Dennis Stapleton (184) takes the holeshot in front of Ryan Orr (19), Robby Bell (3), Ricky Dietrich (7), and Justin Soule (6).
The race began with the usual first-turn mêlée which left Damon Huffman on the ground and Caselli doing gymnastics off the side of his KTM. Huffman remounted dead last with a broken rear brake which he would pit to fix at the beginning of the second go-round. He eventually would finish 14th. Caselli, who was hospitalized last round with poison oak in his lungs, remounted and began to pick off riders from the back of the pack.
This was the view of Dietrich for most of the WORCS racers as Ricky D. scored his third win in a row.
Meanwhile Red Bull/KTM’s Justin Soule found himself in the front of the pack with Sean Collier in second and Ryan Orr shocked to find himself in third. But trouble was lurking just behind the top three in the form of Bobby Bonds and Ricky Dietrich.
Bonds, who almost won the 125cc MX National at Hangtown “back in the day” had nothing but speed everywhere on the MX track and the Off-Road loop and soon powered his way into the lead. Bonds looked as though he would easily gap the field before Dietrich could put on an effective charge, but suddenly got “bit” in a slippery, freshly watered turn. “I stayed calm and went through the ritual of restarting the bike, but it still took a hundred kicks,” said Bonds later.
Soule (6) and Bonds (129) were this close for most of the first hour before Bonds got by and moved into second place.
Bonds splash-down dropped him to third while Dietrich moved up to first and Soule settled into second. And that was just the first ½-hour of the two hour WORCS event. Over the next 90 minutes Dietrich would extend his lead while Bonds battled with Soule who refused to yield second. Caselli would charge through the field picking off at least one rider every lap until he moved into third in the closing minutes.
With Dietrich disappearing, Bonds got by Soule and settled into second. Soule’s heroic ride was slowed late in the race when his blistered hands “popped” and became bleeding hands. Soule would finish a well-fought fifth. Team JRC’s Timmy Wiegand put on a second hour charge and moved past Soule in the final laps to take fourth. “Instead of fading back I faded forward this race,” said Wiegand with a chuckle.
Collier held on for a strong sixth place finish just ahead of Team FMF Suzuki Off –Road’s Nathan Woods, who was racing for the first time in four months after recovering from a severely broken color bone suffered in round two. Destry Abbott took eighth with Jamie Lanza ninth and Gary Sutherlin 10th.
“This is the first time in my career I’ve won three in a row,” said Dietrich. I won two in a row when I took the Championship in 2006, but a three-peat is new for me.”
Nathan Woods (2) made his comeback ride at Hangtown after recovering from a broken collarbone in round two. Woods rode through blistered hands to a well-fought 7th place.
With six rounds down and three points-paying round still left in the season, Dietrich leads the WORCS Championship with 147 points and three wins, Bonds is second with 132 points via four second place finishes, while Caselli is still in the hunt with 114 points and one win.