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Photo Gallery :: 2015 GNCC Round 7 - Masontown, W.Va.

MSR's Ryan Sipes claims Career Best GNCC Finish with a Second Place!

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From the Desk of MSR's Brand Manager - Nick McBride

 
 
 

Photo Gallery :: 2015 GNCC Round 6 - Seneca Highland, NY

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From the Desk of MSR's Brand Manager - Nick McBride

 
 
 

RACE REPORT :: Robby Bell Finishes 2nd at Sand Hallow !

WORCS Round 5 April 19th, 2015 - Sand Hallow, UT- By Robby Bell

In my mind, I had the momentum; the win was within my grasp. We were both holding the throttle wide open, the adrenaline pumping through our veins, as we raced each other for the lead. I was right behind Gary, waiting for the opportune moment to strike, when suddenly I lost all control; the bars flew out of my hands, and in an instant I was sent tumbling across the earth. My chance at taking victory was gone.

 

The sight of the fifth round of the 2015 WORCS grand prix series was Sand Hollow, Utah, a place known for its picturesque mountains and deep, sandy terrain. The Sand Hollow round seems to have a special grandeur about it, likely because of the unique challenges the sand offers, and also because of the length of the circuit- this year’s lap times were right around eighteen minutes long.

After missing the previous two rounds with a broken wrist, Gary Sutherlin was making his return to the series, and remembering back to his dominating performance last year at Sand Hollow, he was undoubtedly hoping to mark his comeback with a win.

The start would be dead engine procedure, and as the green flag waved, my bike instantly responded to my first kick, firing to life. I was a little off balance accelerating through the deep sand the start straight offered, and a couple riders to my inside began to pull ahead of me as we entered the first turn- a left handed corner. Ryan Reina was just ahead of me, to my inside, at the apex of the corner, and I began to lean into him as I expected Ryan to start to turn. I miss-judged the situation, as Reina swept a little wider than I’d expected, and my momentum carried me into the back of him; my front tire hit his rear end and I lost my balance, low-siding to the ground (I believe Reina actually hit the back end of Yorba, as he went down in the first turn along with me). I took my time getting up, adjusting the clutch perch, and made sure to take a deep breath as I got going again- I figured my work was cut out for me to get back up to the front of the race.

 

I was pretty surprised how quickly I was able to catch up to a few of the riders, making several passes in the first couple miles of the twelve-mile loop. Before the halfway mark of the first lap I had made it up to the back of a three-rider battle comprised of Dylan Schmoke, Justin Jones, and Travis Coy. The width of the racecourse made for quite a few options when deciding line-choice, and through the use of alternate lines I was able to make my way by the trio within the next mile or so.

Before too much longer I had caught up to the back of Justin Seeds, who was running fifth, and as I closed on to his rear wheel we both passed Blayne Thompson- Blayne had crashed while leading, breaking his wrist in the process, which was so unfortunate for him. As the course headed down a slight, rocky decline, I moved to the right of Justin, carried more momentum by him, and moved into fourth place.

As the first lap began to wind down I had made it up to Ivan Ramirez. We had a lively back-and-forth battle for about a mile or so before I was able to make the pass stick down another slightly rocky downhill. Only Eric Yorba and Gary were left ahead of me as the first lap came to a close.

It took me nearly two-thirds of the next lap to catch up to the back of Gary, in second, and, as our lines diverged, I had a better choice to the right, pulling ahead of Gary and into second place. I carried that momentum up to Eric out front and after nearly making the pass on a couple occasions, I maintained more momentum around a sweeping, whoop-filled left-handed corner and took the lead.

Before the race began, my pit crew and I decided we would commit to pitting for gas every two laps; since my gas tank is slightly smaller than the tanks my competitors run, we had reservations about going three laps. As the race would be six laps in length, this meant I would pit twice compared to my competition, which would only have to pit once. Upon reflection, I had more than enough of gas to make it three laps, but we weren’t to know that before the race, and we decided to play it safe.

