Las Vegas, NV - WORCS racing resumed recently after a month long hiatus, giving racers plenty of time to make midseason adjustments and ensure their equipment is ready to go for the final four rounds of racing.
The Pala Raceway course at round six featured a huge motocross track with many doubles, tables and even a couple of rhythm sections. On Friday, racers were limited to just two ten-minute practice sessions and it became apparent that this course would favor those riders who were more comfortable on a motocross track. The off-road section was shorter than most tracks WORCS racers have seen this year and over the course of the weekend became very one-lined and dusty.
Saturday featured a Pro practice on the full course as well as a full schedule of amateur racing. Pro-Am Racers fought for qualifying positions in a handful of classes to be able to run in Sunday's main event. Despite a bad crash in practice on Friday, GPS Offroad/Sun F Tires rider David Flores was able to pull together and win the Production A race, leading from start to finish. Flores has dominated the Production A class all year long and would be sitting near the top of the Pro-Am class except for a few mechanical issues that have moved him back in the points race.
Mike Sloan, another GPS Offroad/Sun F Tires-backed racer who came out swinging in the first few rounds, has been plagued by mechanical issues the last few rounds. Engine trouble at both Sand Hollow, UT, and Taft, CA, pushed him out of the points lead. Sloan competed in the Open A class on Saturday, where he raced to a solid second-place finish.
Sunday was a difficult day for several of the GPS Offroad riders as mechanical issues seemed to plague much of the field. After a challenging first three rounds, Pro class racer Dillon Zimmerman finally turned things around with a third-place finish at Sand Hollow. Unfortunately, his bad luck returned with a broken heel guard net in Taft and battery issues at Pala.
The race once again saw a dead engine start and Zimmerman's quad showed no signs of electrical issues during practice or on the way to the line. At the wave of the flag, the entire field of pros took off but Zimmerman's quad began acting up just partway into the first lap. After pitting, the quad failed to even turn over. The pit crew swapped out the battery and the quad roared to life but unfortunately Zimmerman was so far back once he got going that he was unable to catch the group.
Unfortunately, the Pro-Am race didn't go much better for GPS Offroad racers. David Flores, who's notched two wins on the season, battled carburetor issues and had difficulty starting his quad. By the time he got it started he was well behind the pack but managed to charge all the way up to third place until his linkage broke on Lap 8. After limping back to the pits he was back to eighth place. Flores and his crew changed the linkage and he was able to complete one more lap but the mishap dropped him all the way to 14th place.
Mike Sloan, who looked to be back in true form on Saturday, began having suspension trouble just 30 minutes before the main event. By the time his team looked at it and swapped the bad shock, the Pro-Am class was already off and running. Sloan started almost five minutes behind the class, seemingly defeated before the race even began. To his credit, Sloan didn't let his position get him down and he put together an incredible charge, ultimately finishing in eighth place.
The high note of the weekend for GPS Offroad Products, at least in terms of overall results, came from amateur racer Alex Ortiz. Ortiz competes on both two and four wheels at select events and is a top contender in several of the youth classes. Ortiz wrapped up the weekend with wins in both the 12-14 Production Sport and the 250 Production Sport classes. Carburetor issues in the 250 Production class had Ortiz fighting his machine, but he was able to hold on for third, narrowly missing second place on the final turn of the race. His third-place finish keeps him in the points lead by one point.