The two-hour pro race was going to be brutal. The track was beat, high-speed and square-edged, but I felt up to the challenge. I’d had a couple weeks of solid preparation since the Adelanto GP and was looking forward to seeing how well my body would hold up.
I also felt pretty confident about my dead-engine start, as the last two times we were at Primm I ripped a massive hole shot, but unfortunately the third time wasn’t to be a charm. When the green flag flew to start the race, I must have kicked my bike like a bit of a nancy because she didn’t fire on the first kick. In fact, I think it took four kicks to finally start up. I remember I didn’t panic into thinking I needed to make up all the lost time on the first lap; I knew it was going to be a long, physical race, so I just methodically picked off a few riders as we got into the first lap. In all honesty, the first two laps were a bit of a blur as I worked from around 15th up to fourth.
As I started the third lap I had caught up to Dalton Shirey and was able to make a quick pass—Dalton had slowed to rip off a dangling radiator shroud, but he quickly got back up to speed just behind me. Over the next lap I had made my way up to the back of Blayne Thompson, who was running second behind Justin Jones. I followed Blayne for a while, as he had picked it up to match my challenge, but towards the end of the lap I was able to square up underneath him and take the second spot.
JJ wasn’t too far ahead, and as I was able to get right up behind him I noticed I had a few better lines. I charged up the inside of Justin coming into a sweeping left-hander and moved into the lead, but I had a feeling it wasn’t over; Justin is a fighter, and sure enough, he wicked his pace up to match mine. I could hear him all over me as we neared the truck course and through a whoop section he turned it up to ludicrous speed, carrying more momentum around my outside and taking the lead back. We turned the next corner and I could see from Justin’s body language that he was pushing it. He sent it, fourth gear tapped, down the next drop off, but unfortunately for him there was a nasty square edge in his line. He hit the hole and instantly got bucked forward. The last thing I remember seeing as I passed by was his face kissing the front tire with his legs up over his head. It was scary, and honestly shook me up for the next couple laps, as I knew his landing must have been vicious.
JJ’s misfortune moved Shirey up into second, and he had stayed just 10 or 15 seconds behind me since I had made the pass earlier. Over the next eight laps or so he stayed right there, matching my pace to near perfection. I actually started to wonder whether he’d start to show any signs of slowing as the laps wore down, and finally, with just a few laps to go, he started to drop off the pace. Having opened up a comfortable gap, I was finally able to relax over the final laps and take the checkered.
I’m happy I was able to take the win on the day, but I’m even happier about how my body felt on a very demanding racecourse. I’m really bummed for Jones, he was flying after he passed me back and we were poised to have a race-long battle to the finish. Hopefully he makes a quick recovery. Congrats to Dalton on the second place finish; he’s showing that he has the pace to be a consistent threat for the podium, including the top step. I also want to give a congrats to Colton Udall for staying strong all the way to the finish and landing on the podium, holding off a hard charging Justin Wallis.
Thank you to my mechanic Phil, suspension tech John, my wife (and our little bean), family, and all of my personal supporters: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, 100%, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, BRP, RAD custom graphics, GoPro, A’ME grips, IWC motorsports, ATP mechanix, Rekluse, CryoHeat, and the MotoXerciser. Up next is the Big 6 Grand Prix at Taft, CA next weekend. I’ve always liked Taft and I’ll definitely look to keep this momentum going.
Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, Precision Concepts, Maxxis tires, FMF exhaust, Maxima USA, Renthal, Dubya USA, Acerbis, Matrix Concepts, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel America, ARC levers, DT1 filters, RAD custom graphics, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Next Components, Rigid Industries.