 
 
 After taking the lead, I came in to the pits at the close of lap two and relinquished the first two positions, as Gary (who had passed Yorba) and Eric stayed out of the pits and overtook me. I caught back up to Eric pretty quickly and was able to make the pass through a slower-speed sandstone section, and from there I slowly reeled Gary in, catching right up to his rear wheel as the third lap neared its conclusion. I was able to make the pass down a high-speed decline, but just before the finish, Gary had a better line choice and reclaimed the top spot. Of course, Gary had to dive into the pits this lap, so I was able to take the lead once more.

Over the next lap I had stretched out a bit of a lead- around thirty seconds- but I would have to pit once more, and as I came out of the pits, my lead was down to less than ten seconds. I pushed to try to extend the gap once more, but unfortunately my progress came to a sudden halt with a single decision regarding my line choice. Through a fast section of sand dunes, there was a steep drop-off on the backside of one dune and I decided to change my line slightly to avoid the drop. As I veered to the left, where the drop was less severe, I must have hit a rock that was buried in the sand because my rear end instantly shot out to the side; before I knew it, I was on the ground, facing the wrong direction. It wasn’t a hard fall, but I imagine it may have looked that way to Gary, since I was facing backwards, and as he took the lead back he was gracious in making sure I was ok by way of a questioning thumbs up.

I re-fired my bike and got going again, probably around ten seconds behind Gary, but with the speed I had shown, I was confident I could catch him and make it a race to the checkers. Indeed, as the white flag came out, I had caught Gary once again and we headed out for the final lap separated by mere seconds.

Not log into the final lap there was a split-line section and Gary took a line to the right, which I knew to be slightly slower than my choice. I held the throttle on to Gary’s left, and as our lines merged I had enough momentum to make the pass and take the lead. I wanted to stretch away, but as we neared the site of my crash from the previous lap, I played it rather cautious to avoid making the same mistake twice. This was all the invitation Gary needed; this time he had chosen a better line and accelerated back by me as I tentatively hit the steep drop-off I had chosen to avoid one lap prior.

I still felt I had the momentum in my corner, and that the win was well within reach, as I was all over the back of Gary. Our lines would diverge, and as they would unite I would be, quite literally, within a few feet of Gary’s rear wheel, so close to making the pass. It was a fantastic race, and we were having a blast, Gary and I; I’m pretty sure I was smiling under my helmet, and he was fist-pumping me as we battled each other for the lead. Then, in one instant, it was all over.

The course entered a high-speed (fourth and fifth gear) sandy straightaway that was littered with partially buried, embedded sandstone rocks. I was just a matter of feet behind Gary, probably too close in hindsight because I couldn’t quite see what I was hitting, and in an attempt to peer around Gary, I moved just a few feet out of the main line, to the left. That’s the moment when I hit a section of buried rocks and felt the bike violently twitch left, then right, ripping the bars out of my hands and sending me hurtling to the earth before I could react to what was happening. I was quick to get back up, and my greatest fortune came in the fact that I was past all of the rocks and had landed in pure dune-sand, cushioning my fall. One look at my bike and I knew my chance at the win was gone; the throttle tube was broken- causing the throttle to stick, which is just plain annoying- and the bars were twisted beyond any repair I could quickly make on course. I picked my battered bike up and luckily had enough of a gap on third place that I was able to cruise the bike to the finish in second.

I was definitely disheartened at the checkers that I had let the win slip away, but more than that, I was rather disappointed that I couldn’t continue the battle with Gary; in a strange way I felt like I had let he and myself down because we were both so anticipatory of a battle to the finish. Looking past those feelings, I was very proud of my own ride; I charged the whole way, through some adversity, and showed myself I possessed a fire and desire to achieve.

I’d like to thank all of my personal sponsors for their continued commitment: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, Spy, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, FMF, BRP, RAD custom graphics, GoPro, A’ME grips, IWC motorsports, ATP mechanix, Northland motorsports, Rekluse, CryoHeat, and the MotoXerciser. I definitely have to thank my mechanic, Phil, as I gave him a bit of work to do with the damage to the bike my crash caused. I also want to thank my wife, family and friends, all of the team sponsors, and the WORCS crew for laying out a course that offered the opportunity to have such fantastic racing.

