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2022 Taft NGPC Report
The PC Kawasaki team headed to Taft, CA for the second round of the NGPC series. Though the terrain of Taft somewhat mimics that of the first round in Delano, the conditions were quite different. Bright sunshine and mildly warm temperatures made for drier conditions. In addition, the terrain broke down into sections of sharp holes, and even a bit of silt. This put importance on the ever-crucial start, as getting ahead of the roost and dust would be key to a successful race.
Tyler Lynn – 7th place Pro
Tyler was lined up toward the outside of a stacked field of open pro riders. As the green lights lit, he jumped out of the hole looked good. However, Justin Hoeft, who was lined up just further outside, got a slightly better jump, and as the pack came into the first corner, Lynn was pinched and forced to shut down. As a result, Tyler came around the first few corners right at the edge of the top-10. The Kawasaki rider was quick to make a few passes, pushing forward to eighth as the riders came back into view of the pits—about halfway through the first lap. He was then able to overtake another rider to slot into seventh as the first lap came to a close.
Though Lynn had done well to recover from a mid-pack start, he’d lost a little bit of the tow of the top six riders early on, as a gap had formed. Through the hour-mark, Tyler held a strong pace, and after the pit stops, he began making ground on the sixth-place rider, Trevor Stewart. With twenty minutes to go, Lynn had closed to within seven seconds of Stewart and looked to apply the pressure for a pass. However, a couple “nearly” moments in the dust saw Tyler lose some of the time that he had gained, and he wisely didn’t force the issue in the conditions, coming home in seventh place.
Robby Bell – 1st place Vet AA
Robby was caught napping on the line of Saturday’s vet race. As the light blazed green, Bell was slow to accelerate and instantly found himself pinched off, outside the top-10. The KX450X rider quickly went to work moving through the field and had pushed up to third within half a lap. Then, entering a slick corner, Robby lost his front end and fell to the dirt. After being pushed back to around fifth, the KX450X-pilot regrouped and started charging forward once more. He was able to climb back up to second place through the second lap of the race, but the leader, Nick Stover had opened up a sizable gap. It took Bell some time, but he was able to shrink the lead and overtake for the point position with just over a lap to go, holding on for his second win of the season.
Robby Bell, Team Manager: “The Taft location seems to foster a love/hate relationship with the riders. I think that’s because the track pulls you into feeling like you can carry a lot of speed and really push it. But the sharp holes and hidden silt pockets can jump up and bite in an instant, and lead to those “sketchy” moments the riders talk about. For Tyler, it was a solid weekend. He didn’t quite get the start he needed and lost sight of the top-six early on. He was in a bit of “no-man’s-land” for the first hour, with a gap ahead and behind him. But his pace held strong, and he had a shot at sixth place late on. Overall, his speed and fitness were good, he just needed to get a little further upfront off the start to latch onto that early-race sprint-pace the guys have at the NGPC’s.”