Well, it's about that time, and as I sit here writing up the summer summary, I can’t think if I’m more excited about the WORCS Series starting back up or the kids going back to school, as I’m sure some of you can relate to. It’s been a great year so far, both in bike & ATV. Suzuki’s Ryan Hughes and KTM pilot Kurt Casselli have been on a tear, battling for points on the Motorcycle side, while Josh Frederick finally has the series points lead and looks to be focusing ahead on his first ever WORCS ATV Championship. With so much going on, I decided to check in with some WORCS notables and see what they have been up to this summer.
Ricky Dietrich #1: I spoke to Ricky’s close friend, or shall I say soon to be father-in-law and my co-partner in the booth, Dave Brosius. DB said Ricky’s been very busy in the summer break; he loaded up a month ago, changed out the #1 WORCS plate, slapped on the #539, jumped in his truck and headed back east to enter the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship at Red Bud, then drove across country to Lakewood and Washougal, where he earned points toward a national number. Look for Ricky to come on strong in the second half.
Bobby Garrison #2: Another pro rider that has been doing the Nationals, and from what Dave told me, his parents as always have been a huge support and Bobby also scored points at all three rounds he has attended. Bobby must be wanting to drop a few digits on the controversial #69 in the Nationals. I would imagine we’ll see a lot more of Garrison next summer with his National # being mid 40s.
Nathan Woods #3: I spoke to “Woody” last month, tried to get him to come over and do some Taft Arenacross, but he said Kawasaki may frown on that and he was actually enjoying his summer off. His plans were to do some testing and he and Amanda were going to spend some well-deserved time off with the kids. With all that’s going on up at the front of the series, Nathan is sneaking up slowly and definitely wouldn’t mind shedding two numbers off his plate for '08.
Ryan Hughes #4: I haven’t spoken to Ryan. I’m sure he’s laying low, riding, training, watering the organic garden, playing with kids and finalizing his plan to secure the 2008 WORCS Championship. If you haven’t seen Ryan Hughes ride, this guy is on one of the world’s best training regimens, and his grueling workouts make him a true off-roader.
Josh Frederick #3: This is the points leader right now in ATV; Josh is one of the most relaxed racers you will ever meet. He is calm from the time he rolls his fun-mover into the track until he stands high on the podium at the end of the day. Josh is a nice guy, a father, husband, and an all-around great figure of WORCS ATV Racing.
Jeremy Schell #114: Jeremy is new to the WORCS ATV series this year. A teammate of Frederick, they both pit out of the Epic tent. He has come close this year to winning, including multiple seconds and a couple of thirds. He sits third in points as of June, and he is sure to make some noise here on the homestretch. He is also the clown of the series but is very serious with his game face comes on on Sunday mornings. Jeremy has a pre-race ritual like I have never seen before: he will sit in his team rig, get dressed (and I mean fully dressed, helmet, goggles, and boots) and run up and down pit row for a warm-up. Some people don’t know whether he is late to the gate or just plain off his rocker, but once you get to know him, he is one of the most approachable guys in the pits.
Doug Eichner #1: What more can I say? 5-time WORCS National Champion, newly signed Factory Polaris rider, and he is 40+ years old. Sitting second in points after a couple of struggles and getting the bugs worked out on the new KTM 525 motor that sits inside the abnormally large Predator frame, he is determined to let Josh know that there is no easy way out in his world. Look for Doug to come out flying in Olympia in three weeks.
Others to watch: Kurt Casselli has been hill climbing, Sheri Cruise podiumed at Washougal last weekend in the WMA Pro class, Casey Creasom won the Women’s B class, Josh Morros is still going as fast as he did when he left Toutle, Derek Costella is now a movie star on FUSE, if you happen to be catching the new show Crusty Demons, and, well, everyone else is probably deciding how to plan their schedule for the rest of the hectic season. Destry Abbott competed in the Nationals at Lakewood & Washougal, but unfortunately he had a bad get off in the whoops at Washington during Saturday practice. Reports out of the Kawasaki camp are broken ribs, partially punctured lung, but not as serious as it sounds. Destry spent Saturday and Sunday in the hospital and was released on Monday to make the trip back to Phoenix to heal up. We probably won’t see Abbott at Olympia, but he'll possibly go for Monticello, UT. Speedy recovery to Destry!
Staff news: Sean and Pepper Reddish took a few weeks off in Mammoth and exposed Luke to something else than the inside of a race hauler. In case you don’t know, they became proud parents last year and are adapting well to life and parenthood on the road. If you know Sean Reddish, he wasn’t one to ever smile or even look like he wanted to. But after the birth of his boy, he looks to be settling down and enjoying the off-road venture he took on only three short years ago. As for me, when I’m not writing releases and blabbing on the mic, I work for the largest utility company in California and I wish I could say the same with vacation, but the truth is my summers are the busiest. It seems like everyone wants to turn their air-conditioning on at the same time in California, right at the hottest part of the day, and then the electrical grid goes crazy and my days turn into nightmares along with long hours. Oh well -- it pays the bills. Besides, what else do I have to do?
As the summer winds down, we look ahead to Olympia, Monticello, Hollister (for bikes), Pismo Beach and then the final round in Taft, Ca. Drive, fly and ride safely, and we will see everyone at the races.