A new season kicked off for WORCS this weekend at Canyon Raceway, near Phoenix, Arizona. The format for 2013 has shifted to a more off-road intensive program, and to reflect that the course for Round One was designed by off-road legend and local hero Destry Abbott. It consisted of three main elements: a mulch-fortified motocross course, technical rock section and grueling desert whoops. It wasn't a course for sissies.
Taylor Robert was the fastest man of the weekend. He came in with last-year's practice bike sporting a big number one. On the first lap, he took the Pro-Class lead and never relinquished it. On the third lap he went over the bars in a rough section, but remounted quickly. Robert started the season without a solid commitment from Kawasaki Team Green, but in the course of the weekend, got the word that he would be a factory supported rider.
Ryan Abbatoye is a hardened veteran of WORCS racing. Despite mishaps, he rode a solid race to fifth.
Justin Jones was the winningest Pro 2 rider in 2012. That earned him a position with the Bonanza Pumbing/RPM KTM team. He was sixth in his first WORCS pro race.
Pro 2 rider Ty Tremaine wasn't afraid to mix it up with the Pros. He got the holeshot in the combined Pro/Pro 2 start and led off an angry pack for part of the first lap. He was eventually third in class.
Robbie Bell was hungry. He's clearly ready to win a WORCS race, and he hounded Robert throughout the race. In the end, he never got into the lead and had to be satisfied with another second.
Eric Yorba won the Pro 2 class for the Bonanza Plumbing RPM team.
Destry Abbott is a legend not only in Arizona, but in the world off-road scene. He held second for much of the race, but his Kawasaki blew a head gasket.
The course was tough for everyone. It's been a long time since most of the riders had faced a two-hour race.
Gary Sutherlin bought a new Yamaha a few weeks before the race and went racing on his own. Factory rides are rare in 2013. He was third.