WORCS Round 12 Race Report

Woods Wins the Battle, Caselli Wins the War

November 4, 2007, Honolulu Hills Raceway, Taft, CA
2007 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off Road Championship Series

Kurt Caselli

In a classic, season-ending show-down both Kurt Caselli and Nathan Woods did all they could to win the 2007 World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) #1 plate. Woods had to win with Caselli finishing no better then third for Woods to get the title; while Caselli knew that he had to be right behind Nathan or right in front of him for Kurt to get the Championship. And when the checkered flag finally waved after more then two hours of hard racing, Woods had won the event and Caselli had won the Championship.

But it almost went completely wrong for both the title contenders during the Pro 1 Main event. When the gate dropped and thundered through the first turn, Woods was left sitting on the line with a stalled KXF450. The holeshot went to Bobby Garrison, with Justin Soule hot on his heels in second, Ty Davis in third and Damon Huffman riding in his first WORCS race in fourth. Caselli was mired in mid-pack with no knowledge of Woods where-a-bouts. As the string of Pro 1 riders disappeared into the Taft hills, Woods charged after them from a dead-last start.

Somewhere in the desert, Woods caught the pack and started moving up. He caught and passed Caselli, who jumped on his rear fender and tailed him through the mass of Pro riders. When they emerged from the desert and re-entered the MX track, Garrison had a huge lead, with Huffman in second, Bobby Bonds in third, Woods in fourth and Caselli in fifth.

Nathan Woods gets the win.

For a time, it looked as though it was Garrison’s day, but Woods and Caselli were still racing for a Championship. Woods eventually moved into second with Caselli staying in striking distance in third. Then, just before the ½-way point, Garrison pitted and allowed Woods by before he was able to return to the course. This moment, which lasted for less then a minute, was how Woods wanted the day to finish. But it was not to be, as Caselli wicked up the throttle, caught and passed Garrison to move into second, the exact spot he needed to secure the title if Woods held on and won.

And that’s how it looked like it was going to end, except now it was Caselli’s turn to fight the championship gremlins. With less then ½ hour remaining and Caselli secure in second, he motored through the pits, pointing at his engine and shaking his head. Clearly, he had slowed down a bit and something was wrong or going wrong with his mount. Garrison closed the gap on Caselli and Woods pulled away. Caselli hung on for two more laps, barely keeping Garrison at bay. And then Caselli’s KTM miraculously cured itself, as Kurt came through the pits he pointed at his engine and gave the thumbs up to his crew. He quickly gapped Garrison and kept Woods in sight.

Woods took the checkered flag at the end of more then two hours with Caselli close behind. Woods had begun the day nine points shy of Caselli, his victory giving him 30 points for the win. Caselli earned 25 points for second which kept him five points ahead of Woods in the title chase. After a great season of podiums, a few gremlins and two big victories, Caselli clinched his first WORCS Championship of his career.

2007 WORCS Champ: Kurt Caselli.

“It’s been a long season,” said Caselli. “The Red Bull/KTM team has been great and we earned this one as a team. When a season lasts this long it’s more important to stay consistently on the podium then to win individual races and that’s what we did. Woods is a tough competitor and he made me earn every point. This Championship has been a major goal for me for a long time and I’m really glad to finally have the #1 plate.”

Woods was gracious in defeat, “I won the battle, but lost the war. Kurt (Caselli) did everything right today and I guess I did everything right too, but… I want to congratulate Kurt, he’s a great rider. I think it will be him and me again next year.”

Third place went to Ricky Dietrich who just caught Garrison on the last lap, Garrison took fourth and Huffman finished fifth in his first WORCS race.