Next on my agenda is the Best in the Desert Silver State 300, a three hundred mile race through some of the most enjoyable and scenic roads that wind through the mountains of Nevada. I’m looking forward to the challenge of racing the event solo (since the race conflicts with Ricky’s Hare and Hound); last year I nearly won the event riding solo, finishing second by less than half a minute, so this year I’ll be looking to improve upon that result.

Robby Bell

www.robbybellracing.com

Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports

 
 
 

RACE REPORT :: MSR DELIVERS 1-2 PUNCH AT BAJA SUR

by Nick McBride - April 21, 2015
 

Malcolm Smith Racing Legacy Lives On!

 

The Ox Motorsports/MSR team of Colton Udall, Mark Samuels and Ray Dal Soglio added to the legend of Malcolm Smith Racing by finishing 1-2 at the first Baja 500 ever run entirely in Baja Sur this past weekend. Udall rode solo to victory in the Pro Unlimited class, finishing with an elapsed-time of 7:41:38 (55.18mph) on the No. 5x Ox Motorsports Honda CRF450X. Teammates Samuels and Dal Soglio finished runner-up for their second consecutive race on another CRF450X in 8:08:04 (52.19mph).
“Just like Malcolm Smith winning the very first Baja 1000, you get one chance to put your name in the record books,” says MSR Brand Manager Nick McBride. “But for Colton and Mark to go 1-2 at the inaugural Baja Sur 500 is the stuff of legend.” For the first time ever, the 500 kilometer (424 miles) point-to-point race started in Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja and finished up in Loreto on the east side of the peninsula (along the Sea of Cortez). Although this was the first time a SCORE Baja race has been held entirely in Baja California Sur, winning is nothing new to three-time Baja champ Colton Udall.
Running solo was a challenge for the champ, though. “I iron- manned this race and that’s the biggest milestone for me. Winning the Inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 was an awesome experience, but I wish I had a helicopter because there was a lot of scary stuff out there!” One exciting moment came when Colton and Justin Morgan (Ricky Brabec No. 1x co-rider) battling just past La Paz (approximately race mile 160). “We both had the bikes wide open... It was a horsepower battle in the dust.
”Colton dueled the 1x machine all day after getting passed within the first 75 miles. At race mile 149 there was only a slim 30 second split between the 1x and 5x machines. However Udall’s iron man strategy enabled him to stretch out a lead by the end of the race. “I’m happy that I’m here and I didn’t put the bike on the ground once. We tried a different strategy for this race by using a four- gallon tank that is nearly a gallon bigger than our normal race tank.”
“The legend of MSR was forged in the heat of Baja battles,” adds McBride. “With Colton, Mark, Ray and the entire Ox Motorsports team blazing through the inaugural Baja Sur 500, the legacy lives on!”
 
 
 
 
 

Ryan Sipes - Chapter 2 - Episode 2

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From the Desk of MSR's Brand Manager - Nick McBride

 
 
 

PHOTO GALLERY :: 2015 GNCC Round 4 - Union, SC

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From the Desk of MSR's Brand Manager - Nick McBride

 
 
 

RACE REPORT :: Jonny Walker SuperEnduro Season Update

by Jonny Walker - April 7, 2015
 
I hope everyone had a great Easter break. I kept things fairly chilled out. After what’s been a manic couple of months I’ve been keeping things low key since the SuperEnduro World Championship ended.
 

I mentioned last time that I was in the middle of a crazy eight-week schedule. Everything seemed to overlap all about the same time. I was literally living out of a suitcase, travelling from race to race. There wasn’t much time to take it all in. I like that though – it’s good to be busy when you’re racing. If you have a good race then great but if not you can try to fix what went wrong the following weekend.

