Bobby Bonds: 2008 WORCS Champion

by Joe Colombero

  • Bonds and Dietrich pose together before the final.
  • Bonds was relentless, taking the lead on lap three and never giving it up.
  • Dietrich was almost flawless, but couldn't close the gap on Bonds.
Taft, CA
- It’s rare at the highest levels of racing, even off road racing, for a privateer to make a dent in the top five of a title chase. But in the 2008 WORCS Series, Bobby Bonds, a true privateer, scored one of the most prestigious titles in off road by winning the 2008 WORCS championship. Bonds did it in style by winning the final WORCS race in Taft, California, in front of his hometown crowd.

The WORCS series is full of factory and factory-support talent from Red Bull/KTM, Monster Energy Kawasaki, FMF Suzuki Off Road, JCR Honda, and more. Bonds is a true privateer, riding a Kawasaki because they had a good contingency program, and being supported by CCR and his home track of Honolulu Hills Raceway.

Bonds began his Cinderella season by leading most of round one before finishing second to Kurt Caselli. That set the stage for Bonds to take a string of consistent second place finishes (six in 10 rounds) that saw him always in the hunt but outside the points lead all season. Bonds came into the WORCS finale four points down from Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich. Dietrich, the 2006 Champion, had won three races and scored three other podiums during Bondo’s streak of second place finishes. To take the title, Bonds had to win. First place paid 30 points, and second would only yield 25. Bonds needed those five points to make up his four point deficit, but there were riders with names like Nathan Woods, Kurt Caselli, Damon Huffman, Destry Abbott, Mike Brown, Kendall Norman, Timmy Weigand, Justin Soule, and Taylor Robert, who weren’t going to make it easy for him or Dietrich.

  • A rare moment, Bobby Bonds rides side-by-side with Corey Floyd through the WORCS-Cross logs. Bonds went on to win the Pro 1 race while Floyd won the Pro 2 race.
  • Taylor Robert #333 took for a podium in his first Pro 1 WORCS event.
The gate dropped at 10:00 a.m. and the holeshot went to Justin Soule with Jamie Lanza second. Bonds was back around 10th and Dietrich was up near the front. It didn’t take long for Dietrich to move into the lead and start gapping the field. We’d seen this happen a lot this season, with Ricky getting out front and pulling away for two hours. Meanwhile, Bonds bobbled in the WORCS-cross section and fell back to 12th.
By this point in the series, Bonds was a seasoned off road warrior, and had already grimly decided he was going to win or go down in flames. Another second place would mean nothing. He bonsai-passed his way through the field, and then caught and passed the blazing Dietrich. Soon Bonds had a 30 second lead which he never relinquished. Bonds’ speed and skills were simply awesome. “I pretty much rode a perfect race today,” said Dietrich later. “I was planning to follow Bondo once he got by me, and then take him in the closing laps, but he was amazing today.”

Bonds won the race, got his 30 points, and won the WORCS Championship by one point over Dietrich. Meanwhile, Taylor Robert, who had clinched the Pro 2 Championship by winning the last round, bumped himself up to the Pro 1 class and put in a spectacular ride to finish third, effectively rounding out an all Kawasaki podium at the WORCS final.