WORCS Round 9 Report

Woods Steps Up, Bonds Closes in
By Joe Colombero

Just days after returning from his gold-medal performance at the ISDE in Greece, Team FMF Suzuki Off Road’s Nathan Woods stood at the top of the podium again with a dominating victory at round nine of the World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS). Though often pressed during the course of the two-hour event, Woods fiercely held the lead until all challengers dropped away, winning by almost a minute when the checkered flag waved.

  • Nathan Woods scored his first WORCS victory of 2008 on a brutal course at Honey Lake California.
  • Kurt Caselli fought hard for fourth while still suffering from his ISDE injuries.
  • Bobby Bonds took his sixth second place finish in nine races and put himself within striking distance of the WORCS Championship.
  • Woods is happy to be on top of the box again. Bonds and Dietrich are 1-2 in the WORCS Championship points chase. It all comes down to the final round next month in Taft, California.
In another display of skill, determination, and drive, Team CCR’s Bobby Bonds scored yet another second-place finish in the WORCS series. “Who ever heard of six second-places in a season?” asked Bonds. He was the main challenger to Woods at Honey Lake, but a series of crashes and a broken brake lever halted his charge and had him settle for second at the flag.

Third place fell to Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich, who had also just returned from a gold-medal performance at the ISDE. Dietrich came from way behind to make it onto the podium after getting tangled in a first-turn pile-up that left him in twentieth place at the end of the first lap. He slowly worked his way forward and found himself in fourth on the white flag, 40 seconds behind teammate Damon Huffman and with defending champion Kurt Caselli pressing on his rear wheel. Both Dietrich and Caselli made the pass on Huffman just a few corners before the finish line. “I was really surprised when Caselli went by,” said Huffman. “I didn’t know he was that close.”

The talented field of riders who led the race included Red Bull KTM’s Justin Soule, who got the holeshot, Mike Brown (in his second WORCS race), Team JCR’s Kendall Norman, Bonds, and Woods, with Woods emerging triumphant. Bonds finished second, Dietrich third, Caselli fourth, and Huffman surrendering a sure podium for fifth.

Woods, a two-time WORCS champion, was happy to score a big win for his team. “I’ve had some setbacks this season, but it feels really good to win,” he said. “I went to the starting line determined to just have fun, and nothing is more fun than winning.”

The results of round nine make the title chase into another nail-biter. Dietrich (165/3 wins) came into round nine with an 8-point lead over Bonds (157/1 win), with Caselli (144/2 wins) in third. Bonds’ second-place finish gained him 4 points on Dietrich, which brings the championship down to the wire.

The final round is in Taft (Bonds’ home town) on October 19. If Bonds wins, he earns 30 points; if Dietrich is second, he’ll earn 25 and Bonds will get the title by one point. Neither rider can afford to let the other beat him. And don’t forget there will be a hoard of talent with names like Woods, Caselli, Huffman, Soule, Brown, Weigand, etc., who will all go for the win as well. “We’re keeping it interesting,” said Bonds.

“Come to Taft to see the Ricky-Bobby show,” said Dietrich. “It’s going to be a great race.”