The start of 2015 has been really, really good to me. Honestly it’s a little better than I expected it to go. Of course I had some mishaps but generally the good has outweighed the bad and then some.

I knew mixing both a SuperEnduro schedule with extreme enduro was going to be tough but thankfully it mostly all went my way. Winning Hell’s Gate and then backing that up by winning The Tough One was simply incredible. I never won either of those races before but then in the space of a couple of weeks I won both.

Even though the weather conditions were drastically different at each event, they were both hard in their own ways. The Tough One was special – it’s my first real home win and it felt good to reward all those support me with the top step of the podium on home turf.

Hell’s Gate was easily the most brutal weather conditions I’d ever raced in before. One minute it was raining and the next it snowing. On a couple of laps it was both raining and snowing on either side of the mountain – crazy.
 

To dissect my SuperEnduro season I hoped for a better overall result but any chance of second overall slipped away when I got trackside banner wrapped around my rear wheel in Brazil. In the heat of the moment I got some help to pull the banner out and ended up with a slap on the wrist and no points. But we live and learn the hard way I suppose – so I won’t let that happen again.

In hindsight it fired me up and I delivered my best ever performance at the final round in France to win the race and salvage third overall in the series. After a couple of years trying I finally won my first SuperEnduro overall. The track in France was so technical but it really suited my 250f and with two race wins I pulled the overall out of the bag.

I was happy for myself but also for my mechanic Seb. He gives 100 per cent each and every week. He worked eight weeks straight prior to France so to win for him was a special feeling.
 

Now it’s time to gear up for the big one – Erzberg. My chill out time is over. The batteries are charged up and I’m raring to go. Obviously I want to win there again but I’m sure there’s a few other guys with the same idea so I can’t afford to relax for the next two months. Time to get busy getting faster!

Jonny
 
 
 
 
 

VIDEO RACE REPORT :: Vurb Moto presents Ryan Sipes at GNCC Round 1

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RACE REPORT :: Robby Bell takes GNCC Round 4 at Lake Havasu!

WORCS Round 4 March 29th, 2015 - Lake Havasu, AZ - By Robby Bell

Havasu has always held a special significance for me. It was the site of my first WORCS podium WAY back in 2007, which was instrumental for my confidence that I could compete with the best in the off-road world, and the finish carried me onward to third in the series that year. Though I’ve always put in a good performance at Havasu, I’ve never been able to achieve my ultimate goal of getting a win there, an accomplishment I definitely wanted to realize this year.

The start would be dead engine, for which I finally feel like I’ve found some consistency. We had a special guest holding the thirty-second-board, and as the freshly dubbed “WORCS wookie” turned the board sideways, the starting line fell silent. After a few moments of restrained anticipation, the green flag flew, and the pro line fired their machines to life.

I had a strong kick through the kick-starter and my bike instantly responded, firing straight away. I accelerated down the short start line, feeling like I’d done enough to get the holeshot, but Ivan Ramirez had a perfect start of his own and reached the first turn just ahead of me- I can’t be too upset that Ivan beat me off the line, I think he’s holeshot every Hare & Hound this year. Travis Coy also had a great start- positioned to my inside as we entered the first turn- and as I scrubbed speed into the first corner to try to cut under Ivan, Travis caught me by surprise, pushed me wide, and back to third as we exited the first turn.
 

I was directly behind Ivan as the three of us accelerated down the second straightaway and I instantly started to feel a feature of the Havasu racecourse: the rock-filled roost. Ivan sent a slew of rocks in the direction of my face and one of them had a lottery hit on the tear-off post of my goggle lens, breaking the post into my goggles, and making for a sizeable floater I’d have to deal with until my pit stop hallway though the race (when I would change goggles).

As we raced down the jump-filled third straightaway I swung to the right side of Coy, which would give me the inside position entering the next turn, and I was able to carry enough speed to get up alongside Travis, take control of the corner, and take second position behind Ramirez. I pushed hard to get up behind Ivan, as I didn’t want any more roost thrown my way, and just as we left the motocross portion of the track I had a run around his outside. Ivan tried to hold a tighter line through a sweeping left-hander and I held the throttle on around the outside of the corner, carrying more momentum, and taking the point position on the racecourse.

