The opening round of the 2011 Yamaha Quad X series was held at Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, CA. Heavy rains all week made the USGP track at Glen Helen quite a mess for Saturday practice but track conditions improved as the day went on. All progress made throughout Saturday was washed away as a steady rain fell for most of the night and we woke up to small rivers running through the pits on Sunday morning. After some delays for track modification and clean up, the 16 Pro Production riders headed to the gate for the first of two 20 minute plus 2 lap motos.
Moto 1: When the gate dropped for the first moto my GYTR powered YFZ-R pulled me to a great holeshot. Being out front was very important with the extremely muddy conditions, both clear vision and keeping the radiator clean were near impossible when following. Beau Baron started 5th but took advantage of other riders mistakes to climb to 2nd by the end of the second lap. Justin Jones started 2nd but slid sideways in a corner to drop to 3rd. I rode clean laps out front and extended the gap to 8 seconds when the checkers flew with Baron 2nd, Jones 3rd, Ethan Thatcher 4th and Dirkie Baard rounding out the top 5.
Moto 2: Baron grabbed the second moto holeshot and the $250 GYTR holeshot award. Jones was 2nd but I was able to slip by on the inside as we made our way through the Talladega first turn. Passing would be difficult on the one lined course. The track had developed one decent line but only 6-8” off that line was a quagmire of soupy mud waiting to make a rider pay for any mistakes. I began to apply pressure to Baron immediately hoping to force a mistake and be close enough to take advantage. The roost was nasty as the watery mud covered goggles in no time and made things even more difficult. Near the finish of the second lap Baron made the slip up I was waiting for when he over slid exiting a corner and almost crashed, giving me just enough room to sneak by and take the lead. For the rest of the race, Baron was all over my grab bar applying pressure and making his presence known. I tried to ride clean, mistake free laps out front but could not pull away. On the final lap Baron pushed too hard into a rutted corner and crashed, letting me cruise across the finish alone for the win. Baron remounted in time to keep 2nd ahead of Thatcher, Jones and Baard. Round one of the Yamaha Quad X series was crazy, it was amazing how much water and mud covered the track at Glen Helen. Even with the extremely wet conditions, there was really good racing in both the Pro and Amateur classes. I’m very happy to come out of round one with our first win of the year and definitely looking forward to round 2 at Arizona Cycle Park in Buckeye, AZ on April 17th.
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