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2020 Havasu NGPC Report
After an intense schedule, packed with ten rounds in just fourteen weekends, the grand prix racing season finally rolled into the 2020 finale: the Lake Havasu NGPC. The racecourse was changed quite a bit from the WORCS finale the previous weekend. The small peninsula doesn’t offer much room for creativity with the course layout, however, the NGPC crew switched up the flow of the track, which riders seemed to appreciate. Regardless of how the course is designed, one thing remains constant: the brutality of the terrain. Because lap times are on the shorter side—around five minutes—riders complete more laps than at any other circuit. The quantity of laps, combined with the soft, gritty sand that covers much of the course always makes Havasu incredibly draining on the riders as they push the pace during the ninety-minute finale.
Zach Bell – DNS
Zach came into the final round of the 2020 season ready to end on a high note, however, after riding in Saturday’s Open AA event, Zach noticed a minor physical issue materialize. Both Zach and the team’s ultimate goal has been to get him back to 100% for the rapidly approaching 2021 season. So, the decision was agreed upon for Zach to sit out the NGPC finale in order to be ready to attack the new season.
JP Alvarez – 5th place Pro 2 / 1st place 250 AA
JP came into the weekend leading the Pro 2 championship, however, it was a close race with Tallon Lafountaine and Mateo Oliveira hot on his heels. As the green light lit and released the Pro 2 field onto the course, Alvarez was inside the top-five. He quickly moved forward to second and began pushing for the lead. While attempting an overtake for the point position, JP fell, which dropped him back to fifth. As he was settling back in, disaster struck. Through a rough section of the track, Alvarez got a slight rear-end kick. Unfortunately, when his rear tire came down, it was on the wrong side of the berm and he was instantly sent high-siding to the ground. Both JP and his KX250X impacted with force, leaving his front-end twisted. So, Alvarez had to come into the pits to straighten his levers and bars as much as possible. With bent bars and a damaged throttle cable, JP got back on track and did his best to get back up to speed.
Alvarez had fallen back to tenth after the big crash, but he did well to rally over the next thirty minutes of racing. JP put everything he had into the remainder of the race and managed to recover to fifth by the finish. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to take the championship. Alvarez proved his heart and desire all year long and showed that he’ll surely be a title contender come next season.
“Coming into today, I felt ready. I thought I was going to take it. I just came off this little whoop section wrong and my rear end didn’t place down where I needed it to be. That just wadded me up. Then, I got going, but I had to come into the pits to fix my levers and the front end. I got going maybe tenth and I was just riding pissed out there. But, it’s racing, it’s not always perfect the way you want it. Honestly, I’m happy about this year. I really didn’t think I was going to be in the championship hunt, so I’m happy where I’m at and to be a part of the team again for 2021. Finishing third this year is fine. I’m just even more motivated coming into next year to get that number one plate.”
Clay Hengeveld – 6th place Pro 2 / 3rd place 250 AA
Clay got off to a good start in the Pro 2 finale, as the Team Green rider slotted inside the top-five early-on. From there, Hengeveld moved forward inside the top-three as he found the pace of the leaders. Through thirty minutes, Clay showed he had the speed, but an untimely fall would set him back. After losing the tow of the leaders, Clay had a few issues with his hydration pack after it was struck by a rock. Clay was able to rally some after fixing his water pack during the pit stop, but he was too far back to make any further progress than sixth at the finish. Still, Clay showed he had the pace early, and he’ll look to continue to build on that as the new season begins.
“The last round of the year went decent. I had a great first few laps, but then I had a crash. I’m all good, but I think the crash just took the wind out of me. Then I rode around in sixth. In the last couple laps, I feel like I picked it back up, but overall I finished the year healthy and feeling pretty strong. I’m happy about that. I’m just really looking forward to getting after preparation for 2021. I’m definitely focused on getting my speed back up and getting back to where I was. Overall, it was a good weekend and I can’t thank the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki team enough for everything they do for me.”