with all day. I came into the finish 11th overall but I felt that my riding and speed was a lot better than the result shows. Each round I am feeling more comfortable with the pace and being back at the Grand Prix series. I am looking forward to the next one at 29 Palms.
On Sunday I decided to come back and race the Heavyweight Expert race which was the last race of the day. My wife and I showed up early got signed up and prepped my bike for another day of racing. My in-laws made it out to watch the race and also my cousin Matt who only lives down the road a little ways now. It’s always fun to have family come out and witness what we do on a weekly basis. I always want to do as well as I can too in front of them. I got an ok start in this race and came out around 3rd overall. I made the pass for 2nd and realized the leader was Jeff Loop. I have raced with Jeff for a long time now going back to my motocross days as a kid. I know how fast he is at Glen Helen and that he was podiuming the Big 6 pro races just a year or so ago. I knew I had my work cut out for me if I wanted to win. I was hoping for an easier day but it was good to have someone to push against. I made the past halfway through the first ridge section and was now in the lead. I tried to sprint and get away and had opened up a little bit of a gap. That’s when I followed the same course as the day before towards the end of the lap and came up to closed gate! I am not sure what’s up with me and closed gates but this time I kept my cool stopped and opened up the gate. I was bummed that my lead I had just opened up was now gone. There was no time to complain and whine about it and now I had a pack of rider’s right behind me again. I set out trying to push and no matter what I did Jeff managed to stay right behind me. I would open up some gaps in the off-road and then he would reel me back in on the moto track. Coming into the white flag I don’t think he could have been any closer to me. We were separated less than one second apart. I knew I had to make it to the ridge and then try to open up a gap. I go to the ridge basically side by side with him and just tried to twist the throttle and hit my marks. Lappers were a big problem for me the day before with losing time but I was trying to get through them as quickly as possible on this day. I made it to the most technical trail of the course that was a rocky slippery downhill trail. I always was opening a gap up down this trail and this time I had a couple lappers in front of me. I made the pass on them really cleanly and probably went the fastest down the canyon than I had all weekend. Right after the canyon was the asphalt section. It was still super slippery but I could easily look to my right and see where Jeff was at. It had seemed that lappers got the best of him and I opened up a really good gap that I knew would allow me to bring home the win. The rest of the lap I enjoyed the course and brought home the win!!
All in all I had a really good weekend. I wish my result was a better in the pro race but I feel that my speed has got significantly better in the last few months than it has been. My fitness also felt really good as I was able to push the entire race and then race again at a super high intensity the next day as well. Thank you to everyone for the support this weekend, I had a big pit crew on Saturday with Collin, Axel, Kyle and my beautiful wife Maddy!! Sunday was my cheering squad with Mike and Kim Forrest and my cousin Matt. Also right there my wife cheering me on and helping me load up and clean up all of this mud today! I wouldn’t be able to do this without her!!
Thank you to all of the sponsors who help out myself and Purvines Racing!!