I instantly felt a gap open up and I started to find a smooth rhythm through the sand, but little did I know that Justin Jones was flying though the pack, pushing his way into second place behind me. As I started the second lap I began to feel a bit of pressure; Jones had carried his momentum from coming through the pack right up to my rear wheel. I may have been capable of a little more speed, but I felt confident in my pace, that I would be able to hold that intensity (or thereabouts) to the finish, and didn’t really want to expend any excess energy trying to pull back away. In fact, for a couple laps I thought Justin was going to find a way by me, but I stuck with a pace with which I felt comfortable and as we neared the hallway point of the race, I began to pull a bit of a lead.
 

I had opened up a modest gap just before the hour mark, but then a couple mistake crept in to my race. The first mistake came in the form of a stall: I had fluffed my entry line into a left-handed corner and as I used the rear brake to try to compensate, I drug the brake a little to hard and killed the engine. My bike re-fired quickly, mitigating the loss of time, but on the very next lap I made a mistake that had a bit more of a consequence.

Just after the scoring shoot there was a right-handed, small “hip jump” tabletop, which was easy enough to clear, but I lost traction right before the face of the jump. My front end then caught traction, as I compensated for the loss of it, and shot me too far to the right of the track as I began to take to the air. I came down right on the edge of the course, where the tractor berm had built up, and as I was off-balance to begin with, I had little chance to save the crash and I low-sided the bike to the dirt. Luckily I was able to keep the motor running and get going quickly, but most of the advantage I had opened up over Justin was now wiped away.

My crash reignited Justin’s fight as he kept me very honest over the next few laps, through each of our pit stops, but he wasn’t quite able to hold the pace deep in to the race and I stretched back away late- I know Justin has been struggling with some stomach issues so pushing as hard as he did was in impressive feat. A few laps later I crossed the finish line and was thrilled to take my first Lake Havasu WORCS win.
 
 
                HELMET CAM FOOTAGE FROM ROBBY BELL AT GNCC ROUND 4 (CLICK PHOTO TO PLAY VIDEO)

This was a win I’ve wanted for a very long time, and to finally achieve a goal like that feels fantastic. I want to thank all of my personal supporters for making it possible: Precision Concepts, MSR, Shoei, Sidi, Spy, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, FMF, BRP, RAD custom graphics, GoPro, A’ME grips, IWC motorsports, ATP mechanix, Northland motorsports, Rekluse, CryoHeat, and the MotoXerciser. Thanks to my mechanic Phil as the bike was amazing once more, to my beautiful wife, my family and friends and each of the team sponsors. I also want to thank all of the spectators at Havasu for cheering us on every lap. Havasu is unique as we race right along the lake, allowing spectators to get up next the course, so we racers can really feel their enthusiasm; it’s a pretty incredible feeling.

Up next on my schedule is the fifth round of WORCS at Sand Hollow, Utah. It has to be one of the most picturesque stops on the WORCS circuit, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite races of the year. I was able to get the win the first time WORCS went to Sand Hollow in 2013, but last year Gary Sutherlin and Justin Seeds were too strong for me. Hopefully I can carry the current momentum I have into the deep sand, but I’m sure the rest of the pro field will be incredibly fired up to get the win. Either way it promises to be an incredible event and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

Robby Bell
www.robbybellracing.com

Thank you to each of our team sponsors: Precision Concepts, Dunlop, FMF, THR Motorsports, Maxima USA, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, CryoHeat, Rekluse, VP Race Fuels, IMS, BRP, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, Braking, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, RAD custom graphics, Matrix Concepts, Zip-Ty, Boyesen, Seal Savers, MotoSeat, MotoHose, Northland Motorsports
 
 
 

Photo Gallery :: 2015 GNCC Round 3 - Morganton, NC

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From the Desk of MSR's Brand Manager - Nick McBride