WORCS Round III: Hughes Wins a Scorcher in the Havasu Heat

The thermometer was topping 104 degrees as Ryan Hughes took his Team Suzuki/FMF Off-Road RM-Z450 to a wire-to-wire win in one of the toughest WORCS races of the season. KTM’s Kurt Caselli charged from a poor start to take second place, and third went to Honda-mounted Bobby Bell, marking his first Pro-class podium in the WORCS series.

The heat was definitely a factor at Lake Havasu on Sunday as the fastest riders on the planet charged through the first turn of WORCS Round III. The long track ran along Lake Havasu for a short ways, allowing boating spectators some of the best seats. The course wasn’t particularly difficult, but it was extremely rough and fast.

Hughes took the lead early on the first lap and immediately started cutting lap times of less than six minutes. While the rest of the field struggled in the heat and dust, Hughes continued to set a fast pace and eventually built up a 45-second lead over Caselli, who had moved into second.

“I got out in front real quick so I wouldn’t splashed by mud or dusted,” said Hughes after the race. “Then I just got into my pace. I didn’t worry about anyone else, I just stuck to my pace that I knew I could do for two hours and pulled away. It wasn’t really that hard of a race, it was just long and hot. My Suzuki wasn’t bothered by the heat, not a bobble or blubber all day. Our pit stops were quick and the Suzuki Off Road team was really there for me today. It was a good race, rough, long, and hot.”

“I just got an okay start,” Caselli said. “I just started picking off guys. I could see Ryno way up front, and I knew he was getting away. He’d established a pretty good lead by the time I got into second. My KTM ran awesome, as always, but this was a tough one. I think this is the hardest race all year so it’s good to just get it over with, it’s a relief just to finish this one. But I’m up on the podium with another second place and hopefully I can make it to the top of the podium here soon. I want to stay consistent and have a good year.”

“I finally got a good start in one of these things!” said third-place finisher Robby Bell. “I rode smooth and followed Caselli as best I could and basically had fun. It feels great to be up on the podium!”

Forth place went to Husky mounted Lance Smail, and Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott rounded out the top five.

Racer X’s David Pingree showed up to do a story riding one of the vacant Team Green bikes and finished a respectable 14th in a very tough field of riders. Former WORCS Champions Ricky Dietrich and Nathan Woods were at the event but unable to compete due to healing injuries. Former 2-time WORCS Champion Mike Kiedrowski suffered a rare DNF when a radiator hose blew off and his 450 over-heated. Kiedrowski heroically pushed his bike around the track, refusing any help from fans and mechanics to salvage whatever points he could.

Jamie Lanza won the new and extremely popular Pro 2 class with Nick Brozovich taking second and Ryan Abbatoye taking third. Joshua Morros and Brodie Humphries rounded out the top five.