WORCS Honey Lake Race Report

September 30, 2008 8:11am
Settled on the slope of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains is one of America’s premier MXC venues, Honey Lake. Honey Lake is a mixture of a world class GP motocross track with one of the steepest, highest and longest uphill climbs in racing and it is surrounded by a rock and square edged curb infested XC course, a waterfall and a creek bed that earns extra cash on the weekends doubling as part of a racecourse. This type of treachery is Honey Lake and why it is the premier venue for MXC style racing in North America.  It is looked forward to all year by WORCS regulars because “it’s so fun”. WORCS people are just different…

Honey Lake also turned out to be mighty sweet for Factory Suzuki/FMF Off Road rider Nathan Woods.  Woods, who has suffered through a somewhat miserable year due to injury and bad luck, came to the track looking to repeat last years dominant victory and he did just that winning in convincing fashion aboard his bumble bee colored RMZ450.  It was also a return to an all too familiar spot for CCR/Honolulu Hills star Bobby Bonds as he finished second for what seems like the hundredth time this year.  Ricky Dietrich who’d been lurking in 4th through 6th for most of the day put on a furious late charge and managed pulled off a last minute pass on teammate Damon Huffman to grab third. When Dietrich got past Huffman he pulled along a surprise guest, his ISDE teammate,  Capt. Caselli much to surprise of now a 5th place Huffman.  Huffman said, “Wow Dietrich got by me and faster than I could even get back on the gas, Caselli got by me too. I just didn’t know he was there.”

The day broke with outstanding weather and a track that was perfect for racing.  As the gates dropped it was none other than the Reno Rocket Justin Soule’ aboard his mighty KTM 450XC out front throwing more roost than a Saturn V rocket at launch.  Soule’ dove into the first turn followed closely by new team mate Mike Brown and rising WORCS warrior Kendall Norman aboard his JCR/American Honda/Precision Concepts CRF450. Soule’ set a blistering pace through the first two laps showing once again he has the speed to run at the front.  On the third lap however a miscalculation in the waterfall proved to be a problem as not only did he go down but his KTM’s rear brake was also rendered useless. Soule’ remounted to ride the wounded bike valiantly and finished a more than respectable 6th on the day.  Woods had been stalking his way up from a mid pack start and took over the lead after Soule’s mishap in the waterfall but was dogged by “Kustom” Kyle Summers riding his RPM Racing KTM XC450 and Stormin’ Norman and his Honda.  Both Norman and Summers have shown in the last rounds they are not going to be ignored. They are here to race. Woods smoked through the next few laps blowing up corners and blasting down the creek bed. He was clipping along at speeds only the very skilled or demented would try.  Enter the very skilled and maybe a little demented Bondo… Bondo had blown through the pack and was now trailing Woods.  Bondo proceeded to catch and then get past Woods on lap 6. But the fight was anything but over.  The two riders, who seemingly were all alone, went “mano a mano” for next 15 minutes in classic WORCS style. Back and forth they raced, Woods would not let Bonds out of his sight and unfortunately for Bondo there was nowhere to hide.  On lap eight the rubber band broke when Bondo bobbled and went down and stayed down for almost a minute.  When Bondo finally re-lit and got back going Woods was long gone and there was no one that could catch him as Woods went on to grab his first win aboard the RMZ. Luckily for Bondo the two riders had been going so fast that even though he had been stopped for what seemed like an eternity, Bondo still held onto second. Bondo needed those 2nd place points and with the cool breeze refreshing the man from Maricopa,  Bondo rode on to claim his 6th second place finish this year and pulled to within 4 points of Dietrich for the Championship and set the stage for the final round.

The Championship, the final round. 

It comes down to the final round for the third straight year. This year it is Bondo and Dietrich.  Bondo? Well it is his hometown, he’ll be ready.  Bonds who was all but out of racing 2 years ago has made an amazing comeback.  Derek Georke at CCR saw a kid he believed in and put up his own cash to give Bondo his last chance racing.  Bondo has shown Derek his faith was well placed. No one has shown any more grit than Bondo this year and few can match his speed and now he finds himself in control of his own destiny battling for a World Championship Title.  He knows the path won’t be easy. Ricky D is standing between him and the title. Dietrich has been here before when he beat Bobby Garrison for the Championship in 06 and he knows what needs to be done.  Ricky Dietrich has been a WORCS rider since he was a kid on 80’s.  The Former Champion is coming off last years  “Accident in Adelanto” that ruined his championship defense.  Ricky is back. He’s done the hard work to get here and right now he is ready for the battle.  RD wants his #1 plate back.  In the end it’s pretty simple.  Whomever finishes in front of the other takes it all.  Can’t ask for anything more than that. It's why we race. 

Third place is sewn up,  Caselli can do no worse and no one can catch him.  It will be Capt. Kurt’s his final round and appearance as a WORCS regular for a while.  Caselli will be moving back east to race the GNCC for KTM in 09. Will he moonlight with WORCS?  One can only hope.  None the less, he’ll own at least the number 3 plate when light breaks on the 09 season.  That brings us to fight for 4 through 6 and it will be intense.  Huffman the AMA Endurocross Points leader, holds the advantage in the series.  He is up by 13 points over Summers and 16 over Soule. All three riders have been up and they have been down this year.  All three riders have shown blistering speed and an iron will to catch the guy in front of them.  There will be no quarter asked for and no quarter given. Trust me, this will be a battle. 

Be there, its going to be a race to the finish.